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Holme Grange School have been shortlisted for two TES Independent Schools Awards

Holme Grange School have been shortlisted for two TES Independent Schools Awards

8th Apr 2021

Educational Research has been at the centre of our work at Holme Grange for several years, with a wide range of studies being carried out. Our model of working in collaboration with other schools has equipped staff with confidence, knowledge and skills to pursue educational research in their classrooms in order to bring about change. This is now embedded in our culture of teaching and learning and we employ our own research assistant to support staff in their journeys. We have worked with universities and other schools and staff feel empowered to pursue lines of enquiry which have resulted in not only their own practice being improved but has also motivated them to engage further as they have seen the positive benefits not just to their own professional development but to the pupils they teach. We are a R&D Hub for NACE and lead other schools, state and independent, in educational research linked to the More Able Child.

Billions of pounds are spent on research each year, but how much of this informs practice in our schools?

A positive shift in culture has seen many schools move towards more enquiry-based philosophies, where leaders encourage teachers to see themselves as researchers. A focus on research at Holme Grange School has seen participants relish the opportunity to share evidence-based research from work completed in direct association with key educational researchers such as Bill Lucas and John Hattie.  It also sparked a desire in many to work collaboratively and move forward with in-house research to explore implications of actions on current practice.

In 2019 we developed our own CPD programme which all teachers are expected to participate in. Led my staff internally, dates are set through the year where staff are given the opportunity to explore high impact areas of teaching and learning which make the biggest difference to student outcomes. The programme is called The Holme Grange INSPIRE CPD Programme– as it is taken from the ‘Effective professional development: Principles and best practice whitepaper as part of the Cambridge Papers in ELT series.’

  • Impactful
  • Needs Based
  • Sustained
  • Peer Collaborative
  • In Practice
  • Reflective
  • Evaluated

7 key areas which we chose to include as topics for ‘discovery’ are:

  • Subject Knowledge
  • Challenge
  • Assessment
  • Differentiation
  • Blended Learning
  • Classroom Climate
  • Research and Development

Staff teams at Holme Grange have noticed many benefits of the programme. Meetings for staff afforded participating teachers the opportunity to share the abundant examples of best practice associated with supporting our learners. All too often this side of evaluation and review is omitted and we focus on what is not working, rather than purposefully acknowledging what is going well. Discussing our journeys as a group led us to the realisation that a great deal has already been achieved, and we must stop and celebrate in order to cultivate a success mind set and inspire future work.

This initiative allows our school to share across phases and subjects of education. The appetite for this type of collaboration has been evident and the research groups have been formed of pre prep, prep and secondary staff – a diversity which a through school such as ours facilitates. This opportunity of an open and supportive forum allowed teachers to consider their journey towards a long-term, genuine and sustainable approach towards outstanding teaching and learning across all phases.

Billions of pounds are spent on research each year, but how much of this informs practice in our schools?

A positive shift in culture has seen many schools move towards more enquiry-based philosophies, where leaders encourage teachers to see themselves as researchers. A focus on research at Holme Grange School has seen participants relish the opportunity to share evidence-based research from work completed in direct association with key educational researchers such as Bill Lucas and John Hattie.  It also sparked a desire in many to work collaboratively and move forward with in-house research to explore implications of actions on current practice.

Headteacher Claire Robinson is quoted as saying:

“The Holme Grange teams sets out a clear ambition and commitment to continue to serve our learners now and in the future. The teams involved in the process are highly experienced, credible leaders and practitioners who know and understand the educational landscape and the needs of our school. This group allows staff in our school, working at ground level, to be at the forefront of evidence-based approaches and discover, first-hand, the results of implementing various interventions. Projects are guided, tested and evaluated by the group, for the group and for our learners.

All too often CPD and INSET are costly, short-term and have very little impact on staff bodies as a whole, on learners and therefore on schools. At our meetings, practitioners are able to collectively agree on future priorities, in the knowledge that there will be regular opportunities for support, discussion and evaluation. Areas of focus have varied greatly and included writing, effective use of resources, and learner challenge. The groups meet regularly and this encourages core members to commit to consistent collaboration and communication in order to gain maximum benefit.

The culture within the school is so embedded, even during COVID and lockdown, staff have continued to explore avenues of research. The INSPIRE programme will be relaunched in September 2021 for the new academic year with a fresh set of focus areas agreed with the staff body but with the same core principles and aims.”

We have have been nominated for the Sports and Strategic education initiative of the year awards for the TES Awards 2021. We are immensely proud to be shortlisted for this award as it is recognition of the work across the whole school community and reflective of the School’s commitment to professional development and outstanding teaching and learning.