To the next level: improving secondary school teaching to outstanding

Peter Daw and Carol Robinson

Building upon a previous report, this research focuses on schools that either achieve and maintain high-quality teaching or succeed in rapidly improving the effectiveness of lessons.

The report builds upon a previous report and reviews current UK research. It identifies some key features of teachers' strategies and professional development:

  • teachers' skills of questioning and explanation, based on sound subject knowledge, are seen to be important to learners’ progress
  • teachers' professional development is found to be most effective when based on individual need and in context and when pursued collaboratively in schools
  • coaching and mentoring are also useful when characterised by high-quality support.

The report makes recommendations for moving to the highest stage in teaching quality, based on interviews with university-level experts and the findings of a number of in-depth case studies at secondary schools. These recommendations focus on:

  • developing subject leaders
  • making time for subject teams to meet and plan
  • being subject-specific about pedagogy
  • establishing longer units of work as the standard currency of scrutiny
  • making judicious use of student self-assessment
  • seeing the school as a contributor to local networks.