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Bishop Henderson Primary School – Case Study

Coaching Case Study – Bishop Henderson Primary School

Coaching in schools is not a new topic, but effective use of coaching within education is as current as any, particularly in a climate of managing continuous change.

Headteacher Tonie Scott has been leading a project to use coaching as part of a development exercise to reinvigorate passion for teaching and learning within a rural school between Wells and Bath. Although coaching was introduced to the school by a consultant some 4 years ago, the concise training event had limited impact and the initiative failed to make any short term impact.

After reviewing her options, Tonie undertook an ILM coaching course with SCIL in order to understand better the mindset required to coach effectively, and to understand how to ensure the process is structured in order to bring about measureable results. The school’s journey since then has been one of steady transformation, influenced by SCIL’s own training and facilitation staff with experience and knowledge of using coaching to manage change.

A group of willing and enthusiastic staff received a more bespoke in house course, orientated around their needs for being catalysts for change within the school. The training focused on not only the process and skills of coaching, but on how to support colleagues with a range of educational topics. The support of this group was invaluable at a whole school Inset, held in September, where the intent was to cascade the coaching approach to the whole staff. One of the most significant outcomes was that staff succeeded in making immediate use of the coaching methodology to set new effective short term goals for their teaching and learning at the start of a new school year.

Since then, Tonie has employed coaching to reorientate the performance management process; using it to create a more engaging dialogue with staff about their development needs, particularly in relation to observed delivery during lesson walks. In addition, staff now use the coaching model to hold more structured (albeit brief) discussions between lessons about teaching and learning. She has also embedded the coaching model within regular staff meetings, not only in the way that the meetings are run, but also allowing staff valuable time to use the process to move forward and find solutions to their own pressing issues. Success breeds success and recognising the usefulness of a coaching model, Tonie used the coaching format to help a newly formed Inclusion Team identify its aims and objectives.

Tonie keeps in touch with the coaching process through her own development and recognises its short, medium and long term benefits to herself and her school. With an Ofsted phone call expected sometime soon, what has been of most value to her has been using coaching as part of a delegation and support process, orientated around engaging staff to collect relevant and accurate data while review of the school’s Self-evaluation form. 3 months in to her new project she is now setting up processes to monitor and evaluate the impact of coaching throughout the school,

It is early days but she feels…

“That the coaching approach is gradually creating a more collaborative atmosphere, it gives a structure for people to approach and solve problems. In addition, using the tools of coaching during meetings is very effective, using a model such as TGROW and the development wheel that the staff are familiar with helps to give structure to meetings and reduces the potential for conflict to become personal.”

However, she is the first to recognise that the leadership team need to ensure that time is allocated so that staff have time to engage with and develop the process. They also need to use the tools at every opportunity during usual school activities, procedures, meetings etc. so that the overall approach becomes embedded in day to day practice.

I If you are interested in finding out more about how to use coaching to support continuous improvement in your school contact us here.

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