A journey towards excellence
Hayes School Principal, Kieran Osborne and Director of Teaching and Learning, Paul Foster, say how their focus on outstanding teaching started their school on a journey towards excellence
What drew you to the OTP?
To put it in context, it was at a time when classroom practice was becoming too focused on a tick box approach towards what a good lesson should be. This lead to teaching being geared to a system where as long as the boxes got ticked you were doing a good job, as opposed to whether or not engaged learning was taking place. We wanted to nail outstanding teaching and learning but passionately agreed that teaching was not about ticking boxes – it was about getting people to really think about what is outstanding teaching and be accountable for it.
We decided that, as a school, we were going to invest time and create the opportunity to reflect on this in a structured and facilitated way. The OTP was a massive part of that and provided the framework to look at what makes outstanding teaching in a collaborative non-judgemental way. The programme aligned with our own vision to be both outstanding in teaching and also develop an ethos where teaching and learning is a life long process.
What has adopting the programme meant for your school?
Following the introduction of the OTP the school received an ‘Outstanding’ grade for Teaching and Learning. We believe this was a direct result of the OTP – all the teachers graded ‘Outstanding’ had attended the programme.
We saw the value of the concept of facilitation used throughout the programme. We wanted this to become part of our school discussions around Teaching and Learning and influence the way department heads lead their departments and their meetings. Therefore, we deliberately targeted our middle leaders on the second and third cohort of delegates to attend OTP as part of their professional development.
This has influenced leaders at every level and contributed to our approach to leadership. Meetings between colleagues, line management and performance management have been influenced a great deal by what we have learnt about coaching and by really well facilitated, focused discussions around Teaching and Learning. The cultural impact can been seen through the readiness of our staff to embrace lesson study. The trios aspect of the OTP – to get together and collaboratively plan lessons and give feedback – has meant that staff are prepared to engage in lesson observations, working together to evaluate the impact of their lessons on student learning. Staff see this as part of everyday practice and development and created an open door policy where everyone feels engaged and empowered.
So, what’s for the future?
We now have a large proportion of staff who have attended the OTP and we are starting to explore ways in which we can use the coaching – to be coached and how to coach others – in the context of how they can develop themselves to become better teachers. We would like to grow the coaching ethos so it becomes as institutional to us as the ITP and OTP and becomes part and parcel of the way we work. n
The team at OLEVI would like to congratulate Mr Osborne, his staff and students on their school being awarded Teaching School status. Hayes is an ‘Outstanding’ school that works hard for its students, the school community and other schools through its school-to-school work. We are proud to have played a part in the schools successful and rewarding journey.
“We believe our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grade for Teaching and Learning was a direct result of staff attending the OTP. All teachers graded ‘Outstanding’ had been on the programme.”