Introducing the newest feature to the Great Teaching Toolkit: the School Environment and Leadership feedback tool!
Since the Great Teaching Toolkit was released last September, its aim has been to provide teachers with high-quality feedback, training and tools in the areas that underpin great teaching in the classroom. Ultimately, it seeks to guide evidence-based, sustained and sustainable professional development in schools and colleges. More than 14,000 licences have been taken up since then in schools and colleges around the world.
Our team of GTT Advisors have been listening to feedback from teachers and leaders in their regular conversations. In this series of blog posts, we’ll explore what feedback we’ve received, what developments and additions we have made, and how they will help you and your colleagues.
In previous posts in this series, we have taken a “you said … and so what’s coming next” approach. We’re really excited to announce this next feature, but this story goes back a bit further!
The GTT itself was born out of the Great Teaching Toolkit: Evidence Review published in June 2020. It explored the evidence on what things teachers know and do, which are likely to make the most difference to the outcomes of their students.
While these in-classroom factors account for a huge proportion of the quality of teaching and learning that happens in schools, we have been asking – and indeed been asked – the question of whether there are other factors, beyond the scope of an individual classroom, that allow for or amplify the effects of improving teaching and learning. It is widely acknowledged that even the best teacher cannot facilitate effective learning, unless some other supports are in place.
Many of these supports are influenced by teachers, of course, but an individual teacher generally cannot control them: it requires the collective actions of all staff, and hence of the school leadership. These factors are broadly categorised under the umbrella of “school environment and leadership”, and coming very soon, you will be able to access and download another Evidence Review from the EBE team!
This time, we will be looking at these environment- and leadership-level factors which influence student outcomes (and, crucially, those whose claims aren’t necessarily supported by the evidence). You will be able to read our Model for School Environment and Leadership, as well as understanding more about how we conducted the review.
This was published on 26th September 2022, and you can download it now, depending on when you’re reading this).
So what’s next?
Without giving too many spoilers to the content of the review, the evidence which underpins claims around the features of a school’s environment, and the characteristics and behaviours of school leaders, is mixed, and in parts very limited.
As Professor Rob Coe writes in the introduction to the review:
When evidence is limited, however, the evidence-based approach is not to do nothing, but to do what seems most plausible and try to evaluate its impact.
Indeed, there are some promising aspects to the existing research – acknowledging the limitations, we conclude there is enough to draw a Model for School Environment and Leadership, which we can see as a best bet given what we know currently. Part of our rationale for developing this model is, of course, to help leaders understand these characteristics, monitor them in their context, prioritise them, and respond appropriately. And in order to make this actionable for leaders, we have trialled and developed a new feedback tool, which we have now added to the GTT platform, for access by coordinators and assistant coordinators.
In a similar way to the student surveys already in the GTT, this new tool offers an efficient way of monitoring these environment and leadership factors across a school, college or group. Ultimately, it will help you inform decisions of whether to act or not – whether to invest time and money or not – based on sound evidence.
By publishing this feedback tool to build on the model we outline in the review, we hope not only to help the thousands of teachers and leaders using the GTT receive better and more actionable feedback; we also aim to learn more about the characteristics that matter most to students’ outcomes, and the leadership levers we can operate to enhance them.
By using the feedback tool, you will help build a better evidence base for you, for the leaders and teachers who come after you, and the children and young people we serve.
How do I access this new feedback tool?
If your school or college already has a GTT subscription, your coordinator and any assistant coordinators can now access a beta version of the feedback tool in the platform.
If not, you can find out more and sign up here, to benefit from this and all of the other CPD in the Great Teaching Toolkit.
Read more about other new and upcoming features in the following posts:
- The GTT Community
- Our video observation tool, in partnership with VEO
- The CPD Passport
- Updates to development cycles
- Improvements to the student feedback tools available in the platform
- Improving support to guide implementation in your context