A New Approach to Action Planning and Monitoring

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Teaching and Learning Cycles are well established now and the school’s year flows around these nine weeks. At a time where I wanted to give greater autonomy to the learning areas and encourage more collaborative planning it felt right to follow this nine week pattern. This case study outlines how we plan to run our line management meetings, department time and monitoring in 2017-18.

A nine week cycle of action planning

HOLAs and Progress Leaders meet with their line managers in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. There is a guide of what needs to be discussed in those meetings, but there is time for open discussions (that lead to outcomes!) during the hour. The following is the process for the HOLAs; the Progress Leaders’ agenda is very similar.

Week HOLA/SLT line manager
1 Analysis of individuals, groups and classes using RAISE, SISRA, progress reports and transition matrices. Review updated SEF. Complete Q action plan. Shared agenda items.
3 Separate KS3 and KS4 meeting for Progress Leaders and subject leads to share approaches being taken for this quarter.
5 Mid-cycle review of Q action plan. Shared agenda items.
7 Mid-cycle review of Q action plan. Shared agenda items.
9 SEF update. Shared agenda items.

Prior to the start of the academic year the HOLA will have already completed the following documents:

  • Learning Area SEF
  • Learning Area improvement plan
  • Review of Year 11 and 13 results
  • Examiner’s Reports & eQLA
  • Review of last year’s Q4 data


Armed with this information the HOLA will draw up an action plan for the quarter.  The three key issues from the updated SEF will be listed and for each there will be:

  • Group of students to be impacted
  • Actions
  • Success criteria


Even though there will more than likely be in excess of three issues, we believe that to focus upon more than this would not be possible. This is an extension of the WIG principles.  This action plan and reviewing it forms the starting point of subsequent conversations. The end of the cycle brings an updating of the SEF and the whole process repeats itself again.  This is summarised in the chart below.


A nine week cycle of curriculum improvement

HOLAs lead a weekly meeting with the teachers in their learning area. The meetings follow the nine week teaching and learning cycles. There is a set agenda for each of the meetings:

  1. 1. A review is undertaken of the previous cycle’s teaching materials. What worked and what didn’t work? What to do differently next year? Changes to planning and resources are made whilst things are still fresh in the mind.
  2. 2. The data sheets from the previous cycle will have been printed in readiness for this meeting so teachers can update their T&L packs. The rest of the meeting continues with the previous week’s work.
  3. 3. TLAC training to focus upon a technique that supports the current needs of the learning area.
  4. 4. Write and review materials for the following cycle. Green stickers, assessments and knowledge organisers are completed. They are then handed in for checking.
  5. 5. Teachers jointly plan the next cycle’s materials. Different learning areas divide up their team in order to meet their needs. This has resulted in some having specialist key stage materials preparation teams. There is a focus on embedding TLAC strategies into the resources.
  6. 6. Continue with the next cycle’s joint planning.
  7. 7. Action plan developed in response to learning walk outcomes.
  8. 8. HOLA priority. This flexibility enables the team to spend additional time on what needs doing.
  9. 9. Teacher reflection meetings to analyse data and plan super teaching week.


A nine week cycle of monitoring

HOLAs are responsible for the quality of teaching in their learning areas. Every quarter during weeks 5 and 6 they, along with their SLT line manager, will undertake learning walks. For every lesson they visit they will record www (what went well) and ebi (even better if) under the following headings:

  • Routines – Expectations/TLAC/typicality
  • Do Now – Engaging/immediate
  • Success Criteria – Purpose of the lesson is clear/understanding what they are doing well
  • Impact on future assessments
  • Engagement/BFL – No wasted time/student behaviours do not affect learning
  • Books – Quality/volume/marking
  • T&L Pack – Complete/fit for purpose
  • Literacy – Evidence from different sources
  • Pace/challenge/progress – Is progress visible or do students seem to be making progress over time?
  • SLANT/silence is silence – Student body language/listening
  • Displays – Relevant/condition


Feedback is given to teachers after the learning walks.  The teachers can share any ebi with their coach with a view to improving them.  They are also able to use this feedback as part of their performance management if they choose to do so.

The HOLA will then produce a summary sheet using the headings above for their learning area.  During the HOLA’s meeting in week 7, this summary is discussed and the learning area teachers come up with an action plan to develop the www and remove the ebi.

There is also a regular programme of book scrutinies.  Each quarter every learning area submit a batch of books to SLT to look at in the morning; the batch may change each quarter and is based upon the whole school priority at the time, for example the most able or disadvantaged.  This allows us to track students across subjects and ensure no group’s books are not meeting our high expectations.  The HOLA comes to SLT briefing and the quality of the books is discussed.  Again www and ebi are identified and fed back to the team using the following categories:

  • Frequency/up to date
  • Appropriate formative comments
  • Students response – purple
  • Marking for literacy
  • Neatness/volume

Twice a year, during week 6 of quarters 1 and 3, we undertake a whole school book scrutiny.  HOLAs, TLR holders and their SLT link will look at books in every class in every Year group for every teacher.  This deep dive gives a detailed picture of the quality of student work.  Records are kept under the same headings as above and discussed during the week 7 meeting; the focus is on sharing best practice and eliminating poor practice.

In a similar fashion the Progress Leaders are expected to monitor the quality of the tutors in their team.  They also undertake a learning walk during week 6 using the following headings:

  • Line up – Silence, tutors “be seen looking” and small talk, silent walk in with assigned routes & door holders
  • Equipment check – Speed and reporting
  • Register – Use of “good morning”
  • Activity – Page in book for reading / volume of work done
  • Dismissal – Orderly and routines / Threshold
  • Assembly – Silent entry and routine of where to sit

Again feedback is given to the tutors after the learning walks and the Progress Leader produces a summary sheet.  The team will discuss this during their next briefing and seek to make improvements.


Next steps

We will have to evaluate how this system works next year.  I don’t want the paperwork aspect of the leadership files to become too cumbersome so this is something that I will have to keep a close eye on.  Greater autonomy for the learning areas coupled with more collaborative planning will, I hope, lead to even better outcomes for our students.

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