With a sizeable complement of some 1500 pupils, Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran, sits in 60 acres of woodlands and playing fields alongside the Afon Llwyd (‘Grey River’).
“Staff lead 40 one-hour twilight training sessions… We call them ‘BlueSky sessions’
Historically, tracking the performance of the staff involved three separate data sources.
Performance management was documented in folders. Separate forms were then completed for lesson observations, and a further electronic list tracked who had been observed.
With no central or joined-up records, and an ever-growing volume of paper, it was difficult and time consuming to gauge individual strengths, achieve consistency or plan CPD.
Deputy Headteacher Matthew Hutt became responsible for CPD and began streamlining the process. He recalls: "I saw another school presenting their use of BlueSky and realised it was exactly what we needed."
The school phased in features of BlueSky over time. They began with Performance Management, capturing and consolidating all data and documentation within BlueSky. Crucially, this also made it instantly available to the teachers themselves.
"Each member of staff works with their line manager to set three objectives for that year, all to support overall school objectives. One is linked to pupil progress, another to departmental objectives and the third to literacy or numeracy."
A year later, they started using the Lesson Observation area, customising the application by adding their own proforma.
Staff now observe lessons using a paper version of this form, and afterwards input data and observations into BlueSky, giving them time to clarify their thoughts.
With BlueSky embedded into the school's performance management:
- The school uses BlueSky to analyse each performance element across groups of staff, or the whole school, to gauge how teachers are performing.
- The management team presents data from BlueSky to the teaching and learning governor sub-committee, giving them a high-level view of the quality of teaching across the school.
- They have been able to reduce external courses for staff, instead using data to highlight strengths and weaknesses and instigate regular in-house training. They call these 'BlueSky Sessions'; it has become part of school language.
- The school has seen measurable improvements. Results bear witness to the constant upward curve of quality being achieved by the teaching staff.
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