Coaching and Curriculum Cohesion

Coaching is the perfect balance for successful learning

Coaching and Curriculum Cohesion

How do we create cohesion across the curriculum and build a way forward where schools re-focus in order to create successful futures? At the end of this tumultuous year and a half children have had to learn in different ways, teachers have developed innovative ways to ensure pupils thrive and a new academic year is hopefully a fresh start for all. Successful futures requires specialised and high quality CPD that involves all staff and pupils in a journey towards excellence and improvement. Find out about Learning Cultures’ powerful coaching courses and programmes.

Creating curriculum cohesion

It is essential that subject and middle leaders understand their role in delivering the overarching curriculum intent. There has always been an imperative to have well-defined structures in place that allow those with a middle leadership role to work together with their teams, with wider cross-curricular teams and with those with senior leadership responsibility to define the curriculum content and how it will be delivered. Their role is pivotal to the successful implementation of the whole school vision and the curriculum intent within it.

However, this year is different. Each individual pupil and each individual teacher has their own experiences to draw on, their own successes to remember and their own undoubted frustrations to work through. It has been a learning curve, where technology has played a larger part in our lives than we could ever have imagined.

Weaving a tapestry of knowledge and skills

Autonomy in how pedagogy was planned, how curriculum content was delivered and how learners were assessed was an essential part of the whole school experience during recent school closures.

The genie is out of the bottle. Resuming a regime that is top down or focuses on performance management and imposed lesson observations will be hard to manage. There is a real imperative to give teachers the space to work together with their colleagues to interpret the vision and intent and create a rich tapestry of curriculum content, pedagogy and assessment that delivers high quality outcomes for all learners.

Learning as a continuum – building on the positive

Catch up is not the answer in itself. There must be a focus on deepening understanding, engaging with subject and cross-curricular themes and building depth and breadth in pedagogy and learning. This will undoubtedly help learners to capture lost learning as part of an ongoing strategy designed by teachers and delivered by teachers who have built strong communities of practice.  The best way to achieve this is to ensure there are opportunities to engage in professional learning conversations that define and share best practice in how learners access learning that is retained, expressed and reflected on.

Coaching as the catalyst for change

Curriculum Collaboration and Cohesion

Coaching is all about finding solutions, never turning a crisis into a drama and celebrating the positive. There are many reasons why developing a coaching culture at this time will be a catalyst for sustainable change. Coaching relies on creating the  opportunities for professional learning conversations discussed in the last paragraph and that move individuals to think differently about their practice. Coaching is all about positive feedback; coaching is also about creating the right culture where individuals are trusted to take risks, coaching provides the vehicle for individuals to find their own solutions and to know that making a mistake is seen as a route to deeper learning and should not be dwelt on.

Coaching has a positive impact on motivation, for all staff and for pupils as it is non-judgemental, is never prescriptive and allows each individual leader, manager and teacher to grow professionally and personally in a way that impacts on whole school improvement and that is difficult to achieve otherwise.

Planning a Coaching Culture

Creating a cohesive curriculum – emerging from the past

Here at Learning Cultures we know the value of coaching as a catalyst for positive change. We have a team of experts that can lead coaching CPD for leaders, managers, curriculum and subject specialists, teachers and support staff. We understand the pastoral process and have some highly innovative tools for ensuring coaching is part of ensuring the well-being of all staff and pupils and creates harmony that leads to an environment where poor behaviour is rare and understood.

Coaching and the Pastoral Role in a School or College Setting – coaching builds confidence, fosters well-being and improves behaviour

We have a range of diverse solutions that will support schools and colleges across the spectrum of learning institutions and we know from many of our success stories that we make a huge difference to the life chances of pupils and to the career chances of all staff in education. We also understand the value of ensuring the curriculum is seen as the fulcrum for delivering a high quality education for all.

Below are more of the courses we offer. We can also deliver any of these as INSET, training sessions or twilights in school for groups of the whole cohorts of staff.

Curriculum cohesion is about pulling the strands together

Moving towards a cohesive curriculum

Without a clear plan for how to ensure curriculum cohesion is an essential element of the strategic future for any school there will be scant evidence that senior leaders and their teams are fully aware of how well the curriculum is being implemented linked to how successful learning was over the past eighteen months. Coaching conversations create a uniform voice that can answer the deep dive questions about their own and their teams contribution to individual, group and whole school success.

Start or resume your coaching journey here by talking to one of our experts about our highly successful coaching strategies. Contact us here


Instructional Coaching CPD and the Early Career Framework

Creating continuity in pedagogy and learning

The Early Career Framework

The Early Career Framework (ECF) provides an exceptional opportunity to review your strategy for CPD for those who will mentor Early Career Teachers (ECT). This two-year programme outlines the essential elements that those new to the profession need to have competence in and further develop in order to grow and deepen their skills towards becoming and remaining outstanding professionals.

Realising potential and emerging as true professionals

The ECF is designed to complement the Teachers’ Standards and is clearly set out in eight sections. These are:

  • Setting high expectations and communicating a belief in the academic potential of all pupils
  • Knowing how pupils learn through a focus on working memory, building on prior knowledge and knowing how to ensure learners retain what they are learning
  • Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching methodologies to a deep understanding different pupils’ needs
  • Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • Manage behaviour effectively
  • Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

Meeting the standards is necessary to become a fully qualified teacher. The role of the mentor or coach in creating the opportunities for ECTs to grow in their role, feel confident to take risks and find solutions when things go wrong is essential. Their role is equally important in helping their mentees to develop a profound understanding of what constitutes high quality pedagogy and deep learning. All of this does not happen by accident.

The Role of the ECT Mentor

The role of the ECT mentor is a critical one and requires that they have the expertise and knowledge in order that they can support and guide their mentees towards excellence and improvement. The task is quite daunting, the standards exacting and the challenge complex. A new academic year following the tumultuous previous 18 months will not make things any easier. Mentors need structured CPD and ongoing opportunities for professional conversations with their peers and other professionals to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and competence to develop others.

Feedforward through inspirational coaching conversations

Their role is pivotal and complements other CPD activity for the more experienced teacher. The need for the development of professional learning communities that embrace ECT mentors and all other pupil facing leaders and managers who have a responsibility for CPD is essential if the celebration of good and outstanding practice is shared widely providing for the ECT mentor a rich vein of outstanding pedagogy and deep learning across the whole school or college.

An online webinar – Coaching the Early Career Teacher – Going beyond mentoring to foster outstanding pedagogy

Instructional Coaching CPD for ECT Mentors

Building a culture of excellence

There needs to be a highly structured framework within which the ECT mentor can build positive relationships with their mentees. They need a range of skills that will allow them to motivate and inspire, create learning opportunities and foster reflection in order that new teachers have the confidence to be creative, innovative and dynamic in their interactions with pupils.

Instructional coaching can be a highly effective way to build that framework from deeply rooted and very strong foundations that will lead to highly influential and positive change. This strategy is not just a tool for those who are new to teaching but it is a very good place to start. We know here at Learning Cultures that coaching is infectious, fosters positive change and leads to deeper learning, much improved pedagogy and as a consequence much more engaged learners who do not have the inclination for anything but a desire to learn.

An online webinar – Coaching the Early Career Teacher – Going beyond mentoring to foster outstanding pedagogy

What are the key principles of Instructional Coaching?

Coaching towards deep reflection and incremental steps that lead to learning
  • Instructional coaching is designed to move teachers and schools from professional development to professional learning
  • Structured as an interconnected combination of process, pedagogy, practice and content that together support continuous professional learning
  • Designed to meet the individual needs of teachers and to reflect their ‘voice’ through one-to-one and small-group support received from the mentor or coach
  • Born out of a culture of trust and respect that is non-judgemental allowing the mentee to find their own solutions
  • Based on quality standards linked to what is deemed high quality educational outcomes from a range of perspectives
  • Based on evidence-based good and best practice across the school in both curricular and cross-curricular contexts

Online webinar – An Introduction to Coaching for Educators – Learning the First Principles of Coaching

The Future of Professional Development and CPD

Our expert coaching team at Learning Cultures have successfully embedded coaching across many organisations within the education sector. They know the benefits of instructional coaching and how it is a powerful strategy for supporting the development of new and recently qualified teachers as well as being a model for continuing professional development for all staff including leaders, managers, more experienced teachers, Teaching Assistants and support staff.

Cascading outstanding learning through coaching

For many leaders in education the last year has been a time of great change where many teachers have had to work in isolation using technology and ploughing their own furrow of learning experiences for their pupils. The genie is out of the bottle in terms of how they have had to work autonomously and reflect themselves on the quality of their teaching.  This leads to an inevitable need to look at the future of performance management and changing the emphasis to a much greater focus on professional development. We know this is the right way forward and coaching, maybe particularly instructional coaching is the framework that will deliver highly effective change and challenge. Have a look at our CPD offer here.



What is the Substance of Education?

Shining a light on the substance of education through the lens of its component parts

What is the Substance of Education?

Substance conjures up something of a high quality, solid and tangible, strong and dependable. The substance of education, according to a recent speech by Amanda Spielman of OFSTED is essentially the curriculum and how well it is designed and delivered to ensure that all learners can achieve their full potential.

Amanda Spielman in her speech last week at the Festival of Education reinforced her much longer speech in 2017 at the same event by using the phrase ‘substance of education’. She says,

“ should be about broadening minds, enriching communities and advancing civilisation; about leaving the world a better place than we found it”.

She continues to be very clear that the curriculum is the key and creates the substance of education that ensures deep and rich opportunities to create a good education for all in orderly classrooms; developing wider interests through sports, music and other curricular activities; building friendships and delivering good pastoral care. She also acknowledged that a good school contributes much to the well-being of children but she says very clearly that well-being is not an activity, it is an outcome.

“It is so important that schools do what they do best and don’t get knocked off course by the pressure for them to solve every social ill.”

Substance in relation to curriculum design and delivery is, therefore, more than the sum of its parts. The planned curriculum must clearly show how subject knowledge is taught, define the skills learners need to access that knowledge and demonstrate how that learning is retained in the long-term memory over time.  She, like me has no truck with the phrase ‘catching up’. Good teaching and opportunities to enrich the fabric of education will make sure pupils will recover.

What is the evidence that the curriculum has substance?

Systems Redesign
When everyone is working together the structure is strong and stable

Delivering high quality outcomes for all learners within any setting or cohort is at the heart of the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) in England and defines the substance of education. The design of the curriculum must, therefore, embrace a number of key essentials:-

  • A deep understanding of how knowledge is sequenced within the National Curriculum from early years to the end of key stage 3 and beyond
  • Clarity as to how learners build on their prior knowledge and understanding
  • Opportunities for learners to make connections across all their learning so that they can make sense of the world they live in
  • An identification of the skills learners develop as they progress through the curriculum and assessment of how well they can apply skills in different contexts
  • A focus on ensuring that assessment is seen as a key component of the planned and delivered curriculum
  • A tacit awareness of how learning is taking place through the skilful use of a range of pedagogies, learner outcomes and learner voice

Join us at one of our highly acclaimed webinars that dive deeply into what we mean by the substance of education.

How Can Coaching be the Answer to those Deep Dive Questions?

Create depth and clarity for the deep dive questioning

The most important element of the substance of education is the essential need to make sure that all staff across the whole school, from the smallest primary school to a large academy or secondary school know the part they play in delivering the planned curriculum. The more staff work together to plan and build the curriculum offer so that it flows, deepens knowledge and ensures learners progress towards those carefully crafted end points the more likely that offer will have depth and breadth and demonstrate cohesion and a shared vision.

The only way to achieve this is through coaching and the creation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)  where coaching conversations are an opportunity to build a culture of trust, the sharing and cascading of good practice, a consistent approach to achieving the stated curriculum intent and having at their fingertips a profound understanding of how the curriculum is having an impact on learning, progression and achievement for all.

Coaching is the most profound way to sustain a culture of excellence and improvement where coaching conversations help individuals to clarify their goals, reflect on their successes and what is working well and understand the barriers that need to be overcome. The curriculum is fluid. In order to create a consistent, whole school dialogue where everyone is on message can only be achieved using a framework for change and we know here at Learning Cultures that the best way is through coaching. We have coaching courses for everyone with a pupil facing role. Start now and know the answers to those deep dive questions.

What are the Next Steps to Ensuring Successful Curriculum Impact?

Planning next steps leads you closer to your goal

There is a lot to think about at the moment in relation to planning how to recover from an unimaginable turn of events that has rocked the world. Dwelling on what has gone before will not help and will certainly prolong the misery. Better to look to the future and make very clear strategies that will deliver seamless and sequential learning and create evidence of impact where all learners achieve and exceed their potential.

Creating innovative futures that will help learners to find ways to capture the learning they have missed in ways that are exciting and inspiring is a far better way to plan the next steps in curriculum design and delivery. Amanda Spielman says,

“….for most children, most catching up will happen in their usual classroom with their usual teachers.”

“The magic of teaching  – imparting knowledge, developing skills and building confidence – will mostly happen where it always happened. We should not let the pressure to fill learning gaps bend what schools and colleges do out of shape.”

“Broadening minds, enriching communities and advancing civilisation is still exactly what’s needed from our schools.”

Creating a culture that leads to the above will happen with powerful and challenging CPD delivered using a coaching approach that will lead to sustainable, highly innovative and collaborative ways that breathe life into the substance of education or a deep and rich curriculum offer, whichever phrases you prefer.


CPD for a Deep Dive into High Quality Education

CPD for a Deep Dive into High Quality Education Outcomes for all


Have a look at Glynis’s White Paper that focuses on the absolute imperative to focus on a suite of deep dive strategies that will deliver high quality educational outcomes for all.

INSET  – Cost effective and sustainable whole organisation solutions

All our training courses are designed to provide a wealth of materials, resources and activities that challenge all staff to manage change, focus on excellence and know the part they play in achieving the school or college vision. Our training is built from a deep understanding of the education sector and we draw on both national and international research.

CPD for a deep dive into leadership in education

Effective leadership in education leads to outstanding results. Build your strategy with our expert team of school and college principals, highly trained and successful coaches and curriculum experts. Develop or deepen your coaching skills so that you can empower others to achieve and excel. Create a culture where every member of staff works in synergy to deliver outstanding learning for all.

CPD and a deep dive into our coaching and curriculum training courses

Choose from online training, face to face training in hotels and other venues or ready to use off – the – shelf packages that give you all the materials, videos and resources for a deep dive into CPD at a time to suit your CPD timetable. Discover how uplifting it is to use coaching skills to inspire others to innovate, share ideas and build highly effective professional learning communities.

Why choose CPD that builds a coaching culture

The imperative is to build positive futures that will ensure that all learners can learn from the past and take the skills they have learnt over the past year and a half to enhance their approach to the next steps in their education. Using coaching as the catalyst ensures that all staff and pupils focus on their successes and not their failures. Coaching is all about empowerment, creating the right conditions where change is seen as a way forward and not an imposition.

Learning how to coach gives leaders the opportunity to allow others to find their own solutions, take risks with their own learning and development and innovate where they know they are trusted and respected. Learning about listening gives teachers and their line leads the power to facilitate a learning environment. Coaching gives leaders, managers and teachers the skills to question so that individuals are challenged to find their own solutions and feel confident that they have the skills and the strengths to make a difference.

Coaching is the solution to building a high quality education where consistent good and outstanding practice leads to excellence and improvement across the whole organisation.

Building Tomorrow’s Classrooms Today

How do you measure high quality curriculum outcomes?

High Quality Curriculum Outcomes

High quality curriculum outcomes require a collaboration of expertise from across all subject areas. OFSTED are continuing to use their three Is Intent, Implementation and Impact as they evaluate the introduction of their Education Inspection Framework (2019) and plan how they will inspect the quality of education from September 2021 onwards.

OFSTED will maintain their focus on their ‘deep dive’ strategy that involves ensuring they embrace the whole school or college in the process. They are looking for consistency, that all staff across the organisation understand the rationale behind curriculum choices and know the part they play in delivering high quality outcomes that are ambitious and create parity for all.

Senior leadership are instrumental in making sure that there is a symbiosis between what is intended and what is delivered. It is the senior leadership team that must create the means by which subject leadership and expertise, the weaving of skills and knowledge and the sharing of excellence in pedagogy and practice build a vision for excellence and continuous improvement.  If you are a senior leader join us for one or both of the courses below:

Who should be involved in measuring high quality curriculum outcomes?

Teams are the building blocks to creating high quality curriculum outcomes

High quality curriculum outcomes can only be achieved if there is a powerful whole school or college synthesis where everyone involved in achieving the vision for continuous improvement knows the part they play. Translating curriculum intent into meaningful and cohesive implementation requires the skilful empowerment of teams who have the expertise, knowledge and resources to deliver a high-quality education for all learners whatever their starting point.

A ‘deep dive’ into how well this is achieved is best undertaken as part of an ongoing focus on how well curriculum intent is translated into subject specific and cross curricular delivery managed by expert subject leaders. There must be clear evidence that pupils are building on prior learning, that the learning is planned towards a series of clearly defined end points and is sequenced so that progression is assured. All of this needs to also have a very structured and consistent assessment strategy that is planned as an integral part of how the curriculum will be taught and what teachers are looking for in terms of success criteria and learner outcomes. Outstanding CPD will provide the solutions, have a look at these two highly praised Learning Cultures courses below.

How do you create a balance of innovation and conventional pedagogy?

High quality curriculum outcomes are achieved through the delivery of outstanding pedagogy that is a balance between innovation and a deep understanding of the teaching strategies and classroom practices that give all learners a clear pathway to success. All those with a learner facing role need to work together to share good practice and learn from each other in deciding on how the curriculum should be taught.

High quality curriculum outcomes rely on outstanding pedagogy and deep learning

Developing a culture of professional learning that means staff within teams and departments, across year groups and at transition points all talk to each other and learn from each other is an essential element in creating the clarity, collaboration and cohesion necessary for success.

OFSTED’s research published in the summer of 2019 reinforced the need for a collective approach to curriculum delivery and the assessment of quality. They focus on a triangulation of best practice that includes,

Our course: Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning provides all those with a pupil facing role with the opportunity to learn how coaching creates a culture where the sharing and cascading of good practice is essential CPD. The course dives deeply into the elements of outstanding pedagogy that lead to high quality curriculum outcomes.

Also, have a look at out two short nutshell courses, off the shelf ready to use packages that provide answers and some resources to use with your teams.

Assessment an integral part of planning for high quality curriculum outcomes

Assessment is an integral part of creating high quality curriculum outcomes

How the learning is assessed must be woven into the curriculum planassessment is fundamental if we are to measure the impact of the curriculum being taught on learning and progression.  There needs to be a balance between formative and summative assessment and opportunities for those with pupil facing roles to plan their assessment approaches together to ensure consistency, consensus and cohesion. There also needs to be agreement across all teams, departments and year groups as to how and when to intervene when pupils fall behind.

Building a system of positive quality assurance is key

Shaping the dynamics of high quality curriculum outcomes

Quality Assurance is an essential process in business and has a powerful role to play in education.  Creating a quality assurance system is the blueprint for developing a supportive team culture where individuals work together to achieve consistent and positive outcomes for all.  The process should be qualitative and not quantitative. Data is the result of a lot of other processes that are measured over time.  Lesson observation, learning walks, measuring pupil outputs, student voice, parents’ views are all part of measuring quality. It is, however, essential that all are used to celebrate a learning culture and are not seen as a measure of what is going wrong.  Where schools and colleges build a highly effective quality assurance strategy it highlights the strengths within the organisation, informs the need for change and provides the steer for next steps in the process of continuous improvement.

CPD the most important ingredient in ensuring high quality curriculum outcomes

Wherever you are on the curriculum journey we have a superb range of training and development courses that have been specifically designed to bring clarity and deeper meaning to creating high quality curriculum outcomes.  We are a coaching organisation with exceptional knowledge of curriculum, pedagogy, leadership and strategy. Our courses are set out on our website in three sections,

Learning Cultures for CPD that builds high quality curriculum outcomes

We are continuing to deliver our coaching certification programme. Have a look at our superb range of off the shelf ready to use packages all designed to provide a whole days INSET, twilights or other training sessions. For a shorter CPD opportunities we also have a suite of nutshell courses which provide bitesize CPD.

Make sure all your staff have a CPD offer that is sustainable and provides profound learning that can be cascaded to others and has an impact on the organisation, the team and the individual.


High quality Science is an essential element of curriculum design

High quality Science is an essential element of curriculum design

Working in synergy

Building the systems that will deliver high quality science across the primary school is essential in the design of the curriculum. Science is a core subject along with Mathematics and English but is often given less prominence or timetable space. It is mandatory for pupils to begin their science education in the early years foundation stage and the continuation of a deep and rich science schema is an essential element of the National Curriculum.

In order to have the evidence that Science is given high prominence and prepares pupils for the next stage of their education does require a profound understanding of the concepts that underpin scientific knowledge and the skills pupils need to build their understanding over time. Inevitably, this means someone within the school must be given the role of science lead who has the time to understand the aims and content of The Programmes of Study for Science and their importance within the wider curriculum offer.

Delivering high quality science from early years to year 6 and beyond

The designated lead for science has an important role as a leader of curriculum design. They must lead on how pupils develop a wide range of vocabulary as an essential part of the EYFS curriculum that lays the foundations for building a complex scientific vocabulary over time.

Creating wonder through science

The role of the science lead is to support teachers to work together to plan a sequential pathway that ensures pupils can make connections, deepen their learning and understand the concepts that underpin science in the widest curriculum contexts. Science subject quality is underpinned by the need to ensure systems are sufficiently robust to create the space, time and resources for meaningful science to take place. They must have a sound understanding of the pedagogy that defines high quality science teaching and create with their teams an assessment methodology that allows all pupils to progress well, that corrects misconception and encourages challenge, enquiry and problem solving.

The Classification of Scientific Knowledge Essential for High Quality Science delivery

It is acknowledged by many commentators that the primary science lead may not have deep scientific expertise such as that required of a science teacher in the secondary phase.  However, whoever they are it is true that their own education will they have achieved at least a GCSE and maybe even an A level in one or more of the sciences.

Science makes sense of the world

Therefore, all those who teach science in the primary phase have learning way beyond that of their pupils. Recognising this expertise is a very good starting point in beginning to design a high quality science curriculum that creates a sequence of connected knowledge that allows pupils to build their knowledge of scientific concepts and procedures.  The recently published research review of science by OFSTED describes how the distinction between substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge make a useful framework for constructing science curricula. Understanding the difference between these is useful and reflects how knowledge is used and arranged in the sciences. Substantive knowledge is essentially the laws, concepts, theories and models and disciplinary knowledge is creating the evidence, knowing how science works and how through enquiry and evidence proof is established or suggested.

Weaving these two elements together is the key to creating high quality outcomes for science learning. Creating the opportunity through high quality CPD to focus on how to blend the substantive with the disciplinary through the use of exciting subject matter, interesting resources and challenging activities will lead the pupil towards deeper understanding where the concepts become familiar and remain as an integral part of the long term memory.

CPD to build high quality science outcomes

Primary scientists are hard to find. However, the best way forward is to build on the substantive knowledge and outstanding pedagogy that will be present within the existing school staff and can form an integral part of any job description and person specification for new staff. Science is an essential ingredient in the construction of high quality curriculum and must be integral to all other elements of curriculum design. We have designed a training day for science subject leads that will focus on the main ingredients of a high quality science education in the primary phase, essentially these include,

  • The vocabulary of science and how to develop a language linked to substantive and disciplinary knowledge
  • A focus on the sequencing of the curriculum and defining attainment targets and learning goals over time
  • Creating opportunities for pupils to make connections within the science disciplines and across the wider curriculum
  • Understanding science concepts and creating opportunities to deepen knowledge and understanding
  • Defining the skills that learners need in order that they are disciplined in their approach to enquiry, data handling, problem solving and experimentation
  • Progression is planned to take account of what is taught in other subjects

Delivering High Quality Science in the Primary School

Visit the planetarium at the Science Museum

Join us at the Science Museum in Birmingham on 7th July for a truly inspirational day focusing on how to ensure the evidence that you are deliveirng a high quality science curriculum. Enjoy face to face discussions, presentations and opportunities to plan. When the work is complete there will also be an opportunity to have a look around the museum. Immerse yourself in science and take a wealth of learning back to share with colleagues.

How do you quality assure the curriculum?

How do you quality assure the curriculum?

OFSTED: inspecting the quality of education in 2021

How do you quality assure the curriculum in a school or college? Quality is defined by how well learners have deepened their understanding, are building on prior learning and have the skills to access increasingly complex informaton and who therefore are able to retain knowledge and use skills with increasing competence.

How do we capture quality in education?Quality remains high on the agenda as revisions to the OFSTED handbook (April 2021) are published.

“High quality education is built around the connectedness of curriculum, teaching, assessment and standards within the ‘quality of education’ judgement.” OFSTED EIF).”

The inspection methodology for the ‘Quality of Education’ judgement is therefore structured to ensure that inspectors are able to gather evidence of how a school’s activities to deliver a high-quality education for its pupils connect and work together to achieve the highest possible standards. The message remains the same, data as the principle means of accountability is not enough. Measuring quality must look at the excellence of teaching, the depth and breadth of curriculum, the ability of pupils to know how their learning intertwines and connects as well as a focus on the work that pupils produce.

Excellence in senior and subject leadership is pivotal the quest for high-quality education

Responsibility for ownership of the curriculum should be given to all leaders; strategic responsibility to senior leaders and ownership of innovative implementation to subject leaders. The role of both the senior and subject leader in developing systems for highly effective quality assurance remain an essential ingredient that will produce the evidence that the curriculum is delivering excellence in learning and teaching.

Putting quality pieces together for excellence in learning

In primary schools the foundation subjects must continue to have a high degree of prominence. Subjects should be taught by experts, learning should be sequenced and knowledge and skills carefully built over time. In secondary schools key stage 3 must be seen as a time where pupils build on learning from their primary school and develop the skills and knowledge that will prepare them for future learning and deeper thinking.

Building on the experiences of the last year needs to be carefully woven into the shaping of new pedagogies so that all learners feel empowered to build and make significant progress towards successful futures. We cannot capture lost learning but with high quality systems redesign that encompass the positives from the past and embrace change enthusiastically we will make a difference.

Quality Assuring the Curriculum through the Interconnection of Evidence

Interconnecting for quality and excellence

Curriculum implementation requires a balance between the systems that exist to ensure seamless learning where there is a focus on ensuring high quality pedagogy and evidence of how the work produced and the atmosphere and management of the classroom ensure deep engagement for all pupils. There are four distinct components that will help in the pursuit of ensuring there is consistency and a shared belief in the pursuit of continuous improvement that delivers a high-quality education, these are:-

  • the curriculum and how it is planned and implemented
  • high quality pedagogy
  • the depth and breadth of pupils’ work
  • how well pupils are engaged with their learning

Managing Quality Assurance in the School System

Quality Assurance is a potent phrase, well used in business and industry. In order to make the most of what is a powerful tool for successful whole school decision making and planning the processes need to be translated into a school or education context.

The pursuit of excellence across the curriculum and beyond

Reliance on external forces such as OFSTED are not enough. Quality Assurance principles are built on all encompassing factors that embrace all staff, pupils and other stakeholders in designing systems that lead to focused collaboration, the pursuit of excellence and opportunities for all those involved to own their part in creating evidence that they are having an impact on the life chances of every pupil at whatever stage in their education.

The Seven Principles that Underpin Highly Successful Quality Assurance in the School System

Here at Learning Cultures we have focused on seven principles that underpin highly successful quality assurance that are tried and tested in all sorts of organisations and should be an integral part of a Quality Assurance process in schools and colleges. These are:-

  • A clearly defined policy for quality assurance as part of the structure of strategic management
  • A mechanism for defining and communicating the vision for the organisation including how the curriculum intent is integral to the vision and ambition for the organisation
  • Following the steps that lead to high quality futures

    Processes for the design and approval of the curriculum in terms of content, sequencing over time and intended learning outcomes

  • Clearly defined standards for classroom pedagogy, behaviour and the management of and assessment of learning
  • The management of information and data to ensure that analysis and use of data informs progress, intervention and challenge
  • A strategy for assessing staff development needs linked to achieving the school vision and the needs of individuals and teams within the organisation
  • A mechanism for sharing success within and outside the organisation

Quality assurance is all about effective communication.

Quality assurance is about high-quality assessment of a series of well-designed indicators that give all those involved with a framework that they can use to identify their potential, build on their strengths and focus on change and how to manage new innovation successfully.  Professional dialogue, collaborative team-working and a shared commitment to organisational excellence will deliver sustainable educational outcomes and the related data to be proud of.

Learning from the past, positive futures through quality systems

As we move out of an unprecedented period of uncertainty, a loss of cohesion,  team collaboration and direct contact with colleagues and pupils we need to strengthen our commitment to a shared future. Quality assurance as a deliberate strategy that will support strategic change and recovery creates a highly effective framework that once embraced will undoubtedly lead to data that reflects a high level of leadership skill and harmony across the whole organisation.

CPD that delivers Outstanding Quality Assurance

Learning Cultures have worked closely with leading quality assurance experts to bring you our highly acclaimed course that will provide a framework for all those who will be accountable for the quality of education, have a look below:-

Quality Assurance Strategies for Outstanding Curriculum Implementation and Impact

Have a look at other associated Learning Cultures’ Curriculum training. Assessment is a key element in having the evidence of high quality pedagogy and learning. Have a look at out two asynchronous training packages that you can buy off the shelf, Formative Assessment in the primary school, Formative Assessment in the secondary phase. Have a look at our course that focuses on seamless transition from KS1 to 2, find out how to make sure key stage 3 creates worthwhile opportunities for deep learning.  We can support you on your primary curriculum journey and your secondary curriculum journey and we can support subject specialists to re-define their approach to curriculum planning.

Coaching for Impact in Education

Coaching for Impact in Education

How does coaching have an impact on organisational improvement?

Using coaching for impact in education is powerful. It is an essential element of systems redesign in a school or college and has proven significant and far-reaching benefits. Put simply coaching is about dialogue, creating opportunities for a two-way conversation that is positive and solutions focused. Creating a coaching culture has many benefits in an education setting.

Coaching creates a culture of shared responsibility

Planning strategy, implementing the vision for school improvement, the ambition for curriculum innovation and the rationale for organisational change all require collaboration with and trust in the decision makers. Devolved leadership, especially now, is essential and coaching creates the framework for this to happen.  Where leaders believe in their staff there is a culture that expects them to grow in their role. Where leaders convey the tacit understanding that they don’t have all the answers and trust their teams positive change happens.

How does coaching deliver the vision?

Working together to deliver a learning synergy

The role of the leader is to inspire all staff to achieve the carefully crafted vision linked to positive outcomes for all. Senior leaders must have the influencing skills to communicate that vision and create an inspirational canvas so that teaching and learning, curriculum innovation and the well-being and motivation of staff and learners is woven.  Defining the priorities and entrusting successful implementation requires a coalition of talented senior teams. They must work together to empower others to be instrumental in making change happen.

Transformation comes when individuals work together successfully to deliver mutually agreed goals that focus on positive change, exciting innovation, and who will foster powerful learning conversations.  Creating a coaching culture has a significant impact on how teams collaborate, communicate and inspire change.  Join us for our one day course and learn the skills, plan your strategy and be inspired to take back your learning to cascade to others.

Strategies for Leading a Coaching Culture in a School or College

How does coaching inspire middle and subject leadership teams?

Where middle and subject leaders learn how to coach they have the skills to facilitate clarity of purpose and direction. Their role is to translate the vision into clearly defined goals and priorities that will inspire high quality curriculum outcomes, outstanding pedagogy and well-motivated and reflective learners.  Coaching for impact in education requires those with this pivotal role to share the ambition for high quality outcomes with their teams and create a culture where individuals work together to achieve their own SMART objectives.

Creating a culture of collaboration and reflection

A coach will instil trust and confidence, provide the space and work closely through structured professional learning conversations to create for their teams the opportunity to demonstrate their own ability to make changes, take risks and find their own solutions that will ultimately build for them self-belief where they grow in their role and continue to achieve and exceed their potential. We have inspirational and highly praised coaching training to lead your teams towards exceptional outcomes in curriculum, teaching, learning and well-being.

How does Coaching Impact on Learning and Teaching?

Coaching is without doubt an outstanding pedagogy in itself. When teachers learn the skills related to coaching such as deep, incisive and rich questioning techniques, exceptional listening skills and the ability to inspire others to find their own solutions, accept challenge and have a high degree of self-belief they see how learning to be a coach will help them to be better practitioners.

Inspirational coaching questions challenge learning

Teachers who can coach, naturally raise self-awareness within their learners. They help to build their self-reflection and their independence to solve problems, work collaboratively and accept mistakes as essential to learning.

A coaching culture in a school or college builds capacity where teachers work together within professional learning communities to share their practice and learn from each other. They feel empowered to take risks with their teaching, share ideas with others and talk about their strengths and what they need to do to continue to improve and grow in their role. Build the coaching skills of all your teachers with our award winning course, Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning and train your NQT mentors to learn how coaching can inspire new teachers to be exceptional. Coaching the Newly Qualified Teacher: going beyond mentoring.

Involve learners in the process of coaching and see them grow and develop as independent and responsible members of their school, college or wider community.

What are the benefits of coaching for your school or college?

Find out more from Learning Cultures and make sure you have the culture that will deliver a truly 21st century future for all learners and staff. We are members of the Association for Coaching and we offer a Certification Programme that they endorse.



Systems redesign – Innovative futures for learning


What are your priorities for creating positive futures for learning that will limit any damage caused by the events of the past year?  I am sure that there are so many it is difficult to decide where to start to ensure future planning creates the right culture for success.  Following ‘a deep dive’ into the current research and commentary from many sources I outline here some of the challenges that may require systems redesign where current systems and protocols may require significant change to deliver innovative futures for learning. The key is to choose the right focus for your situation, define the vision and ambition and know what success will look like.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

Creating a Coalition of Team Leaders

Creating a coalition of senior leaders
Where teams work together excellence happens

The role of the leader is to inspire all staff to achieve the defined vision linked to curriculum intent, to know and be able to communicate that vision and create an inspirational canvas that shines a light on what success will look like. In order to define the priorities for innovative futures for learning the leader needs to have a carefully chosen and trusted coalition, a senior team of talented individuals to take forward any decisions made. They must work together to empower others to be instrumental in making change happen. Transformation comes when individuals work together successfully to deliver mutually agreed goals that focus on positive change, exciting innovation, and who will foster powerful learning conversations.

Re-defining the Curriculum Content

We can’t capture what has been lost, if we try, we will alienate the learner and the teacher. We must move forward from here looking at what has been achieved and build on prior learning from the last year to stimulate and invigorate a belief that where learning goes next will fill any gaps and create for the learner a curiosity to build their own breadth of understanding, sharpen their skills and encourage deeper enquiry.

Creating a tapestry of learning
Weaving skills, knowledge and expertise together

The curriculum is a tapestry that weaves the core skills, the wider metacognitive skills, knowledge and concepts that transcend subject divides to provide the rich and complex threads for deep and profound learning. Finding a way to build a sequential and seamless curriculum from primary school, into secondary school and beyond should be the focus of all those who want to foster successful learning. Systems redesign here is challenging and requires a paradigm shift in current approaches to curriculum implementation which involves collaboration and a shared vision across all year groups and partner schools across the transition divide.

Pedagogy as a Key Driver for Success

Pedagogy as a key driver for success
Build a culture of outstanding teaching and learning

There is no substitute for outstanding pedagogy. The art and science of teaching is at the heart of what inspires learning. Expert subject knowledge, a deep understanding of how learners learn and an ability to create for the learner a deep desire to want to find out more, deepen their knowledge and build unconscious competence in their use of a range of skills describes the exceptional teacher.

Creating a CPD strategy as part of systems redesign should focus on the sharing and cascading of good practice. Planning professional development must create opportunities for teachers to reflect on their own successes and allow teachers to take risks, be innovative and look beyond the subject divide. Teaching in the 21st century and especially now as new approaches and new skills have changed the dynamics all of this must be close to the top of the priority list for innovative futures for learning.

Capture Learning at Points of Transition

Systems redesign for transition is likely to be a strategy that will provide evidence of impact more quickly than any other. There is a profound and well-researched dip in performance of anything up to 40% from the end of a transition period to the end of the following year, this is most profound when pupils move from primary to secondary school.

Creating partnerships that deliver seamless learning

Why? There are so many reasons all easily dealt with when there is a commitment to a shared partnership across the transition bridge whether this is key stage 1 to 2, 2 to 3 or when learners move from key stage 3 to 4 or from year 11 into a post 16 environment.  High levels of communication, a shared vision for a sequential and seamless curriculum, a focus on the needs of the learner, an understanding of what has been taught, what has been learnt and what skills are integral to the learning phase all play their part in negating any dip in learning.

Creating a Coaching Culture for Learning

Creating a Coaching Culture for Learning
Reach for excellence through coaching

Coaching creates a culture where the focus on specific systems redesign will make the most difference. Coaching empowers, defines the right channels for effective communication and allows individuals to find their own solutions. Now is the time to plan a strategy that will deliver your vision for the future of learning in your school, college MAT or Trust. Embracing coaching as the conduit for change to take place is elevating, motivating and uplifting.

We take the principles of coaching and use deeply respected research to create a pathway for all staff to work together, celebrate their strengths, learn from each other and cascade their successes widely thus building a culture of positivity and a willingness to embrace change. CPD is an essential element of professional life for all those who educate.  Using coaching as a key driver for ensuring all are working together to achieve a common goal will reap a harvest of outstanding learning and teaching. Reach for the future, don’t dwell on the past.

Building on Confidence in Technology

Building on confidence in technology
Creating a blended learning future

Who hasn’t learnt new skills over the past twelve months? Who hasn’t found out more about themselves and what they really want? We have all had to embrace technology and we have all had to learn differently as a result. This is true for all learners across the age spectrum, for teachers, leaders and maybe most of all for parents.

Leaving out the power of the learning through technology as part of your systems redesign would be a travesty. The future of learning must embrace the way technology has been an integral part of how the curriculum has been delivered and how learners have captured their understanding, revealed gaps in their learning and demonstrated competence in a range of new skills. We have updated our original Blended Learning course and it is now called Planning for a Learning Future: Better than before. Creating a blended learning future creates exciting opportunities for deeper, richer learning experiences across the age and the ability spectrum.

Capturing the Learner Voice

The learner, wherever they are along their journey in education has had a lot to deal with, not least a media intrusion that constantly suggests that they ‘will be the lost ‘generation’ and they have experienced ‘a catastrophic loss of learning’. On the contrary they have a great deal to celebrate and be proud of. Part of planning for systems redesign where leaders work out how to innovate for future learning must be to involve the learner in the process.

Capturing the Learner Voice
Creating the Expert Learner

It is by talking to learners, finding out how they feel, what they need to offset any loss of learning and highlighting the many skills they have gained that we will help them to move forward towards successful outcomes and positive futures.

Learners have had to work independently, be autonomous in how they have managed their time and planned their learning. The genie is out of the bottle, we need to build from here and not impose structures that existed before that will no longer feel right for learning. The possibilities are endless for ensuring that learners can take more control for their own learning and build new futures. Have a look at our 15 top tips for ensuring learners can make the transition from home schools learning to learning in the classroom.

Read this article written by our Director Glynis Frater about the importance of staff and learner voice in taking account of curriculum choices . Written some time ago but the themes resonate now more than ever.

Assessment and Curriculum Futures

Assessment must be a key driver when designing and implementing a curriculum that will ensure all learners achieve their full potential.  Planning backwards may be key to this. What is the curriculum designed to achieve? How will the learning be assessed? What will be assessed, skills, knowledge, flair, deeper thinking? Where departments and teams are working together to define a common purpose for how learning is to be assessed there is a synergy and a collective approach to designing curriculum strategies that will challenge, nurture talent, ensure parity and foster a culture of curiosity that leads to independence and deeper thinking.

This year assessment in both primary and secondary schools has been turned upside down. Teachers have the responsibility for making sure that they can find enough time to teach the content, create an environment where learners can feel confident that they are learning and have sufficient evidence that the knowledge they are acquiring will be enough across the specific range of subjects they are studying. Read the current guidance from OFQUAL.

Assesment and Curriculum Futures
Creating ladders that lead to progression

This is a paradigm shift for many teachers and is an interesting ideological diversion for many political thinkers. The cushion of the exam or test takes the responsibility for assessment out of the hands of the teacher and the centre they belong to. In this brave new world, it is essential that all teachers have the right evidence to submit. They must have a deep understanding of the pedagogy of assessment for learning through the use of deep and rich questioning where challenging feedback is essential in the pursuit of accuracy, transparency and fairness. They must also feel convinced that they can make their own professional judgements across a range of evidence sources.

We have added to our courses Formative Assessment in the Primary School and Formative Assessment in the Secondary School to provide those teachers who are not familiar with teacher assessment in this way to learn some of the tools and techniques that will help them to be accurate and confident in their own adjudications so that they can be assured that they are doing the best for their pupils.

Strategic and Innovative CPD Solutions

Innovative futures for learning will lie in a focus on systems redesign and the associated CPD that will be essential. All staff need to feel they are an integral part of the learning journey that will ultimately lead to successful outcomes where minimum learning is lost and teachers and learners alike feel confident and empowered to look forward and not backward.

Strategic and innovative CPD solutions
Systems redesign – Innovative futures for learning

Have a look at Learning Cultures latest online brochure for all our latest courses and programmes for school and college leaders, subject and middle leaders, teachers and support staff. Visit our website for all the latest information about our services, courses and superb asynchronous packages. Let us help you to create a coaching culture that will ensure all staff work together, share their successes and build a truly collaborative and outstanding future. Work with our curriculum experts to redraw your curriculum vision, share the rationale and ambition and build the highest quality learning journey for every learner. Know what success will look like and have evidence at your fingertips that your systems redesign will impact on the life chances of everyone in your school or college.



Mind the Gap – Step up not catch up

Step up not catch up

Step up not catch up has to be the mantra for the future. ‘Catch up’ sounds simple until you unpick the complex layers of learning that are the essential life blood of educating a child. What are schools and other education settings catching up on? Some pupils have continued to learn, some have developed profound and useful life skills as part of organising their own learning and some undoubtedly will have missed the point, lost sight of the facts or misunderstood the task.

Now is the time to throw away the paradigm of constant ‘catch up’ for those who are left behind. It is, as ever, those who are disadvantaged, have less parental or other support and who generally believe themselves to be failures that will be highlighted as those that need to ‘catch up’.

A solutions focused way forward

Instead of ‘catch up’ I would like to offer a solutions focused way forward. There is funding, there is a summer ahead of us and there are opportunities to take a strategic leap into thinking differently about next steps in learning. We cannot look backwards and capture what is lost. We can, however, use the next few months to focus on learning, the how of learning and not the what of learning and create a readiness for learning that we can build on for years to come. If we tediously try to shoehorn in the so-called lost knowledge we are very likely to lose the already disillusioned and deflate those who have succeeded during the last year. It is not their fault. ‘Catch up’ sounds like we are punishing the learner and their teachers.

Instead, let us have a think about some of the obvious issues we have time now to rethink so that we create a future that is most definitely better than before.  Below are a few of the glaring areas that have needed mending for a long time. How about a fresh look at new approaches and a bit of strategic thinking?

A fresh look at new approaches and a bit of strategic thinking

  1. Transition from primary to secondary school – there is a well-researched average dip in attainment of up to 40% from the end of year 6 to the end of year 7. There isn’t much data yet about the consequences for ‘lost learning’ over the past year but I doubt it will be any higher than this. Turning that dip into an upwards curve is an essential element of our highly rated course ‘Crossing the Transition Bridge’ – Seamless learning from primary to secondary school’. We have gathered some great ideas and powerful solutions. A less dramatic but still worrying dip occurs between key stage 1 and 2, we have the answers here too, Creating a transition strategy that builds a continuum of learning from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 and beyond
  2. Creating a tapestry curriculum – where pupils can make connections across their learning they remember, deepen their understanding and begin to develop higher order thinking skills. Learners need to see the explicit connection between the skills they are learning in English and Maths and how they are applied in every facet of the curriculum and beyond. Have a look at our two courses that create for those with responsibility for embedding these skills with a wealth of innovative and well-researched strategies that work. Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Coordinator – planning a strategy to ensure literacy is woven through the curriculum and Enhancing the Role of the Numeracy Coordinator – looking at where Maths is integral to learning across the curriculum
  3. Metacognition is about learning how to learn and how to think deeply about learning. Where these skills are added to the tapestry a picture emerges that the learner can understand and the learning is strengthened. This requires planning and the opportunities for professional conversations about learning in subject specific contexts and in cross curricular forums. We have just redesigned our two outstanding curriculum courses, Curriculum Futures for the Primary School- Defining the vision and delivering impact and Curriculum Futures for the Secondary School- Defining the vision and delivering impact they both provide outstanding resources, activities and presentations all built on our commitment to research led CPD.
  4. Formative assessment as an essential pedagogy for learning – There is such an imperative to ensure that all teachers have the skills to challenge positively, feedback constructively and allow the learner to understand what he or she can do to make progress, deepen their understanding and learn more. There may be gaps to fill or extra work to do to raise morale or concentrate on relearning some skills; where the teacher or teaching assistant can encourage, promote self-esteem and ignite a passion those gaps will soon become strengths. Spending time now ensuring all staff have the questioning, influencing and listening skills to empower learning and foster progression will reap huge rewards. We have superb off the shelf asynchronous training opportunities for schools to use with their staff. The future is formative and not summative, certainly for now, Formative Assessment – Creating the pedagogy of challenge, progression and deeper learning in the primary school and Formative Assessment – Creating the pedagogy of challenge, progression and deeper learning in the secondary school
  5.  Creating professional learning communities to share, collaborate and innovate – The expertise in a school is amazing but how often do we have the time or the structure to share that professionalism and knowledge more widely? Planning a strategy that ensures positive futures for every learner, every leader, every teacher and every school is essential. We know at Learning Cultures that the most successful way forward is to create a coaching culture that promotes high quality learning conversations and creates opportunities for the sharing and cascading of best practice, learner successes and teacher innovation. Where professional conversations lead the way, change happens. Start your coaching journey with the professionals at Learning Cultures.