Bringing Learning Cultures’ coaching training to a school in Shanghai

Hello from China. I am here in Shanghai to deliver a suite of coaching training for a group of schools.  It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with some lovely people from an eclectic mix of countries and nationalities. They have all shown such a commitment to the concept of coaching and how it can be transformative as a pedagogy in the classroom, a dynamic and highly effective approach to CPD and a powerful skill for those who manage teams and lead their organisation towards positive change.

It was with some trepidation that I undertook this assignment, wondering as I travelled here how coaching would be viewed in a country such as China.  My first thoughts were that the didactic approach to both school management and teaching and learning would prevail.  What I have seen is exactly the opposite, a wealth of talent, a positive attitude to change management and a desire to create a learning culture across the schools.

Many of the issues facing the staff here are exactly the same as we have in England.  The pressure for results that leads to a tendency to teach rather than to facilitate learning;  a lack of time for genuine collaboration within subjects and across the curriculum and few opportunities for the sharing and celebration of good and outstanding practice in teaching and learning.  The coaching principles that help to address such issues were seen as a positive way forward in the pursuance of consistent high quality education for all pupils and the development of a highly structured training strategy for staff.

I delivered three of our coaching programmes. Leading a Coaching School to the leadership team, Coaching from the Middle for Heads of School, Department leads and other team leaders and Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning for those teachers who wanted to lead on developing the coaching approach within the school.

The enthusiasm from the participants and the contributions they made to the activities and discussions we had were enjoyable and hugely informative.  Those of you reading this who have benefited from our coaching training will know what I mean when I say that the experience of learning how to coach is highly motivating and brings a new dimension to how to approach defining pedagogy as part of a collaborative dialogue for continuing professional development and in the classroom to reinforce independence and creativity in learning.

I am looking forward to my return to England where the Learning Cultures’ coaching momentum continues to grow for schools across our country.  I am also pleased by the growing number of schools internationally that are asking us to plan programmes, here in China and in Spain, India, UAE, Australia, Denmark and Czechoslovakia to name a few more.  We are making a difference with our unique training offer.  It is the start of a journey and once you realise how powerful coaching can be you will not turn back.

From Glynis, here in Shanghai.

Inspecting the Substance of Education – OFSTED publish their framework for future inspections

Inspecting the substance of education is at the heart of OFSTED’s new handbook, published on 14th May.  There are few changes to part one and these are essentially linked to slight differences to how schools and inspectors need to prepare for inspection.  There is however, one significant additional section that ripples through the whole document.  ‘Overarching approach to inspection’. There is a clear message.  All school leaders must create the culture that delivers a high-quality and connected curriculum where all staff work together to achieve the highest possible standards for their pupils.

As set out in the ‘preparation’ section (paragraphs 54–55), inspections under the EIF always begin with in-depth discussions with school leaders and curriculum leaders about the school’s curriculum.

Leaders will need to ensure they have the answers to questions such as,

  • ‘What are pupils expected to learn?’
  • ‘What are the end points that leaders want pupils to reach?’
  • ‘What are the key concepts that pupils need to understand and in what order will they learn them’?’
  • ‘What is the sequence of learning that will ensure pupils build and deepen their learning over time?’
  • ‘How is the behaviour and attitudes of pupils creating the right conditions for learning?’
  • How is the curriculum supporting pupils’ personal development in many diverse aspects of life?

During inspection, inspectors will look to gather first hand evidence of whether what is being delivered and the work pupils are producing matches the curriculum intent. Inspectors will work together with curriculum leaders, talk to individual teachers and pupils and look at pupils’ work (in its widest sense).  Inspectors will draw together the various strands of evidence from different pupils, classes, departments and year groups.  What they want to see is the connections between different pieces of evidence gathered by the inspection team.

OFSTED’s rationale for this approach is to gather evidence that will allow inspectors to focus on the overall quality of education that is on offer across subjects, year groups and classes.  Essentially, it requires all staff to work collaboratively to plan how to implement an inter-connected curriculum offer so that pupils build on prior learning, deepen their knowledge over time, retain that knowledge and have the skills that enable them to continue to access rich learning experiences within the core and the foundation subjects and in a wider learning context as well.

Now is the time to focus on how to ensure there are opportunities for collaborative and shared planning.  Staff need to work together within their teams or departments. They need to communicate and plan across subjects and topics so that teachers and pupils can see the connections and concepts that transcend the subject divides.  There are many component parts of a sequential curriculum that need to be woven together to create a tapestry of learning. Where this happens learning grows over time and ensures all pupils are able to make connections across their learning, deepen their subject and conceptual knowledge and become unconsciously competent in their use of the skills that help them access curriculum content and obtain the cultural capital they need to for life.

The Learning Cultures curriculum team have designed some highly effective tools and resources. They are already being used successfully in schools to create a cohesive and collaborative approach to ensuring all staff who have a responsibility for planning and delivering the curriculum are working together to interpret the stated intent and vision and translating it into a positive and exciting interconnected curriculum offer.

All our training is informed by research and a deep understanding of curriculum and how it should be developed to create high quality learning.  Join us to learn from our expert team.

For senior, middle and curriculum leaders

 

For curriculum and subject leaders

For Primary and secondary literacy and numeracy co-ordinators

For those involved in planning for assessment of the curriculum

Essential CPD to weave a learning culture through curriculum design and delivery

Work with the experts and ensure that all your staff including senior leaders, middle managers, subject specialists, teachers and support staff are all equipped and ready to deliver a seamless and sequential curriculum. Create a curriculum offer that is designed to embrace knowledge, focus on skills and identify cross-curricular and subject specific concepts that will allow pupils to see connections and deepen their learning over time.

If you haven’t already and many have, start with our Re-thinking the curriculum suite, we have places available throughout the summer and autumn terms.

Collaboration and positive professional dialogue are key to creating the right culture to ensure all staff build on what they do well and what needs to change. Creating a coaching culture is by far the best way to ensure all staff are working together using professional dialogue to share good practice, develop highly effective strategies for learning and achieve the school vision.  For leaders and managers developing the coaching skills that will empower others to deliver the vision, rationale and ambition for curriculum change is profound. Join us at one of our coaching events highlighted below.

For pastoral leaders who will have a pivotal role in assessing the impact of curriculum change on the well-being and learning potential of their pupils and for the SENCO where parity is high on the agenda as is a curriculum that meets the needs of pupils with special needs we have these tailor made training opportunities.

For Teachers and support staff coaching can have a significant impact on how well pupils can access the curriculum, deepen their learning, ensure that they become unconsciously competent in their use of skills and can access knowledge that will enter their long term memory as part of a process of deep learning over time. We have superb training opportunities with original and highly praised content.

Pivotal to ensuring that the vision, rationale and ambition is translated into positive outcomes for learners is ensuring that all staff know the part they play in the school’s journey towards creating successful outcomes. It is essential that professional development for all staff fosters confidence and provides opportunities for the sharing and cascading of good practice and the cascading of innovative learning opportunities. Ensuring the appraisal process and subsequent quality assurance processes will be a secure confirmation that the curriculum intent is translated into positive implementation and profound impact for all learners. Ensure performance management is linked to a professional development agenda using our training below.

Curriculum concepts, knowledge for sequential learning and the core and softer skills are at the heart of ensuring the curriculum weaves deep understanding and creates opportunities to build on prior learning and informs future learning.  Ensure all staff can see how the skills are essential to accessing knowledge and deepening learning over time.

All our courses are designed using the most up-to-date sector led research.  We have created a CPD offer that means all the materials and resources are available for you to use following on from the training so that they can be used to cascade yours and your colleagues learning to others.  Build a learning culture that delivers seamless learning with a curriculum packed with concepts, skills and knowledge using prestigious and expert training programmes.

 

 

 

 

Curriculum matters-the story so far

I am Glynis Frater, the founder of Learning Cultures, a leading provider of coaching and other professional development services for the education profession.  I have followed the developments that have unfolded as Amanda Spielman has slammed the lack of attention many schools have given to ensuring pupils have access to a broad and balanced, deep and rich curriculum.  She is right, of course, but she isn’t a head of a school battling with the only accountability measures that currently count at the end of key stage 1, 2 and key stage 4.

Let’s take what she says at face value, change needs to take time (this is an evolution not a revolution). There is a need to focus on communication, collaboration and professional learning conversations, (OFSTED want to listen and communicate with school leaders, middle leaders and teachers), the subject specialist, subject leader, subject expert is at the heart of ensuring changes to how we deliver the curriculum can make a difference, (content, concept, knowledge and the skills that help pupils access them are the key to building this deep and rich curriculum offer) so subject teams must work together effectively to create sequential learning that ensures all pupils, whatever their ability, achieve their full potential.

The team at Learning Cultures has been working hard, deepening our own knowledge of the research, creating innovative resources and creating solutions focused training materials. The work we do here and the messages within our training echo many of the indicators that OFSTED have based their new handbook on.  We have not changed any of our programmes, courses or support packages to accommodate the new handbook and the messages from OFSTED because many of our messages and the skills and knowledge we bring already mirror the philosophies and indicators that are simply good practice and embody the characteristics of a good or outstanding school

Read the news-posts that I have written, week by week I have followed the unfolding change in emphasis for how schools should be judged. They are all on our webisite, Since Christmas, these have included,

Have a look at our curriculum courses that challenge you to re-think your curriculum strategy, delivery models and clearly stated impact. Then focus on our coaching programmes and decide to make the decision to use coaching to create the culture that will ensure high quality professional dialogue drives positive change where all staff know how the curriculum intent delivers a learning strategy for all the pupils they teach, provides them with the time and resources to create that innovative, creative and deep content that will build on learning over time and design the blueprint for all pupils to have the skills they need for the next stages of their education. Add in our teaching and learning courses that are designed to foster outstanding pedagogy, raise the bar on assessment and focus on how to ensure knowledge and skills weave a positive curriculum offer.

Creating a culture that fosters professional dialogue and delivers a seamless curriculum

How do leaders in schools create the right culture that fosters constructive professional dialogue? Amanda Spielman from OFSTED puts the importance of professional dialogue at the heart of her last two major speeches, one to ASCL and the other to the Muslim Teachers’ Association.

“The Quality of Education judgement is central to putting the curriculum, the substance of education, back at the heart of professional dialogue in schools and colleges. It’s been great to hear that these conversations are emerging, even before the first inspections under this new framework.”

In order to create that school culture where all staff have the opportunity to engage in professional dialogue there needs to be a profound understanding of the difference between professional dialogue and a conversation.

Professional dialogue is one of the phrases that is completely embedded in all of our coaching programmes.  The essence of learning how to coach for those in education is in the development of a range of coaching attributes including highly effective listening skills, the ability to ask incisive, deep and rich questions and to have the confidence and the capacity to influence others to change.  Creating a CPD strategy that embraces coaching fosters professional dialogue and moves individuals away from simply using unstructured conversations.  It can have a profound impact on ensuring all staff are empowered to deliver a consistent, whole school approach to how the curriculum intent, ambition and rationale is translated into innovative planning, highly effective pedagogy and a shared understanding of the sequencing of content over time.

“OFSTED have the concept of dialogue at its core to establish, what  pupils are being taught? How well are they being taught? and, How is what they are being taught setting them up for the next stage in their education?”

The curriculum rationale and ambition that reveals its intent and how this is consistently implemented in every classroom and in many cross curricular contexts is at the heart of what OFSTED want to focus on as part of assessing ‘the substance of education’. Creating opportunities to deepen the skills of leaders, managers, teachers and support staff in how they use professional dialogue as opposed to simply having conversations will help to create the essential, consistent and seamless curriculum offer that builds on prior learning, deepens knowledge, enhances pupils’ skills over time and ensures assessment finds the gaps in understanding and informs future learning.

“The point of observation by inspectors is to see whether the school’s aims and intentions are being translated effectively into practice, ‘does it all come together as it should’.”

If, as Amanda Spielman talks about in her speeches, leaders, managers and teachers are to be an integral part of professional dialogue about the curriculum and how the intent is translated into highly effective delivery that has a demonstrable impact on learning over time; then all staff need to have the right skill set to be an equal participant in that constructive dialogue.  They will need to listen to what is being asked of them, be able to respond with incisive questions that are designed to draw out deeper meaning and have the vocabulary and deep pedagogical and subject expertise that will demonstrate their professional understanding of how the school is successfully delivering powerful learning for all pupils.

Have a look at Learning Cultures’ coaching courses, we have a training opportunity for all staff, for leaders, middle managers, subject specialists, teachers, support staff and SENCOs.

Join us at one of our highly praised curriculum courses, they have been so successful and we continue to update them as more information emerges from DfE and OFSTED.

Subject expertise and subject leadership are pivotal to the proposed changes and we have a new course researched and designed by our expert curriculum team.

Enhancing the Role of the Subject Leader – managing curriculum change that delivers sequential, seamless and deep knowledge and skills

 

Literacy and Numeracy: the essential threads that weave through a deep and rich curriculum

If you are reading this you are using one of the most important skills there is for learning.

It is essential as part of any review of the curriculum to identify the core and generic skills for learning that will open the door for all learners to access the information they need to build a sequential bank of knowledge.

Context provides the vehicle for mastery of the literacy and numeracy concepts that will help pupils to deepen their understanding and become unconsciously competent in their use of the skills they need to access knowledge within subjects and across the curriculum. Each subject expert needs to think carefully about the skills that allow pupils to deepen their understanding of the content of their subject.

Think about the skill of comprehension which is undoubtedly the most important skill for pupils to master in order that they can read and understand. This is carefully taught within English where the texts are used to help pupils to deepen their reading skills. Complex and rich texts are often an integral part of learning in other subjects. However, these texts are often written for the subject and take no account of the reading age of the pupil. Subject specialists, need to have the skills to help pupils decode the language, the vocabulary and the inference within those texts.

What about the skill of measuring in Maths? There are countless examples of where measurement is used as part of learning across the curriculum. Design and build, interpreting a map, making a cake, working out velocity and speed, conducting an experiment, defining cause and effect, comparing or contrasting, to name but a few.

The above two examples are specific skills linked to the teaching in English and in Maths.  There are also the concepts and generic skills that need consideration.  Consider the concept of space or shape, scale or time. All have their place as part of deciphering knowledge in many contexts across the curriculum. Curriculum planning must ensure there are opportunities for pupils to use different vocabulary, understand the method or the process and be able to see how their learning in one subject relates to learning in another one.

The curriculum is not a set of isolated, individual subjects but a tapestry of learning where the concepts, skills and knowledge are interwoven to create the right set of circumstances for pupils to learn and deepen their understanding. It must ensure that knowledge is retained within pupils’ long-term memory and set the context for future challenge.

The key to creating this woven fabric of knowledge and skills is to create opportunities for departments to work together to identify the age-related skills and knowledge within their subject and sequence the content so that there is seamless learning from one year to the next.  There should also be opportunities for cross curricular planning where teachers and their subject leaders can identify where the concepts, skills and knowledge overlap or are re-inforced.  Where teachers have a profound understanding of the wider curriculum they can share with their pupils where similar or the same knowledge is part of learning in other subjects.

Start by reflecting on how much time is given to curriculum planning, who is involved and to what extent there are opportunities for cross-phase, cross-curricular and cross-year collaboration to ensure depth, breadth and balance. Then encourage teams to to collectively piece together a curriculum map that will create the evidence that pupils build on prior learning, deepen their understanding and can develop the skills that will help them to access and master ever increasingly complex and challenging subject content.

We have developed a suite of training to support schools in their quest for curriculum cohesion.

For senior leaders and curriculum managers we look at the strategic vision and consider how to make sure we keep what works well and what needs to change:

For subject leaders we have a new course built on recent research and using our own expertise to look in detail at how to sequence a learning curriculum that builds on prior learning and deepens knowledge over time.

Research suggests that transition creates a dip in learning of anything up to 40%.  We have two highly regarded training courses that look at how to ensure positive academic as well as pastoral transition focuses on curriculum cohesion and building on prior learning.

Specific to those with responsibility for embedding literacy and numeracy across the curriculum we have developed the following outstanding training programmes. They have been part of our repertoire for several years. Our messages haven’t changed, the change of emphasis on curriculum intent, implementation and impact mirror what we already know works and delivers deep and challenging learning.

Weave your own tapestry curriculum using the resources and strategies that we know work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concepts in Curriculum Design – Creating the culture that delivers seamless learning

The architects of positive curriculum design must start with defining the concepts that will build a coherent and deep offer that delivers seamless learning and progression.  This is essential if the curriculum is to deliver the highest quality education for all pupils across the ability spectrum.

OFSTED’s new handbook and associated research reinforce the need for a clear and coherent rationale for curriculum design.  Creating a cohesive, inclusive and rich curriculum offer remains the key challenge for all headteachers and their senior leadership teams across all schools from early years, in primary and secondary schools and in post 16 education.

There are two parts to this and both require a focus on certain clearly defined concepts.  The curriculum intent, ambition and rationale is defined by an overarching set of concepts that include breadth and depth, relevance, continuity, progression and attitudes to learning.  Subject leaders have a pivotal role in ensuring the curriculum is implemented so that what is delivered reflects the vision, the intent and the ambition. The concepts that subject leaders need to focus on in relation to strategic planning for their departments, faculties or teams might include coherence, differentiation, continuity, knowledge, skills and understanding.

There is a third set of concepts that then need consideration as the planned curriculum is delivered to ensure high levels of learning and progression. These are linked to both subject content and to generic learning outcomes that are essential to learning in the classroom, across the curriculum and beyond.  Subject concepts might include, sources, predictions, measurement, beliefs, methods, settlements, environment, to name but a few.  Have a look at a list we have compiled, it is a work in progress. If subject teachers simply focus on the knowledge within their subject and do not see the connections both in relation to skills and generic learning concepts, opportunities for depth and breadth, continuity and coherence may be lost.

The key to leading this process and to orchestrating strategic practices that are consistent across all teams, subject specialisms and cross curricular partnerships is to ensure high levels of collaboration and professional learning conversations that bring together expertise from the senior leadership team, within subject specialisms and across the subject divides.

It is essential to turn the concepts into contexts that create clearly defined and workable solutions that all staff can contribute to achieving.  This will happen if continuing professional development (CPD) is carefully planned and linked to quality curriculum implementation which is seen as the essential and overarching vision.

We have designed our coaching and curriculum training to support schools move seamlessly to a solutions focused strategy, start with our Curriculum Re-defining series,

Build a coaching culture that will support highly effective collaboration for leaders, middle leaders and subject specialists,

Develop the coaching skills and pedagogy that will deliver a cohesive and positive curriculum and ensure teachers can share and cascade their practice widely,

Have a look at other coaching courses, courses linked to teaching and learning and those that support curriculum planning and implementation. Start your journey towards a seamless curriculum with Learning Cultures.

 

 

 

CPD in a box – a new way to access our highly acclaimed training courses

CPD in a box is a resource for schools and colleges.  Each box contains all the materials, presentations and activities for one training course. Included as part of the contents is a pen drive so that the training can be disseminated electronically.  The transcripts and materials will also provide all the tools to deliver the course to groups of staff across the school or for a whole school INSET, training session or twilight.

We maintain that there are very clear advantages to having the opportunity to work with other delegates and have the expertise of a talented trainer in a setting away from school. However, the current retention and recruitment crisis and the lack of funding available suggests to us that this is an excellent way of continuing to ensure that outstanding, well-researched and highly relevant CPD is available to as many staff in school as possible.

We will have several of our courses available to buy over the next few months. The first ones will be available at the beginning of the summer term. The first titles will include:-

Each box will cost £595.00 + VAT and can be used again and again with staff across the school.  We hope to have these first boxes of CPD available at the beginning of the summer term. If this is of interest, we would love to hear from you.  Please will you complete the form on our Contact us page with your name, school, telephone number and email address and write CPD in  a box in the comment page.  We can then forward more information about the contents and let you know when the first boxes will be available.

We also have some new training courses available in the summer term. We are constantly revising our offer linked to curriculum, inspectorate and policy changes.  We have a team of experts who keep us all up to date and develop innovative, dynamic and interactive materials and resources to ensure that CPD drives excellence and improvement across your school or college. Have a look at what’s new,

Ensuring CPD is at the heart of your vision for excellence and improvement across the school is a powerful strategy that will reap rewards. Staff feel valued, they are given the opportunity to grow in their role and they learn how to reflect on what they do well and what they need to do to improve upon. We have designed all our CPD courses in such a way that those who attend our training can take their learning back to share it with others. In this way we make sure that the content continues to build learning opportunities widely for all staff.  In this way we know that the CPD we offer is sustainable, cascades knowledge and skills and is cost – effective.

 

Coaching: creates a culture of collaboration that fosters outstanding learning and teaching

Key elements of a coaching culture

Coaching is all about positive dialogue that drives change.  A school is a place where experts in pedagogy, assessment, learning and thinking all contribute to the successful outcomes the school sets out to achieve. Coaching brings that expertise together to ensure that it is shared and disseminated to ensure outstanding continuous improvement for all staff.

The current imperative to focus on a sequenced curriculum that builds on prior learning and ensures deep understanding and readiness for the next stage requires high levels of collaboration.

  • Leaders and their senior teams need to work together to define the intent and rationale. They need to be ambitious in their vision to ensure that all pupils receive a deep and rich learning experience
  • Middle leaders need to have the skills to disseminate the vision, communicate the rationale and empower individuals in their teams to be innovative in how they plan for change
  • Subject leaders and specialists need to focus on how to weave the skills and knowledge that build a sequential tapestry of learning that will motivate and inspire pupils
  • Teachers from across the subject spectrum must have the confidence and self-belief to plan and deliver high quality pedagogy that drives a learning culture. Creating opportunities for teachers to focus on the pedagogy that creates independent, active and participative learners can be achieved through developing for them a range of coaching skills, a pedagogy for learning

Coaching has the power to change perceptions of self, to create opportunities for innovation, to build a culture that puts learning at the heart of the school’s vision and to ensure a consistency of purpose that involves everyone.

Trying to implement change without an effective model is difficult. Try a coaching approach and success is nearer than you think. The sequenced courses below will provide the perfect starting point for a journey that you won’t turn back from. Our full coaching programme provides further training opportunities that are all linked to creating an outstanding learning culture. Have a look here.

You may also like to attend one of our highly praised and well-reserached courses that focus on reflecting on and re-defining the curriculum to ensure the breadth and depth that OFSTED have placed such an emphasis on.

Lead a Coaching School for Curriculum Change- Create quality outcomes that deliver outstanding learning and teaching

Lead a Coaching School – Create the quality outcomes that deliver outstanding learning and teaching

I have used the theme quality as the subject for the latest newsletter from Learning Cultures  ‘How Do We Define Quality in Education – linked to curriculum planning, pedagogical input and learning outcomes?  Quality in this context requires a strategy for ensuring every member of staff across a school, or in fact any organisation, is fully conversant with the part they play in creating outcomes that are positive and deliver results. The current focus on developing a sequenced and well-balanced curriculum needs to be managed using clearly defined quality processes. However, implementing the principles and ensuring consistency across all subjects, year groups, departments and phases or key stages requires a model such as coaching that determines the structures within which quality outcomes are unconsciously achieved.

Creating a coaching culture will provide the dynamic and highly effective strategies required to create a collaborative and sequenced curriculum.  Coaching provides leaders with the skills to empower others to change and grow.  Coaching creates for middle and subject leaders, the ability to motivate others to deliver high quality teaching, differentiated learning and consistent stretch and challenge. Coaching provides the medium by which teachers can share outstanding teaching and learning, reflect on their own ability to inspire their pupils and ensure a deep  knowledge rich curriculum can be the right of all pupils through the development of the skills they need to make sense of their learning.

The emphasis is firmly on the need for greater collaboration and opportunities for professional learning conversations. We need a cohesive narrative that creates the culture where there are clear mechanisms for the sharing of schemes of work, programmes of study, subject content, subject and cross-curricular concepts, assessment outcomes and classroom pedagogy that leads to seamless learning from early years to post 16 and beyond.  The opportunity to build a system that is efficient, informed and well-sequenced will ensure that teachers and their pupils know exactly what has been taught and to what depth, can confidently build the next steps for the learner and build in support or stretch and challenge where it is necessary.

For the school leader coaching is a structure and powerful driver for change or re-definition.  The principles of coaching motivate and engage all staff in the quest for highly effective outcomes and give them the skills to be an important part of planning for the future. We would highly recommend that school leaders and their senior teams learn from our highly respected coaching event ‘Leading a Coaching School – empowering positive change that cascades continuous improvement’. Once you embark upon a coaching journey you rarely turn back.

Have a look at our Coaching in Education section for all our coaching courses.  They have been designed using many years of research and expertise, policies and handbooks may come and go but the principles of coaching continue to create the most powerful leadership strategies that lead to outstanding learning and teaching.