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LEADING LARGE SCHOOLS: CHALLENGES & PERSPECTIVES Richard Fawcett & Geoff Barton PowerPoint Presentation
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LEADING LARGE SCHOOLS: CHALLENGES & PERSPECTIVES Richard Fawcett & Geoff Barton
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  1. LEADING LARGE SCHOOLS: CHALLENGES & PERSPECTIVES Richard Fawcett & Geoff Barton

  2. AIMS • To explore the challenges of leading large schools • To develop practical problem-solving strategies that will make an impact on learning • To develop a specific school improvement project for your school and evaluate its impact

  3. Welcome & Overview • What is distinctive about leading learning in a large school? • Sharing practice & action planning • Developing a school-based improvement project • Engaging key players

  4. Session 1: What’s distinctive in a large school about … • Improving teaching & learning • Leadership at all levels • Communication • Evaluating impact?

  5. Teaching & Learning: • Getting away from the compartmentalisation of subjects, the bunker mentality of faculties • Rejuvenating whole-school approaches, such as literacy • Sharing practice across teachers to move to good and outstanding

  6. Leadership: • How effective is leadership & management at all levels? • Are you providing training for your leadership team? • Are you talent-spotting and developing your future leaders?

  7. Communication: • How do you communicate your vision and values? • How do you ‘keep the herd moving west’? • What are the mechanics of communication and consultation, and do they work?

  8. Evaluating impact: • In successful schools, leaders recognise that only so much can be done at once and they have the courage, whatever the pressures, external and internal, to prioritise. They deal with decisions with down-to-earth management efficiency, and, most important of all, they themselves know what constitutes high-quality teaching and educational excellence. Chief Inspector’s Annual Report 1997/98

  9. Developing a self-evaluation culture • Good teaching is a set of learnable skills, not a God-given gift • Performance management is about performance • We should encourage experimentation and occasional disasters • We should be intolerant of mediocrity • A genuine evaluation culture builds improvement • Real change comes from within Whole-school culture: Some opening assumptions

  10. Developing a self-evaluation culture Carol FitzGibbon (Durham): Get data into school life, without necessarily doing anything with it THREE GURUS

  11. Developing a self-evaluation culture John MacBeath (Cambridge): “We should measure what we value, not value what we can measure” THREE GURUS

  12. Developing a self-evaluation culture David Reynolds (Exeter): “Within-school variation”: Aim to be a ‘high-reliability’ organisation … THREE GURUS

  13. Developing a self-evaluation culture Such complex social organizations as air traffic control towers continuously run the risk of disastrous and obviously unacceptable failure. The public would heavily discount several thousand consecutive days of efficiently monitoring and controlling the very crowded skies over Chicago or London if two jumbo jets were to collide over either city. Through fog, snow, computer-system failures, and nearby tornadoes, in spite of thousands of flights per day in busy skies, such a collision has never happened above any city, a remarkable level of performance reliability …

  14. Developing a self-evaluation culture … By contrast, in the U.S., one of the most highly educated nations on earth, within any group of 100 students beginning first grade in a particular year, approximately 16 will not have obtained either their high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate 12-13 years later. In Britain, just under half of all 16-year-old pupils will not have the benchmark of 5 or more high grade public examination passes in the national system. Obviously, many nations have even lower levels of educational performance.

  15. Tools for school evaluation: • Student performance data - results, targets, etc • Staff, parent, governor feedback • Ethos data • Questionnaires and focus groups • Faculty reviews - inc observation sheets • Self-evaluation Creating a self-evaluation culture:

  16. Staff Evaluations …

  17. Routine monitoring …

  18. Planners

  19. Book sampling…

  20. Focus groups run by Governors… What is it like to be a tutor here?

  21. What is it like to be a tutor here? • What impact do you have on students and how do you know? • Informal feedback from students – eg a disruptive student who admitted privately that he wants to do well • Seeing decreasing number of referral slips • Can feel a sense of progress • How would we improve? • Year 12 mentoring can be inconsistent – role of mentors not always clear – but principle of them is good • Small minority – importance of planners not recognised by students/parents

  22. Heads of Year … What are the key ingredients in an effective tutor? • Know and care about students in their tutor groups • See monitoring and target-setting as a core part of their job • Understand the need to work with students on skills beyond the classroom – emotions, motivation, social skills, courtesy, how to speak appropriately in difficult circumstances • Are well organised and manage time well • Listen actively • Pay attention to small details – courtesy, thanks, etc • Treat poor behaviour as simply a choice and good behaviour as a characteristic • Apologise when they do something wrong or inappropriate • Catch students being good far more than they catch them getting it wrong • Have genuine interest in students’ lives and experiences

  23. Faculty reviews

  24. Student Evaluations …

  25. Student …

  26. Attitudes to learning

  27. What for you is the most important ingredient in a good lesson? • Enthusiasm of teacher • Fun • Good class control • No disruptive students • Practical activities • Teacher interested in the subject • Sitting with a friend • Clear instructions and expectations

  28. What do teachers do that helps you to learn well? • Talk less and let us get on with work • Teaching us techniques for learning and revising • Practice papers • Explain things clearly • Acknowledge different kinds of learners • Praise us • Basic ideas about how to do things • Providing lunchtime sessions • Teach me in a way that I understand

  29. What one thing would you do to improve this school? • Longer breaks • More trips • Don’t give coursework at the end of term • Tougher line on disruptive students • More guidance with coursework • Stop giving detentions for trivial reasons • Smarter uniform • Regular teacher evaluations by students • Clone Mr Green • Be more relaxed about uniform and jewellery • New headteacher • Hotline to support students who are struggling • Shorter lessons • Bus to Newmarket • Longer lessons • Fewer questionnaires! • Don’t have such high expectations of students

  30. Parent Evaluations …

  31. What do you think are the 3 most important ingredients of good teachers / tutors …? The essential skills of good teachers

  32. Communication & Staff Development • Establish expectations based on school evaluation • Build into school systems - observation sheets, performance management, Faculty reviews • Build differentiated training around them • Add self-evaluation opportunities • Lessons from Finland!

  33. Eg: Essential Literacy

  34. Managing the Talent • What training and development do you give your Leadership Team? • Who are your stars of 1-5 years? What are you doing for them? • Is subject & pastoral leadership really the way forward? Don’t schools actually need flexible project managers?

  35. Reflection & discussion • What do you agree / disagree with? • What are the implications for you and your school?

  36. Action-planning • What aspect of your school are frustrated by? • What kind of intervention might make a difference? • What could you do in the next 5 weeks to make an impact?

  37. Developing an improvement project • What do you need to do? • Who do you need to involve? • What will be the early signs of impact?

  38. LEADING LARGE SCHOOLS: CHALLENGES & PERSPECTIVES Richard Fawcett & Geoff Barton