I think we are a little guilty sometimes of not being as open with both our students, and indeed you parents, regarding very important aspects of school life, which, as you are really the end-users of our services and key stakeholders in the KISU community, is quite wrong of us. Ironically, this tendency towards introversion is actually to our own detriment quite often. A good case in point is monitoring and evaluation; we spend a good deal of energy and many man-hours on looking at our own performance as teachers, and as a school in general, and yet I doubt if many of you know much about how we do it. So let me take this opportunity to address that, at least to some extent.
So far this week I have had the privilege to observe 11 colleagues teaching lessons and I intend to see the remaining 46 over the course of the next two weeks. These visits to lessons are unannounced and I record my observations against 5 key success criteria that have been discussed and agreed upon by the staff as a whole. After these observations, I give fairly detailed feedback to the colleague concerned to help identify strengths and areas for development for them to work on. These visits are great for identifying, celebrating and then arranging to share good practice but they are also about us assuring ourselves that there is both high quality and consistency in the educational service that we provide to you and your children
Colleagues are also commencing their appraisal processes for this academic year. This involves a full lesson observation (again unannounced) in the first part of Term 1by a senior line manager. This is followed by a meeting to review the lesson and set targets for improvement and identify professional development opportunities for the year ahead; progress against the agreed targets is then measured at a second full lesson observation in Term 3.
By now our Heads of Department and Key Stage co-ordinators have analysed and reported on, in considerable detail, student outcomes in exams and assessments at the end of last academic year. As you know there were very many success stories but there are always areas where we could be doing a little better. For the first time, this year we were able to measure the performance of students, teachers and departments against rigorous and objective external data in the shape of the CAT test indicators.
As the year progresses a wide range of other monitoring and evaluation activities will be used to help us to know better where our strengths and areas for development as a school lie. These will include things like: book samples; student surveys; analysis of mock exam results; learning walks etc etc….In addition, the Senior management Team has set itself the target of reviewing our progress as a school towards achieving the aims set out in our Guiding Statements during our weekly meetings throughout the year ahead.
I know the skeptical among you will be tempted to suspect that this is all very well but is anything actually done to tackle under-performance where we find it? The answer, most emphatically is, yes! I have been delighted to see some outstanding teaching and learning already in the last week but of course there will be a range of performance across so many teachers. Where the level of a colleague’s performance falls persistently below our expectations as a world-class international school, we have clear structures in place to support the relevant colleague to make concrete and timely improvements. Happily, I can honestly say that when we have had to revert to these measures in the past there has been considerable success.
So please rest assured that we take the responsibility of educating and developing your sons and daughters extremely seriously; we are honest with ourselves about how well we are doing it and committed to constantly striving to do it better and better.