How Connah’s Quay High School used team learning to improve standards of teaching.

Context and background

Connah’s Quay High School is an English-medium mixed 11 to 18 school maintained by Flintshire local authority. There are currently 937 learners on roll, including 75 in the sixth form.

Around 13.8 per cent of learners are eligible for free school meals compared with the Welsh average of 17.4 per cent for secondary schools. Around 33.7 per cent of learners have a special educational need, which is above the national average of 25.4 per cent. The proportion of learners who have a statement of special educational need is 1.4 per cent, which is lower than the average for Wales as a whole of 2.5 per cent.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

Team learning is achieved through the use of the professional learning community (PLC) national model. Teaching staff work collaboratively in teams to learn together. The phases of learning are as follows.

  1. The group is established and staff work with colleagues in their immediate teams.
  2. A specific pedagogical principle is chosen as a focus of the work.
  3. Action enquiry staff engage in pedagogical research to deepen their understanding of the subject matter.
  4. Staff trial the new learning and teaching strategies in their own classrooms.
  5. Staff feed back to the team what worked and what did not. Reflection is an important element of this conversation and staff are encouraged to be open and honest. The team then solve any ‘issues’ together.
  6. At the ‘refining’ stage staff tweak the strategies discussed.
  7. Outcomes are shared via a whole school ‘sharing event’.

Meeting time for the teams is calendared, demonstrating the schools’ commitment to team learning and collaboration. To further support their learning, staff are provided with strategies to trial via support documents. Newly developed practice is shared in a learning and teaching newsletter which is published by the assistant headteacher with overall responsibility for learning and teaching.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

Staff collaboration and the sharing of good practice has had a positive impact on the standards of teaching. Learner engagement has also increased through linking the learning to the real world (using the Making it REAL programme). Learners have developed their independent learning skills through the development of Learning Autonomy. Mindset and the power of effort has been instrumental in developing resilience in learners in preparation for the numeracy examinations. The learners have been able to use these skills in other subjects across the curriculum.

Sharing good/best practice

This practice has been shared at the Secondary Headteacher’s Conference and at events facilitated through GwE.