Project Description

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The impact of improved teacher quality on pupil progress

In 2013 the percentage of pupils achieving Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths at Ainslie Wood Primary School was well below the 75% Local Average. At just 43% drastic changes were needed to improve pupil progress. One of these changes was the re-structuring of the Senior Leadership team to separate Teaching and Learning.

“When I joined Ainslie Wood in 2014, 60% of teachers were rated as inadequate and 35% required improvement,” explains Claire Phillips, Deputy Headteacher.
A change of approach was required. A key move in bringing about the change was joining the Whole Education Network where Ainslie Wood were introduced to IRIS Connect.

By July 2014, there had been a dramatic turnaround: 90% of teaching practice was rated as good or better with 5% rated as outstanding. In addition, the percentage of pupils progressing to Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths rose to 78%, just 3% shy of the Local Average. This phenomenal rise from 43% to 78% meant that Ainslie Wood were the third most improved 2-form entry school in the country in 2014.

“We made a lot of effort to make sure that videoing practice was phased in positively. We made it part of our whole school CPD strategy and let people know that it was all about moving them forward as a teacher. We spent time building trust and gave people the option to be videoed and didn’t make any of it compulsory,” describes Claire.

Staff are taking responsibility for its [the school’s] improvement… middle leaders feel empowered to make change… and evaluate the impact of their work by checking that it is helping to improve the quality of teaching, learning and pupil outcomes.’
Ofsted Report, Ainslie Wood Primary School

Project Details




Ainslie Wood Primary School



Doing more with less

“The 2014-2015 budget outlay for CPD at Ainslie Wood was £20,555 and predominantly spent on external courses, that were both expensive and demonstrating little, or no impact beyond the attendee,” explains Claire.

In 2015/16 Ainslie Wood continued to look for ways to be more efficient and ever more effective. Eager to innovate, they agreed to take part in an EEF research project with IRIS Connect. The pilot included IRIS Connect film club; a programme designed to get teachers reflecting upon teaching and learning and engaged in collaborative learning around video.

“There is a danger that teaching can become an isolated activity. Teachers tend to go into their classroom on their own, teach and plan on their own and then reflect in order to make improvements on their own. Feedback can be minimal and hard to gather. We knew we wanted to get teachers talking to each other more and sharing their expertise, and film club was a great opportunity to do this,” describes Claire.

“It’s been a fantastic reflective tool. It’s such a simple idea; getting teachers together to watch clips and then talk about what they see. It’s got our teachers talking about teaching and learning – exchanging ideas and strategies as well as trialling new methods and ways of teaching. It’s made professional learning fun and easy and, as a result, our culture has become more collaborative and open.”

In 2015-2016, as a result of their investment in IRIS Connect and the development of in-house dissemination and collaborative workshops, they were able to cultivate a culture of sharing, reflection and continuous in-house development, while dramatically reducing CPD spend to £10,923.

By July, the rest of the country’s National Average dipped to 53% achieving at Age Related Expectations (ARE). But Ainslie Wood took another rise to 79% achieving at or above ARE in reading, writing and maths combined. Alongside that, 95% of teaching was rated good or better with 30% of which was considered outstanding.

What now and where next?

“We currently sit in the top 1% nationally for the progress our children make. Outstanding is our next goal and IRIS Connect is pivotal in helping us to achieve it,” says Claire.

So far this academic year, teachers at Ainslie Wood have been personalising their professional learning even further by using clips of their own lessons to discuss in film clubs and integrating them into Lesson Study cycles. This is helping to create a sustainable framework for professional learning across the school.

“Film club’s adaptability has meant that we have been able to work it into existing professional learning structures, which for us, are highly personalised,” says Claire.

“This year our focus is to move more teaching to outstanding, so we are really honing in on elements of practice with the identified teachers through our professional development work – which is being driven using IRIS Connect and regular film clubs.”

Equis in Education

Delivering the Development of Outstanding Teaching & Learning

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