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.

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guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing

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Kate Herbert-Smith

Kate's background in publishing has left her with a great love of thoughtful descriptions and inspiring stories. When she's not writing compelling blogs and case studies for us, she can be found devouring the latest best-seller or watching all manner of TED Talks. She has a growing appetite for video editing/storytelling, not to mention an unhealthy passion for all things Harry Potter and the uncanny ability to recite almost every single episode of the sitcom Friends.
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Recent Posts

5 recommendations for retaining your teachers

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 2 April, 2019

As a school leader, great teachers are your most important asset. But we all know that teachers are notoriously under-compensated and underappreciated. While the work is incredibly rewarding, it can also require more than a 40-hour workweek and excessive workloads, meaning great teachers are choosing to leave for professions that pay more and demand less.  In fact in 2015 social media was buzzing with the news that more than 50% of teachers in England 'plan to quit in the next two years'.

As a result, schools and school leaders are having to work hard at replacing, attracting, and retaining excellent educators. Here are five ways to make your school the kind of place that great teachers want to stay in:

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10 tips for school leaders on handling difficult conversations

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 11 March, 2019

There are some conversations you’d probably rather not have, particularly if it means delivering unpleasant news, discussing a delicate subject, or talking about something that needs to change or has gone wrong. But, as a school leader, these conversations can crop up fairly regularly so feeling confident about knowing how to handle them is essential.

It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious or nervous at the thought of a difficult discussion, whether it’s with a teacher, parent or child. However, there are a few simple techniques that can help to make them productive and as painless as possible.

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10 must-read CPD books for teachers and school leaders

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 5 March, 2019

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of professional development books on the market. So, how do you know which ones are worth your time or not? We did some research to find out which books education professionals would recommend, and created this list of 10 books that will inspire, motivate and educate. Take a look…

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Teacher wellbeing and CPD, is there a link?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 4 March, 2019

The teaching profession is increasingly associated with stress and burnout. The Engaging Teachers report from National Foundation of Educational Research (2016) found that high teacher workload is associated with poor health and staff feeling undervalued.

The number of teachers seeking support for their mental health via the Education Support Partnerships’ confidential helpline increased by 35 per cent from April 2017 to March 2018.

This is by no means new news, but as we all become more aware of the importance of talking about and addressing mental health, schools are having to take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their staff.

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Training vs professional development - what's the difference and does it matter?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 11 February, 2019

When we think of teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD), it’s often the one-off training courses that first spring to mind. But, as well as single training sessions, the term CPD also covers teaching and learning activities designed to help teachers develop their practice; from research, self-reflection and lesson observations to Lesson Study, feedback and coaching.  

Before we discuss the difference between training and development, and their roles in effective CPD, let’s start by taking a deeper look at what CPD is.

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Teachers missing out on vital CPD according to survey

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 1 February, 2019

The vast majority of teachers are facing barriers to accessing essential CPD, a recent survey by the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed.

More than 9 in 10 (91%) teachers have faced barriers preventing them from accessing continuing professional development (CPD). The School Snapshot Survey by the DfE cites the cost of CPD and lack of time as the biggest obstacles.

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