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Advanced Practitioner Case Study - Undertaking Non-judgemental Lesson Observations: Shipley, Barnsley and Mysercough Colleges


This case study is from one of 15 collaborative projects, across a range of cross-sector partnerships that were commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation to support Phase 4 of the Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) programme.

This phase was delivered by touchconsulting and CETTAcademy to evaluate the role of Advanced Practitioners (APs), as defined by Tyler et al (2017)[1]. The projects were intended to explore the functions and values of the AP role within the partnership’s quality improvement priorities.

At Barnsley College there was a need to evaluate the model that had been in place for 6 years following discussion raised about the effectiveness and value for money of the model. The project provided opportunities to compare, contrast and evaluate the models from the perspectives of other colleges. As part of this scrutiny a key focus was working with middle managers to see how APs were utilised and managed, and the relationships between APs, managers and the strategic development of teaching, learning and assessment (TLA) across the colleges.

Myerscough focused on the APs mentoring and coaching staff who carried out SEs in teaching and learning, They also focused on APs leading a culture of making TLA a focus at team meetings, rather than using such meetings just for business items.

At Shipley College, clarification of purpose led to the separation of the AP role from performance management functions. APs were trained in Foundation Thinking, including the use of thinking pairs, and devised a mentor/mentee contract that encouraged practitioners to become more reflective and collaborative. These were all features of an emerging model of ‘Professional Classrooms’ that also used a Thinking Environment (Nancy Kline) to enhance learner engagement.

[1] Tyler, E., Marvell, R., Green, M., Martin, A., Williams, J. and Huxley, C. (2017) Institute for Employment Studies (2017). Understanding the role of Advanced Practitioners, (Education and Training Foundation).