Angela Jenkins, Teaching School Leader at the Primary Excellence Teaching School, tells OLEVI how the Improving Teacher Programme (ITP) is used to provide NQTs, ITT staff and established teaching staff with outstanding professional development.
The Primary Excellence Teaching School, led by the First Federation Trust, is an alliance of aspirational primary schools and academies across Devon. We believe that every child has the right to be taught by an excellent teacher in an excellent school that nurtures, challenges and supports their potential. When we became a teaching school, we wanted to provide a set of programmes that would fit in with our belief that everyone is a ‘lifelong learner’, and that would support us in continuing to develop excellent, reflective practitioners.
We initially considered the OLEVI programmes as we believed they would enable our early career teachers and more experienced teachers to really reflect on their practice, to audit their own needs and to benefit from the expertise of others. The facilitation training and the flexibility of the programmes enabled us to dovetail the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) and the Improving Teacher Programme (ITP) into the needs of our trust and, also, meet the needs of schools that we were working with.
Quality CPD – an entitlement for all our staff
The Primary Excellence Teaching School has been a licensed OLEVI Facilitation School since February 2014. We currently facilitate the OTP, ITP, Outstanding Leadership in Education (OLE) and Outstanding Teaching Assistant Programme (OTAP) to both internal and external delegates. The quality CPD these programmes provide is an entitlement for all our staff and we have firmly embedded them within the trust’s professional development routes.
From the very beginning we appreciated how the ITP could be used to deliver outstanding training to our staff in their second year of teaching, continuing and building on from their ITT and NQT years. Through the ITP, early career teachers are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in discussion and reflection activities around core teaching and learning strategies, working and networking with other like-minded professionals. We encourage an open, confident culture where teachers are enabled to share their practice, develop ideas and succeed within a supportive network.
Since 2014, thirty-three teachers from the First Federation Trust, all in their second year of teaching, have participated in the ITP, as well as another twenty-three NQT+1s from across Devon. As a Trust, we recognise and value how the programme is integral to developing excellent classroom practice. We have made a commitment to all our NQT+1 teachers, ensuring that having a place on the Improving Teacher Programme is an entitlement.
As a result of being on the ITP, early career teachers report that they have become much better at self-reflection with more purpose and effectiveness when critically assessing their own teaching. They recognise how the ITP has given them more confidence in their teaching ability as well as the assurance to challenge their own practice in order to refine and improve it.
Nearly 50% of teachers who have attended the ITP in their NQT+1 year have taken up leadership roles across the First Federation Trust within two years. The roles are varied and include becoming unit leaders, specialist leaders of education, leads for research projects and OTAP facilitators, as well as moving into our sponsored schools to improve practice as role-models.
Another benefit of the ITP for many of our staff is the consistent language which is being used within schools across the trust. With many of our teachers trained as facilitators, or having attended the ITP, OTP or OTAP, there is a common language being used – DR ICE. Teachers often use DR ICE to reflect on the teaching and learning which takes place in their classrooms. Leaders will refer to DR ICE when identifying areas of strength, areas for improvement and areas for change. Teaching Assistants have quoted that “they now understand why teachers do what they do…” The children are encouraged to use higher-order thinking skills to reason their ideas and articulate their learning; there is a more purposeful discussion between children in class.
Which aspects of the Improving Teacher Programme have had the most impact on your professional development as a teacher since you attended the programme? Can you give an example?
In-depth teaching and learning Reviews take place annually for each of the First Federation Trust schools. These reviews have highlighted the profound impact of the OLEVI programmes on the quality of teaching and learning across all our schools, resulting from the accelerated professional development of our teachers right from an early stage in their careers.
Three of the federation schools were inspected by Ofsted during the last academic year, two being judged good and one being judged outstanding. Each of these schools had a young teaching team whose quality was recognised by the inspectors:
As a teaching school and multi-academy trust, we remain committed to the OLEVI programmes being an integral part of our continuing professional development for all teachers.