Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning
The last year has been both unusual and challenging due to the Covid 19 crisis. In the autumn term of 2020 we both worked to support Head Teachers and governors in schools with the annual performance management appraisal process but, for the first time ever, this had to be completed remotely, using ICT.
Covid 19 impacted upon the targets we set. Curriculum development and deepening teachers’ understanding of pedagogy were both areas of focus in 2019-20. In most cases these areas have continued to be a focus for 2020-21. With the emphasis in the current Ofsted framework on subject leaders, (who are generally middle leaders), and the need to understand the learning process, this work needs to continue so that subject leaders all feel confident and able to articulate the strengths and areas of development of their subject. They also need to be able to describe how they monitor their subjects. “How do you know you know?” is a regularly occurring question. Head Teachers and senior leaders have an important role to play in mentoring and coaching subject leaders and class teachers so that they are able to monitor their area of responsibility. Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning and then responding to what we find, is the principal way in which we improve our schools.
It is crystal clear, that if monitoring the quality of teaching and learning is to be effective, that it must be consistent, transparent and robust, regardless of who is doing it. Are all schools confident that their systems and resources support teachers to improve their classroom practice and their teaching skills? Does the school’s monitoring system ensure that all dimensions of the quality of teaching are considered? Are judgements of the quality of teaching made over time or on the basis of minimal evidence?
Our Teaching Over Time Evaluation Matrix (TOTEM) provides absolute clarity. With the five dimensions of effective teaching identified, (including subject leadership), Head Teachers can be confident that their judgements are consistent and meaningful, leading to the further development of teaching skills in all teachers. TOTEM’s framework is entirely based upon the current Ofsted inspection framework and the Teacher Standards and makes the monitoring of the quality of teaching and learning really straight-forward.
By considering the five dimensions of classroom provision; accountability; pupil’s work and pupil voice; pupil outcomes and subject leadership, a rounded picture of the quality of education provided is created.
The Head Teacher is able to quickly access records at the individual teacher, identified group of teachers e.g. EYFS, KS1 KS2; Middle Leaders etc or whole school level. The resource allows the Head Teacher to look at the quality in an individual element, for example, the quality of questioning skills or the quality of feedback given across the school.
The ease of use of the resource enables the Head Teacher to create a simple overview from the monitoring of the quality of teaching and learning at any point in the school year. This could be to present to governors; to include within self-evaluation or to support an individual teacher’s performance management.
Our aim, in everything we do, is to develop simple yet effective systems and resources that help and support school leaders. Resources that save time and provide consistency and clarity are required in our busy schools. With our background of having been Head Teachers of seven schools over a period of 20 years, we know what is needed and monitoring the quality of teaching and learning is one of the most important systems that schools need. If you think that TOTEM could help you with the challenges of your school leadership, then please contact us.