Wrexham local authority’s skills-based teacher training has built a common approach to teaching and learning across schools in the area. Pupils’ thinking skills have progressed well, especially in the transition between primary and secondary school and professional learning communities have encouraged teachers to share their experiences and practices.
Wrexham is situated in north-east Wales and is bordered by Flintshire to the north-west, Denbighshire to the west, Powys to the south and England to the east. The total population is 133,207. The percentage of Wrexham pupils of compulsory school age eligible for free school meals is 19%, similar to that nationally.
The local authority wanted to promote joint-working and a better understanding of skills-based learning.
The local authority provides training for two teachers from each school, one of which should have a leadership responsibility and be responsible for developing teaching and learning across the school. Teachers attend the course with both primary and secondary colleagues from their cluster, supporting them in the development of professional learning communities to share good practice and agree on a common skills-based approach with their feeder secondary school.
Teachers are asked to implement the strategies and research their effectiveness on raising pupil attainment. The outcome of their research is fed back to colleagues both at school and at the subsequent course. The headteacher of each school is given a copy of each teacher’s personal learning target agreed with the course leader. The headteacher is expected to monitor the action taken by the member of staff and ensure that the strategies learned on the course are embedded in classroom practice. Attendance on this course is a requirement for all newly qualified teachers appointed to Wrexham schools.
As a result of the training, improvements include:
a common approach to skills-based teaching and learning in all schools in the cluster;
better continuity and progression in pupils’ thinking skills, especially in transition between key stage 2 and key stage 3;
improved pupil achievement;
the development of schools as professional learning communities.