Saturday, 4 July 2015


I suppose I have been a critical, reflective learner all my life. All the best colleagues I know, reflect on the quality of their work. They do this as professionals who are responsible for the quality of their work and for the achievements and the personal and social development of the young people they teach, and as members of a team, which is responsible for the overall quality of educational provision.
I was catching up with some colleagues who reminded me that we need to celebrate, share and network excellence and constantly learn from what works! We need intelligent accountability driving a culture of excellence and improvement! We need to develop a coherent systematic approach to help every school become a great school and we need to develop systemic solutions and strategies that recognised that every child matters! Interestingly, but not surprising really, the people I meet from schools across the country miss the best National Strategies, the best materials and the best people associated with these programmes... although they don't miss the political and bureaucratic interference which dogged many local authority school improvement arrangements and are still there in so many Children's Services arrangements. My work in York, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds and Guernsey clearly shows that schools need relationships with other schools, headteachers need relationships with other headteachers and teachers need relationships with other teachers. Headteachers and teachers I know want someone or something to provide strategic leadership, they want to belong to something bigger and with the same moral purpose and they need a framework within which they can see the bigger picture, the connections, the outcomes and their impact on young people, families and communities.

Together, we must put the things that matter first and ensure every school is a brilliant school and every child a brilliant learner! Sad then that, in many schoolsprofessional development has been put on the back-burner in a lot of schools who don't know where to find the support they need and for a lot of them don't necessarily understand/think they need it especially in a world where money is tight and with teachers/teaching being promoted as the answer to life, the universe and everything! Many schools also lack the experience associated with good quality assurance and the ability to moderate judgements about what is great, what isn't and what to do about it. The danger, for schools in a world without these good local teams, is that they simply don't identify their training needs until things go wrong or unless OFSTED calls. Sadly, the national, and in many places the local, debate seems to hinge around Academies, Free Schools and OFSTED and there simply aren't the people talking about school improvement and developing and sharing a coherent vision for learning!

That is why it isn’t OFSTED or raw data that really matters although they provide part of the evidence. The key to success is self-evaluation and at the heart of self-evaluation are three questions:
1.     Where are we now?
2.     Where do we want to be?
3.     How do we get there?

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