Coaching and the Role of the Subject Leader

 

Coaching and the Role of the Subject Leader

The subject leader is pivotal in ensuring the planned curriculum; the curriculum intent, is translated into knowledge rich content across all subjects and in the wider curriculum context. OFSTED are back and by all accounts their remit is a zero tolerance approach to anything less than high quality education outcomes defined by a cohesive approach to a whole school drive for curriculum excellence.

Here at Learning Cultures we are focusing on how to create the right CPD experience and the most useful resources that will arm subject and curriculum leaders with the tools to demonstrate to OFSTED that they have the will and the expertise to inspire their teams to deliver a substantive and high quality curriculum and articulate with powerful aplomb the impact that the pedagogy, sound subject expertise and positive feedback to learners is having on the life chances of each and every learner they teach.

Why Coaching is the Essential Strategy in Building Cohesion

Complexity and positive conversations – developing a cohesive curriculum

An essential role for the subject leader is to be an integral part of planning the wider curriculum vision and then translating that vision into subject specific strategies for their teams to implement. Coaching provides an opportunity to involve the whole team. It provides the catalyst for each and every team member to realise their own essential part in defining how they will teach, what they will teach and how they can support their learners to achieve their full potential.

Curriculum cohesion does not happen by osmosis. It requires serious strategic planning. A school is a series of highly intelligent silos where individual teams of experts know how to teach their subject, how to impart knowledge and how to help learners to increase their level of competence in a range of essential skills for learning.

Without careful and deliberate manoeuvres that will create opportunities for teams to work together not very much can happen. Where there are opportunities for professional learning conversations to take place learning can be sequenced over time, there are clear opportunities to plan how to build on prior learning and how to set carefully crafted goals that lead to high impact outcomes. Where these conversations are crafted using the powerful skills of coaching the results are outstanding, the evidence of cohesion and collaboration evident and the motivation to succeed powerful.

What do Subject Leaders Need to do to Develop a Coaching Culture?

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential. It is helping them to learn not teaching them.
  • Know your team and the strengths within it, build a consensus as to who has expertise and where the gaps are that need to be filled
  • Define and communicate the whole school curriculum vision and rationale for an ambitious and rich curriculum offer
  • Create space and time for joint planning where individuals can work together to develop curriculum maps that take account of how learners build on prior learning, how the learning is sequenced to build and deepen their knowledge over time and how specific end points are planned along the way
  • Train and be trained in essential coaching skills so that teams can work together to define their goals and focus on how within the strategic boundaries that encompass curriculum intent they can ensure the taught and learnt curriculum delivers high quality outcomes for all learners
  • Develop proactive and highly motivated professional learning communities who will challenge each other and build a consensus that over time learners are deepening their understanding where knowledge is retained in the long term memory and all pupils are becoming increasingly and unconsciously competent in a range of learning and thinking skills
  • Ensure that there are opportunities for the sharing and cascading of good practice where pedagogy, assessment and subject expertise are celebrated within individual subject specialisms and in cross-curricular forums that will help to demonstrate where concepts, skills and knowledge transcend specific subject divides.

Support for Subject Leaders from Learning Cultures

Strategic planning to create high quality curriculum outcomes for all

Coaching is at the heart of everything we design and deliver here at Learning Cultures. Creating the right culture where the curriculum vision and rationale is translated into ambitious subject specific and cross-curricular content is vital for success. OFSTED make the role of the subject leader pivotal in how they approach their deep dive inspections. The questions they ask require all members of phase, subject or departmental teams to be able to answer with clarity, confidence and a deep understanding that the curriculum intent is translating into powerful strategies for implementation that lead to measurable impact and learning for all.

The Curriculum team at Learning Cultures have used a wide range of research and our many contacts in outstanding schools, MATs and the wider education community to develop a range of exceptional training courses for senior, middle and subject leaders, teachers and support staff. Our aim is to ensure that all those with a pupil facing role have the expertise, the resources and the tools to deliver a knowledge rich, skills focused and sequential curriculum that delivers high quality outcomes for all. We receive phenomenal reviews and we are proud of the feedback that tells us just how valuable our input has on improving opportunities for collaboration and professional learning conversations that a coaching culture encourages.