Meetings, meetings meetings! Not the next Labour education manifesto but a description of last week. I am not the world’s greatest fan of meetings and yet every single one that I went to last week was brilliant. I met with local primary heads and we discussed transition; with secondary English colleagues to look at assessment without levels and alignment; with Principals from across the Trust to share good practice and with secondary literacy colleagues to enhance the teaching of literacy across the whole curriculum. All valuable, interesting, useful stuff!
However for me the two meetings that really struck a chord were both on Tuesday night, one after the other. The first was with leadership teams across the Trust looking at curriculum and it was really well led by two of our secondary vice principals. The focus was on intent, implementation and impact. It really made me think about my own school.
Our intent is captured in our vision statement, ‘learn to love…love to learn’. To implement this we have focussed heavily on improving primary pedagogy over the last four years with a clear focus upon learning.
“If we create a culture where every teacher believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve.” – Dylan Wiliam, University of London
All of our staff are encouraged to be action researchers, champion learners and to really love what they do inspiring that love of learning in our children. We have moved away from writing an annual school improvement plan that focusses upon improving data in writing one year, only to see that go up and everything else go down. In the past it has sometimes felt like playing splat the rat! We now focus upon maximising the impact of every moment of every day. We use research from Doug Lemov, Teach like a champion, from the EEF toolkit and from John Hattie to name just a few. We have an ideology that looks at how do we continually enhance our practice to ensure that our children learn more, learn better and learn more deeply. We talk a lot…about learning. We have made mistakes. Implemented some ideas only to trial them and abandon them. That’s ok because we are learners and when we get it wrong, we reflect and move on – it’s what we do with that new knowledge that matters.
The impact? Our summative data has generally gone up each year, our attendance data is improving and our admission numbers are constantly growing. Sounds great!
The second meeting of last Tuesday was held at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells and was promoting the church vision for education. My favourite quote of the whole evening was that “ethos enhances outcomes”. I love this ideology and it resonates with both my professional and personal views.
Over the weekend I met with my A level buddies for our annual get together. Many years ago we started meeting up with the intent of walking the south-west coastal path. To implement this we meet once a year and walk about 30 miles over the weekend. At this rate it will take us approximately 21 years to finish. The impact is that we have just competed year 11, we have walked about 315 miles and we are over half way. However the real impact for me is that I feel refreshed, enthused and excited about life. The ethos of the weekend has certainly enhanced the outcome. I caught up with old friends who I have no contact with for the other 51 weeks of the year and we laughed, chatted, put the world to rights and laughed more. So today despite having very achy legs I feel loved, inspired and ready to face any challenge that the week will bring.
Intent, implementation and impact give us a great framework to follow. However as our amazing Executive Principal often says, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. It is the depth and quality of our ethos that will truly enhance our outcomes today, tomorrow and in the future.