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Simplifying school improvement using SchooliP

Simplifying school improvement using SchooliP

John Sibbald  John Sibbald
02 October 2021

Simplifying school improvement using SchooliP

A flexible model supporting schools on their development journey

Following a celebratory or disappointing Ofsted report every school goes through an intense period of self-reflection at all levels in the organisation. From teachers and associate staff through to leadership and governance, we all have a role to play in helping to craft the action plan response. It’s vital that all staff understand how their learning and development journey fits with the overall school improvement journey and how they all have a role in contributing to this process.

A language of judgement or development?

The school evaluation framework requires school leaders to state what teaching looks like in their school using Ofsted terminology. At the same time a developmental language is required that supports teachers at all stages in their career and on their learning journey. This is backed up by research from as long ago as 2014 from the Teacher Development Trust. Schools are approaching this conundrum in different ways depending on their circumstance and current Ofsted judgement. Some are sticking with ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’ etc. Whereas, others have developed a new language around the teacher standards and cohorts of teachers. One example is shown below:

Teacher development language

School approach Ofsted
Developmental - internal Judgemental - external
Not at required standard Inadequate
On track Requires improvement
Good and effective
Moving to 'above and beyond'
Above and beyond Outstanding

Identifying cohorts of teachers

Once we have established a culture and language of development we can then start to identify learning communities of teachers to support their group and individual needs. This removes the old ‘badge of honour’ that was prevalent - the minute you are graded ‘outstanding’ for a lesson you are ‘outstanding’ for life. Starting with data from the previous performance cycle will help but we need a find a way to quality-assure these outcomes with other sources including objectives from the current cycle and lesson review.

Lesson review – light touch or in-depth?

Triangulating data from different sources is vital in helping us to build a up picture of a colleague’s current practice. We can then decide which review route to use at lesson review – light touch or in-depth. In this model we use the following data sources:

Light touch or in depth?

We can qualify which lesson review to take by looking at the progress data and by talking to students using the following, simple steps:

Identifying lesson review type

1. Pupil progress
Relative to their starting points, what progress is like with...
Pupil premium?
SEN and EAL?

2. Pupil voice

How well are you doing in this subject?
Are you making expected progress?
How do you know this?
What are the next steps in your learning
Repeat with at least 3 students

If an in-depth review is required then the following observation protocols can be added that support the teacher is developing their practice against national teacher standards:

In-depth lesson review...

AfL - Does the teacher...
Check students' understanding 'systematically and effectively'?
Identify and support any student who is falling behind?
Offering clearly directed and timely support?
Use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets and plan subsequent lessons?

Teaching - Does the teacher...

Demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of the subject?
Make maximum user of lesson time?
Show determination that pupils achieve well?
Develop, consolidate and deepen students' knowledge, understanding and skills?
Skillfully probe students' responses and reshape tasks and explanations accordingly
Embed reading, writing communication and (where appropriate) mathematics exceptionally well?
Manage students' behaviour highly effectively?

Give students feedback, written or oral, to improve?

PDBW - Are students...
Confident, self-assured learners?
Conducting themselves well throughout the session?
Consistently positive about all aspects of their learning

Showing respect for others' ideas and views?

SMSC - Are students...
Cooperating well with others?
Using imagination and creativity?
Giving reasoned views about moral and ethical issues?
Understanding viewpoints of others?
Engaging with British values of democracy, law, individual liberty and mutual respect?
Is this 'deliberately and effectively' promoted?
Work Scrutiny - Does completed work demonstrate...
Incisive feedback, in line with the school's assessment policy?
That students use this feedback effectively?
Students take pride in all aspects of their work?

In both cases the following should be identified prior to giving feedback to teachers and in doing so gather evidence for the current performance cycle:

Developmental review

What 'areas for development' were identified in the teacher effectiveness document?
What evidence can be taken from this lesson contributing to overall development?
What are the next steps?

School journey vs individual journey?

Now that we have identified and are supporting different teaching communities within our organisation we can start to prioritise depending on the overall school improvement journey. This is vital if we are secure accelerated improvement with limited CPD resource. A school on a journey to ‘Good’ may decide to focus resource on getting the majority of ‘RI’ staff to ‘Good’ – ‘on track’ to ‘good and effective’ in developmental language. This ensures rapid improvements are made and where necessary evidence can start to be gathered for those staff who are not making expected progress and where capability processes are initiated. A school on a journey to ‘outstanding’ would focus resource on those ‘good and effective’ teachers wanting to take the next step in their development journey. Other development journeys for staying ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ can be defined.

School Journey example action plan 'RI+'

Teacher effectiveness cohorts (internal)

On track Development template
Good and effective Light touch template
Moving to 'above and beyond' Light touch template
Above and beyond Light touch template

School Journey example action plan 'outstanding+'

Teacher effectiveness cohorts (internal)

On track
Good and effective
Moving to 'above and beyond' Development template
Above and beyond Light touch template


There are many different models for school improvement in evidence across the U.K. that require a local response to complex issues with many variables. SchooliP is flexible enough to support any school improvement model with the use of bespoke template tools and a defined sets of standards. The cloud service allows schools to link self-evaluation and action-planning at both leadership and classroom level supporting teamwork and collaboration across an organisation.

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