Paul Day, Leading Practitioner for Teacher Development, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, reflects on the value and impact the OTP PLUS programme has on driving forward a self-sustaining growth culture.
To further ‘grow the top’ and develop a growth culture of excellence in our school, and the schools we work with, there needed to be a focus on self-sustained growth within ever cost-conscious times. The OTP PLUS has been an essential step in the development of our very best staff, as well as spreading the impact they can have on the development of others. The programme has given us the vehicle to appropriately equip our staff with the knowledge and skills that will feed this self-sustained development through the explicit focus on each part of the Teaching & Learning, Leadership and Coaching (TLC) model throughout the programme.
Initial conversations around the ‘upwards convergence’ graph allowed us, as a school, to accurately identify who our top-line teachers were, and to then strategise who was in the best position to really grow their practice and maximise impact for other staff and the whole school. The framework and content of the OTP PLUS has allowed us to explore highly nuanced aspects of teaching and learning that have a huge impact on how all people learn. To this extent, having the right people in the room has been essential, and this careful consideration as to who would be part of the programme has had a huge impact on the success of the overall learning for our delegates.
Expanding Coaching Skills
The impact on the delegates of the OTP PLUS programme has been to expand their coaching skills so that they can then lead these highly impactful areas back in their schools. This explicit leadership focus has allowed our delegates to grow in all areas of the TLC model, even more so than the OTP. Indeed, by involving the delegates in the selection of their own ‘learning threes’ based on the ‘upwards convergence’ model, this aspect of leadership is present from the start and is a common theme throughout the programme.
The OTP PLUS itself is highly conceptual, including aspects of metacognition and mastery. But usable and readily applicable models allow all delegates to grow their understanding about how these complex areas of teaching and learning can be readily applied to their own teaching, and then shared with others to maximise the impact of this learning.
The explicit understanding that the learning the delegates are exposed to, and are generating, will be shared and developed by other staff, ensures that they go through highly complex thought processes. This ensures that the concepts discussed and developed can be explained simplistically to others. This then empowers everyone in the learning three to apply the learning to their own contexts, irrespective of phase, subject or experience.
Empowering Highly Skilled Teachers
The impact so far has been to empower these highly skilled teachers even further, arming them with advanced conceptual knowledge to drive their own practice even further forwards. Over the longer term, we will be looking at the impact the OTP PLUS delegates are having on other colleagues and how they have made their development accessible to others to support a growth culture. A key focus moving forwards will be the shift in default positions – what have all involved sought to protect, grow and achieve that they weren’t aware of before?
Moreover, we will also be looking for our delegates to have a say on the direction of the teaching and learning policy and what they can contribute to the whole organisation to ensure that we all keep moving forwards.
Here are a few comments from delegates:
“The OTP PLUS programme has provided me with a real focus on how to help me lead all staff in moving forwards.”
“The programme had excellent content and excellent group discussions which have allowed me to improve my processes in teaching, leadership and coaching.”
“The order of the sessions allowed me to link my ideas. Also, refreshing coaching and then applying it to new concepts has helped me hugely within my coaching skills.”
“The themes of the sessions within the OTP PLUS are relevant to schools now and will have a great impact on the direction of schools in the future.”