Nick Gibb has said that the highest performing academy chains have a clear vision and a distinct model of teaching. Defining such a vision depends on the schools and their context as well as the ethos of the academy chain and once schools are working together, their strengths and areas for development need to be understood so that collaboration can be as effective as possible. The government’s report, Reducing Teacher Workload: Planning and Resources, highlights that collaborating over planning is a key way to share best practice and develop teachers’ skills and knowledge.
In its Blueprint for a Self-Improving System, ASCL highlights the need to build trust and create conditions for teachers to work together. Creating such conditions involves removing the barriers to collaboration. Defining and allocating blocks of time for planning, such as grouping PPA together, is one way to do this and timetabling these across schools supports them to work together, even if it is virtually.
John Hattie found the most successful way to engage teachers in collaboration is for small groups to meet every two or three weeks and to examine student data, set incremental goals, engage in discussion about goals and improving teaching with each other and create a plan to monitor teaching and learning. He highlights that it is important for teachers to look at evidence of their impact on pupils and to critique each other’s impact to better meet the needs of pupils.
With time and teacher workload dominating all schools, collaborative planning is easier said than done. Lumici Slate has been developed to solve this problem with teachers sharing the burden of developing schemes of work by allocating responsibility to the most appropriate colleague, wherever they are based. Once the lessons are developed, teachers can adapt them to meet the specific needs of their own classes and monitor pupil understanding through real-time analytics. Middle leaders can monitor progress and understanding and support teachers where necessary, even across schools.
We have made Lumici Slate easy to use so there is no need for staff training. We provide everything teachers need to plan and share their lessons such as lesson templates and resources or they can add their own.
ASCL. (2015) Blueprint for a Self-Improving System.
Hattie, J. (2008) Visible Learning. Routledge