Stuart Voyce, Assistant Headteacher, Holy Trinity
Why use Sisra Observe?
Sisra use the slogan ‘Empowering Improvement’, and since we began working with them over a year ago, that is exactly what they have enabled us to do. Using Sisra Observe has allowed us to become a more efficient organisation and, as a result, has created more time for us to focus on our core purpose; improving the quality of teaching and learning. Gone are the days of collating endless paperwork, reminding staff to send their documents and filing any number of different pro forma as if my life depended on it. All the time that has been saved has now been invested in our key improvement area; improving the quality of our classroom provision.
What are the benefits?
Using Sisra Observe has created greater ownership of teaching and learning at all levels of our organisation. Teachers use it to reflect on their own practice, ensuring they have a clear understanding of the strengths and development areas in their own teaching. They use this information to engage with a range of personalised CPD opportunities within the school, either sharing their best practice or further developing their own teaching. Sisra Observe is at the heart of creating a self-improvement culture within our school, where teachers take ownership of their own professional development. Sisra Observe allows teachers to make informed choices about their own professional learning, thus making a significant contribution to our culture of ‘continually learning, continually improving’.
For Middle Leaders
Middle leadership has been strengthened significantly by the fact that Heads of Department have a clear understanding of the strengths and priority areas for their teams. Middle leaders are often stretched to capacity and presenting information in a ‘ready-to-go’ format is crucial in enabling them to act on teaching and learning data in a timely and meaningful way. The accessibility of the reports available in Sisra Observe means that they do not have to spend time analysing teaching and learning data because it is done for them, so they can focus on developing the quality of provision instead. It allows them to identify and systematically share best practice easily across their teams, and to act swiftly to strengthen practice if and when required. Heads of Department can develop CPD at department level to ensure that pupils get the best possible learning experiences when they visit their curriculum areas. As a result, Sisra Observe empowers our middle leaders to be the driving force for school improvement at Holy Trinity.
For School Leaders
Senior Leaders have total clarity on the quality of teaching across our school. Each and every member of the Senior Leadership Team clearly understands our strengths and priority improvement areas. Sisra Observe also creates transparency within teaching and learning that has served to strengthen the line management process across the school, resulting in ‘real-time’ conversations with Middle Leaders about the quality of provision in the areas they oversee. As a result, Sisra Observe allows underperformance to be identified and challenged efficiently, whilst (more importantly) best practice can be recognised, championed and celebrated.
You can’t fatten a pig by simply weighing it!
This is my favourite analogy in regards to teaching and learning. In a nutshell, it means that we do not improve the quality of teaching and learning by simply monitoring it. However, through Sisra Observe, we carefully and systematically monitor teaching and learning to identify our major strengths and key priority areas. It is what we do with the information that Sisra Observe provides that is crucial to our school on its journey of sustainable improvement.
If you strip away all the intervention strategies, revision sessions and one-to-one support, you are left with the need for the very best classroom practice. Therefore, how we develop our teachers at Holy Trinity is vital. Through analysing the reports from Sisra Observe, I can create a whole-school CPD programme to address our priority improvement areas. More importantly, it allows me to create personalised pathways for our teachers, tailored to their individual needs to maximise their professional learning. Increasing collaboration between colleagues is a key component for improving the quality of teaching and learning at Holy Trinity. We are embedding peer coaching across the school as a mechanism to create more opportunities for reflection and collaboration. Sisra Observe allows me to successfully match teachers to the right coach to ensure that they support each other’s practice and maximise learning opportunities for both colleagues.
In summary, Sisra Observe has helped create something that is so rare in schools…time. Time that can be invested in ensuring the quality of our teaching is the very best it can be. Time that can be given to teachers and leaders to ensure that, above all else, high-quality teaching and learning is the cornerstone for driving school improvement. Put simply, it allows us to ‘keep the main thing; the main thing.’