Based on his experience in the UK and abroad John believes that to improve the quality of learning and teaching in a sustainable way, schools need to look at what works from evidence based research and benchmark against the best schools round the world.
Teachers need to experience a high quality programme of staff development as well as opportunities to share great practice.
Key to the process of improving learning and teaching are the 5C’s:
- CORE PURPOSEA sharp focus in the school around what is really important – developing high quality learning and teaching and maximising pupil achievement.
- CLARITY A shared understanding of features of outstanding, and beyond outstanding, learning and teaching that the school wants to develop.
- COHERENCE These features are then reinforced and developed in school systems and structures such as the curriculum, assessment, reporting, rewards, CPD and leadership. There are opportunities for staff to research and share great practice through teacher learning communities, coaching and developmental observations.
- CONSISTENCY These features are developed and sustained through formal systems of monitoring and evaluation such as Performance Management, Classroom Observations, Learning Walks and Departmental Reviews supported by effective use of pupil performance data.
- COMMUNITY A collective ethos, motivation and commitment from staff, students and parents for improvement in learning, teaching and achievement.
See diagram summarising this whole school approach to improving learning and teaching
Thanks to Alistair Smith for suggesting the concepts of Core Purpose and Community.
Once the key features of great learning are identified, schools need to work with their staff to “drill down” and identify the learner behaviours, teacher behaviours and share the strategies that are already being used to develop these features. Opportunities need to be created for staff to share great practice, peer observe, coach each other and build libraries of resources and strategies to inspire others. At the same time, teachers need to be exposed to outstanding practice from outside the school and strategies that has been shown to have impact from educational research. Schools need to build a Culture of Development with an emphasis on evaluation and improvement to go alongside a Culture of Learning and a Culture of Accountability if they are to become a great learning school”. I have worked with schools at both a classroom and strategic level to develop these features.