Improving Our Classrooms

What is Improving Our Classrooms?

Improving Our Classrooms (IOC) is a year-long programme for class teachers. It has a clear focus on high quality self-evaluation at classroom level, leading to:

Mel Pearson

Principal Teacher

Improving Our Classrooms

Katie Ballantyne

Principal Teacher

Improving Our Classrooms

IOC has been running in the West Partnership for three years but the programme itself is 12 years old, originating in Glasgow City Council. In 2021-22, 134 teachers from seven local authorities participated in the programme.

This is Masters Level (SCQF level 11) professional learning and participants who successfully complete the core IOC programme gain 30 Masters Credits. The programme is accredited by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the credits are transferrable to other institutions so that participants can use them to continue their Masters journey. In addition, IOC participants receive GTCS Accreditation for Professional Learning. The programme is fully funded by the West Partnership.

IOC - Register your interest

IOC - Register your interest

Who is IOC for?

IOC is for class teachers in the primary and secondary sectors who are clearly and consistently meeting the GTCS Standard for Registration. It is aimed at effective teachers who wish to further develop their skills in using data and self-evaluation to raise attainment in their classroom with a focus on the features of highly effective practice.  All participants are required to have the support of their headteacher before applying. This is a required part of the application process.

What does the programme look like?

What does the programme look like?

The structure and content of Improving Our Classrooms is outlined below.  It is worth noting that, because this is an accredited Masters Level programme, attendance at and engagement with all elements of the programme are required to pass.

1. Features of Highly Effective Practice Sessions – September to February

In session 2022-23 there will be a blended delivery approach – some sessions will be face to face, some online and some may be combined into one session. There will also be opportunities to work with colleagues in different local authorities.  Each session will last approximately 3 hours, cover a different feature of highly effective practice and draw on a variety of professional reading and research.  There is also an IOC Journal which allows teachers to prepare for discussions before sessions as well as reflect on the content afterwards. Session dates and times are arranged by IOC Leads in each local authority.

2. Trio visits – January to March

Collaboration and professional discussion are fundamental to IOC and contribute to improvement at classroom level. At the start of the programme each participant is allocated to a trio and each trio is supported by an IOC mentor. The mentors are IOC graduates and experienced teachers who provide another source of support and guidance across the year.

In term three, all trio members visit each other’s classrooms to share good practice, discuss learning and teaching and challenge each other to improve. Each teacher takes part in three visits, one of which each teacher will host. The first part of the visit is spent observing learning and teaching in an area of strength. The second part focuses on high-quality professional discussion facilitated by the trio’s mentor.

3. Case Study of Improvement – submitted in May / June

The assessment of IOC culminates with the submission of a 5000 word Case Study of Improvement. Through the case study, participants are supported to:

Academic writing support is provided by GCU and feedback is given on draft sections of the case study as they are written. All participants also make a presentation about their case study to peers. Formative feedback is given on the final submission in order to support participants who wish to continue their Masters journey.

Where can I find out more?

Please speak to your headteacher in the first instance, then you may wish to contact your local authority IOC lead. They can give you the link to the application form. For session 2022-23 applications open on April 19th and close on May 19th.

IOC beyond the core model – other opportunities

Once participants successfully complete the core IOC programme there is an opportunity to become an IOC mentor and support others on their professional learning journey. All the mentors undertake the Delivering Mentorship module in their first year as a mentor. This is also accredited by GCU, comes with a further 15 Masters Credits and is assessed through a structured professional dialogue in term four.

IOC also recruits experienced leaders to become markers for the core programme. This gives an opportunity to mark at Masters Level. Training is provided for markers in April / May. Each person is usually allocated 3-4 case studies when they are submitted late in term four. Markers are paid the equivalent of three hours at the West Partnership’s Supported Study rate per case study. All markers need to have at least five years of experience as a quality improvement officer (or equivalent), headteacher or depute headteacher. Those who are currently mentoring a trio are excluded from marking.

Please contact your local authority lead if you are interested in either of the opportunities described above.


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