15 Nov 2022 | Case Studies
HOW2 Platform at the Heart of Record Results at John Leggott College
Study to assess the impact of the HOW2 app reveals direct correlation between app usage and 2022 exam results; most departments with sustained usage achieved a 20-30% higher number of high grades than those using their own strategies, with some achieving results in the top 10% of courses nationally.
John Leggott College (JLC) has a reputation for being one of the best sixth form colleges for A level and BTEC results in its region. Known for its open access ethos, it offers G.C.S.E. re-sits, adult and vocational education, tailored support through extended programmes including overseas work experience, and 1:1 support for those aiming for Oxbridge through its ‘Aspire’ programmes.
Switching to the HOW2 Platform.
JLC was introduced to the HOW2 Platform when ten of its department heads and coaches participated in the HOW2 (Level Five CMI Accredited) Instructional Coaching Course. Part of the Further Education Professional Development Grants (FEPDG) pilot scheme funded by the Department for Education (DFE) the five-day course was designed to help coaches and managers develop their core coaching skills, and support teachers with implementing and adapting the plethora of evidence-based teaching techniques available on the HOW2 Instructional Coaching Platform.
Prior to participating in the course, JLC had been using two separate CPD packages to support its core teaching and learning practices and although happy with what the tools offered at the time, as soon as the team of ten started to put the HOW2 techniques into practice and use them as the basis for coaching conversations, managers, coaches and teachers alike at JLC were given pause for thought.
The HOW2 app’s easy-to-use, step-by-step processes with a variety of visual formats, including info-graphics, click-through presentation screens and e‑books made it popular with teaching staff right from the outset. They were also impressed by its flexible notes feature which made it really easy for teachers to capture their development and learning.
Coaches and managers were equally impressed with the app’s skills exchange, a core feature of the HOW2 platform that connects teachers, coaches and managers allowing them to share their learning and development whilst giving coaches and managers the option to respond and contribute to that development.
Jamie Watkinson, Assistant Principal at JLC explained; “There was a resistance to the CPD systems that we had in place as there was a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy and little or no impact on the ground. Plus there was no flexible way for teachers to reflect on their practice and share their learning and no way for managers to review engagement and contribute easily to teachers’ ongoing development.”
Realising that its existing CPD packages lacked the collaborative and flexible features it really needed, it wasn’t long before department heads, coaches and teachers at JLC made the decision to switch to the HOW2 Platform as their main teaching and learning development tool.
Supporting JLC’s teacher-led philosophy.
The HOW2 app’s ability to give teachers autonomy and flexibility whilst giving managers the ability to see how teachers are engaging with teaching and learning development, has been a real boon for staff at JLC.
The HOW2 app has also transformed coaching conversations at JLC. Jamie added; “The HOW2 notes feature allows coaches and teachers to capture progress during coaching conversations there and then. The notes and nudge features facilitate ongoing coaching encouraging both the teacher and coach to build on previous learning. It makes coaching informal but constant.”
Early Careers Programme
JLC has aligned its careers teachers programme to the HOW2s. “If you’re new to the department you will be given guidance on lesson structure and a set of HOW2s to help you get started. You literally just need to bring your subject expertise and the HOW2 platform will provide the scaffolding. Everything we offer on the programme comes back to the HOW2s.”
An effective management tool
The HOW2 platform is now embedded as an integral part of JLC’s core teaching and learning framework which is built around lesson visits and learning walks.
Accountable for teaching and learning at JLC, Jamie has set up a simple quality assurance (QA) process linked to the platform. A really simple Google form is filled in by the QA team after a Learning Walk. If strengths are linked to HOW2s there’s a box that’s ticked requesting that teachers share their learning with others on the platform.
Equally, for areas highlighted for development, the QA team can select from a drop box of HOW2s. Management can see the conversation between the coach and teacher on the HOW2 platform and monitor and contribute to progress.
The HOW2 app also allows Jamie to send usage reports to department heads so that they can see how their departments are engaging with the platform.
“I can quickly and easily show line managers and inspection bodies how teachers are engaging in professional development. I can even link data on the skills exchange to inspection themes.”
Record exam results
Since using the platform, JLC has seen staggering results in terms of teacher usage and student outcomes. Following a study set up to assess the impact of the platform, it observed a direct correlation between those departments utilising the HOW2 techniques — particularly those relating to revision habits, checking for understanding, and outcomes for learnings — and this year’s summer exam results.
Comparing departments who utilised the strategies for a sustained period of time in the run up to external exams versus those departments who used their own strategies or used the platform more sporadically, JLC found that departments with significant usage with teachers reflecting on the practice and sharing their learning, achieved a higher level of high grades than those where this wasn’t the practice. In most cases, these departments achieved a 20 — 30% higher number of high grades.
JCL also saw departments — where results had been stagnant for many years and there was a struggle to score above national average benchmarks — achieving their strongest set of results, achieving in the top 25% of courses nationally and performing at a better level than before Covid.
A teacher’s perspective on the impact of the HOW2 platform.
There is little doubt in the hearts and minds of staff at JLC that this year’s improvements were largely down to its use of the platform. James Brough, a GCSE re-sit and A Level Maths teacher at JLC said;
“Even this year’s GCSE re-sit results were significantly above national average and I doubt that would have been the case without the help of the HOW2s. I’ve seen a real change in the attitude, focus and engagement of my students since using the app.
I love how easy it is to collaborate which I believe is key when it comes to teaching. Every time I’ve embedded a strategy, I include a note and invite teachers to come and view it in action.
We’re all stretched with a high workload but being able to communicate through the app itself, sending notes and nudges, sharing ideas and forming discussion forums saves time. It’s become embedded in the way that we work. If we’re struggling, we’ll look at what other people are doing.”
Jamie added; “Ultimately, instructional coaching is about modelling and repeated behaviours and learning from seeing your peers in action. The HOW2 app facilitates that. Teachers can see who has embedded a particular technique and then go and observe that technique in action. And it’s so simple for coaches to ask teachers to keep the skills exchange updated so that the entire organisation can benefit from each other’s learning.”