Wymondham High Academy to film lessons in a bid to lift standards

PUBLISHED: 14:41 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:41 29 April 2014

Teachers are to video themselves in lessons as part of a new training programme designed to help their school reach a top inspection rating.

Wymondham High Academy caused controversy when it announced plans to reduce teaching time by 50 minutes per week to allow for more teacher training.

But after concerns raised by parents, the school in Folly Road, Wymondham has since altered its plans by reducing the number of inset days and stopping the practice of closing early at the end of term, so that overall teaching time will remain “virtually unchanged”. Outlining the new methods the academy would use to get the best out of its teachers, vice-principal Jonathan Rockey said: “We would far rather have a slightly reduced timetable and higher quality lessons than maintain the timetable we’ve got.”

Wymondham High has already been piloting the idea of filming teaching in some lessons, which Mr Rockey said had been “really successful”.

The pilot has involved 40 members of staff and Mr Rockey said the school wanted to expand it further. Flexible camera systems are used so the camera can be detached easily to film different parts of the lesson. “The aim is that by the end of the summer term, the majority of teachers will have watched themselves teach,” he said. By September, when the new timetable which will see lessons end at 2.10pm on Tuesdays comes into force, leading educational trainer and author Mike Hughes will visit to give a talk before the school focuses on teaching standards at its sessions for the autumn term.

Mr Rockey said the filming was simply intended to provide a “snapshot” of lessons so staff could discuss the recordings with their colleagues and suggest improvements.

Wymondham High has decided to focus on teaching standards because the quality of teaching was one of the key areas of improvement identified by Ofsted for the school to reach an “outstanding” grade.

The other area of improvement was in marking, which will be 
the focus of the spring term training.

The academy is also changing its whole staff briefings with members of staff being able to give presentations about interesting, innovative or exciting ways of teaching and learning which could benefit others.

Mr Rockey said the changes meant teachers would benefit from 90 hours of professional development training per term.

What do you think of teachers filming lessons to help improve standards? Write, giving your full contact details, to: EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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