My thoughts from the Alite 2011 National Conference. High Performers – The Secrets of Successful Schools

Posted: March 23, 2011 in learning
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I was inspired listening to Alistair Smith and the other presenters at the Alite Conference. I brought back numerous ideas, initiatives and thoughts that I thought I would share;

Below is a list of quotes and ideas that struck home with me, I have tried to acknowledge who said what but in my feverish note taking and tweeting I may have acknowledged the wrong people, or missed people out – apologies if I have. Here goes……

Alistair Smith

  • “Don’t be defined by your negatives” – in other words don’t let the issues outside your school gate have a negative effect on the learning and certainly don’t use it as an excuse for poor learning – in fact, use it to your advantage and tap into your surroundings and environment to promote quality learning.
  • “Is your school’s vision like a stick of rock?” the vision must be clear and shared so that every stakeholder will be able to articulate it and what it means to them. A fantastic example of this is at Walthamstow School, where Headteacher Rachel Macfarlane explained about using their core purpose and motto “Neglect not the gift that is in thee…” to drive their SIP, PM and CPD.
  • “We need to move away from Performing Orientation to a Learning Orientation” – the question was raised would you rather have a Geography teacher or a teacher (of Geography)?
  • “ensure that your curriculum is the best for YOUR students” – an important notion to keep in our minds with the pressure of EBacs etc
  • Recommendations for a successful SLT – agree on six attributes on what makes a “good” team and constantly reflect on these in SLT meetings, e.g. one of our core characteristics is being visible – have we been visible this week, have we been at the gate at 8:00? have we been on the corridors at break? etc
  • Link your school’s CPD to aspirations rather than functions.

Stephen Munday, Executive Principal, Comberton Village College

  • “tighten up to become good, loosen up to become outstanding” for me this was extremely powerful. Perhaps we need to allow our teachers the freedom and creative license to try things in the classroom – and where does this reassurance and support come from? The leadership team (SLT/Middle Leaders) of the school working to and for their shared vision.
  • “good learning initiatives need to be taken seriously, invest in it…” time, support, resources all need to be taken into consideration when implementing and driving strategies to promote deep learning.

John Winter, Headteacher, Weydon School

Here are some quotes from John that epitomises the school and approach to enhancing student engagement.

  • “we use modern culture to help inspire and engage our students”
  • “partnership, ownership, leadership”
  • “we have members of staff responsible for positivity”
  • “when you’ve done it and you know it’s good, sing it from the rooftops!”
  • “the capacity to emphasise with the learner is essential”

Ceddy De La Croix, Deputy Headteacher, Sandringham School

“some students were emotionally truant from lessons” – Ceddy went on to describe the journey of the school, here are  some points that I thought were brilliant –  real initiatives that every school could deploy to promote quality learning

  • Branding and Displays – promote, highlight and publicise successful learning and learners.
  • Promoting independent learners by using the 5R’s – resilience, resourcefulness, responsibility, reasoning, reflectiveness.
  • Embed the “McDonalds Theory” wherever a students goes they should expect and receive the same treatment – be it classroom management or lessons.
  • The whole school using learning outcomes rather than objectives.
  • AfL being the key driver to raise standards and improve quality of learning in the school – techniques included student led plenaries (for their class or other classes), the Sandringham questioning Snail, split screen outcomes – incorporating the 5R’s.
  • “The Lazy Teacher Week” a week where the whole school promoted and focussed on independent learning from the students – the emphasise being that the student would “do” the majority of the learning and the “lazy” teacher would simply just plan for the opportunities to take place

…..now wouldn’t it be great if every school was doing this, every week – food for thought.

Great to meet up with @chickensaltash finally – below is poster from his Rapid Insights Exchange Gallery session detailing the ten strategies that his school use to help them drive the fantastic learning using technology that is happening – good work Dan!

 

Comments
  1. Chris Mason says:

    Great blog post Mr Coles. Some thought provoking stuff here, look out for my post on Naace 2011 coming soon.

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