Professional Learning Blog from IRIS Connect

Teaching schools: are you providing the right support?

Posted by Paul Dale on 6 July, 2017

As a teaching school, it’s your responsibility to provide support to other schools and further the professional development of staff within your network; creating a strong culture for teaching and learning. This is no mean feat and can be costly, time consuming and use up a lot of resources. Many studies also suggest that a vast majority of CPD and professional development practices have little impact on teaching and learning. Making the time, money and effort put into them a waste.

So how can you overcome these challenges whilst delivering highly effective and impactful professional development for all?

What is effective professional development?Effective CPD Model

Decades of research shows that traditional forms of professional development are ineffective. In fact, in this presentation from the Teachers Development Trust (TDT) it says that less than 1% of training opportunities impact existing practice.

To make sustainable improvements to teaching and learning, teachers need to engage with all of the proven components of effective adult learning (see diagram on right). These include access to theory, feedback and coaching.




How can you deliver it across your network?

One of the most powerful tools for professional learning is video. It not only enables schools to deliver the key components of effective adult learning, but as a teaching school it also allows you to:

  • Identify and share expertise easily across your network
  • Make lesson observation and feedback simpler, enabling joint practice development over distance
  • Provide coaching and mentoring without paying for travel and lesson cover
  • Encourage discussion and sharing of essential information among colleagues
  • Demonstrate your vision and culture by creating bespoke CPD content


The Kemnal Academies Trust

We’re working with a number of teaching schools, helping them overcome the barriers and constraints to collaboratively working within their teaching school alliance. Such as, The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) in the South East of England. They are using the power of IRIS Connect to collaborate and share more easily.

IRIS Connect has:
  • Helped them to overcome geographical limitations of 41 academies spread out over 8 local authorities
  • Enabled peer-coaching between teachers 80 miles apart
  • Empowered the development and sharing of resources across the trust
  • Enhanced their NQT induction programme
  • Increased teacher confidence
  • Improved participation in research and development
  • Allowed for effortless dissemination of R&D findings

Rachel Tizard, Director of Learning at TKAT says: “IRIS Connect is a solution to the challenge of the geography of TKAT. Two of our schools have created Groups in IRIS Connect to allow peer-coaching between teachers who are 80 miles apart.

We are confident that effectively embedding IRIS Connect in a significant proportion of our schools is contributing to the rapid improvement of our trust overall. It’s an innovative solution, enabling schools to collaborate and network beyond their regional boundaries.”  Read more about their journey here >>

Discover how we can help you to support the professional learning needs of your network >>

Topics: Blog, professional development, Teaching and learning communities, cpd budget, teaching schools

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