Our Journey to Outstanding

Kelvin Hall is a comprehensive school in Hull, East Yorkshire and has 1,400 students. They were graded outstanding in all areas under the new Ofsted framework in February 2015, yet 18 months previously had been graded ‘requires improvement’.

WHAT PROBLEMS DID YOU FACE BEFORE USING SISRA OBSERVE?

Before using SISRA Observe, the monitoring of teaching and learning was conducted by one person using a single MS Excel spreadsheet. The information was not shared with any other member of staff, not even the Senior Leadership Team. When I took over this role, I knew I had to make changes as this was not the way I worked. My philosophy was that we had to work together to improve teaching and learning and not in isolation. It had to be a shared vision.
It was at this point that the flyer for SISRA Observe appeared on my desk. I was immediately drawn to the idea of no paperwork and a way of collecting, analysing and sharing useful data centrally. I could see the potential for everyone to be involved in their own professional development and the positive impact this could have on staff and students’ progress.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

  • Easy to personalise and set up the observation forms
  • Accessible for everyone at some level (you can decide who sees what)
  • Staff have instant access to any judgements made on them
  • Staff can use data to inform their own CPD needs and appraisal targets
  • Leaders can analyse data to inform target-setting, improvement plans and coaching
  • School can analyse data to inform CPD sessions
  • Once it is set up, there is little to do
  • Can develop ways of involving non-teaching staff, e.g. Year leaders conducting drop-ins

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND SISRA OBSERVE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL?

For all of the above reasons and the fact that it makes it so easy to demonstrate where you are at in terms of teaching and learning.
When I met with the Ofsted inspector to talk about teaching and learning, it was easy to show him where we were with regards to standards. I could show him book scrutiny, learning walk and formal observation data for each staff member, department, the school as a whole and even look at the trend over the past year(s). He was impressed with how we used it and could see the impact it has had on our journey to outstanding. It had been used as a tool to focus our priorities and drive the standards of teaching and learning to an outstanding level.

I cannot wait to get to grips with the new version and the anticipated flexibility for it!

Claire Turnbull, Assistant Head Teacher, Kelvin Hall School