In 2015, the school relied on a paper-based system for managing performance development, meaning documents were printed out multiple times and distributed, collected and filed by hand. As the school expanded from a two-form to a six-form entry in Primary, this paper system became unwieldy and it was far too easy for documents to go astray.
At the same time, they were keen to introduce a more bottom-up approach to professional development, giving more responsibility to staff to take charge of their own learning and enabling managers to map targets for individuals to the school development plan, and to the school’s bespoke professional standards.
Keeping up with best practice in the UK was also a concern. There was a feeling that the school risked missing out on new thinking around professional learning, and the technologies to implement them that were emerging there and in other countries.
BlueSky was introduced later that year and has been rolled out across the whole school with all staff, teaching and support services staff, now using it to log their professional development. School development plan objectives are on BlueSky and when staff set their targets for the year, they link them to the plan.
“When they undertake any training or CPD, staff identify which objectives it links to and it is then recorded on BlueSky,” says Uzma Zaffar, Vice Principal – Quality Assurance. “In the last year, in-house training and development opportunities have been uploaded to BlueSky for all staff to access and book.”
A key issue was staff omitting to log any internal training they had undertaken. “We offer so much for staff development but none of it was being recorded as evidence by staff who did it. Now, once they request training it is logged. We run weekly teaching and learning forums for primary and secondary, for example, which are attended by many staff and count as CPD, so now they are advertised and booked on BlueSky.”
“The extensive support BlueSky offers was key to embedding the system across the school,” she adds. “The support service is brilliant and help is instant so if you email with a query, it is answered within an hour. What’s also very good is the continuity. We have dealt with the same person from the beginning, he knows our system really well, knows exactly what we need and how we need it.”