We are Pentrehafod school. We have a caring culture, consistently improving results, and are using the new Professional Teaching Standards (2018) to underpin our school vision to deliver the very best provision for all of our learners.
Our journey with the new Standards actually began in the Summer Term of 2017, with the inception of a working party that embraced opinions and insights from practitioners at all stages in their career, from NQTs to Middle and Senior Leadership. Working in partnership with colleagues from across our cluster, along with another local Secondary School, we adopted a collaborative and collegiate approach to refine and strengthen our current systems to ensure that our teachers were equipped with the knowledge and skills to work with the standards in order to continually improve learning outcomes for all of our students.
We have sought to ensure that the five Professional Teaching Standards are fully embedded across the curriculum, and are regarded as an integral part of our school’s learning culture. For example, Professional meetings and joint cluster INSET have prioritised the upskilling of staff on the 12 Pedagogical Principles, encouraging a language that focuses on the four Core Purposes and the sharing of effective practices that utilise innovative approaches to blended learning.
We’ve also endeavoured to maximise the impact of working with external partners by providing students with a “Real-Life, Authentic Context” to their learning, utilising the Careers Education and Business Exchange provided by Careers Wales.
At Pentrehafod we have a culture of collaborating and working in partnership with other schools to develop and refine professional practices, and the PTS have reinforced our strong view that this approach helps to raise standards. As a result, we have introduced a cross-phase “Teach-Meet” program, where teaching staff from across the cluster meet to share best practice and innovative ideas. This has been well-received across the cluster.
I am very proud that such Innovative practices are now becoming commonplace within our school community and that our teaching-staff understand that “risk-taking” is an important feature of professional development and should be embraced. This is exemplified through our work as a lead-creative school, where a culture of creativity and exploration is encouraged and shared through cross-cluster events which celebrate the talents and achievements of students and teachers.
The explication of the Standards has also enabled the school to develop a deeper understanding of the leadership potential of its staff, leading to a sharper focus on developing the skills of staff to closely monitor and track teaching and learning outcomes, as well as the progress, well-being and attitudes to learning of students. This has led to a commonality of learning-language across the entire school community, including students, parents and Governors.
The implementation of the new Teaching Standards has helped our school redefine itself as a professional learning organisation, with a focus on a dialogue for learning and professional discourse. At the heart of everything is our steadfast belief that high quality teaching and learning can improve the life-chances of young people. In order to exemplify the core values of our school as an inclusive community we have developed a vision for learning and well-being that embraces the professional teaching standards, and prioritises learner-development from KS2 to KS4 and beyond.
Inviting a cross-phase, cross-school working party to research the implementation of the standards has also helped our staff take ownership of the standards and receive them as a supportive framework for guided thought and reflection about their daily practice and the impact it has on the young people they educate and the community which they serve.
By Jennifer Ford, Head Teacher