The GTT is my go-to for teaching and learning!

Farmor’s School is a secondary academy in Gloucestershire. Having worked with EBE in a previous role, the school’s Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, Claire Wells, began using the Great Teaching Toolkit in summer 2022. We caught up with her to find out how she was finding it, halfway through the academic year.

How did you come across the GTT, and how did you decide where to start as a school?

Firstly, we engaged with the two Evidence Reviews and built our teaching and learning framework around them. We got the whole staff involved in this process, and we decided to hone in on Dimension 4 of the Model for Great Teaching, Activating Hard Thinking. We developed our own mantra about “Every Student Thinking Hard”. We focused our whole school CPD around this mantra looking at questioning, writing and discussion techniques that ensure all students are thinking hard.

I had done your Assessment Essentials course in a previous school, and I’d found it really useful – it completely changed my thinking and practice on assessment. We knew that we wanted to do something on assessment here too; so we also put ten staff on the Assessment Lead Programme. This includes teaching and non-teaching staff.

How is that process working—how are you bringing the concepts in Assessment Lead Programme and the courses to life?

We blend the self-study with the meetings that are scheduled within the programmes. The staff involved in the ALP do a section of the course, then come back and meet as a group, talking about their learning and reflection. That way we make sure that it’s not just people sitting on their own, but it actually is being used to share ideas, help us think carefully about our practice and how we want to develop assessment in our school. We are looking at our bridge between teaching and learning spanning from lesson-by-lesson assessment based around questioning and retrieval practice techniques to end of year assessments. We are also looking at how this works alongside homework and feedback.

What about the other aspects to the Great Teaching Toolkit beyond the courses?

We wanted to make sure that our teaching and learning CPD is grounded in collaboration, in-person where possible – so the GTT has been useful in providing a framework for this and helping us to think about our best bets. I really like the structure of the Development Cycles, because it’s about more than just input of some knowledge, or a ready-made strategy for the classroom. That sort of a scaffold helps with identifying a priority that’s going to be of most use to a specific teacher, then looks in real detail from there. We’ve used it as a guide for our conversations, ensuring that our process—from deciding what to work on, right through to evaluating whether it has worked—is firmly anchored in good evidence.

We have also started to use the student survey questions to identify areas we need to work on and to look at impact of our professional development in the classroom.

 Finally, what would you say to other schools or teachers considering using the GTT?

It’s a great one stop shop! It’s really lovely to have all the reading and access to the evidence there in one place. It’s a good framework for setting out your CPD and where you want your professional development to go. It’s been invaluable, really—it’s my go-to for teaching and learning!


If you would like to speak to one of the team about how you might implement the Toolkit at your school or college, simply fill out this form, and one of the team will be in touch!

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