July 2013


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  • Growth industry
    A professional development programme developed by teachers, has helped turn around the teaching and learning standards of one school, as Sharon Simpson and Louisa Gooch explain. More
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A professional development programme developed by teachers, has helped turn around the teaching and learning standards of one school, as Sharon Simpson and Louisa Gooch explain.

Growth industry

Baverstock is an outer city 11-19 school in South Birmingham with many inner city challenges. We are in the highest quartile for deprivation with some 56 per cent of students on free school meals (FSM) and when our students arrive, their attainment predictions, based on their average Key Stage 2 scores, are well below national expectations. But we are, of course, ambitious and aspirational for all of our students and we aim to ensure that our teaching challenges and motivates them to achieve beyond any low predictions. TEEP, the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme, is a key strand of our approach.

Baverstock’s journey

In 2008, the school had a poor Ofsted that pinpointed a need to improve the overall quality of our teaching and learning and to secure a greater proportion of teaching as ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’. Our own and local authority (LA) observations had highlighted the same challenge. We researched the impact of TEEP as a tool to help us drive improvement.

TEEP was originally developed in 2002 by the Gatsby Foundation as an action research programme to help teachers improve their classroom practice and is now part of the SSAT (The Schools Network). Its key advantage is that it was developed by teachers for teachers and the programme has been instrumental in helping individual teachers, trainee teachers, departments, whole schools and LAs to improve classroom practice. It focuses on effective learner and teacher behaviours and the key principles that underpin learning, such as collaboration, as well as an effective planning cycle.

Independent evaluations by Warwick and York universities and by the London Institute have all concluded that the training transformed the way that teachers worked in the classroom, increasing pupils’ engagement in learning, improving their behaviour in lessons, boosting higher-level thinking and raising attainment. We decided to pursue TEEP as our main mechanism for improving key teaching and learning.

Teachers do either a five-day model (three days followed by two days three months later) or a whole-school model of two days, followed by a third about two months later. They can then opt to build a portfolio of their work enabling them to train to level 2, coaching standard, and potentially continue to level 3, national training standard, which means they can train other schools. The rigour of this process and the hard evidence base required engenders high-quality progression for teachers.

We were attracted to it because it offered a complete framework and it also offered the chance for teachers to progress to coaching. We offered training places in small groups to staff who were committed to improving their own classroom practice and who were prepared to share their learning beyond their own classrooms to have a wider whole-school impact. But, after the initial group had been through it, the demand from staff to take part was so great that it led to a long waiting list. As a result, we decided to invest our whole continuing professional development (CPD) budget in 2009 in training for our entire staff, learning together on site in our own school.

After the training, one change we quickly noticed was more interactive teaching with students being encouraged to make decisions, work more collaboratively and use a greater variety of stimulus materials. We also focused more rigorously on the impact of teaching and planning on student outcomes. We established a structured weekly CPD follow-up programme to share practice across departments, creating a community of learning in the school. Integral to this was the identifi cation of a group of staff who could act as teaching and learning champions and who were trained to TEEP level 2 coaching standard.

Our aims

Our aims for the TEEP programme were to:

  • improve outcomes for students through improved teaching and learning
  • build a community of learning where the ideas of all were valued, irrespective of length of service, age or experience
  • establish a shared approach to teaching and learning, using a common language understood by both staff and students
  • have a forward-looking CPD programme that meets the needs of all staff and that could be personalised and tailored to the needs of the individual, the team, the department and the school
  • establish a training team that would be integral to driving forward standards

Our programmes

All of our CPD is based around staff show and tell; we share good practice, learn from errors and embed new learning.

NQT+ is a personalised programme for teachers in their second to sixth years and it has been hugely successful in recognising the continued development needs of teachers beyond the newly qualifified teacher (NQT) year. Fourteen staff took part in its fifi rst year, many of whom had actually been teaching for longer than six years!

Twenty-one staff enrolled voluntarily on the Improving Teacher Programme in this academic year. Designed by us, it takes place in teachers’ own time outside of the normal school day and is designed to move teachers on to become ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, as defifi ned by Ofsted.

Task groups are cross-curricular staff working groups that focus on high-quality teaching and learning in areas such as assessment, thinking skills, reviewing and effective use of ICT. Over time, they have been revised to refl ect staff feedback and now help to fi ne tune our classroom practice in areas such as small group dynamic teaching, language for learning and interactive classroom environments.

Learning in small groups meets the needs of many staff. However, one-to-one coaching allows the small, individual tweaks that can transform aspects of teaching. We have 14 coaches who are matched to work with individuals on aspects of teaching and learning. They can include positive classroom behaviours, higher-order questioning or reviewing student progress, for example. This relationship can last several months or an academic cycle. Layered learning extends the model of sharing good practice to a fi ve-minute slot in a morning briefi ng with students once a week. We wanted to use every opportunity to deliver bite-size activities to engage and motivate students and this has now evolved into student-led briefi ngs, where they explain to staff ideas that they or their teachers have used and that have stimulated their thinking.

We have adjusted our school day to set aside up to one and a half hours a week for teaching and learning development for all staff. This is separate from any other meetings. In this period our task groups meet and departments have dedicated time to focus on teaching and learning.

Impact and outcomes

  • Our last Ofsted graded teaching at 69 per cent ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in February 2012. We said it would be 70 per cent. The strength of our own evaluation of teaching was a major factor in a successful Ofsted.
  • We have moved on again from this point up to 75 per cent and are aiming for 100 per cent of teaching to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
  • Our training is led by a range of staff from those who have taught for 30 years through to those who are in their NQT year. We recognise skills and experience.
  • We learn together as a staff. We know one another. We do not exist solely in individual spaces or in department ‘staffrooms’.
  • Our students are more engaged and motivated in lessons. They use higher-order questioning more routinely and are more able to move their learning forward without dependence on their teacher. Their attainment has significantly improved.

Baverstock was designated the first national Teacher (TEEP) Training School in September 2012 in recognition of our commitment to high-quality teaching and learning, TEEP-based CPD and our wider CPD programmes.

Reflecting our inclusive approach, the training is not confi ned to teaching staff. Our TEEP level 3 national trainers have designed and delivered a specifi c package to cater for the development needs of our teaching assistants, cover supervisors and learning mentors. This programme has now been delivered nationally as part of the £1 million Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) project with TEEP.

We have a track record of improving teaching and are able to design and deliver bespoke inset packages for schools and colleges.

  • Sharon Simpson is deputy head and Louisa Gooch is assistant head at Baverstock School, Birmingham.

Find out more at: www.baverstock.bham.sch.uk
Further information on TEEP from: www.teep.org.uk