Securing high quality teaching through professional development

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A combination of in-house training and an emphasis on self-evaluation creates opportunities for explorative learning and continual school improvement at Lamphey Primary School.

Number of learners: 219
Age range: 3-11
Date of inspection: January 2018

Information about the school

Lamphey Primary school is situated in Lamphey Village approximately two miles to the east of the town of Pembroke.  It caters for pupils of the village and outlying districts.  Around 82% of pupils come from outside the catchment area.  Around 8% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.  Currently, there are 219 full time equivalent pupils on role between the ages of three and eleven.  Around 13% of pupils are designated as having additional learning needs, with three pupils having statements of special education needs.  The headteacher has been in post since 2011.

Context and background to the effective or innovative practice

The school leaders have expectations for raising standards and improving the quality of teaching across both key phases through the use of professional development to secure consistently high standards.  The robust and rigorous self-evaluation procedures and challenge ethos of all stakeholders are used continually to lead school improvement.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

The management team of the school meet weekly to facilitate a bespoke, active programme of in-house training to support areas of strengths and weaknesses identified by all staff and governors through detailed scrutiny of outcomes across the school.  Good practice in teaching is shared through honest, critical reflection and open dialogue based on comprehensive self-evaluation procedures.  Training priorities are planned systematically to target the specific areas of improvement identified within the school development plan and from continuous professional dialogue.  Identified pedagogical practices have become a focus for training in order to ensure high quality provision in teaching across the school.

Professional development for staff has been based on the following principles:

  • Staff meetings focus primarily on teaching and learning, with housekeeping items moved to the shared site for staff on HWB.
  • The senior management team meet weekly to plan and provide pertinent and relevant training for middle management, aimed at developing their expertise in leading innovative and progressive change throughout the school.
  • The foundation phase and the key stage 2 leaders plan the agenda of phase meetings jointly in order to ensure continuity and consistency in approach to learning, and jointly monitor outcomes to lead improvement.
  • Triad based community working is promoted, to identify and share successful teaching and learning initiatives. Composition of the triads has ensured cross-phase collaboration.
  • Specific pedagogical modelling is undertaken through the videoing of teaching for scrutiny, leading to critical but supportive dialogue based on raising the quality of provision.  Videos are stored centrally for continued, independent professional development.

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

The school has actively engaged in extending opportunities for high quality, explorational learning both in the outdoor school environment and in a wide diversity of off-school site visits.  The focus of these learning opportunities has been to improve a range of skills, in particular developing higher order numerical and reasoning skills for pupils across both key phases.  Following such initiatives, data shows that the performance of pupils in the National Numeracy tests in 2017 was better than the local authority and Wales averages in both procedural and reasoning skills.  Literacy provision has now a greater focus on developing pupils’ oracy skills and the explicit teaching of writing across the curriculum for pupils, through a structured programme of in-house training.  This has led to pupils achieving high quality literacy outcomes across the school, especially in their extended writing.  The school has successfully implemented very good foundation phase practice, which is focused on developing pupil independence in continuous and enhanced provision by utilising working zones effectively.  These strategies ensure that standards of attainment by the end of the foundation phase remain consistently above local and national averages in literacy, mathematical and personal and social development.

How have you shared your good practice?

Effective learning in the outdoors has been achieved through a comprehensive range of professional development strategies and shared in the following ways:

  • On-site environmental areas are identified and used within both phases to develop skills across the curriculum.  Learning opportunities have been shared with students from University of Wales Trinity St David and with local teachers through in-service training events held at the school.  
  • Senior leaders have worked closely with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools to develop a series of teaching resources on developing mathematical reasoning and ICT skills in the outdoors.  These series of lessons have been quality assured and placed onto the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools website (
  • With the support of Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools programme, senior leaders have delivered inset training on how the outdoors can be used to embed the four purposes (A Curriculum for Wales; A Curriculum for Life). 
  • Academic papers written by a member of staff on the importance of early exposure to the outdoors on children’s development have been presented at conferences, both locally and nationally (British Early Childhood Education Research Association, Creative and Critical Thinking in the Early Years, MAC Birmingham).

Pedagogy and practice of how the school plans, delivers and assesses literacy have been shared by:

  • the literacy co-ordinator leading and supporting training courses for the local authority
  • modelling of lessons and sharing of pupil outcomes with schools within the local authority and in the wider teaching community
  • development of a writing community as part of the ERW Consortium Professional Learning Schools initiative

Successful implementation of the foundation phase has been achieved through a comprehensive range of professional development strategies which have been shared through the following means.

  • The school continually seeks advice from the local authority, who have advised on the implementation of excellent practice.  Any identified very good practices are then shared across the local authority during training days, both on and off the school site.  This has included a project on the successful zoning of the outdoor areas.
  • The school is currently in the process of writing a case study for the Welsh Government on how the school grounds have been used to raise standards of literacy, numeracy and independent learning across the foundation phase.