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.



guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing

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11 ways to ensure you provide better support for your NQTs this term

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 23 August, 2019

Retention is our problem, not recruitment. Research states that nearly half of all teachers in the maintained sector leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying. 

This clearly indicates the importance of providing effective support to help develop teachers in their first few years. The loss of a new teacher is more than an inconvenience. It’s also a serious drain on your school’s precious financial resources. 

So with that in mind, we’ve put together 11 ways you can support your NQTs when they need you most.  


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TeacherTales: 6 Tips I wish I’d known before becoming head of department

Posted by Ash Drury on 23 August, 2019

Guest blog written by Ash Drury, Head of Science, York High School.

As I sit here looking around my empty classroom during the final week of term, a lot goes through my mind. 

Most of those thoughts are looking ahead – we have a great teaching team and wonderful pupils, and I am incredibly excited to be working with them in the next academic year. But some of my thoughts invariably drift backwards to the year that is coming to a close, and I reflect (as all teachers do) on the wonderful year I’ve had, but also on the lows, the maybes and the what-ifs. 

If you are anything like me, you will spend the final few months before starting a new teaching or leadership position frantically googling things like, “How to be a good leader”, “What to do before starting as HOD”, or “top tips for new heads of department”. Maybe that is how you found this blog. 

So, below are a number of things I wish I had been told a year ago which would have made my first year as a HOD that little bit smoother.

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Reality Check: How reality TV can help you embed video CPD at your school

Posted by Claire Probert on 15 July, 2019

Guest blog written by Claire Probert, Lancot Challenger Academy

CPD. So often associated with death by PowerPoint, as a room full of tea-drinking teachers subtly write ever expanding to-do lists to be completed later that same day, if not during the training!

I don’t find this acceptable; I firmly believe that we should practice what we preach. For our pupils, we rightly demand that our staff eliminate passive learning, develop active questioning, promote pupil-led learning and all within an engaging, safe and positive climate. At my school, my staff deserve exactly that too and myself and my IRIS Connect Lead, Jenny Fraser, are passionate about offering this to our team.

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Prep learning - my journey into implementing metacognition and self-regulated learning

Posted by Neil Williams on 8 July, 2019

What is prep learning?

Prep learning is a learning method that promotes the teaching of metacognition and actively supports independent learning, mindfulness and self-regulated assessment.

Pupils using the prep learning method access a teacher-made website which allows them to study exemplary work, both written and visual, to develop a deeper understanding of their qualification curriculum.

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New Ofsted Framework 2019: Changes explained [incl. Video Interview]

Posted by Graham Newell on 4 July, 2019

The new Ofsted Framework will come in to affect in September 2019, so read on for all you need to know. 

In this video interview, Andy Newell, Managing Director of IRIS Connect interviews Daniel Muijs, Deputy Director of Ofsted about the new Ofsted Framework 2019. The questions asked in this interview were selected by school leaders and cover topics such as evidence-informed practice, domain specific CPD and Ofsted’s latest approach to observations. 

Prior to this interview taking place, we had shared a breakdown of the Ofsted Framework 2019, highlighted what the four Ofsted judgements are, what's changed with the inspection guidelines and how it will affect your school. 

Watch the full video interview with Daniel Muijs or skip to a topic of your choice to hear Daniel’s answers.

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How healthy is your school's CPD culture?

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 24 June, 2019

Developing a CPD culture takes time and effort. It can't be imposed or imported overnight. That being said, there are things that you can do to create an environment where teachers want to learn and develop their instructional practice. 

Get started by reflecting on the following 7 questions...

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