Woodfield’s Ethos for Professional Development
“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention,
sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillfull execution
and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”
Research & Professional Development at Woodfield Primary School
Woodfield is a forward-thinking school, willingly embracing change and constantly striving to develop our practice.
- CPD is primarily based upon a model of ‘Practitioner Enquiry’;
- Leaders at all levels strive to develop excellence in their area of responsibility through engagement with evidence;
- Opportunities to be collaborative, sharing expertise and gaining knowledge, within the school, Trust and further afield, play a pivotal role in our CPD design.
‘High quality professional development requires workplaces to be steeped in rigorous scholarship, with professionals continually developing and supporting each other so that pupils benefit from the best possible teaching’ (DfE, 2016). Recognising this, alongside the ethos of collaboration and self-efficacy we have amongst our staff, Woodfield designs its CPD based on a model of Practitioner Enquiry:
‘Practitioner Enquiry, as defined by Menter et al (2011), is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended’ (Gilchrist, 2017).
Teachers plan and design an action-research project, underpinned by evidence and with a clear focus on improving pupil outcomes. These projects are meticulously designed, implemented, reviewed and evaluated. This process allows staff to develop critical insight into developing an area of their practice, engage in research and contribute to developing excellence in teaching, learning and assessment.
Our path and plans for developing excellence across the school are rooted in a secure evidence base. Leaders at all levels use the latest research, evidence and developments to ensure the school is forward-thinking and constantly securing the best outcomes for pupils.
Woodfield takes part in a wide-range of research projects through local, regional and national organisations. The aim of all of these is support these organisations in their evaluations whilst also develop staff’s practice through the valuable insights and professional learning that involvement lends itself to. Below are some examples of our involvement in such projects.
- Mathematics Mastery (SSIF & Partners in Learning)
- The school is currently taking part in the Doncaster-wide Mathematics Mastery project.
- ‘Beyond Performance Management by Observation’ (Leeds Beckett University)
- The aim of this project was to investigate and research the potential impact on removing performative lesson observations, replacing them with a model of development based upon collaboration, coaching and self-efficacy. Taking part in this project has led to Joint Professional Development which is constantly evolving and is an integral part of Woodfield’s CPD for staff, focused on securing the best outcomes for our pupils. The research project has since:
- Been published as a working paper by Leeds Beckett University
- Presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference in September 2018
- Presented as a poster in the Chartered College of Teaching’s research poster competition, won in the category of ‘Quality of Written Communication’.
- Digital Feedback (EEF)
- Involvement in this EEF project developed the school’s understanding of effective feedback. Those involved in the project were keen to share their newfound knowledge on the potential of using ‘diagnostics’ in the classroom to maximise learning.
- Following the project, the findings and experiences of those involved in the project have fed into our latest marking and feedback policy. The high-quality research shared during the project has also been shared with all staff and have underpinned key changes in teaching and learning.
- Effective Use of Teaching Assistants (EEF & Partners in Learning)
- Since taking part in the EEF’s TAproject, our support professionals are now accessing a regularly-evaluated CPD package ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge, skills and understanding of school and cohort priorities. Pedagogical and subject-specific upskilling of support professionals has led to observably increased confidence, collaboration and professional dialogue that supports learning for all pupils. Similarly, teachers feel that support professionals are now independent in strategically identifying the needs of pupils in the classroom and act quickly, alongside the class teacher, to apply a range of strategies to support learning for all pupils. Teachers reviewed the guidance together, action planning for their own deployment of staff. Expectations around a shared dialogue of pupil outcomes, data and planning were set with all staff. Teachers also developed a shared understanding of the role of support professionals in the classroom, no longer being tied to a particular group and having increased flexibility.
- Reciprocal Reading (EEF)
- Following Woodfield’s participation in the project, the format of reciprocal reading has been shared with staff across school. Across KS2, reciprocal reading is a structure that is now being effectively developed and used by class teachers.
- Drama in Role (DARTs)
- Since taking part in this project, all staff have received training in how to develop the use of drama in the classroom. In particular, this feeds into our understanding of developing both oracy and reading skills through the medium of drama.
- Daily Mile (Leeds Beckett University)
- In another project with Leeds Beckett University, Woodfield contributed to data studying the impact of the DailyMile on health and attainment. As a result of this research and exploring the evidence-base ourselves, our school children are all now encouraged to run a mile a day!
Research across Doncaster
- The school works closely with Doncaster Research School to support the development of evidence-improved practice across the town. More information about the Research School can be found here.
- The school co-founded the successful Doncaster TeachMeet, funded by Partners in Learning. Bringing together hundreds of primary teachers from across the town, the event provides bi-annual CPD for staff based on evidence-informed practice in Doncaster classrooms. More information about the Doncaster TeachMeet can be found on its Twitter.