Cluster coaching

10th June 2005 at 01:00
For the past few years Glasgow's education department has placed a number of probationer teachers in primary schools to release experienced staff to develop curriculum initiatives across clusters of primaries and new learning communities.

These teachers have worked on talking and listening, teaching for effective learning (including formative assessment and interactive teaching using a smartboard) and problem-solving and enquiry.

After positive feedback, this CPD model is now offered to every learning community in the city. Headteachers are asked to identify a classroom teacher who could take up the role of "cluster coach" and which of the three areas they would wish to develop across the cluster.

The coaches are released from class on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings to carry out their cluster work, which also allows them all to attend central training on the same days. So far, the most effective use of their time has been to work with a few of teachers in each school who were willing to try new ideas.

One of the headteachers in each cluster manages the project, drawing up a timetable for coaching in context and reporting progress to the senior management team of the learning community. The managing heads have organised twilight meetings for the community teachers involved in the programme. This has provided a forum for sharing good practice and built up a learning network.

Contact Eileen McNeill, education improvement service adviser, email

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