Classroom teaching has the largest impact on the quality of educational outcomes. It is what teachers know and do and how their leaders support them that makes the difference in improving student learning and outcomes.
To help teachers and school leaders define what quality teaching and learning looks like, we have developed the Cambridge School Leader and Teacher standards. They articulate what we believe to be the key characteristics and practices of effective teachers and school leaders.
How have we developed the standards?
The standards have been developed by a team of Cambridge experts: the Principal Examiners for the Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications (PDQs) in Teaching and Learning and Educational Leadership, working with specialist consultants and senior managers in Cambridge International.
This team has extensive experience of designing and using standards to support school and professional development. We have ensured that these Cambridge Teacher and School Leader Standards are fit for purpose and respect the range and diversity of Cambridge school contexts.
Our design principle has been to produce standards that will be aspirational for all teachers and school leaders and will provide a basis for continuing professional development. The standards have been clearly structured and worded so that they will be easily understood and useful.
So, how can you use the standards?
We are not prescriptive about the use of the standards. We are very happy for their use to be driven by the context of the Cambridge school using them. However, we do have some suggestions for their use.
The standards could be used to:
- provide benchmarks against which teachers and school leaders can evaluate their current practice and plan future development
- show how the Cambridge learner and teacher attributes are demonstrated in practice
- contribute to the development of a shared frame of reference within which we can work to improve the quality of teaching and leadership.
As a further example, within Cambridge International, we have recently used the standards to:
- develop ‘Red, Amber, Green’ grids to help teachers and leaders measure their effectiveness
- develop a self-assessment questionnaire to provide a baseline for teacher and school leader confidence and competence, and to provide an understanding of ongoing professional development
- develop a set of questions for mentors to use to explore teacher confidence and progress in the classroom.
Exploring the standards with our schools
There are, of course, many more uses for the standards and, to investigate their potential further, we recently held a webinar to discuss them with Cambridge schools.
Teachers and school leaders from around the world took part in the webinar, exploring how they might use the standards in their own schools.
The participants generated many interesting ideas, such as:
- how rubrics could be created from the standards and used for evaluation Salma Kadri from Emkan Education in Saudi Arabia
- how to use the standards in school and what benefit they would have for the teachers. Sonam Chavan and Shad Khatib, teachers in India
Participants were also interested in:
- how the standards can be used within the Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications
- how the standards might be used to link with other regional and national standards.
After a great deal of discussion, we closed the session with some thoughtful conclusions from our teachers and school leaders:
- ‘As leaders, we need to see that the standards are maintained in the classroom and see how we can even raise them. We need to work collectively with other teachers in the school.’ Shad
- ‘These standards can help teachers and leaders to audit their practice and then develop actions to improve areas where they may have challenges.’ Sonam
- ‘These standards could prove to be a useful framework for new teachers starting out in Cambridge schools. Julie
Following the success of the webinar, we hope to hold another in the near future and to encourage teachers and leaders to explore potential and proven uses for the standards. We will be running sessions at the Cambridge Schools Conferences around the world this year to look at the standards in more detail and to continue to explore their uses.
If you would like to understand more about the Cambridge School Leader and Teacher Standards, please visit our website, join us at one of our sessions at the Cambridge Schools Conference or look out for information about our next webinar on social media.