So, at the end of my first module, what have I learned? A lot about myself, actually. My blogs often reflect upon events in my classroom or in the school in general, and upon how I respond to or feel about them, but rarely do I have the opportunity to consider my strengths and weaknesses.
When I completed my self-evaluation, I felt that “Delivering Continuous Improvement” was an area for development, due to my relatively new position as a Middle Leader. However, on reflection, I feel I do already do this.
This journey began last year with the trial of my assessment system, where I began to train staff in my own year group. I shared my expectations for improvement with them, and also with the parents. This continued on a bigger scale at the start of this year, as our system was rolled out across the school. My personal drive meant that I wanted the system to work from the outset across the school, which is why I decided to trial it myself, rather than introducing it to staff before I had fully worked out what I was going to do. Since this time a year ago, I have devised action plans for myself and for the SDP which have been regularly updated and amended, changing the system to meet the needs of individual staff. I have taken on board suggestions from others, adapting to ensure that the gains in performance from the staff and the children are immediately obvious. On a bigger scale than last year, I have ensured that parents have been kept informed of the changes through leading part of a curriculum meeting, and have shared my vision and my plans for how to achieve it with the Governing Body.
Already this year, I have challenged my own performance by adapting my planning to better suit the Band Progression Sheets, and am beginning to challenge the performance of others. I will have further opportunity to challenge colleagues as I begin to undertake appraisals, and have scheduled monitoring book looks to ensure all staff are using the Band Progression Sheets correctly.
Perhaps the greatest risk I have taken as part of this project has been to go against what the majority of local schools have been doing with regard to assessment. To gain local insight and support, I formed a support network for schools in the area to get together and devise an assessment system. However, I did not like the way that some of these schools were assessing, and so decided to look further afield. A blog post led me to The White Horse Federation, who allowed me to trial their Band Progression Sheets within my school. While still being true to their format and vision, I have made some minor changes to the way in which we have used them. I still feel that we are very much “out on a limb” locally with our assessment system, as no-one else is using anything like it, but I remain convinced that this risk has definitely paid off. I also feel anxious that there are elements of the system that we have yet to perfect, but I have the drive to dedicate my own time and energy to make changes to further improve performance.