Professional Learning Blog from IRIS Connect

Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

If you have a topic you'd like us to cover or if you're interested in covering one yourself in a guest post, please contact us.


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Evidence-informed practice, how important is it?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 21 November, 2017

There’s a growing interest around evidence-informed practice (EIP) and its links to effective continuing professional development. A combination of indicators clearly shows this growing movement and demand for evidence among educators.Such as:

  • Emphasis from the DfE on ensuring teachers are equipped with an understanding of the latest research, and use evidence to inform their teaching practice
  • The expanding profiles of researchED and The Research Schools Network
  • The launch of the Chartered College of Teaching
  • Expert guidance being provided by organisations like the Education Endowment Foundation and Institute for Effective Education

“Evidence-based practice is not ‘cookbook’ teaching or policing, nor should it be about prescribing what goes on from a position of unchallenged authority. It is about integrating professional expertise with the best external evidence from research to improve the quality of practice” -  J Sharples, Evidence for the Frontline

But, how important is evidence-informed practice and what challenges does it pose for schools embedding it within CPD and whole school improvement?

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What you need to know about sharing strategies in a SEN school

Posted by Tom O’Hara on 16 November, 2017

Guest blog from Tom O’Hara, Social Conduct Lead at Greenacre School (Wellspring MAT) Barnsley. @justTOhara

Greenacre School is a large special school which provides a personalised education for over 300 children and young people with severe and complex learning difficulties.

We all know of that one teacher who can walk into a class, just look at the pupils and then have them wrapped around their little finger. Almost as if they have some kind of behaviour superpower. How great would it be if those positive strategies could be shared amongst colleagues, departments or even the whole school?!

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Why joint practice development is the answer to developing collective efficacy

Posted by Andy Newell on 10 November, 2017

Speaking at the recent Optimus MATs Summit I was preceeded at the podium by Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner. He highlighted that most MATs have now developed effective diagnostics for areas of strength and weakness but still have a long way to go in terms of systematically driving improvement. In his words, striking the right balance between “weighing the pig and fattening the pig”.

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5 tips for using video CPD in higher education

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 26 October, 2017

The tutors at VIA Health in Denmark, began using video CPD because they lacked a concrete tool for developing and qualifying their own teaching. They were finding it hard to find the time in their busy days to watch each other lecture, but with the help of video CPD, they have been able to see their own teaching from multiple angles and share specific situations. Allowing them to step back and reflect on their own teaching in a completely new way.

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Happy World Teachers' Day!

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 5 October, 2017

Everyday, around the world teachers are doing amazing things to enrich the lives of their students. Help us to celebrate and remember the very best educators around the world by letting us know who you remember and why. Share your stories, pictures and messages about your favourite teachers and the best advice they gave you, in the comments below.

In the meantime, find out which educators have inspired us over the years:

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5 steps to embedding JPD in your Multi-Academy Trust

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 21 September, 2017

Joint Practice Development (JPD) has a lot to offer Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) and Teaching School Alliances (TSA). With the right culture, commitment and challenge in place, it has the power to take professional development and wider school improvement to a whole new level.

Here are 5 steps to help you embed JPD in your MAT or TSA... 

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