TITLE OF DEVELOPING PRACTICE EXAMPLE
This new method of working for the team at St Serf’s came about in October 2020. The school had been through a rather difficult time, following on from an HMI inspection in 2019 and with a new leadership team in place as of September 20, the general consensus was that planning had to be more collegiate. It was also clear that staff needed to be more collegiate in their planning of assessment to ensure it became an integral part of effective learning and teaching. It also became clear that there was a requirement to ensure the needs of learners were being met across all stages and all areas of the curriculum.
Previously the team had always planned separately however this was not always conducive to positive learning experiences for all. It also would support the recommendation from HMI to develop our learning and teaching approaches to ensure that planning systems and processes were more manageable, impacting on children’s progress, allowing for the planning of more creative approaches to learning.
Through staff consensus, we decided to take the approach of planning as a level. Practitioners worked together, at each level, looking and bundling experiences and outcomes which would form the base of our context planning. In each level across the school, the same experiences and outcomes were chosen to be delivered in each classroom, allowing for differentiation of tasks and learning experiences.
“As a fairly new qualified teacher, I find I benefit from the experience of others and it lets me put forward my own ideas, allowing for discussion to build on learning experiences together. My confidence in my knowledge and understanding has improved tenfold as a result of collaborative planning”. Natalie P5 teacher
The teaching teams worked together in weekly planning meetings to plan the learning experiences. Practitioners felt that it was necessary to be part of this process weekly in the beginning as it was a new way of working. Meetings had and have to be virtual due to the current restrictions. This also allowed collaborative planning to take place during remote learning from January 2021 to March 2021. Our video demonstrates the process of how the practitioners worked collaboratively.
This practice has had a positive impact on both staff and learners. In particular during the latest period of remote learning, teachers felt more in control and up to date with learning across the school, particularly when they were working remotely and then teaching for one day in school where a mixed pod of children were in front of them. They were able to support learners with their learning as they had been part of the planning.
Differentiation is now clear for practitioners to see and understand, and learning experiences are tailored to suit all learners. Learning Intentions and success criteria are explicit and form the focus for assessment opportunities which are robust and clear to evidence.
In viewing IDL across the school, we plan to have a 3 year rolling programme where the experiences and outcomes will be covered across the level, ensuring children experience progression and depth across all curricular areas within relevant contexts which take account of the school’s local area and 21st century Scotland.
“I believe that bundling of the experiences and outcomes collaboratively allows for a clearer mindset and understanding when planning and allows for scaffolding of ideas to suit the learning experiences for our learners. Sometimes when faced with the breadth of experiences and outcomes across a level can be overwhelming, however in collaboration with my colleagues, I am much more confident in getting the learning correct for each of the learners. There are certain areas of the curriculum where I feel my strengths lie and therefore when we are planning collaboratively, I benefit from the skills and experiences of others, allowing me to develop my own confidence across all areas of the curriculum”. Lizzie P4 teacher (one year out of probation)
“Collaborative planning allows practitioners to work together, to form a shared understanding of progression across a level, not just in the usual areas of numeracy and literacy, but across all areas of the curriculum. It ensures high quality differentiation and supports practitioners who have varying degrees of experience to consolidate their understanding of learning at each level”. Lisa Depute Head Teacher