Anna Cavanagh, Head of Learning, Qatar International School, shares how becoming engaged with the OLEVI programmes has moved her school, teachers and students forward, and become leaders of teaching and learning in the Qatar region
Why were we drawn to OLEVI?
We first started working with OLEVI four years ago. Our Principal initially established the relationship with OLEVI having previously seen the impact of the OLEVI ethos and programmes, on teaching and learning, at other schools in the UK, particularly at The Earls High.
As a school we wanted to:
- Significantly improve the level of teaching and learning within the school, and to raise standards in line with UK “Ofsted Outstanding” schools. Our plan was to then share, and spread, this improvement to other schools in Qatar.
- Embed a culture of growth through coaching, collaboration and joint practice development (JPD).
Ultimately, we wanted to raise standards of teaching and learning to achieve overall better outcomes, and learning experiences, for our students.
How did the OLEVI programmes help to achieve your goal?
- The Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) was introduced specifically to drive change within the school from our best teachers, in order to improve results. We wanted them – as leaders of learning – to share their good practice throughout the school to maximise impact.
- We are the first school in Qatar to provide facilitation of the OTP. This year we have facilitated our first two external programmes to other schools in the region, including six local schools in Doha. This has enabled a more collaborative approach to teaching and learning across Qatar, which is something that hasn’t been done before in the country.
- Through using the language of DR ICE delegates have been encouraging students to understand the learning models and processes needed to achieve.
- We have created a network (referred to as the ‘OLEVI Alumni’) through which we have been able to continue to share ideas, meet informally and create coaching partnerships across schools after the programmes have been completed. This has been recognised by the British Schools in the Middle East (BSME), who asked our Principal to present on the initiatives at a conference recently.
- OLEVI Alumni members have organised further collaborative opportunities within Qatar (outside of the programmes), such as cross-school coaching. In addition, they have also had input into our new CPD/Appraisal process. Every member of staff now participates in joint practice development. Our OTP Alumni, as trio leaders, facilitate team planning, observation and feedback for the next year.
“OLEVI pushed boundaries in terms of how we were challenged to think about our own methods and practices, which was very engaging, and allowed us to truly reflect on the effectiveness of our teaching. Working with other teachers within Trios was a fantastic way to experiment with new ideas discussed on the programme. It also provided us with the time to observe and develop ways to embed DR ICE which, as a teacher, is an invaluable opportunity.”
Deputy Head of English, OTP delegate.
And the proven impact?
“The school has been accredited: BSME status (British Schools in the Middle East), BSO status (British Schools Overseas, OFSTED Equivalent), QNSA status (Qatar National Schools Accreditation).
Incredible staff retention
“This has improved, from 30% leaving in 2016 down to only 7% last year 2017, which is significant in a transient international market.”
Improvements in classroom practice
“Teachers who actively engage in the programmes have seen significant improvements in their practice, as seen in our end of year staff survey which stated 90% of delegates agreed the programmes had a “significant impact on their teaching practice.”
In our most recent student survey 98% of students believe they are taught well.”
“There has been a proven increase in teacher’s career progression since we began working with OLEVI, 40 out of 50 delegates went on to promoted positions in the school within 3 years. This ranges from achieving Qualified Teacher Status, gaining a range of Teacher Leadership Roles positions (including middle and senior leader positions), right through to a promotion to Head Teacher of School.”
“The OTP provided a platform to discuss what outstanding practice looks like, both within and outside the classroom, through reflecting on what we do as practitioners. There was an abundance of opportunities to identify and share elements of DR ICE through lesson observations, planning and reflection in our collaborative 3s (Trios) to employ newly learned strategies. The coaching sessions were, in my opinion, the most challenging. Role-modelled by the programme facilitators throughout the entire programme, it provided us with the skills to implement this in our teaching and leading practises. All of the above was achieved through an array of practice activities, all of which are transferable to a classroom and department setting.”
Head of Science, OTP delegate
Please click to download PDF of the Qatar International School’s improvement journey