Tag Archives: inset

Uncommon Inset

I have blogged before about our Kaizen network of schools, a small group of primaries who share common beliefs about education and learning.   We began to work together about six years ago to improve the learning experiences of our pupils, we weren’t funded by any external agency and followed no external agenda but grew ourselves from the ground up, following our own instincts about what our schools needed.   Within our network we agreed from the outset that as Headteachers we were privileged to be able meet and work together on areas of common interest. We support each other and challenge each other benefitting from such collaboration. We share common Inset days which provide all staff with the chance to meet up with peers in partner schools and work together on mutual areas of interest. The sharing of costs and resources has enabled us to move all our schools forward through a collegiate and supportive model of sustainable and relevant professional development. Recent shared Inset with the likes of Tim Rylands, Zoe Ross, Lane Clarke and others has been extremely well received by staff who are then able to build on what they’ve seen through school visits and joint working within the network.

This year we are once again taking advantage of ‘uncommon’ Inset days. This is when we put a working day aside for all our staff to get into partner schools to spend time in someone else’s class, working together, observing, taking in new ideas and approaches, and sharing good practice. Each school chooses a day when all the others are in full operational mode (not straight after a half term) and organises staff to visit one of the network, in small groups, to be let loose to spend the day being part of a different environment. These visits are followed up back at school with discussions and actions, further targeted visits and future projects. We have find these uncommon Insets to be invaluable. It is reported by McKinsey, that to improve teachers need to see best practice in an authentic setting, our approach gives staff the opportunity to do just that.

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Gathering Momentum

As we near the beginning of a new school year and thoughts turn to the first few inset days that will usher in the autumn term, I am reminded of a CPD day from my first headship that was thoroughly enjoyed by staff, despite initial reservations.

The summer reading project.

My deputy and I were keen to involve staff in a quality inset day at the beginning of the school year. We wanted all teachers to feel a real sense of being an active part of the day rather than passive recipients. We believed this would give them more ownership over the experience and make the day more rewarding.

Before finishing for the summer break we bought everyone a carefully chosen book. The books were on areas of education we knew the teachers were interested in or wanted to develop in their classrooms. We sacrificed an earlier training day giving staff free time with the summer reading in mind. We asked each teacher to read their book over the six weeks and prepare a presentation for the first day back in school after the holidays. Despite some initial misgivings from one or two staff the response was fantastic. The presentations showed that everyone had really risen to the challenge. They talked passionately about what they had read and how they were going to try new ideas in their classroom as a result.

Individual teachers got a lot from their own presentations but just as much from hearing their colleagues talk with enthusiasm about their summer read. The quality and relevance of the day made it a huge success and one that enabled us to start the year on a real high.

Many thanks to @whatedsaid for prompting my memory with her post: Teachers teaching teachers! http://bit.ly/cPuVjv