The following is a summary of everything that we are hoping to achieve for our children by using the Teacher Development Schedule in Christ the Sower. I would be interested in comments. It has been successful to date, and in the recent assessment of teaching and learning, it is clear that teachers are aware of and committed to learning in depth areas that they have identified for themselves.

Teacher development & autonomy at Christ the Sower: 2015-16

This is our aspiration for teacher development and autonomy going forward. We are aware that this will require a large change of mindset and culture which will take time to achieve fully.

Links to school vision: all staff will be able to fully explore who they are created to be with the high expectation that we individually and collectively bear fruit beyond our wildest dreams. Our aim is to love, learn and grow together as a staff.

Teachers’ autonomy

means that teachers will have freedom to choose what to improve and how to do it, tailored to the needs of themselves and their children. We hope teachers will fully understand and embrace this freedom and feel their work is valued as a ‘unique treasure’. Teacher development will be focused (deliberately practising new things) and supported by colleagues in school. Teachers will easily be able to say what it is they are working on for improvement and the impact it is having on their children. They will drive, and take responsibility for, improvements in teaching and learning. If they are struggling, teachers will know which tools are available to help them and will be willing to use them.


We hope teachers will be comfortable welcoming other teachers into their classes and confident enough to know they have good practice to share. We hope there will be a real desire to support others to improve as much as to improve themselves (not a competition for favour). There will be ongoing discussions about teaching and learning between staff, pupils and staff and staff and parents. Teachers will collaborate with local schools to develop particular areas and share success. There will be a more collaborative approach to audits and monitoring – teachers involved in summarising strengths and identifying next steps – discussions of observations rather than judgements given. This needs strong relational trust.

Professional Learning

Teachers will create a personalised programme which is tailored to the needs of individual teachers with their cohort of pupils in mind. Staff will have the freedom to choose more of their development tasks, including how they use some staff meetings, and celebrate their successes; a more invitational approach. CPD tools can include coaching, peer support, invited observations, mentoring, use of film, lesson study, research, sharing good practice with other staff/schools, courses.

The Role of Leadership

Leaders will support, encourage and empower teachers in whatever they want to grow in. The leadership team (LT) aim regularly to reinforce and celebrate the individual and collective strengths of the staff. Teachers will keep notes on their developments and share them with LT members to note strengths and foci for short term development. Staff will not be told how to achieve the improvements they seek unless advice is sought or standards of attainment, progress or pupil conduct slip. The LT will retain responsibility for monitoring and moderation of standards but this will be more in collaboration with teachers to support their area of work and provide evidence of success in it rather than a purely judgmental process whenever possible. Headteacher and the Leadership Team are all accountable for standards/improvements in teaching and learning but the staff are responsible to the Leadership Team for the growth in their craftsmanship.


will seek to celebrate the ‘fruits’ of the work and make a judgement over the

year on the quality of teaching and learning. Teacher’s anecdotal evidence, notes and anything shared from coaching or use of film will be used in the process. Analysis of data and outcomes from discussions during monitoring activities, planning and quality of feedback may also be taken into account.


will occur formally once a year to inform school self evaluation and staff appraisal. NQTs will also be observed formally more frequently according to the requirements of their NQT programme. Members of staff who are new to the school will also be observed more frequently initially. Observations can be requested by teachers at any stage of their development programme.

Staff have agreed that observations should… (in order of priority)

  • Support a culture of continuous improvement
  • Include a detailed feedback opportunity
  • Be supportive and developmental
  • Focus on the progress and achievement of learners
  • Allow teachers the space to develop autonomy
  • Be in line with school policies
  • Lead to the identification and celebration of practice which impacts learning
  • Contribute towards providing the school with an overview of teaching and learning
  • Check that the ethos of the school is being promoted

Feedback will be in the form of a discussion and will focus on the targets/areas of research staff are currently working on but other aspects of teaching and learning noted for particular praise or development may also be discussed. Staff have suggested that feedback should… (in order of frequency)

  • Encourage self reflection
  • Offer advice and further support
  • Acknowledge strengths
  • Develop confidence
  • Explore/offer strategies and alternatives
  • Note areas for improvement
  • Note/discuss progress of pupils
  • Discuss pupil capacity for learning

SPOTS & Learning Walks

Senior leaders and subject leaders will carry out ‘SPOTs’ and ‘Learning walks’. Feedback from SPOTs will be given verbally or by email and will focus entirely on positive impact noticed on children’s learning. Should any concerns be raised, these will be explored separately. Learning walks will have a specific focus in mind and feedback will focus on whole school or phase standards in that area. This will therefore be shared collectively with all staff or in phases. Whenever possible, this will take the form of a discussion of what was noticed before any summary judgements are made.

This is the basis of how we would want to develop as adults and is fully in line with a view of one another as loved, encouraged and challenged, building a deeper security in one another’s company and trusting each others more deeply as teachers.


About Huw Humphreys

I am a headteacher in the city of Milton Keynes, where I have been since April 2011, looking to make education effective for the whole child and keeping a distant relationship with the powers that be and their narrowing approach to education... but most of all I am looking to find out what it means to be both a follower of Jesus Christ and a passionate educator in the midst of an unsettled community. I am also a part time musician, part time linguist and lover of history and literature...committed both to freedom to learn and depth of learning for all our children. The views on this blog are all my own, and not in any way those of the school I lead!

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