How to manage a deep dive into curriculum implementation

Dive into a curriculum of discovery and wonder

Take a deep dive into subject specific curriculum implementation

A deep dive into subject specific implementation of a well-crafted curriculum must be part of the role of the senior school or college leader in partnership with subject and curriculum leaders and in collaboration with teachers and support staff.

Senior leaders will not have the relevant knowledge of every subject taught across the school and nor should they.  Instead a senior team must focus on the domain-specific knowledge relevant across all subjects and create for their subject leads and curriculum leads the right conditions to enable strong expertise to translate the aims and content of their specific programme of study into highly relevant and challenging knowledge rich subject content. Time for subject specific and cross-curricular collaboration that leads to a shared understanding of the knowledge, skills and concepts within subjects and across the subject divides will reap richness, breadth and creativity that leads to evidence that the curriculum has substance and the school is delivering high quality education.

Deep dive questions for Senior Leaders

Working together towards a shared goal

The first step in creating a profound understanding that subject and cross-curricular curriculum content is delivered linked to the stated intent is to create a set of deep dive questions that will reassure leaders that middle, phase and subject leaders are consistent in their interpretation of the curriculum intent, their own subject’s specific content, skills needed to access that knowledge and the concepts that knit the curriculum together. These might include,

  • What through the teaching of your subject content inspires pupils to want to learn and find out more?
  • How is learning differentiated to embrace the needs, experiences and aspirations of all pupils?
  • What is the evidence that the planned curriculum builds on prior learning and is sequenced towards clearly defined end points?
  • How are rich texts used to promote a growing confidence and love of reading across all subjects?
  • Where do subject concepts transcend one subject and apply to others?
  • Where are there clearly stated opportunities to develop mathematical fluency where it is essential for the acquisition of knowledge in subjects other than Maths?
  • How can the defined curriculum content create for pupils an opportunity to recognise the generic and thinking skills that will allow them to access knowledge within and across all their learning?

Learning Cultures have two outstanding courses for senior and curriculum leaders

How can subject leaders use deep dive questions to inspire their teams?

Lighting the way through team working and collaboration

The planned curriculum, the intent, must not remain on the shelf, in a folder or in the cloud. It must be the pumping heart of the school’s ambition for all pupils. It must inspire, motivate and excite teachers to deliver high quality pedagogy and create for pupils a sense of wonder and a desire to continue to learn always.

A sample of deep dive questions to ask subject leaders:-

  • How does your planned curriculum build on what has been taught previously and acknowledge pupils’ growing confidence in what they know and seek to find out?
  • How does planned and observed pedagogy promote positive learning behaviours?
  • What are the strengths within the team that will support expert teaching across the subject?
  • What is in place to ensure that all staff have or will receive subject specific relevant CPD?
  • How can the planned curriculum ensure every child whatever their starting point has access to the full curriculum?
  • What is in place that ensures consistency in assessing how well pupils are learning the curriculum and producing high quality work?

This course for subject leaders is invaluable in setting the scene for managing this complex role

A deep dive into cross-curricular collaboration

Cross- curricular illuminates connections

Creating the right conditions that allow pupils to make connections across all their learning, deepen their understanding and retain knowledge requires them see where skills, knowledge and concepts transcend subjects and apply across other parts of the curriculum.

Here are some deep dive questions for senior leaders to share with their subject leaders

  • How do subject leaders work together to create the right conditions for their teams to share their understanding of how pupils learn and how learning is retained over time in the long-term memory?
  • How do teams across the subject divides share their pedagogy and celebrate good classroom practice as part of a CPD strategy?
  • Where is the evidence that subject leaders and teachers know where concepts, skills and knowledge overlap to help their pupils to make connections across all their learning?
  • How are subject leaders and their teams working together to ensure that pupils understand the key concepts that transcend subject learning?
  • How is literacy and especially reading a key part of learning across all subjects?
  • What is the evidence that there is no missed opportunities for pupils to develop their mathematical fluency in subjects other than mathematics?

Build the confidence of curriculum teams

Cohesion requires highly effective and active professional learning communities

Cascade learning through powerful conversations

Searching questions such as the ones above will take time, a collective knowledge and a cohesive understanding of how the curriculum is designed and delivered if there are to be meaningful answers. Where subject leaders and their teams work in isolation, in silos, it is unlikely that many subject leaders and certainly few teachers would be able to answer them with confidence.

Outstanding curriculum planning and delivery is no accident. It is predicated on a culture of distributed leadership where senior, middle and subject leaders work together to build a tapestry of learning within and beyond subjects. There is a focus on professional development through highly interactive professional learning communities that challenge and probe. They exist so participants can learn from each other how pedagogy, knowledge and skills development are intrinsic in the development of a sequential, broad and balanced curriculum.

We have a complete range of coaching courses for all staff in a school or college, have a look at our Coaching in Education section on our website.

Creating a deep dive culture

Team working and collaboration inspires deep learning

Building a consensus on what is taught, how it is taught, and how learning is assessed to ascertain how well learning is assimilated requires all those with a pupil facing role to share their own practice and learn from others. This can only happen if there is a well-defined strategy that creates the right culture of collaboration and opportunities for professional learning conversations to take place. There must be a curriculum of CPD for curriculum leaders, teachers and their support teams. Time is essential but even when time is set aside much more is needed in terms of strategic commitment, including the following essential ingredients:-

  • Introduce or continue with professional learning communities that focus on powerful strategies for delivering curriculum breadth and balance, progression and deep learning
  • Introduce coaching and in particular some of the techniques related to instructional coaching that will help to guide and support all staff
  • Reflect on the purpose of lesson observation to ensure that it is an integral part of CPD where opportunities for feedback and a sharing of good and improving practice are the focus
  • Ensure that all subject leaders and their teams are clear as to how their planning and delivery reflect the aims that are fundamental to their specific National Curriculum programme of study
  • Subject meetings focus on learning and the evidence that all teachers are building on prior learning, sequencing the learning and deepening understanding over time
  • Assessment of learning is formative with regular opportunities for teachers to work together to moderate pupils’ work and share how they feedback to pupils
  • There are staged opportunities prior to a new academic year and throughout the year for cross-curricular CPD sessions where teachers can share their pedagogy, define concepts that transcend individual subject curriculum and focus on generic learning and thinking skills

Leading a coaching culture in a school or college is profound and achieves the results that other processes rarely do. We have the expertise and resources to build dynamic strategies that will lead to positive impact for pupils and staff. Have a look at some of the services we offer for leaders.

 

 

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.

Systems redesign – Innovative futures for learning

Introduction

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. 

 

 

Leading a Coaching School or College: Coaching is the key to exceptional leadership

Listen to this newspost as a podcast.

Bringing staff and pupils back into school will bring its challenges and require exceptional leadership skills. Learning CulturesLeading a Coaching School or College live webinar is the place to start for senior leaders to focus on how they can create a collaborative culture that delivers outstanding learning, powerful pedagogy and a shared commitment to the highest quality education for all.

Making coaching an essential part of the strategy for the future is the best decision a school or college leader will make.  Coaching equips the leader with the skills to empower others, to influence change and to unlock potential.  The coaching leader will create a culture of reflection where he or she engenders trust and a belief that everyone can achieve what is crafted in the vision, rationale or ambition for all staff and learners.   Where a leader believes that everyone has the capacity to continuously improve there is a motivation to uphold high standards of performance and for each member of staff to accept challenge and find their own solutions to issues and problems that arise.

To build new futures, leaders will need to re-evaluate the ambition for continuous improvement, curriculum rationale and the best way to ensure that learners make the transition from home schooling to the classroom and continue to thrive. Focusing on using strategies linked to coaching will ensure that the imperative for change is the collective responsibility of all staff. Incorporating learner voice into the mix can only strengthen the outcomes.

For this to happen, the senior leadership team need to make the commitment to build a coaching culture and allow others to share in the responsibility to make sure that all staff and pupils can recapture their enthusiasm and motivation to learn and enhance their self-esteem.  Where the process of change is driven by collaborative professional learning communities who share a common goal, the team can build on what they know works well, identify barriers that might need to be overcome and carefully refine the options they can choose to ensure success.

Essentially, coaching leadership must be highly visible so that there is a constancy of purpose that is built on a culture of trust and respect. Opportunities to foster collaboration must be inherent in all aspects of team and individual planning. There needs to be a commitment to ensuring the highest quality implementation leads to desirable and positive impact.  Coaching must be about learning through a process of continuous improvement where there is a willingness to share success, where individuals know their strengths and their gaps in professional learning and where they accept failure as part of the process and reflect on how mistakes lead to learning.

Leading a Coaching School is a training course that will provide senior leadership teams with the skills they need to begin their journey towards creating a coaching culture. However, this course goes much further than that, challenging those in attendance to focus on how they can implement a strategy that leads to transformational change.  We challenge senior leaders to focus on their sense of urgency and how this drives the vision for excellence and continuous improvement. We ask that leaders know how to delegate, how to empower and influence others to take increased responsibility for how they set and achieve their own goals and targets that flow from the whole organisation improvement plans.

We include a range of tools and techniques that provide those who attend with all they need to continue to learn how to coach and how to use coaching to create a culture where professional learning conversations provide the basis for a collaborative culture built on reflection, the celebration of good practice and the collective desire to deliver a constancy of purpose that insists on the highest quality of curriculum, pedagogy and learning.

Our team at Learning Cultures have all been leaders in education. We know how lonely it can be. The role of the senior leadership team is to be the Captain of the ship, to steer the vessel and the people within it to safe and secure futures.  Where everyone pulls together using coaching as the driver, the leader is reassured that all staff are working as one to weather storms, deal with difficult people, manage behaviour or address poor performance.  Delegation means that the leader or leaders return to being the strategists whilst middle, team or subject leaders deliver and anchor deep learning opportunities for teachers and pupils across the whole organisation.

Listen to this newspost as a podcast.

Strategic CPD Solutions for Schools – innovative examples of good practice

Strategic CPD solutions for schools

Strategy is probably a long way down the list of priorities for all those leading in education unless it is linked to the issues that crowd every day.  However, an increasing number of leaders are taking the longer view and beginning to focus on the needs of their teams, their teachers and their pupils when relative normality returns. I wanted to share some of the innovative CPD that we have delivered in the past nine months, remotely of course, to individual participants, middle, pastoral and subject leaders and large and small INSETs that have involved everyone. Below are ten areas where we have made a significant difference to how schools are preparing for a positive future.

  1. Transition from Key Stage 2 to 3 – We are training several groups of transition leads from across alliances of schools using our Crossing the Transition Bridge – from primary to secondary school to look at how to ensure partnerships and seamless learning for all year 6 pupils this year as they cross the transition bridge.
  2. Rethinking Appraisal using Coaching has been the strategic focus for one school. They have bought our asynchronous, ready to use course Rethinking Appraisal and Performance Management that focuses on how to use coaching to ensure appraisal clearly focuses on how the individual can play their part in achieving the school vision. They have also completed several of our coaching courses to ensure that the school vision and appraisal this year belong to all staff
  3. Leading a Coaching School or College – Many schools and colleges are using our synchronous, face to face live webinar to start now to look at how coaching will be the answer to reflective and positive futures. This course has the answers that will help senior leaders to support all staff now and in the months to come as we return to whatever normal will look like. Coaching creates opportunities for individuals to find their own solutions, remain positive and self-aware and build resilience in times of adversity.
  4. Leading from the Middle – Many school leaders are using the content of this course to give their middle leaders the coaching skills to ensure that their teams are collaborative and can deliver the strategic plans that need to be carefully crafted now and for the future. This course is a powerful coaching course that develops the coaching skills of those who have a pivotal middle leadership role and who are responsible for the performance of their teams in delivering high quality teaching and learning through a deep and rich curriculum offer
  5. Coaching to Create a Culture of Positive Mental Health – Several primary, secondary and special schools and A MAT are using our course that focuses on how developing a range of coaching skills can support those with a role in promoting well-being and positive mental health for staff and pupils.
  6. Quality Assuring how the Curriculum Design Delivers Impact, Seamless Learning and ProgressionIndividual senior leaders from several schools have attended this course and are using our materials, resources and guidance to develop quality assurance practices that will ensure there is evidence that the curriculum intent delivers high quality learning, outstanding pedagogy and evidence of a positive impact on whole school improvement. We are currently supporting the development of policy documentation and timeline structures to support schools to develop professional quality assurance processes
  7. Key Stage 3 – A Vital Piece in the Curriculum Jigsaw has been a very popular course and resonates with the need to make sure that learning is seamless, planning builds on prior learning and clearly defined end points provide a blue-print for progression
  8. The embedding of literacy and numeracy across all subjects are key elements of a high-quality curriculum offer. Our two courses ‘Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Coordinator’ and ‘Enhancing the Role of the Numeracy Coordinator’ have not diminished in popularity since our decision to move all our courses online. We have the answers to some pressing questions and we provide an outstanding array of best practice examples
  9. Our Coaching Certificate Programme is an opportunity to train to become a certified coach over three terms with expert guidance from our coaching team. We are running this course for several schools, sixth form colleges and FE colleges. We are also now offering it to individuals from different organisations. We are receiving amazing revues for the content and process which leads to a Level 3 Certificate in Coaching from the Association for Coaching.

We have achieved so much in these times of deep adversity and many schools, colleges and other organisations have benefited from our talented and innovative team and our outstanding training packages. Now is the time to start to think strategically, we have the expertise to help you to make a difference to the future of learning and education.  glynis@learningcultures.org 0r 01746 765076 / 07974 754241

Creating a Coaching Culture in Schools – The power of positive learning conversations

Creating a Coaching Culture in Schools – The power of positive learning conversations

There has never been a more important time to introduce coaching as the conduit for managing a future that shines a light on learning for everyone in the education sector.

Leaders can learn the skills that will empower them to instil confidence, self-belief and a shared commitment to look to the future and not dwell on the past.

Middle leaders, subject leaders and pastoral leaders can use coaching to create professional learning communities where they can work closely with their teams to assess learning, progress and well-being for both the teacher and the learner and anyone else who has been a part of creating successful outcomes over the past year.

Coaching in education

Coaching fosters a shared commitment to excellence where individual teachers share with others their successes, their learning and their goals for future development opportunities.  There needs to be a catalyst to make sure that there are opportunities for all staff to come together to share their experiences, talk about what they have gained from having to teach in a very different way and how this change will impact on how they manage learning and their learners moving forward to a new normal.

Coaching creates a foundation that will foster the right culture for positive professional learning conversations that will inspire innovation, provide solutions for how to make curriculum changes or build bridges for those who have gaps in their learning.  The infrastructure for change is much clearer where coaching forms the basis for new beginnings. It gives all staff a sense of belonging, where they can share their successes and feel safe in revealing their fears and concerns.

Coaching is about trust; it is non-judgemental and above all it is about creating the right strategies for continuing professional learning.  Now is the time to choose coaching as the strategy for a learning culture that will lead to excellence for all. See below an example of how you might create a coaching culture.

Coaching for every role in a school or college

The full range of our coaching courses are listed underneath the chart.

Now is the time to build a culture of positivity and reflection

Now is the time to build a culture of positivity and reflection

build a culture of positivity and reflection

Happy new year to all the wonderful school leaders, middle leaders, teachers and support staff who have supported their learners, each other and the wider community through the last few very turbulent months.  Every educator has had to think differently about how they teach, how they communicate with their teams and how they make sure that learning continues to take place.  We are in awe of your resilience and commitment. You are on the frontline and everyone, everywhere should recognise this.

Here at Learning Cultures, we want to build our own culture of positivity and reflection

So we have have adapted and changed our working practices so that we can continue to deliver the CPD and coaching support that many in the profession rely on.  It was devastating back in March of last year to hear that schools were closing. We genuinely thought that we would not be able to continue to trade.

However, as coaches with a can do positive attitude, we decided to change our business model and put all of our courses and services online.  For those who have attended any of our training will, I know, endorse the fact that the result has been outstanding.  There are so many positives that have come out of our new model for CPD that we feel sure we will continue to offer online courses long after this pandemic is behind us. We have stand-alone 5 section courses for you to buy and use when you can. We have live webinars that cover courses looking at the curriculum, at coaching and supporting well-being. We have recently launched a suite of nutshell courses, one-hour bite-size training opportunities that an individual can dip into when they are able.

As I write this, the uncertainty continues, primary schools are doing their best to continue to open in the face of a deepening crisis and secondary schools are working hard to develop Covid testing stations alongside planning to welcome back their learners in a couple of weeks. I cannot help but feel that CPD and training for staff is not at the top of the list of priorities.

However, national and international research and the training and support that we have been delivering over the past year suggests that continuing to value staff through providing them with opportunities to continue to develop as professionals is a vital component of maintaining high-quality learning, wellness and a feeling of being valued.

Learning how to coach builds resilience, fosters professional learning communities and promotes positivity. Leading a coaching school will reap exceptional benefits for all staff in these difficult times. Continuing to develop a well-sequenced curriculum is essential and our curriculum courses provide the resources and learning tools to ensure consistency, outstanding teaching and learning and a shared commitment to realise the vision for continuous improvement.

As the title of this news post says there has never been a more important time to create a culture of positivity and reflection. Investing in your staff with relevant and high quality CPD that is accessible, affordable and receives excellent testimonials will reap untold rewards that cascade widely across the whole organisation.

Thank you to you all, from Glynis and all at Learning Cultures.

 

 

CPD and coaching for Schools

Listening, questioning, sharing, collaborating, co-constructing, talking, reflecting, creating, empowering, influencing

A few of the words that describe the power of coaching as the most desirable way to build a CPD strategy for your school or college.  Back to school does not mean been back to normal and many leaders in education are facing challenges that are unprecedented. Finding the solutions to continuing to provide a high quality of education and ensure all staff have the knowledge, skills, energy and motivation to deliver it is essential for learning for pupils and personnel across the organisation. Coaching is that solution.

The Learning Cultures’ coaching team know from many years’ experience that the most cost effective, innovative and solutions-focused way forward is to set about using the principles of coaching as a starting point for planning CPD for the next year and beyond. For most this will mean using virtual platforms and online tools.

The Education Endowment Foundation have come to the same conclusion, their recent Rapid Evidence Assessment of the efficacy of remote professional development concludes,

Remote coaching, mentoring and expert support can be effective alone or as part of broader professional development programmes (PD)

  • Coaching and mentoring can improve skills and knowledge of professionals when delivered remotely and may reduce feelings of isolation in professionals
  • Remote or blended coaching, mentoring and expert support can be used to complement broader remote or blended PD programmes
  • Collaboration between colleagues may also improve PD outcomes through enabling reflective practice and collective problem-solving

The power of coaching transforms learning and teaching, builds dynamic teams and creates positive and incisive leaders. We have had a part to play in ensuring coaching is at the heart of CPD across many schools and colleges here in the UK and internationally.  We have now spent the last six months finalising our online programmes using an ex Channel 4 producer and an award-winning designer to work with us to ensure our highly-praised and well-researched content is also accessible, interesting and relevant.

We have been astounded by the outcomes from the live coaching webinars that we have delivered throughout the summer and the success of the Moodle courses that we have developed for schools and colleges to buy and use anytime within their CPD calendar. The quality and flexibility of this approach means a whole new world of CPD and coaching possibilities to suit all those who educate across all sectors.

 

Learning how to coach online – Powerful, proactive and personal

Cascading a coaching culture across a school or college creates opportunities for highly focused professional interaction that can empower individuals to accept change and allow them to take risks and find solutions. This has never been more important as we continue to try to find ways to teach and engage with learners both virtually and in very different classrooms.  Coaching brings together individuals who can share their successes, encourage reflection and foster resilience when the going gets tough.

Here at Learning Cultures that is certainly what we have had to do.  Offsite courses where people travel and spend time in groups in hotels and other conference spaces has not been on the agenda.  Survival for us has required innovation and a willingness to embrace change.  The answer has been surprisingly simple and has proved hugely successful. Coaching, we thought might prove tricky to deliver online. How wrong we were.

The Zoom coaching courses that we have run over the time of school shutsowns have been a huge success and provide an intimate and structured dimension to one to one and group interaction.  The impact of our training is just as powerful as it has always been and the opportunities for the development of more frequent coaching conversations with the trainer and with other participants means practising coaching skills is readily available, time friendly and outstandingly good value for all. We have broken down the full day we usually host into two sessions of two and a half hours each with a week in between for practice and reflection. It works so well, it is less tiring, more rewarding and more intense in terms of depth of learning.

There is still a place for face to face coaching interaction and learning but it isn’t happening any time soon and coaching is urgently needed as a means of empowering and motivating staff and learners to continue to be a part of a learning culture. The current coaching courses we have available online through July and August are:-

Have a look on our website at all the other courses we are offering through our Zoom platform. All our Zoom courses are for individuals to work through and currently cost £150.00 + VAT inclusive of both sessions which is a price that is too good to miss out on.

We also have a suite of courses that are now available on a Moodle platform for schools to buy as CPD packages that can be delivered as a whole school INSET, a series of training sessions or twilight sessions across an academic year. Discounted by 30% to £695.00 + VAT they are exceptional value.