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Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning

(38 Posts)
toomuchicecream Sat 03-Jan-15 18:32:33

This is one of the jobs I've been given for next term. As DHT in a small primary school I get 1/2 a day a week on top of my PPA in order to do this (so I'm teaching 4 days as well as planning/resourcing lessons for my DHT release time). This means that I've not got a lot of time for monitoring.

So - as a class teacher - what do you think are the most effective things that the leaders in your school do in order to gather the evidence that Ofsted require that the quality of teaching and learning is being monitored? What do you think are the least effective things the SLT do? If you were given my job, how would you go about it?

I've spent a lot of Christmas pondering this one - I feel a bit like poacher turned gamekeeper! I've been given extensive lists of expectations for staff which cover things like pupil interviews/lesson obs/learning walks/planning scrutiny/book scrutiny etc etc etc. When I look at them I just want to get back into bed, pull the covers over my head and stay there as the thought that I'd be expected to do all the things listed makes me feel sick! So if I don't think the list of expectations I've been given can be sensibly implemented on a daily basis, then the rest of the staff at my school certainly won't. But when Ofsted come, they will be looking for hard evidence of the way the school is monitoring the quality of teaching and learning, so I need to come up with a manageable, achievable way of doing this.

Over to you!! (Yes - I do have a pretty clear idea of how I plan to tackle this, but I'd really like to hear your ideas first...)

HettyD Sat 03-Jan-15 20:31:19

I have a rolling programme of learning walks, work scrutiny (broken down to yr group/subject), student voice. I do one each fortnight and then add in extra checks such as assessment levels etc. Hope this helps!!

toomuchicecream Sat 03-Jan-15 22:07:09

Thank you - that's not dissimilar to my plan. I'm interested to hear what other teachers thinks works well. There are so many teachers who are stressed out by the quantity and nature of monitoring taking place in their schools, and the last thing I want to do is add more to the workload of my colleagues as they are already working incredibly hard. But I need to have a plan and be able to evidence what I'm doing sad

Guilianna Sun 04-Jan-15 10:12:22

I'd say the single most effective thing SLT could do to support me/move my teaching forward would be to set aside time for professional DIAlogue

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 10:57:48

We have termly pupil progress meetings where the DH and ct meet to discuss the children in the class. None of our management are even faintly interesting in talking about the children who have met or even exceeded the targets-it's purely used as a tool to attack teachers and blame them for the few children who didn't, for whatever reason, make progress.

I think, as management it might be time to start celebrating progress too. Eg what worked well in this class? Wow-this teacher got 1/3 children to expected or more by Easter. Not support plans for teachers who've taught children whose dad has died or who have been taken into care or who were made homeless and then didn't make enough progress.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 04-Jan-15 11:05:57

Cor, you little radical rollon! (Namechanger here, but still a fan)
Imagine celebrating excellence and recognising achievement in the staff...You'll be advocating that every monitoring visit and discussion follows two stars and a wish next, rather than a list of negatives.

If you want to improve the quality of T&L, you need to make your staff feel that you are part of the team, that you are capable of setting SMART targets for them and that you are interested in their achievements rather than just shoving them through the next hoop for OFSTED. That you have sound reasons behind your action points, and that you are capable of demonstrating excellent T&L in your own classroom and being questioned and criticised in turn.
Do your subject leaders do LOs? Do you link with staff in other schools to enable a neutral observer to judge? Do you have peer observations?

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 11:12:27

He he!!

I like this point--

That you have sound reasons behind your action points, and that you are capable of demonstrating excellent T&L in your own classroom and being questioned and criticised in turn.

None of our management have a class or indeed any teaching responsibility so it is purely them asking us to do more and more things that they don't ever have to do.

It's difficult to respect people who have no real idea what it's like any more.

Apologies to any SMT with a class-I'm sure you're great.

Guilianna Sun 04-Jan-15 11:37:10

When I was nqt I asked my HT if I could watch her teach to try and get ideas on how to improve; how naïve was I! (old but come from business background). She said no as she wasn't confident with the year group. Later found out she'd refused an experienced colleague watch her with a diff year group. Since I started 2 years ago 5 teachers have left inc 2 DHs

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 11:45:42

Most of our smt are terrified of teaching-won't cover a class if their lives depend on it, much preferring to drag a TA out of the nursery to cover instead of them having to do it!

Bonsoir Sun 04-Jan-15 11:50:26

As someone who does occasional tutoring (for love not money) there is nothing more revealing, IMVHO, than taking small groups aside from time to time to see how well they work on complex tasks (problem-solving, writing) to measure quality of teaching.

Guilianna Sun 04-Jan-15 11:52:29

I can imagine, bonsoir. It would show their entire approach to learning.

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 11:55:58

I agree-I would imagine that would be very interesting and revealing!

Probably too time consuming and not enough data for my SMT though. How would it fit into the teeny boxes on target tracker? ;)

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-Jan-15 11:57:05

I have taught in around 30 different schools over the last few years [on projects, as employee and as self employed and on supply] and the most important and effective thing has been daily meetings to discuss the learners - with all teaching staff involved. And the management still being involved in teaching and learning.

Even if the daily meeting is an informal one at lunchtime, where everyone sits together and where the teachers discuss in a kind of SWOT analysis and on strategies on managing things are shared. One school did this as soon as the learners left the building [SEN school for EBD pupils] and when I was there for the day I was also invited to these meetings. It completely changed the school's performance and was a result of them merging with another school [that I also had worked at] and it really impacted on everyone as they were all on the button with what was going on. And really good reflection on WHAT HAPPENED TO TRIGGER - even if it means the teacher admitting that they got it wrong that time.

Having teachers observe and comment honestly is good as often when you are teaching you don't pick up on all the points - so good reflection on what happened without the blame culture that surrounds different schools will work wonders.

Could you start the term with asking the teachers, again in a SWAT format, their views on the quality of teaching and learning in your school? Then as a team, work through how to address the issues.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-Jan-15 11:57:48

SWOT - not SWAT!

Strengths, weaknesses [internal issues]
opportunities and threats [external issues]

ZammoMcGuire Sun 04-Jan-15 11:59:16

tip - dont use the word scrutiny

Why not have one to one meetings with the teacher where they can talk about a group and what they did or are doing wiht them?
Also talk about pastoral issues. Look over some exercise books together so you can praise marking or strategies

Guilianna Sun 04-Jan-15 12:00:21

ask the teachers? radical!

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 12:01:57

How do you get all the teachers in one place at once every day-I'm really impressed? Our teachers have before school/lunch/after school clubs at varying times and also ks1/ks2 and eyfs all have different play/lunch/start/finish times.

I like the idea of SMT still being involved in teaching though-not just in managing.

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 12:03:26

Why not have one to one meetings with the teacher where they can talk about a group and what they did or are doing wiht them?

And don't schedule that meeting at 5.30pm the day before you do the learning walk or book scrutiny...

Ask the teachers what they would find helpful.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-Jan-15 12:04:25

How do you get all the teachers in one place at once every day-I'm really impressed?

I'd expect each key stage to do their gathering separately - as they are all teaching the same pupils. Honestly, this changed the whole school.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-Jan-15 12:06:30

And don't schedule that meeting at 5.30pm the day before you do the learning walk or book scrutiny.

Sorry - this meeting was at the end of each day. Every day. Obviously the odd day a teacher would not be there but it was part of the new culture brought in by the new head. Teachers talking about the learners with each other. It can't be that controversial!

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 12:06:52

Right-that makes sense. I think that's a really good idea. Gives you a sense of working as a team as well.

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 12:08:29

Sorry Ribena-when I was talking about not scheduling the meeting the day before a book scrutiny, I was talking about Zammo's suggestion of a 1:1 meeting.

noblegiraffe Sun 04-Jan-15 12:47:27

Whatever you decide to do, don't grade lesson observations. Ofsted don't any more, and they don't expect schools to.

Get observations to be done by peers in a supportive framework, not by SLT in a judgemental one. Work scrutiny should be about identifying best practice and sharing with the rest of the staff. If, for example, your Y1 teachers tell you that writing lengthy comments on pupils' work is pointless because the kids can't read them, then ditch that practice, rather than forcing teachers to adhere to a school-wide marking policy. Work out what works.

rollonthesummer Sun 04-Jan-15 13:15:12

I hope you are SMT, noblegiraffe; you do say some very sensible things!

ZammoMcGuire Sun 04-Jan-15 14:34:23

and my meeting idea would be a great way to encourage teachers who don't normally get a chance to influence policy

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