Six teachers at Albany Academy, Bolton Rd, have reason to celebrate now they have completed training with High Performance Learning, an organisation on a mission to boost pupil performance in schools across the globe.
Teachers Ms Wensley, Damon Steele, Sarah Crompton, Louise Devlin, Lewis Eaves, and Jason McNaboe will now bring their new knowledge to the classroom in the hope that it will benefit Albany's pupils.
Not only will the teachers deliver their subjects, but they will also teach the pupils how to become effective learners.
Albany Academy headteacher Mr Peter Mayland said the training came about when the school was reviewing its curriculum.
"We were reviewing our curriculum, what we were about as a school and what we wanted to achieve for each individual child," he said, "and we started to look for examples of what all employers, regardless of workplace, want.
“We see leadership skills as an important part of our offer to students here but we also want them to take the skills into further life."
The school settled on four key skills and values they want their pupils to have: effective learning, employability, effective leadership, and being a 'nice person'.
Headteacher Mr Mayland found out about High Performance Learning and thought it might fit the bill.
“We happened upon HPL and this is what people who succeed at school or university do; they know how they learn and they work hard," he said.
“It is part of a big piece of work we are doing to make it explicit to children and to parents what we expect from them and which behaviours we are going to teach them."
Simon O’Grady, CEO at High Performance Learning, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the tremendous teachers at Albany Academy.
"They are the compelling proof that excellence in teaching starts with the belief that all students are capable of high performance.”
Usually, the teachers would undergo intense training for twelve months but this took 18 months due to various lockdowns.
“They are now the experts and are now training their colleagues within the school,” said Mr Mayland of the HPL teachers.
As a result, Albany pupils may notice some changes in the classroom.
“These behaviours will be made very explicit in class and teachers will point out to students when they are working hard, or why they may be finding something hard so they are able to establish a link," Mr Mayland said.
The head also hopes this will help children to make links between new learning and something they have learnt before, akin to ‘circular learning’.
Teachers trained to use HPL methods will sign-post to students to let them know what they will be learning and why, with the hope that they will become more proactive learners in the future.
The Albany head says he has already seen this in action, when a student was upset and angry after struggling with their work.
He says they were able to recognise why they were having difficulties and work with their teacher to overcome this.
“This was brilliant because the teacher was able to praise the student for dedication to their work, secondly the student recognised they weren’t able to do it on their own and, thirdly, they looked for help," said the head.
“So rather than a student thinking ‘I’m a failure’ or ‘I can only succeed by getting help’, they can now recognise that, actually, feeling frustrated is part of everyday life and we can get through it by realising we need support and persevering.”
“All of these things are really powerful skills."
The teachers started applying what they learnt during the HPL course even during lockdown, when pupils may have been isolated from their peers and mentors.
“What we did find during lockdown - and the second lockdown from January - is that teachers were already using a lot of this terminology with the students, and that was helpful on an individual basis," said headteacher Mr Mayland.
“It has been very nice to be able to concentrate on learning as opposed to healthcare which is what a lot of the last twelve months has been about."
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