Case Studies

MMLA S2S Collaborative Project : Improving provision for investigate Science with challenge in a mixed-ability class at KS2

A key issue from recent inspections nationally is the need to improve the subject knowledge of teachers in the primary sector, and ensure provision for More Able learners. Assessment without levels demands that there is a stronger dialogue between the primary and secondary sectors to ensure shared understanding of attainment and progress achieved in the core subjects. This collaborative programme aims to improve KS 1&2 teacher skills and learner outcomes, and to embed practices to ensure learner progress through and after transition into secondary school.


  • To raise attainment of More Able learners in KS 1&2 Science

  • To improve teacher practice and confidence in targeted subject areas, informed by a range of approaches

Key outcomes:

  • To develop curriculum strategies for participating schools (in particular, intervention strategies for use in the classroom, increased focus on narrowing the gap, challenging the most able), to be shared across partner schools.

  • To support embedding of action research methods and develop shared action research projects

  • To support identified leads at participating school in embedding learning from the programme in their schools

  • To establish a clear understanding of assessment criteria against which to judge progress and attainment

  • To establish a local network to develop practice

  • To identify and train future SLEs in the primary phase


A WAM SLE was deployed to work with a primary teacher who were judged as having the potential to be very successful with the right support in a school which was judged to be in danger of entering Special Measures. A cycle of: joint planning, demonstration lesson by the SLE, joint planning, team-teaching, joint planning and  the teacher observed by the SLE was carried out twice, focusing on the key areas needing improvement. The confidence of the teacher significantly improved as did their performance in class and their impact on progress, with one judged to be performing consistently at a high standard and subsequently being directed into middle leadership.

A WAM SLE was deployed to plan and deliver a training day on 'Maintaining Outstanding' for the teachers and support staff of an outstanding infant school. The training included key areas requested by the school: The key elements of outstanding teaching, Effective differentiation methods, Raising attainment through Guided Reading and Mastery in Maths. It was interactive and included a session where the entire staff watched the SLE teaching. The feedback from the staff and the HT was very positive.

MMLA Case Study: Developing Outstanding Leadership in EBacc Subjects (English, Mathematics, History & Geography, Sciences, Modern Languages)

“Great to develop middle leadership skills with other HoDs in different schools. Learnt so much by coaching each other”. (HoD participant)

“Easy, practical hook into getting headline detail on using pedagogical research, and good web based resources”. (HoD participant)

Rationale & Objectives: This two-term collaborative project draws on coaching frameworks and recent pedagogy to explore the power of this group of subject leaders in shaping and driving the Teaching and Learning vision of their schools. It takes the view that outstanding leadership is about fostering a culture in which teachers develop a range of research-informed practices to get the best of themselves, their colleagues, and their students. The emphasis is always be on developing best practice and working through shared challenges and opportunities in subject hubs. The programme also seeks collaboratively to develop evidence-based guidance on effective practice which other schools can draw on. The programme has been developed by Heather Clements (author of the NACE Challenge Award) and Ben Parsons, Director of MMLA, and will be delivered with MMLA SLEs .

Intended Outcomes:

•       Upskilled subject leaders who are confident to drive improvements in their own departments and provide a model for improved middle leadership across their own schools

•        Outstanding teaching and learning in core subjects

•        Improved provision by all teachers for the More Able students

•        Improved post 16 teaching & learning

•       A clearer understanding of both the barriers to outstanding learning for all students, and the effective strategies which schools have developed to mitigate these.

Coaching for Change This is a fascinating example of coaching in action, led by Karen Kennedy, NLP Master practitioner. It uses the a ‘resilience’ analysis of each participant as the focus of coaching sessions about how we develop through challenging situations in teaching. The aims are both to facilitate participants to get to know their own leading-learning habits, and to model how they might encourage ‘growth mindset’ in their teams.