Thursday, 23 October 2014


In a world where OFSTED strikes fear into the hearts of headteachers and teachers it is important to remember that the current short-term, quick fix interventionist approach led by super-heroes might have it's appeal but it doesn't work.
This short-sighted approach is not based on any in-depth understanding of the research evidence about what works or a detailed understanding of the context and culture of schools, but on superficial data analysis and instant judgements which we all know, from the evidence and the trail of damage, don't lead to sustainable lasting change or deep school improvement. It is important to remember that the core business of schools is teaching and learning and, to achieve this, the school leaders have to find ways to overcome the many obstacles learners are facing. We need to look carefully at John Hattie's work on 'what works and what doesn't' and stop doing the things that have little impact on outcomes.

Importantly, schools need to focus and to move from a culture of command and control and dependency to a culture of enterprise, discipline and hard work supported by feedback, master coaching and deliberate practice. That requires strong and highly effective learning leadership, powerful governance, an organisational infrastructure with beautiful systems that reinforce and support a learning culture, the creative use of financial resources and autonomy, professional excellence at all levels, brilliantly responsive and flexible support and systems that develop intelligent accountability. We know this works because some schools have already moved very successfully in this direction and achieved great things.

There are no quick fixes but we do know what works and what doesn't! We must develop a "can do" approach where there are only challenges and opportunities not nightmares. We know the task we all face in building brilliant provision and excellence for all is enormous but we know how to do this and we simply need to be break the challenges and opportunities down into bite-sized, manageable chunks and develop the strategies and activities to make a real difference.

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