From 40% in a YEAR to 100% in a TERM — How moving support online increased the capacity to coach and support teachers
How can training providers, on a limited budget, support large numbers of teachers and trainers (spread out across the UK?) in developing their pedagogical skills? Ian Harris, CEO of HOW2s, meets Becky Vallely, Quality Improvement Manager for SCL, Education through Sport
SCL offers L1, 2 and 3 qualifications in BTEC and L2 and 3 in NCFE. We also deliver Maths and English functional skills and GCSE. Furthermore, we deliver apprenticeships and adult education. SCL has close to 100 teachers and trainers (combined) across the business. The teachers work on study programmes (this is the biggest section of the business) and the trainers work with apprenticeships.
Why did you choose HOW2, and how have you found working with us?
A colleague of mine had used HOW2 in a previous establishment and felt that it would be beneficial to support my quality improvement role. Since my responsibility is to upskill and engage teaching staff nationally, HOW2 offered an opportunity to individualise the CPD and coaching of our remote workers without the need to spend hours travelling to meet with staff. The staff at HOW2 have been very supportive, especially Carole Kane who is on hand to answer questions and offer guidance, Nicky Dyer who supports with administration, and Ian Harris who took time to meet with me and talk through our implementation of HOW2.
How do you use HOW2s? How have you found them?
HOW2s are used frequently within SCL. Firstly, we utilise a themed approach whereby teaching staff are encouraged to try a new strategy each month based on themes arising from observations and identified development areas e.g. our QIP. In order to fully support this process, teaching staff have ‘protected time’ during meetings where they can explore HOW2 and immerse themselves fully into the evidence-based platform. We believe in the benefit of HOW2 and therefore want it to be a valuable process for our teaching staff. The use of evidence-based strategies enhances the ‘buy in’ from staff and reduces their time in researching new strategies to try within the classroom. Furthermore, our observation process supports the use of HOW2, with observers referring to specific strategies for staff to implement and therefore providing a more tangible and measurable target. Following this, HOW2 is used within our coaching process to further support and develop our teachers. Additionally, our Quality Improvement Trainers model the use of strategies within our CPD sessions as good practice.
What’s different about HOW2s to what you did before?
Since SCL is a national training provider it has been a challenge to support and develop teaching across the business without falling into the trap of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The use of HOW2 enables bespoke support and development at the touch of a button and therefore offers maximal impact without spending hours on the road travelling to different venues. For example, during the last academic year, 44% of staff were coached following a bespoke plan, whereas implementing HOW2 has enabled 100% of our staff to follow a bespoke plan. Additionally, the HOW2 platform allows staff to support each other through the use of notes, nudges, impact statements and reflections, and in doing so builds a community within the teaching staff.
What have been the benefits/outcomes for staff since you have started using HOW2?
As mentioned previously, HOW2 allows for CPD to be bespoke to our teacher’s needs and provides a central hub for staff to access guidance on teaching strategies whenever they need/want to. The targets resulting from observations have a quick way of being measured and, not only adds value to the process, but it allows the loop to be closed more effectively. Additionally, we have increased our coaching from 44% in an academic year to 100% in just one term and will complete the process again for term 2, meaning that our staff will have a dramatic increase in opportunities to develop their teaching practice.
What have been the benefits/outcomes for learners since you have started using HOW2?
During learner focus groups, our learners have reported a greater variance in teaching styles within lessons, which has increased engagement.
Would you recommend HOW2 to other organisations?
Absolutely! If used correctly, the HOW2 platform provides many different strategies to enhance teaching practice whilst providing visibility for establishment leaders to monitor progress. The use of evidence-based strategies is effective, as teachers tend to automatically have a buy-in. Furthermore, the platform allows for peer to peer coaching which is incredibly valuable and empowering.
With the new EIF in mind…Are there any specific benefits or advantages HOW2s bring to the inspection process?
HOW2 has a library specifically linked to the new EIF that has been beneficial for our staff and Quality Improvement Trainers, as SCL are in an inspection year and the element of unknown surrounding the EIF inevitably increases nerves. Additionally, providing impact statements enables teaching staff to consolidate their pedagogical understanding and increase comfort when discussing this within their teaching practice.
Anything else you would like to mention?
We launched the HOW2 platform at our summer conference and our teaching staff engaged immediately. Our message was clear: it is a development tool to support practice. The focus on teaching strategies rather than content ensures HOW2 is accessible for all within the classroom.
Listen to what other leaders have to say about how HOW2s support their staff across campuses, regions, countries even.