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Beechwood Primary School, Crewe, Cheshire

Moving to an online platform supports professional development while reducing workload for SLT

How is BlueSky helping to reduce workload, for teachers and senior leaders?

Prior to using BlueSky Education, we had a paper-based system for managing CPD, which required staff to fill in forms to request and document their CPD, and we had to manually count the hours and present that to governors. We had an electronic form for appraisals but this also had to be collected by line managers and then fed through the head teacher via email.

By managing CPD through BlueSky, I am saving at least an hour a week as I no longer have to send out emails or chase up with people, that is all done by the platform. For the head teacher, I would imagine it is 2-3 hours a week because she can see everything in one place and quickly run reports across the whole school staff, rather than having to manually collate information. It certainly alleviates the psychological to-do list. From a teacher’s perspective, it is very easy to upload evidence and complete tasks on the platform, it just takes a minute or two.

“We document professional development conversations in BlueSky. Using the online platform ensures that the practice is consistent, it is an ongoing dialogue and that it is protected time for professional development, not just in terms of improving practice, but also celebrating.”

Sophie Cook,
Assistant Head

Beechwood Primary School, online platform supports professional development

How is it supporting teacher development?

Teachers use the frameworks in BlueSky to carry out a self-appraisal against the teachers’ standards and this helps to identify development needs. Previously, CPD resources were stored in a shared drive, but it was hard to know if anyone accessed it. With BlueSky, everything is stored in one place so staff can refer back to earlier resources, and it has given them ownership of their CPD. As a manager who processes the impact of CPD, it’s been a lot easier for me: because we have those online evaluation forms, we can actually see what is having an impact on teacher practice or classroom practice. BlueSky does all of the data crunching which means I can easily analyse CPD activity and deliver reports to our governors.

When it comes to appraisals, staff are better prepared because they have already pre-populated notes, evidence, comments, targets data. As a whole, we felt that the time spent doing the appraisal process was a lot shorter than previous years. The teachers’ perspective was that they felt that they had ownership of the targets, and that it was very transparent. Using the online platform has made it seem more like a collaborative process.

How is it helping to shift the culture of appraisal to a more developmental conversation?

Appraisal and mentoring can feel like something that is being done to you, but using BlueSky’s online platform has helped shift the onus onto our teachers to be proactive and sustain work on professional development. It feels like a working document, like the personal development profile that you have when you are working on teaching qualifications. This is helping to embed the practice of continually adding evidence into the culture.

One of the strongest things we use is instructional coaching. We document these professional development conversations in BlueSky. Using the online platform ensures that the practice is consistent, it is an ongoing dialogue and that it is protected time for professional development, not just in terms of improving practice, but also celebrating.

2024-03-07T10:26:47+00:00
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