In this post I outline plans for all our staff to engage in some action based research next year as part of our Teaching and Learning Hubs. Dylan Wiliam has long advocated Teaching and Learning communities and Teacher led CPD as a more effective way of furthering staff professional development. Personally I am no stranger to working in this way, I introduced a similar concept in my previous school which you can read about in an earlier post, Leading a learning community from the middle. I have also been influenced and inspired by several Bloggers on Twitter regarding staff pedagogy groups, Tom Sherrington @headguruteacher, Kev Bartle @kevbartle, Stephen Tierney @leadinglearner, David Weston @informed_edu, Shaun Allison @shaun_allison and Debbie & Mel @TeacherTweaks to name but a few.

Below is how we are going to structure our T&L community at SRS 2013-2014. At the bottom you will find several links to Blog posts that act as a useful starting point for research.


A message to staff

Teaching and Learning Hub Meetings 2013-2014
There are 5 calendared Teaching and Learning meetings this academic year. These involve all staff, grouped into hubs, cross curricular and cross phase who meet regarding a specific area of pedagogy for an entire academic year. The idea behind this is that CPD is more valuable if concentrated on one area of specific practice that is revisited over a longer period of time. There is also the opportunity for staff to engage in action based research with their colleagues at SRS and also across partnership schools.

This work will be disseminated through department meetings and spotlight briefing sessions throughout the year and will culminate in a celebration/ show and tell of what has been learned/achieved during the final meeting.

The Hub meetings are led by our ‘Leaders of Learning’ (LoLs). There should be representation from every Dept/Year group as LoLs, if you are interested in becoming a Leader of Learning or finding out more about this role then see Rachael Edgar, the T&L Leader.

After Hub meetings, the two weeks that follow are WOW weeks (watching others work), during this time peer observations and coaching sessions take place.

Hub Meeting One Monday 16th September 3.15pm-4.15pm WOW wk 22/9- 3/10
Hub Meeting Two Monday 11th November 3.15pm-4.15pm WOW wk 17/11- 28/11
Hub Meeting Three Monday 10th February 3.15pm-4.15pm WOW wk 16/2- 27/2
Hub Meeting Four Monday 21st April 3.15pm-4.15pm WOW wk 27/4- 8/5
Hub Meeting Five Monday 26th May 3.15pm-4.15pm WOW wk 1/5- 12/5

5 Areas of focus for Hubs:
1. Digital Leaders: A school for the 21st century in our new surroundings, we must embrace the new technology that enhances T&L. QR codes, Aurasma, Infographics, Class Blogging etc participants in this group would be trialling these with their classes.
Some schools have “BYOD” ‘Bring your own device’ days, they also have policies and protocols for such events so this is something this group could also look at. Also we are currently investigating using students as ‘Digital Leaders’, we have a just formed a link with a UK school on this project and are looking at making others with interested schools in Dubai.

  1. Literacy Leaders: An area of focus for all teachers regardless of subject specialism. I know Louise, our curriculum leader for English is working on a whole school Literacy policy and for this group, the focus would be the promotion of literacy across all subjects/ year groups and how we best achieve this. Literacy through Maths, through Science etc. Also this group should focus on developing our student’s oracy skills.

  2. Enquiry based Leaders: The school promotes itself as one which fosters enquiry based learning. So this group will focus on strategies developing our students as independent learners.

  3. S&C Leaders: A focus on ‘stretch and challenge’ for all, not just the more able. Though some within these groups may like to take on the G&T specifically as an area of focus. How we identify them? Where it is recorded on a subject specific basis? What provision is available for them? Also the promotion of Higher Order Thinking and critical thinking skills, there will be an Inset on ‘SOLO’ Taxonony during week 2 of the induction programme, so this group will build on this work.

  4. Community Leaders: This group will focus on student leadership and developing student autonomy within the school community, eg students controlling peer mentoring groups, setting up anti bullying committees, students identifying prefects etc. Also looking at student led learning within a classroom setting.A JLT?(Junior Leadership Team?)

There is an element of choice regarding which Hub you join as you will clearly get more out of it if working within an area you have a keen interest. You will be asked to fill out a proforma during induction week stating your order of preference for which Hub you go into.
Teams should complete these together so Middle Leaders can ensure there is an even spread, as there should be representation of all teams across all 5 Hubs.

Aviary Photo_130202593078293075

The Lesson Study Process- Structure for Hub group action research

1. Analyse your data and identify your focus
Use data from day to day assessment to agree a focus for pupils’ learning and progress.
 The research focus will always look something like: ‘We want to learn how to improve the way we teach…..X.. to Y.’

2. Identify your lesson study group
 Two or three people buddied up from within your Hub group.

  1. Connect with, and draw on, what is already known about your focus before you start work Carry out a review of relevant research (including previous lesson studies), to identify a tried and tested teaching technique to develop or improve the agreed area of focus.

  2. Identify 3 case pupils (or multiples of 3)
    Identify 3 case pupils. Each should typify a group of learners in the class – for example, high, middle and low attaining in the strand being taught and developed.

  3. Jointly plan a research lesson based on the needs of the case pupils
     Jointly plan a ‘study lesson’ which uses, develops and closely studies the effects of the identified technique – while keeping in mind the case study pupils.

  4. Teach and observe the study lesson
    Focus on the case pupils’ learning and progress.
     Think about and agree key points you want to gather data on. Record this.
     Think about and plan who will be doing what and when.
     What questions do you plan to ask?

  5. Interview the case pupils
    Gather the insights of the case pupils into the study lesson.

  6. Hold a post lesson discussion
     Hold this discussion as soon as possible after the study lesson.
     Discuss how the case study pupils responded to the techniques, what progress they made and what can be learned about the application of the technique.
     What each person feels they have learned.

  7. Find ways of helping others to learn from your Lesson Study
    By planning to share learning with others, you are ensuring the learning doesn’t just stay with you.
     People have found that by presenting their learning to others, they further their own learning and deepen their understanding of what they have learned.
     You can present your findings in a number of ways, a presentation, writing a case study which can be disseminated on the T&L Blog, spotlight briefings.

Useful Blog posts as starting points for research


Lesson study-Research in schools

CPD, research and getting the basics right (via Tom Sherrington)

Collaboration and pedagogic literacy (via HE reflections)

Micro research in a macro world (via Mary Myatt)

Mindset and cognitive biases (via John Smith)

Lesson study so far.. (via Meol cop high school)

How schools can learn from evidence based research (via The Guardian)

Getting started with lesson study (via Rachael Stevens)

Building a research led school (via Teaching Leaders)

Lesson study booklet (via Mr Pete Dudley)

Getting started with lesson study (via Ed-u-like)

A classroom basis for accountability and growth- the example of lesson study (via Phil Wood)

Lesson study: 3 heads are better than 1 (Via Stephen Tierney)

Cultivating a research engaged learning community (via Tom Sherrington)

Sandringham Learning journal (via Sandringham school)

The problem with research evidence in education (via Alex Quigley)

This much I know about..finding out what really works when it comes to educational research in schools (via John Tomsett)

Research in schools article (via TES)

Summer lesson study (via Meols Cop high school)

Learning innovators (via Shaun Allison)

Bridging the gap between academic research and classroom practice (via SLTeachmeet)

Eat, sleep, research, repeat (via Rachel Jones)

Developing a research idea? Food for thought (via Carol Webb)

Creating a research engaged school (via United Learning)


 Digital Leaders

Dabbling in Digital Learning (via Sarah Findlater)
Getting IT right (via Mark Anderson)
5 top augumented reality apps for education (via Primary Ed)
AR used to enhance learning not as a gimmick (via Dan Edwards)
How to make use of QR codes (via Mark Anderson)
How to design a beautiful Ipad lesson (via Mark Anderson)
Exploring the use of QR codes in education (via Jon Tait)
Blooms Taxonomy for IPADs

Literacy Leaders
A whole school approach to literacy (via Chris Hildrew)
Developing oracy skills (via Shaun Allison)
David Didau’s Literacy Archive (via David Didau)
Connections between English and Maths (via Kris Boulton)
Literacy Toolkit (via TESPrimary)
Improving literacy in secondary schools (via Ofsted)
Developing Literacy through Maths (via Shaun Allison)

Enquiry based Leaders
The challenges and realities of enquiry based learning
Mantle of the expert (via Professor Dorothey Heathcote)
Independence v independent learning (via David Didau)
Promoting independence (via Newlands T&L)
Great teaching happens in cycles (via David Didau)
Stage 1: Explaining (via David Didau)
Stage 2: Model (via David Didau)
Stage 3: Scaffold (via David Didau)
Stage 4: Practice (via David Didau)
20 ways to promote independence (via good to
Developing independent learners: The 7 monkeys (via Shaun Allison)
Independence strategies/ ideas (via Amjad Ali)

Stretch & Challenge Leaders
So what does gifted mean anyway? (via David Didau)
Deliberately difficult focussing on learning rather than progress (via David Didau)
What’s deep learning and how do you do it? (via David Didau)
Gifted and Talented Provision A total philosophy (via Tom Sherrington)
Great Lessons 3: Challenge (via Tom Sherrington)

Community Leaders
Top ways to reduce Teacher Talk (via Ross McGill)
Letting students lead the learning (via Sarah Findlater)
Student led CPD (via Shaun Allison)
Students as ‘Leaders of talk’ Talk Toolkit (via Newlands T&L)
Student leadership materials from TMLondon (via Rachael Edgar)

Reading about Teacher Learning Communities
Leading edge and learning lessons (via Tom Sherrington)
How to narrow the gap using focused CPD (via David Weston)
Outstanding Learning Development group (via Shaun Allison)
The Pedagogy Leaders Project (via Kev Bartle)
Action research ideas (via Shaun Allison)
How do you develop a strong learning culture amongst staff Part One
(via Teacher Tweaks)
How do you develop a strong learning culture amongst staff Part Two
(via Teacher Tweaks
How do you develop a strong learning culture amongst staff Part Three
(via Teacher Tweaks)
The KEGS CPD market place (via Tom Sherrington)
School level models of CPD: A changing landscape (via S Michael)

Teacher led CPD (via Jo Fairclough)

Best CPD ever (via Stephen Tierney)

Transformational professional development (via Meols cop high school)

Toolkit for Professional Development (via AITSL)

The best CPD I’ve ever had (via Rachael Stevens)

How do we evaluate the impact of CPD (via Churchill Community College)

Berkhamsted school CPD Review (via Nick Dennis)

Rachael Edgar