Peer and Leadership Coaching

STRENGTHENING CAPACITY FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS

The quality of our teachers and leaders is a huge strength of our school system.  We all know how hard they work. Yet it feels as if schools are facing even greater challenges than ever before.  In addition to questions about governance and school structures, curriculum and examination changes schools are juggling with increased pressure on budgets. Data released by the Teacher Development Trust reveals that over 20,000 teachers work in schools where there is no budget for continued professional development (CPD) at all. We can help you strengthen capacity by using relatively small amounts of time  – and money – to help people learn to reflect and respond to problems effectively.

HOW DO WE WORK WITH YOU?

We create a space where a group of peers use open questions to help the presenter to explore what’s really on their mind and to commit to some action. The setting is always confidential and it gives people both support and challenge. After two or three sessions, groups can quickly become self-managing.

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

When staff feel supported and empowered it is easier to meet the challenges they face.  Peer coaching using some of the techniques of action learning is a simple, cheap and effective way to provide the support they need.  There is a growing realization that single training days can be costly and ineffective in terms of educational impact. Forward looking leaders are looking for ways to increase the flow of trust and communication between staff. When this is in place, staff take responsibility for their leadership and feel pride in the difference they make. Giving teachers an opportunity to develop confidence in their own professional judgement about what constitutes effective learning – for adults and for children – makes the biggest impact.

Alex Quigley identifies lack of teacher autonomy as ‘The second major obstacle that hamstrings teacher improvement…Teachers get better and develop their confidence and skill in a climate of trust, where risk and self-improvement are encouraged.’  (T.E.S. 13.5.16)

David Weston, Chair of the DfE expert CPD Panel and Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust, speaking at recent conference, noted that:

‘In schools where teachers are reporting much higher levels of support, much more professional development and greater levels of trust, they find that teachers not only improve more rapidly in the first couple of years, they continue to improve.  On average, in those schools, teachers are helping pupils more each year than they did the previous year.’ (Presentation to ‘Shaping the Future of CPD’ conference organised by IRIS Connect 12.4.16)

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

We have worked with individual schools, school federations and local authorities. Our focus is always on school improvement and the part every teacher must play. We know that the best outcomes can be achieved when a school allows itself a small amount of time for reflection. This time for reflection allows people to:

  • identify their strengths and weaknesses and have more confidence in their leadership
  • decide on their most important actions and commit to them
  • use the group to build a framework for accountability

“Anne Seeley and Lynda Haddock made a real difference to senior and middle leaders at Sydenham School in 2015. Through a series of action learning sets they helped the leaders to focus on some pressing educational issues such as improving the quality of teaching and learning and supporting the most vulnerable students to achieve through raising expectations and aspiration. Staff feedback was very positive and as the Headteacher at the time I would recommend Anne and Lynda to schools for focused and targeted work on solving complex challenges in a way that places responsibility on the  participating individuals.”

Caroline Unsted former Headteacher, Sydenham School.

Quotations from feedback forms from teachers who have attended recent sessions include:

‘The best thing for me was building relationships, hearing the common issues that affect us all – knowing I’m not alone.’

‘What went well was meeting people (from partner schools) in the same situation, sharing success and problems and generating solutions’

‘Action learning was a good way of reflecting on leadership development …  It gave me a sense of purpose and a clear focus on my next steps.

‘Getting ideas from others has helped me find out what being a leader means to me. It has helped give me direction and sort out priorities when there is so much to do.’

 

‘I liked being able to take people’s questions away with me and ask myself later to help me reflect and plan.’

 

‘I was surprised how much we got out of a relatively short time.’

‘We saw the questions from a different perspective – a new insight into the attitudes we sometimes take as teachers to underperforming groups.’

 

CURRENT PROGRAMMES:

We are offering these peer and leadership coaching programmes:

 Training staff as peer coaching facilitators

We can adapt the time scale and activities to suit you.  The programme might include:

  • An introduction to peer coaching and action learning principles and practice
  • An experience of peer coaching and action learning
  • Reflections on the role of the facilitator – the ‘does and don’ts’ of leading a group
  • Materials and prompts for future use

 

Supporting teachers involved in particular projects with team building and action planning

We can adapt the time scale and activities to suit you.  The programme might include:

  • Clarifying shared and individual objectives and agreeing the project’s overarching question
  • Using peer coaching and action learning to strengthen working relationships and maximise peer support
  • Agreeing individual and group actions and accountabilities

 

Supporting new teachers

We can adapt the time scale and activities to suit you.  The programme might include:

  • Using peer coaching and action learning to share experiences
  • Identifying practical strategies to apply in school
  • Clarifying personal learning, strengths and areas for growth
  • Building an understanding of what makes a good teacher

 

Developing the skills and confidence of new leaders

We can adapt the time scale and activities to suit you.  The programme might include:

  • Using peer coaching and action learning to share leadership experiences
  • Identifying practical strategies to apply in school
  • Clarifying personal learning, strengths and areas for growth
  • Building an understanding of what makes a good leader

 

Support groups for women teachers and leaders

We can adapt the time scale and activities to suit you.  The programme might include:

  • Using peer coaching and action learning to share experiences of being a women teacher or leader
  • Building peer support structures and networks
  • Identifying strategies for building resilience and moving forward