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Evaluation article: Know your strengths Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Evaluation article: Getting personal  with CPD Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Evaluation article: Parent View — an update Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Evaluation article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling, gives a personal take on renewing a failing governing body having designed and built one from scratch.

Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance

Tony Powell looks at how the Framework for governance can be used to clarify the strategic direction of your school.

Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview

Tony Powell discusses how to prepare governors in advance for an inspection interview.

Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

John Viner explores ways to develop a culture of continual improvement in teaching through lesson observation.

Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

How can schools translate CPD into genuine improvement for staff? Keith Wright asked leaders to share their views, and discovered an emerging consensus about which approaches work best.

Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able

Tony Powell looks at how to identify the most able pupils, and the key factors that enable the brightest pupils to achieve.

Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

Evaluation article: Getting personal with CPD

Less than a fifth of teachers in England’s schools think their continuing profession development (CPD) is any good, according to a recent survey. One of the keys to unlocking the…

Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

Performance appraisal is crucial to school improvement, but many schools are still without a rigorous and transparent way of carrying it out, says Keith Wright. Here, he analyses the challenges…

Evaluation article: Parent View — an update

Jenny Townsend looks at the importance of Parent View in achieving an outstanding rating in inspection, and how comments from parents are used by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

Jenny Townsend explores how parental engagement can contribute to school improvement and in particular the role this can play in raising pupil achievement levels.

Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Published: Thursday, 12 December 2013

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the challenges and offers some advice.

 Summary

  • Developing self-awareness of their professional skills and needs is vital if teachers are to make a real contribution to school improvement and move on in their careers.
  • Pressures such as the day-to-day demands of the job, performance pay and Ofsted accountability can make meaningful evaluation difficult.
  • Knowledge of their own development needs enables teachers to make a more informed choice of continuing professional development.
  • Leaders need to set a culture that encourages meaningful professional development and evaluation.
  • Teachers should be exacting in their continuing professional development requirements and should only engage in professionaldevelopment if it meets strict criteria.

When teachers first enter the profession, it is often encouraging to see their approach to self-evaluation. They look at their practice closely and evaluate how they are doing. They think about how they can improve their skills through professional development. I know this to be true from my experience working with trainee teachers, most recently as part of the School Direct initiative.

Self-awareness

It is a shame that, for many teachers, this self-awareness does not persist beyond the early stages of their careers. The day-to-day pressures of a demanding teaching job and the accountability that comes with this tend to get in the way.

That is not to say that teachers do not care about the evaluation of their work and their continuing professional development (CPD). In fact, it is probably because they care so much about their pupils that they spend most of their time focusing on the attainment of children, measuring and evaluating their progress so they can put in place measures and interventions which will ensure that pupils can achieve to the best of their abilities.

However, this obvious commitment to the attainment of pupils often leaves them with very little time to focus on their own attainment as professionals. They are under pressure. Teachers are under pressure to achieve the expectations of the headteacher and line mangers, who in turn are under pressure from accountability frameworks such as Ofsted. Then there is the onset of performance-related pay, which will see progression and pay related directly to whether teachers meet performance objectives. Development surely has a key role to play there.

Knowledge of their own professional development needs enables teachers to make informed choices about the CPD they require. If they evaluate this properly they will know which CPD works and which does not. Ultimately, it means they can keep on improving as a professional and ensure that pupils get the best possible teaching.

So, how can teachers make evaluation of their professional development really count? We will consider four distinct steps:

  • the fundamentals that leaders need to address
  • pre- and post-CPD activity for teachers
  • and generating evidence of the impact of that CPD, which is of most relevance to teachers and CPD leaders.

The fundamentals

Leaders have a key role to play here. They should ingrain professional development and evaluation within their leadership vision by doing the following:

  • Get the culture right. Great teachers are also great learners. The expectation that everyone in the school needs to continue their learning must be made clear at every opportunity.
  • Move professional development up the agenda. Ask, at every opportunity and at least every week: ‘What has our past learning done for us?’ ‘What are we doing next?’ ‘Why are we doing it?’ ‘What are we hoping for as a consequence?’.
  • Adopt a ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approach. All staff should be able to identify CPD needs, research available provision and articulate their chosen route.
  • Do not let administration prevent them from achieving their goals. There are purpose-built tools out there to do this work and they should be used.


Pre-CPD activity

Teachers need to take ownership of their professional development and be more exacting about what CPD they do and how they evaluate it. They should:

  • Look at what they must achieve in the short, medium and long term with regard to performance targets, professional standards, career-stage expectations and the overall school development plan.
  • Ask themselves: ‘What am I being asked to achieve and am I able to achieve this without further learning?’ If the answer is ‘no’, then they need to engage in some learning.
  • Record their CPD needs and relate them to the area identified in the first bullet point. This is most important as, ultimately, their targets will be where the evidence of impact will be recorded.
  • Ensure that they have three essential pieces of information that will help them determine a CPD need: what the area is that they need to develop, where and how this will impact upon them and where and how this will impact upon the school.
  • Research and identify the most suitable CPD provision. This could be anything from lesson observations and one-to-one conversations with colleagues to attending conferences and seminars.
  • Be prepared. When teachers attend any activity, make sure that they know which CPD need it is addressing, that they have looked at preparation material and that they are clear about the impact areas for them and for the school.
  • Be willing to engage. Learning is always better when complemented with communication. Teachers should ask questions, challenge, be challenged and extract every single ounce of knowledge and value form
  • the activity.

Post-CPD activity

Evaluation of professional development activity should not begin and end with ticking a few boxes on an evaluation form. Teachers should:

  • Take time to digest the learning experience and complete an initial evaluation within seven days. Beyond this their recollection will not be as clear.
  • Be clear about what it is they expect to happen as a result of attending the activity. They should express what it is they will do differently, what they think the impact will be and where they think they will be able gather evidence of that impact.
  • Periodically revisit each of their CPD activities and update their evaluations. They should be able to reference actual impact and provide tangible evidence by revisiting the activity over time.

CPD co-ordinators should assess each activity and read evaluations coming from all staff. They should be able to view the impact and evidence each person has associated with the activity.

Generating evidence of the impact of CPD

CPD is nothing unless it has a tangible, positive impact on the professional development of staff and the school as a whole. Schools should encourage teachers to reflect on all their CPD activities (as an individual, team or whole school) each time they record evidence of impact against their performance targets, professional standards, career-stage expectations and the overall school development plan. They should then ‘tag’ their evaluation and evidence to any CPD activity they think helped them achieve this.

This approach will result in a gradual build-up of evidence of impact for each CPD activity, which will be associated with all individual and whole-school performance targets and will be more accurate, meaningful and ultimately valuable for all concerned.

With evidence of what professional development works, teachers will be able to develop to the best of their abilities and make a real contribution to the development of the school.

Toolkit

Use the following item in the Toolkit to help you put the ideas in this article into practise:

About the author

Keith Wright is managing director of school information management specialist Bluewave.SWIFT. He has worked with hundreds of schools during the past decade supporting institutional leadership and management. For further information go to ww.bluewaveswift.co.uk

This article was first published in the February 2014 issue of School Inspection + Improvement Magazine.

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