Another academic year draws to a close and we have been evaluating the impact of our professional learning options 2016-17.

53 staff have been involved in our ‘Book club’ initiative this year, reading educational literature and then meeting regularly to discuss how the findings can be applied to our context and help support the improvement of learning at our school.

Books covered 2016-17:

Black Box Thinking- Matthew Syed

The Slightly Awesome Teacher- Dominic Salles

Visible Learning into Action- John Hattie

High Performance Learning- Deborah Eyre

Making every lesson count- Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers- Michaela School

Cleverlands- Lucy Crehan


Below are some of the questions and responses from a recent evaluation survey we completed with the book group participants:

Can you give an example of how something you have read has impacted positively on your practice?

“The idea about purposeful practise (deliberate spelling) and individual drill from the Michaela School Model. Moreover, I have seen the impact of increased attainment from students whilst focusing on this.”

“I used ‘Teach like a champion’ to try and use the same language when giving instructions and build better routines, which was reinforced by ‘Battle of the Tiger Teachers’.”

“Black Box Thinking pushed me to ask the students for feedback on the effectiveness of lessons and how they could be improved.”

“Live marking – going around during the lesson and marking students’ work there and then. Feedback is higher quality because it’s verbal and has a higher impact because it’s instant.”

Overall what would you regard as the strengths of reading about teaching and leadership?

“It can be done at an individual pace, time etc outside of PD – exposes you to the ideas of other without a bias as the source is usually neutral.”

“Being able to look at research and good practice, and translate this into classroom practice through discussion with colleagues in the group.”

“Getting together with other departments to share experiences and learn different ways to approach lessons. It is a good opportunity to self evaluate and then allow peers to give you developmental ideas but in a very informal way so the pressure is taken away.”

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!”

How could we improve book club?

“More frequency”

“As a department choose a book to meet around to really achieve a common goal.”

“This is my first year of participating in book club, shouldn’t every teacher/leader at DESC be doing this? Perhaps choose one book for all at the start of the year, get people on the same page?”

“Perhaps create a form for teachers to fill in so they can record the impact of three strategies that they try from the book.”


Rate the book group initiative for impact and usefulness. 1= Useless 5= V.useful

Average rating: 4.7

Would you participate in a staff book group again in the future?

100% of respondents said YES



Reading groups 2016, It’s a wrap!