Today I got in my car at 7.15 and began to drive.
I felt tired, emotional, hopeless and not in the mood.
As if it knew, radio 1 sent me three songs:
And as I listened, my mood changed.
When I got to the Inter-authority session for Middle Leaders with Argyll and Bute and East Dunbartonshire (organised by the amazing Sandra Clarke and George Cooper) things only got better.
What a day! Inspiration, connection, validation and the chance to listen to some of the greatest speakers in Scottish Education.
My notes are below. As always in my blogs, I may have mis-understood or misquoted, so please check out the speakers online / via their writing. But I thought that the notes may be useful to those who could not make it (Aileen).
But the three main things for me:
David Cameron – Consonance is key. You only do something well if you believe in it.
Mark Priestley – CfE is a good idea badly managed. We need to consider not what subjects we teach but what knowledge we open up.
Pete Clarke – We need to trust our inner voice – in all the trials and tribulations of life, the one person who has been there is you.
Thanks, all for restoring my faith. I will keep on keeping on.
Middle leaders Inter authority development day
Sandra Clarke intro:
Purpose of education
What are we trying to do?
Are we spending time on right things?
Taking step back to breathe and think
TheReal David Cameron – focus on middle leadership as a driver for school improvement and reflections on Scottish Education currently.
Spoke about Chris Kilkenny. Was looked after.
Still makes mistakes
Was mod apprentice
Disappeared for 5 months then he turned up in Dundee and said he was going to do what D does – talk shite for a living!
Reality – teaching is rubbish!
As a depute, David never got more than four things done in his to do list.
Teachers are torn between pedagoo (progressive innovators) and taliban (no changers)
Some progressives, some traditionalists in schools….
Blizzard of priorities:
No staffing, no supply, budget cuts
If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority
Reality… Like being pecked to death by hens. Everyone can have a go at teachers. Parents. Pupils. Politicians.
AND there is contradiction and confusion in the current initiatives
Tyranny of the immediate dominates …you do not plan on a Sunday pm for a playground head injury, staff absence….
How do we close gap with norm referenced assessment. (Hattie)
Some pupils MUST fail
Language is wrong… Not about closing gap
Will only close gap if we use different assessment
CfE was about giving pupils skills for the workplace YET we still obsess over exams, literacy, numeracy scores!!!
Governance review…..very muddled
We talk about clarity
Bill Maxwell statement is full of platitudes. Basically says chill and don’t worry…THEN they put out new benchmarks!!
Cult of perfection….. “We can all do better…”
Need to stop pratting on about good practice or best practice.
Need sustainable practice, not best or good practice
We need to bring clarity, coherence and confidence
Who has raised attainment on a windy day??
Who is outstanding on first day of term??
Need to be realistic!
Work smarter!! Really?!?!
When someone tells you this, or “do more with less”, it is condescending and patronising
Need reality, not patronising:
Reasons to be cheerful part 3:
We do have real basis for progress
We do have reduced version of BTC docs except 4(skills) and that could easily be summarised
David a DSM (governance) review 4 yrs ago!! D chaired it!! Why did SG not use it?!?
Governance should be based on appropriateness.
Had excellence groups- eg in skills
Near clear learning pathways and criteria that have been internalised.
Standards must be exemplified and clear. Not about 100s of benchmarks.
Teachers need to sit down together. Look at work. Agree the standard.
Whatever happened to new community schools?
LJC is one!
You cannot solve the problems but you can work with the community. Integrated approach
NCSs – aim was to work with parents, SW, partners in an integrated way.
GIRFEC – we have stopped talking about it
But we need it
Chris Kilkenny- mum was addict and he never gave a damn about jolly phonics…could not be assessed by benchmarks….
He just wanted someone to look out for him and ask him on a daily basis how he was.
Us here on Saturday
Teachmeet pedagoo tapestry visible learning
Neglect other things/people
Need to agree what matters in terms of making a difference for ch and YP and their outcomes
Need to agree what the breakable plates are.. What we can do less of and what stops
Very good thing to do with staff…get big bit of paper and do a graph
Time and effort
Write on post its and put them on the graph…eg tasks around marking
Good cpd… Gives pic of workload and shows where breakable plates are…
3 key points that leaders need to consider when implementing change:
Manageability…. Think through to point of delivery in classroom.
Worst when…. We did CfE for 7 to 8 yrs and only then thought about reality and terror of new exams.
Til rubber hit road, we did not see workload crisis
Keir Bloomer talked the talk but never had to do it in the classroom.
Talk to staff in language of manageability.
Coherence is key-
We are always painting on wet paint
Cooperative learning coat not dry then Visible learning coat… Before the first coat had dried
You only do something well if you believe in it.
Otherwise you just do it for show/ when inspected
5 to 14 doc – diagram on assessment very useful. Why did we let it go?
Decide what to teach
See what has been learnt
Review and reflect
From Hattie – what makes a difference?
What people working in the school do. Classroom management – balancing the needs, attributes and abilities of learners with what needs to be learnt
2 areas where we can raise attainment:
Engage those who are not engaged;
Try making yp better at last or unexpected questions in tests…. Build their resilience to tackle the challenging/unexpected question.
Culture and consistency are key… Same key messages across school
Forth Valley college is good at this
Battle for school improvement is not about excellence. It is a battle for better typicality and consistent practice
Raise level of teachers to level of most successful teachers in your school
Not “what works” but “what works here”
And where is the love….Will I Am?
Unit of improvement is not the school it is the individual teacher
Chris K- what would have made difference is someone asking every day how I am
Working at Kibble with 30 kids one day. David said to them… “when kids don’t understand the teacher, they disrupt. They are not out of control, they are controlling the situation.”
One kid said “how did you know?”
Look at Education Endowment Fund toolkit to see what really makes a difference.
David has got an electronic doc based on this.
If we don’t have time, we don’t have time to waste.
David’s ladder for self eval:
Do self eval then ask:
- What will you do to improve practice?
- What help or support do you need….we is key to transformation?
- What outcomes will you expect your young people to achieve as a result of the improvement? Need realistic and ambitious targets….
- What evidence will you look at to determine if the improvement has been made.
Time is key- think really carefully about lesson obs and learning walks.
Coach, teach rather than observing
Don’t start with the data as it is based on the last cohort!! Partic crucial in a small school!
Have an improvement plan for every member of staff in every place.
We need to make a change in hard times…..
Can email presentation
Jay Helbert (SCEL Development Leadership) – Pedagogical and transformational leadership
How do middle leaders achieve change without holding ultimate power?
Transactional leadership. About a resource you give or take away. Was a business model popular in 80s but does not really work in ed….. (Or in business either)Can’t give bonuses, sack teachers.
Transformational leadership… You sell a vision or create one with people and then you invest in the people with you.
Power vs influence
6 bases of power
Legitimate – vested in you by job or title
Reward- ability to offer a reward to compel someone
Expert- if you are a successful teacher you are more likely to have power over others
Referent – how likeable or charismatic you are or how much you have something in common
Coercive- wield a threat over someone
What bases of power are most useful to middle leaders?
Know the people and still teach
Johanna – referent is key…. The model and approach that you want from your staff must be modelled by you as HT and modelled by your middle leaders…..
Transformational leadership never comes from reward or coercion.
Jay knows there are cynics in education but there is always some element of commonality
Viviane Robinson from NZ ranked leadership actions in the same way that Hattie ranked T and L actions
Sees pedagogical leadership as key.
At the heart there must be something better for the children.
Robinson et al
Pedagogic leadership is about:
Establishing an academic mission
Providing feedback on t and l
Promoting prof leadership.
It is not about transformational OR ped leadership but about both.
If you have blockers….
Find the people who are like you
Peter Clarke (Lecturer in Social Sciences, Open University) – Using an Emotional Learning Model to Support Leadership
Talking about the work of Prof Colin Beard on experiential learning.
Teachers, leaders and facilitators are architects of experiences for learning.
Learning from experience is life
Looking for a giraffe…..
Can see one at west midland safari park
Must be ready to lead, experience and learn wherever we can
Opps and abilities of others are varied and different.
Pete worked in prison therapeutic environment.
Had been contract killer for Liverpool gangs. Had come to prison and learnt to read and write….was now doing sociology degree.
Pete was teaching about crime but became the learner.
Made most of the experience as it was. This was experiential learning.
Experiential learning is where 2 worlds collide – our inner private world and the outer world.
About using all senses
Learning to belong, act, observe, feel, think and be in outer world
Purpose of education
Leaders of learning need to help reframe fearful experiences into pleasure
Eg exams, giving presentations, going to Alton towers
Achieving gives a sense of success, getting, knowing, doing
Affiliation gives us a sense of belonging
Communication skills when giving feedback as a leader are key
The compassionate mind – Paul Gilbert
In life we give feedback in a compassionate way….
In education we need to give critical feedback, evaluate, make judgement
We do not need to leave compassion behind.
OFSTED/HMIE often will…..
When giving or receiving feedback, we may adopt one of three who states:
Need to trust inner voice – in all trials and tribulations of life, the one person who has been there is you.
You are the architect of experience for learning.
If you use this material, reference Colin.
Prof Mark Priestley (Stirling University) – Developing an Effective Curriculum – a Scottish Perspective
CfE wanted teachers at centre of curriculum development
“There is no curriculum development without teacher development”
“Curriculum development is a lost art.”
Need policy that allows teachers to develop curriculum and not be in a system that disables them.
We have a curriculum that does not fit.
CfE is a good idea badly managed.
Change is not necessary a good thing. Need fit for practice ideas.
Good practice – good for society, philosophical concept.
Curriculum dev is a process not a product.
Ongoing, by local experts and building on what works.
Mark’s bugbear is delivery- education is about development and growth.
Need to think about big picture, not minutiae
Curriculum policy is a framework that includes:
Content, assessment, provision (eg timetabling), pedagogy
Only 1 sec school in Scotland really changed timetable for CfE to 20 1.5 hour periods to allow field trips etc
There are curricular strata
Meso LEA, policy
Micro school level
There should be movement and interaction across levels.
Classroom and teachers should influence upwards.
Wales has pioneer schools that help influence policy.
The rhetoric of policy in Scotland has not filtered down to schools in practice.
Ed Scot has tried again and again to re-interpret docs!
Need to go back to basics of CfE
3 poss starting points for curriculum development
Content driven can be about transmission rather than understanding.
Content of CfE is not very different to content of English curriculum in 1984….
Outcomes driven is about assessing pupil progress and making schools and teachers accountable.
5-14 was assessment driven. New benchmarks seem to be moving back to that.
Becomes about auditing outcomes and tick-boxes – incremental change, not meaningful change
Increase in assessments in senior phase…..no surprise there is an increase in mental health issues.
Process curriculum – about concern with nature of child and their place in society.
Attributes and capabilities of an educated person are defined.
Pros- teachers can select content and methods, start with where pupils are, be flexible and make links
Encourages children to reflect on the learning from their early experiences and challenge/build on this.
Requires high level of teacher skill
Can CfE allow process driven curric?
At macro level
Have purposes and principles and policy
At meso level
Need clearer specification of processes and support
At micro level
Need further teacher dev
Purpose of schools?
Learning for sake of learning?
What are the big ideas of CfE?
The sabre tooth curriculum- developed in relation to Latin eduction in 1930s USA
3 subjects in curriculum:
Grabbing fish from shallow ponds
Clubbing woolly horses who came to drink
Scaring away sabre tooth tigers
Waters got muddy
Horses replaced by antelope
Tigers replaced by bears
Progressive Stone Age educators said new skills were needed.
What is knowledge?
Select content that is:
Promotes higher order thinking
Powerful knowledge (Young 2007)
Need it to be fit for purpose and embraced big ideas of curriculum.
It is a false dichotomy to say that CfE is about skills and not knowledge.
Something out there to be acquired?
Something to be constructed by individuals through transactions with world?
Has implications for how we teach.
Transmission teaching? Experiential learning? or a combination of both?
Need to differentiate between info, knowledge, subjects….
NOT WHAT SUBJECTS WE TEACH BUT WHAT KNOWLEDGE WE OPEN UP.
Need to look at transitions between primary and secondary….maybe have more integrated science, soc subjects…
See John Dewey ‘Experience in Education’ – very powerful on why we do what we do in schools…and why maybe we should not.
Eisner 1992 also asks about the why of schools. Very important.
Need a range of methods. Those who created cooperative learning say they would not want to see JUST that in school.
barriers to transformational change:
Cannot do everything in school. Authority and govt need to be involved.
Start with question of purpose
Then think about the how
Then address the operational issues.
Julienne Pierre MacKenzie (PT Tobermory High School) and Ryan Lowe (Tobermory High School) Changing Mindset – a secondary approach.
Trio observation model
Developed in south of England Jurassic coast
Consulted with staff first
Trio obs should improve teaching and learning
Needed a protocol
Narrative is more important than events observed
Produced trio obs protocol and aide memoire
First focus was on ways of giving feedback- from Hattie
Evidence based research papers are made available to staff to back this project up.
Asked pupils what makes a good teacher.
Trio obs focus now is developing authentic learner voice….
need to aim high and have high expectations
Elli at Tobermory. Effective lifelong learning inventory – uni of Bristol. Some cost implication.
Each pupil does a 70 qu questionnaire.
Gives a learning profile.
Can be redone to show change over time.
Can measure the learning over time.
Have been using this for three years in primary.
Now doing it is timetabled interdisciplinary learning periods in secondary.
Profiles are incorporated into support plans.
Pupil is responsible for own profile – pupil autonomy is being developed.
In primary the pupils have animal symbols that they can use to show where they need help
Eg unicorn = creativity
Tortoise = resilience
Older pupils have developed their own metaphors
Plan to use this for reporting and profiling (instead if skills book)
Other feeder primaries are using symbols and initial bear and elephant story, though not the whole surveys
Useful to get staff and parents to do the questionnaire
See school website for a video on this
Jay Helbert Strategic leadership within middle leadership
Sometimes we mistake mission statements for strategy
Based on work of Richard Rumel on business strategy
Strategy should not include fluff or targets or just doing more of the same.
Diagnose the issue:
Seek disconfirming information
Avoid emotional attachment
Provide evidence for conclusions
Be aware of and compensate for biases
Bias blind spot
Dunning Kruger effect – when people think they are great but they are not because they do not know what great is
Concise and guiding policy is needed:
Not a vision or mission statement (should not take 6 months to nail a vision!!)
Does not state where you want to go (that is your goals)
Does give guiding principals
Does leverage strengths
Does calculate risk tolerance
Has ‘Waterline’ flexibility
When Jay introduced process for teacher leadership in Ardrishaig he used already existing processes and built on them…
Look at Ebsco research papers via GTCS.
Plenary from George Cooper
Mark – Perspective
Jay – Strategy
Entertaining and Enjoyable