Teachers As Learners
The staff at St Mary’s see themselves as learners, alongside the children. They are constantly looking at how to reflect upon, refine and improve their practice. This takes many forms.
Bespoke CPD training within our school
Our teachers meet every week and focus on specific areas of practice which are linked to our School Development Plan. Our support staff are also involved in this CPD training. To date we have worked on:
- Teach like a Champion’ techniques for improved classroom management and further pupil engagement
- Blooms and how to effective use these levels to write learning objectives, develop tasks and when questioning pupils in lessons
- Solo Taxonomy
- Behaviour for Learning
- Talk for Writing – Pie Corbett
- Effective Marking and feedback
- Phonics (Read Write Inc)
Staff training with outside agencies
We strongly believe in collaborative partnerships with other schools and professionals; and share our expertise with others and in return, receive advice and guidance.
We have a very close link with our Deanery Catholic schools in Hammersmith and Fulham. We lead and participate in sessions on a regular basis that work to improve teaching and learning in our schools.
Our senior leaders read a variety of books on school leadership and teaching and learning, keeping abreast of current developments in education and best practice. Our teachers and teaching assistants are also engaged in deepening their pedagogical knowledge and understanding of how children learn best. Professional readings are part of our staff INSET sessions and these help staff to link the theory with strong practice.
On our bookshelf you will find:
- Head Strong
- The Expert Learner
- Teaching Backwards – Outstanding teaching
- Engaging learners – Outstanding teaching
- Perfect Assessment for Learning
- Grammar for Grown Ups
- Visible learning for Teachers
- Growth Mindset Lessons
- Outstanding Formative Assessment
- Teach Like a Champion
- Talk for Teaching
- The Write Stuff
- Book Talk
- Back on Track
- Closing the Vocabulary Gap
- Eye Can Write
- Why Don’t Students Like School
- High Challenge, Low Threat
- Dynamically Different Classrooms
The St Mary’s staff with Doug Lemov
Staff accredited training
Several staff members are currently studying towards an accreditation or qualification.
Miss Maher: National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL)
Miss Black: National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders (NPQSL)
Miss Friel: National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders (NPQSL)
We are fortunate that Miss Maher and Mrs Maguire are Inspectors for the Diocese of Westminster. This means that each term, they inspect other Catholic schools – grading them on the quality of the religious education, alongside how the school promotes our Catholic way of living.
Both staff members bring back ideas and learning from these inspections to St Mary’s.
We also work closely with Dr Margaret Carswell who provides us with the resources we use to teach Religious Education. Twice a year she visits us from Australia; teaching lessons throughout the school and working with teachers to improve their subject knowledge in relation to theology.
Our staff and children gain so much from these regular visits and over time we have seen a real development of our children’s religious literacy alongside their ability to make connections.
Our Governors are also constantly learning and they attend training sessions that cover a wide variety of topics. These are run by either the Local Authority or the Diocese of Westminster. They attend training sessions throughout the year. These have included:
- A session on the roles and responsibilities of the Governing Body, led by Mary Ryan from the Diocese of Westminster
- Safeguarding training led by Hilary Shaw, the head of Safeguarding for the Tri-borough
- Data training focussing on the Inspection Dashboard, led by Andy Phillips – a lead Ofsted Inspector
- Ofsted for governors led by a Local Authority representative
- Governor Conference led by the Diocese of Westminster
Here are some links that will give you a flavour of what our staff have been learning and discussing (click each image to view video):
Talk for Teaching
Our staff are excited to be using ideas from ‘Talk for Teaching’ written by Paul Garvey to help improve teaching and learning. Launched over four years ago, Talk for Teaching is an integral part of our school now as we have developed an ‘open door’ culture where we learn from each other. It also provides a platform to seek and give advice during teaching rather than after.
Teachers being observed are called ‘Sparks’ and teachers observing are called ‘Sponges’. The sparks and sponges interact in a non-judgemental way focusing on the children’s learning rather than the teacher. Our staff have willingly been observed by their colleagues in subjects such as phonics, RE, writing and maths. It also positively impacts on our children, as they see their teachers learning from one another.
We have also worked with neighbouring schools to develop this form of professional learning from each another with them and this has been a real success.
As a school, we have spent time developing a shared understanding of what learning is. We are using the model of Bloom’s Taxonomy to deepen our understanding of what learning is and how the human brain processes new information.
This is helping our staff to understand more about the levels of thinking. Some are lower level where we can recall, identify and state (to know); some require the human mind to explain, describe or summarise (to understand); and gradually the level of thinking gets deeper and more complicated (to apply to real life situations, to analyse and interpret, to evaluate and hypothesise).
We want our children to have many opportunities daily, to be exposed to challenging and exciting activities and lessons that focus on this higher order thinking in order to develop our brains.
Staff are working on particular verbs to assist them with questioning and planning interesting tasks.
We are sharing this Learning model with the children and in turn parents, so that we all have a shared understanding of what learning is; realising what we can all achieve with the help of Bloom’s Taxonomy!
The image below explains Bloom’s Taxonomy:
The sentence starters below show the different levels of thinking that are required: