Coaching for the Pastoral Team- an essential skill for all those with a pastoral role

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Coaching and the pastoral process has a symbiosis that should not be ignored. Coaching is about allowing individuals to find solutions, reflect on their own behaviours and have resilience when faced with difficulties. Delivering the pastoral system requires a range of skills that will nurture learners and allow them to grow and progress throughout their education.

Learning how to coach is a gift that creates a culture where individuals know their limits and are challenged to take responsibility. It is the opposite to telling individuals what is best for them, instead it is a collaborative process that leads to independence of spirit and fosters high levels or self-belief.

Stepping into the harsh reality of returning to education in the classroom will be a difficult process for many. The routines, the spaces and the management of learning is different in the home environment. Even for those who have remained in school things will change as class sizes grow.  There will be a wide range of different experiences that learners have faced and their ability to cope will vary as a result of many different factors. It will be for the pastoral team to work together in synergy to ensure all learners thrive, return to learning in the classroom as easily as possible and begin to find their equilibrium.

Learning how to coach will enhance the skills of pastoral leaders and tutors. They will become more intuitive, challenge limiting beliefs, use deep questioning to raise self-esteem and probe for clarity and understanding. Coaching is non-judgemental; a coach is a critical friend who will not disapprove, disagree or impose. A coach is there to listen deeply, to offer clarity and to give reassurance for anyone struggling with their own confusing reality.

In this course we look at how pastoral leaders can create highly effective teams that will support both their learners and their colleagues. We show how the development of a coaching culture will bring strength to the team and provide the model for ensuring there is a professional dialogue that fosters the celebration of good practice and where all those involved can learn from each other and collaborate successfully.  We create the opportunity for those attending to learn and practice some coaching skills including deep and rich questioning, active listening and influencing skills. We want the picture to unfold to reveal just how powerful coaching can be in the desire to develop within all learners, resilience, strength of character, a belief in fairness and a range of independent learning skills that will prepare them for a positive future.

This course is part of our suite of coaching courses. It can stand alone, or it can be part of a planned CPD strategy where all staff have the opportunity to learn how coaching can support them in their role. Making sure pastoral staff learn and practice a range of coaching skills and can see how coaching will enhance their role is a profound step in supporting all learners. The next few months will be an important journey where the pastoral team and the learners in their charge can cope with the realities of returning to the classroom, recognising there has been a cohesive learning journey over the past year and making strides towards discovering they have the confidence to move forward positively.

As with all the courses designed by the Learning Cultures coaching team the materials, resources, activities and presentations are all created so that those who participate in the training can take their learning back to their colleagues and cascade it. It is our sincere belief that any form of training must be sustainable and cost effective and by providing opportunities for others to share in the content of the training is essential. The delegate has the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to others but will also consolidate their learning through the process of discussing their learning with others.

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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

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.

 

Have the answers to OFSTED’s ‘deep dive’ questions

Have the answers to OFSTED’s deep dive questions

Our expert curriculum team have developed a suite of highly interactive training linked to  the ‘deep dive’ questions OFSTED are asking of school leaders and managers. We have drawn on several commentaries to compile this list both from Headteachers who are currently mopping up after an inspection to eminent researchers and commentators who have surveyed the depths to offer advice on how to reach the surface successfully.

Creating the culture that will ensure there is a synchronised approach to curriculum design, high quality pedagogy, subject expertise, assessment and evaluation requires senior leaders to create a clearly defined plan that all staff can navigate by. In order to achieve this everyone needs to work together within their subject and as part of cross-curricular and cross-phase teams to confidently have the answers to  some of these questions.  

All staff need to have a definite and clear understanding as to the answers that mirror the school’s intent and ambition for the curriculum and for the pupils it serves. The right management processes need to be in place.  Subject and curriculum teams need to have the answers at their fingertips about how they deliver  a well-sequenced, conceptual and progressive curriculum. The focus must be on leaders and managers creating a longitudinal and latitudinal chart that all staff can interpret, plan with and deliver.

One theme that resonates across all the examples of questions we have seen is the need to ensure there is professional development support including high quality training  so staff can confidently deliver the curriculum.

Here at Learning Cultures we have focused on the answers to the many questions being asked of leaders, managers and subject specialists.  We have created a CPD offer that covers all the elements that need to be in place to ensure the curriculum is safely delivered. Our training offer is highly interactive, provides a range of useful re-usable resources and activities and is built on highly respected sector led research.

The questions provide a revealing spotlight into what school leaders in both primary and secondary schools need to look for themselves when assessing the successful implementation of their stated aims and goals for the curriculum. However, subject leaders and their teams need to have the  answers that reveal a kaleidoscope of creative and innovative learning that is consistent and leads to parity and progression for all learners. Essentially, this requires schools to embark on an immersive CPD journey towards dry land.

 

A Journey in Coaching for Educators: our certification programme is a powerful driver for curriculum and whole-school change

Developing a coaching culture

Take a journey in coaching for educators and lead powerful change by creating a team of skilled coaching and curriculum ambassadors or champions using Learning Cultures’ Certification Programme.

The current imperative is to ensure that the curriculum is consistently delivered to mirror the leadership’s clearly defined rationale and ambition. This needs a clarity of purpose across all subjects, year groups, phases and stages. Developing a coaching culture for your school or college is without doubt the most powerful way to cascade positive and consistent improvements in pedagogy, pupil outcomes and team delivery. Coaches develop a range of skills that motivate others, encourage self-reflection and that focus on the positive. It is through these qualities that coaches can support others to begin to use the professional and motivational dialogue that will create measurable and tangible results for all staff and all pupils.

Sustaining a culture of change through coaching

Sustaining a culture of change through coaching has been the guiding principle that has led us to develop this coaching programme for schools and colleges to use.  We will train a group of individuals over an academic year, ideally a group of six or nine, who will have the opportunity to be a part of three training sessions, a series of self-directed twilight sessions and a commitment to undertake 30 hours coaching with colleagues. This will lead to certification endorsed by the Association for Coaching.  Those who embark on a coaching journey won’t turn back, coaches inspire ambition, encourage challenge and foster innovation.

Start your journey in coaching for educators

Choose the first group of Coaching Ambassadors who want to develop as coaches and begin your journey towards ensuring a high-quality learning experience for all. Have a look at the programme in detail below.

The Certificate in Coaching Competence – A journey in coaching

We have a whole range of other coaching courses providing something for all staff. All our training is designed so that it can be disseminated to others after the event.  Training is never a stand-alone experience, where it is shared it has far more impact on the individual, the learner, teams and the whole school.

 

Incremental Coaching – taking small steps that deliver high quality classroom pedagogy

Q: What is the best way to ensure that the curriculum is consistently delivered across subjects, year groups and key stages?

A: Design a quality assurance system where the incremental components are carefully crafted and communicated so that all staff know the part they play in the successful delivery of a curriculum that is rich in knowledge and develops the skills learners need to access that knowledge.

We have new course that focuses on how to create a QA system in your school:

Quality Assurance Strategies for Outstanding Curriculum Implementation and Impact – delivering outstanding pedagogy, seamless learning and progression

Q: How can leaders and managers create the culture that ensures that good and best practice in teaching and learning is shared and opportunities for further development decided upon to incrementally build excellence?

A: Lead a coaching culture and create opportunities for leaders, managers and teachers to learn the coaching skills that will allow them to tease out their strengths, identify their gaps and focus on small steps and positive actions that will enhance their potential and allow them to continuously improve their performance. We have the sequence of courses to support your school on the journey towards a coaching culture.

Q: How can subject leaders empower their teams to create the curriculum that weaves skills and knowledge to deepen understanding and deliver a visionary, ambitious and innovative curriculum?

A:  Ensure strong subject teams use professional learning conversations and coaching skills so that there is a consensus about how to build on prior learning, sequence that learning towards clearly defined end points and decide how the knowledge and skills will be consistently assessed and moderated. Join us for a ‘deep dive’ into how to create strong subject teams that work together and also share cross curricular collaboration. Defining and Enhancing the Role of the Subject Leader

Then focus on assessment,

For an in-depth review of the story so far in relation to the need to focus on curriculum intent, implementation and impact and defining quality follow the posts on our website here.

 

 

 

Observing Quality in the Classroom – measuring the impact of curriculum design

The quality of education is defined by OFSTED as ensuring pupils learn the content of a well sequenced curriculum across all subjects.  This re-balance (their language) requires leaders and their teams to look more closely at what is taught and how it is taught linked to their rationale and ambition for curriculum intent.

The clues to how this can be managed in school are linked to the myriad of speeches, publications and research that OFSTED have published over many months.  OFSTED are focusing on lesson observation, book scrutiny and professional conversations with all stakeholders. The imperative to translate what is planned (intent) into education outcomes that deepen learning over time (implementation) and clearly define how all pupils will achieve their full potential (impact) is critical.

The available research can help to create highly useful best practice models. The result will deliver curriculum clarity to satisfy the inspectorate but will, more importantly, also foster a culture of highly interactive collaboration and the sharing of positive pedagogy that will have a lasting impact on morale, motivation and high quality learning.

Observation of learning is the key. This includes observing pedagogy and the learning outcomes that emerge from that. It also includes assessing the learning through what is written, how well pupils read, how pupils answer questions and what is performed, played, displayed or recorded for practical subjects including drama, PE, design technology, music and art. I have taken the observation indicators that OFSTED are using as part of their own validation and added to them a set of indicators of what observers and teachers might be looking for in terms of learning outcomes. Essentially, a far less subjective set of indicators that are linked directly to evidence of what pupils produce, learn, what they retain and their attitudes to learning.

So, when defining the quality of education, focus on the questions below so that you are clear as to what you would like to see when you observe pedagogy, practice and learning,

  • what are you expecting to see in the classroom, what do you want to see happening?
  • how does the content of this lesson fit into a sequence of lessons and other learning?
  • how is the learning assessed to ensure understanding and next steps?
  • to what extent are all pupils challenged to achieve more?
  • how involved are pupils in their own learning and how well can they articulate how they have accessed and retained knowledge over time?

We are as up to date with all this as it is possible to be. We continue to offer our suite of curriculum courses, including an in-depth and up to date focus on Re-defining the Curriculum.  One of our Leadership and Management courses looks specifically at Lesson Observation. The Art of Positive Lesson Observation – How to use powerful feedback that nurtures reflection, learning and outstanding teaching looks in-depth at the power of positive two-way observation that focuses on learning and successful outcomes for the teacher and their pupils.  At this crucial stage of change you may be looking at performance management and we have a highly acclaimed training day Re-thinking Appraisal and Performance Management- Influencing learning, empowering people and creating a culture of positive change  which will provide a focus on how to ensure every member of staff has a deep understanding of the contribution they can make to high quality education outcomes.

Make time for positive and highly praised CPD from Learning Cultures that is solutions focused, informed by sector led research and delivered by experts in education.

A deep dive into curriculum implementation

A deep dive into curriculum implementation

A deep dive into curriculum implementation in order to assess the delivery of high-quality educational outcomes must come from looking closely at pedagogy and how and what pupils learn and produce. OFSTED have recently published research into ensuring they can assess this accurately. Lesson observations and ‘workbook scrutiny’ are seen as an essential part of what will provide a spotlight into the quality of curriculum implementation. They see an essential triangulation between observation, a deep dive into pupils’ book work  and other work they produce and opportunities for face to face conversations. Their research is small scale but it is thorough. ‘How valid and reliable is the use of lesson observation in supporting judgements on the quality of education?‘ and Workbook scrutiny – Ensuring validity and reliability in inspections’

The research is designed to inform the systems that will ensure accurate and valid inspection. They inform also their rationale for the deep dive questions that are now integral to inspection. Some of the indicators and research questions could be useful in creating meaningful models for defining a school’s own internal standards that define the quality of education within subjects and across the wider curriculum. The imperative for quality assurance in schools is to ensure that classroom pedagogy reflects how the curriculum intent is translated into classroom practice that leads to effective and deep subject learning and skills competence.  For this there needs to be an opportunity to observe lessons across a range of learning contexts. The quality of teaching and the depth and sequencing of subject knowledge need to be reflected in the quality of work output that is included in pupils’ books, in displays and within their ability to articulate through conversations with adults and with their peers.

A deep dive into pupils’ work

For ‘Work scrutiny’ four indicators were selected as those that would be observable in pupils’ work, the focus is on how subject matter is taught and learned to allow for efficient and meaningful acquisition of new knowledge and whether and how pupils consolidate knowledge so that it remains in the long term memory. The indicators to use as part of a deep dive into curriculum implementation are,

  • Building on previous learning
  • Depth and breadth of coverage
  • Pupils’ progress
  • Practice

Lesson observation as part of a deep dive into curriculum implementation

The research into the reliability and validity of lesson observation is documented in a slightly larger piece of work. In this document there are a list of 18 lesson observation indicators that inspectors will use as a guide to ascertaining how accurate their judgements are at assessing the quality of education through lesson observation. We have included the indicators in a separate PDF which you can download here.

Using the research findings as part of a deep dive into curriculum implementation

It is not possible for individual schools to carry out their own research on the scale that OFSTED and other researchers they cite have undertaken. It is eminently possible to use the findings from research to inform internal action planning. There are opportunities to model the research criteria as part of a structure that clearly defines the intention for high quality curriculum design and delivery.

From this schools can then focus on identifying the strengths within their school, recognise the gaps and subsequently fulfil the professional development needs that arise. This will create the right culture to build a platform of continuous improvement, positive collaboration and professional learning conversations that will cascade good and outstanding practice.

Creating a triangulation for quality assurance that ensures the rationale and ambition for the curriculum is implemented to achieve a high level of success for all learners. This triangulation is essentially,

  • lesson observation that celebrates positive pedagogy that ensures curriculum implementation linked to the school intent, rationale and ambition
  • looking at learning outcomes within books and as part of displays and other media
  • creating opportunities for a curriculum dialogue to exist for leaders, managers, teachers TAs and pupils

Learning Cultures curriculum CPD for the deep dive

We are continually updating our curriculum suite of courses  to create for schools a series of solutions focused and resource rich experiences linked to well-respected research and our own considerable expertise.

 

 

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.