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Repton School, Derbyshire

BlueSky helps Repton School give staff the recognition they deserve

About the school

Repton School is a pre-eminent independent school set over a large campus near the Derbyshire town of Repton. Founded over 450 years ago, the school aims to combine traditional values with a modern approach to practice and outlook.

With over 1000 pupils across the Prep and Senior School, Repton is focused on providing a broad-based education offering world class facilities as well as high quality teaching and pastoral care.

Key Takeaways:

  • Versatile platform allows staff to evaluate every aspect of their role
  • Flexible evaluation system means staff are not ‘rated’ or ‘graded’
  • Staff find it easy to use on the go, so it does not add to workload

“A big part of the value of BlueSky is its versatility. It allows us to recognise our people for their full role, rather than just focusing on one small aspect of teaching.”

Ashley Currie

Deputy Head, Academic, Repton School

How is BlueSky supporting the school?

Repton School uses BlueSky to support its processes for staff appraisal, having implemented the system in early 2022. Having looked at a number of other options, the leadership team selected BlueSky for its versatility and ease of use.

“It is very intuitive. Our staff find it easy to use and not burdensome,” says Ashley Currie, Deputy Head, Academic. “It’s a very simple system, in a good way. You don’t have to complete endless forms and data entry.”

As a co-educational boarding and day school, the school offers not only high standards of academic education, but also a wide range of co-curricular activities and staff are also responsible for the pastoral care of students. Consequently, the leadership team wanted to ensure that their appraisal system reflected the multi-faceted roles that many staff perform.

“Having an appraisal system that didn’t just focus on the classroom was very important to us,” Ashley explains. “While BlueSky can give us the Teachers’ Standards for classroom staff to self-review against, it is also able to incorporate our standards for the pastoral and co-curricular side of school life, both of which are a big part of what we do here.”

Staff use the system to document professional development and training, but the platform is also instrumental in sharing feedback from regular observations, which can be recorded during the lesson and fed into coaching conversations.

“Staff really like that they can see feedback straight away after the lesson, and they can digest it before we have a conversation.”

“We also do observations for the other roles that staff do, whether that’s coaching sport, tutoring or pastoral, so we want to be able to capture that. We love that BlueSky offers the flexibility to have forms and review frameworks for all of these co-curricular activities.”

Why did the school choose BlueSky?

Ashley and the leadership team wanted a system that supported a ‘low stakes’ approach to appraisal, without introducing additional bureaucracy and workload. He says:

“We’re not the sort of school that marks teachers out of ten, so we wanted a system that is versatile and could be adapted to our appraisal process. We prefer a more holistic, reflective approach that focuses on setting targets to improve through professional development.”

“If we’d used any of the other solutions on the market, we would have to use number ratings, and of course you can create unnecessary conflict when you grade someone with a number.”

“Having an appraisal system that didn’t just focus on the classroom was very important to us. BlueSky is able to incorporate our standards for the pastoral and co-curricular side of school life, both of which are a big part of what we do here. ”

Ashley Currie

Deputy Head, Academic, Repton School

What is the impact?

“Staff love the versatility of BlueSky. They particularly like that we can design forms in BlueSky that capture all of the great work that they do. We couldn’t do that with other platforms. A big part of the value of BlueSky is its versatility. It allows us to recognise our people for their full role, rather than just focusing on one small aspect of teaching.”

Using BlueSky has helped the school to strengthen the appraisal process and ensure that staff are sharing best practice. “Our teachers are very good of course, but BlueSky has given us more structure for some of those opportunities to collaborate through observations and coaching conversations,” Ashley says. “It’s created these little sparks and conversations around the school. Even if you come up with one little thing, it’s still a really useful conversation to have had.”

“BlueSky has allowed us to create a base level framework which supports staff to improve and it makes the process transparent, fair, open and honest.”

What’s next?

Now that BlueSky is well established with the teaching staff, Ashley and his team are planning to implement the appraisal process for operations and support staff.

“We’re planning to start rolling it out to some of our operations staff this year, so we are currently training the operations management team how to use it.” says Ashley.

“We’ve been very conscious to make it a friendly, low-stakes process for our teaching staff, so now we are at a place where they see the value of BlueSky and how it supports our culture.”

2023-12-19T18:49:29+00:00
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