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

How to make lesson observations most effective

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 24 September, 2018

Numerous studies over recent years have shown that high-level and consistent performance from teachers in the classroom is central to improving outcomes for learners. So, naturally the education world has begun to examine teacher effectiveness more closely and how it can be improved.

One of the main ways that teachers get feedback on their practice, in order to develop and grow, is through mandatory lesson observations, whereby a headteacher or a member of SLT sits in on a lesson to observe the teacher. However, despite their widespread use in schools, there is a great deal of data that highlights how ineffective traditional lesson observations can be. 

One of the strongest datasets being the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, which confirms that teaching and learning do not improve unless teachers get high-quality feedback from impartial and authentic observations by consistent evaluators. 

But, according to a SmartBrief poll nearly 70% of teachers said that traditional observation processes do not give them the meaningful and actionable feedback they need to grow. And 62% of school leaders acknowledged that the evaluation systems in place at their schools are not effective in supporting their teachers development. 

So, what can be done to improve the effectiveness of lesson observations?

Improve lesson observations, improve your school

 

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Latest recipients of Strategic School Improvement Fund released

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 27 August, 2018

We’re proud to announce that we will be working with Aspire Multi-Academy Trust, who are among the few to receive a slice of the Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF). Their project aims to do many things, including:

  • Establish evidence-based best practice of maths Mastery in each school in every classroom.
  • Improve the progress of maths at the end of KS2 to a positive score, for all pupils.
  • Establish a sustainable link between each school in the trust and the Cornwall and Devon Maths Hub.
  • Increase teacher engagement and confidence in CPD, to maximise their impact and improve teacher retention.

Teacher explaining something to her pupil in a classroom-1

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How to choose the right CPD provision and provider

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 22 August, 2018

Investing in CPD in general is unlikely to dramatically improve a school nor provide value for money. As a school leader, you need to make informed decisions to invest in professional learning that is tailored to your schools and teachers’ needs. But where do you start?

Before exploring the CPD opportunities on offer, it’s important to first establish the type of CPD provision you need, because different skills gaps will require different learning formats.

Young businessman taking a decision with arrows and question mark above his head

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How to provide CPD on a budget

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 10 July, 2018

It’s tough being a member of SLT in times like these. With the ever increasing pressure of budgetary constraints it is, of course, essential that school leaders achieve value for money in all they do.How to deliver CPD on a budget

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How to give teachers effective coaching feedback

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 12 June, 2018

Feedback is an important and necessary part of any teacher’s career path. Whether they’re in their first, fifth or fifteenth year of teaching, feedback from senior leaders, peers and reviews is critical to identifying performance weaknesses and strengths, providing teachers with opportunities to grow and develop their practice. What’s more, it often improves communication and better understanding of expectations.  

But there is a world of difference between just giving someone feedback and giving them effective feedback.

Your Feedback Matters placard with bokeh background

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Why the Inspiring Leadership Conference 2018 is a must-do for senior leaders

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 31 May, 2018

It’s become increasingly clear of late,  that effective leadership is a linchpin in tackling the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, making this year's Inspiring Leadership Conference a top item on any SLT's calendar.

inspiring leadership 2018

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