Making progress in personalisation in schools

My guest blogger is Sue Williams who is the Lead Service Manager and Executive head teacher for Stanmore House and Corseford Schools.

Progress for Providers is a range of self-assessments for providers in personalisation ( Sue went on a course that looked at Progress for Providers for managers, and decided to use it at her school (  Her blog describes what she is doing as a result.

“I attended a Progress for Providers course focusing on Self Directed support and identifying organisational readiness for change. I was engaged and motivated with the content of the course throughout the two days and came away “buzzing “ as only a well organised and delivered course can achieve. So often however once back at school day to day life overtakes me and once I have fed back the contents of the course to my leadership teams I have lost the desire to develop things further. Not so with this course!

Once back at school I initiated a joint leadership team meeting made up of the leadership teams of two special schools, Corseford and Stanmore House. Both Schools are owned by Capability Scotland where review and reflection for improvement is standard practice through its Quality Management System.

The leadership teams used the audit tool provided by Progress for Providers as a tool to identify how far the schools were in providing a personalised learning environment for our pupils, most of whom have complex learning, physical and communication needs. From this we drew up an action plan to guide us in the next year to improving our services.

In further changing the culture of attitudes of staff towards personalisation we decided that we would expand peer observations to include our classroom support staff, peer observations having been practice for a year or two for teachers. At first Classroom staff were hesitant about the prospect of been observed by their peers so we involved them significantly in the process. For the first round of observations we didn’t set an agenda but asked for comments and an evaluation of the process. The results were very positive. so much so that we were able to agree with the support staff that the next round would be much more structured and based around the outcomes from “How Good Is Our School “. Responses were ”I have learned so much from my colleagues and want to put it into practice in my own classroom”,” I really enjoyed having the opportunity to have some dialogue with my colleagues as it helped me to understand my own role in the classroom in supporting young people”.

To support our annual review process we decided that we would aggregate the responses we received from parents and carers to see if there were any significant issues or trends. As an organisation we are familiar with analysing data and felt that this gave us further evidence to improve our practices. What resulted was that almost all parents were happy with the individualised education children and young people received but that for a few there were things that we could do better. We were then able to focus our attention on these issues and report to all parents the improvements we had made. These improvements included including elements of pupils IEP targets into the Annual performance review discussions with teachers and classroom support staff, thus making the meetings focused staff supporting pupils to achieve personalised outcomes.”

A note about the schools

Both schools are grant aided by the Scottish Government. They are run by the disability charity Capability Scotland, which campaigns with, and provides education, employment and care services for disabled people across Scotland.

Both Schools are judged to be Sector Leaders by Education Scotland. Corseford School is a Sector Leader in Pupils as confident Individuals, Effective Partnerships and Individual Pupil Profiling. Stanmore House is Sector Leader in Meeting Pupils Needs.


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