I spoke this morning at the annual IBO conference for those schools who are piloting the career-related International Baccalaureate – the IBCC. We’re proud that our RSA Academy in Tipton is at the forefront of this exciting development. Nothing I have seen, in England at any rate, has come closer to breaking the academic-vocational divide. It demonstrates the power of schools and organisations bypassing policy fluctuations to take their own rigorous approaches to assessment. In a recent speech to Teaching Schools, Michael Gove signaled his enthusiasm for teacher-made GCSEs and other assessments. Today’s launch of the Progressive Awards Alliance is another intriguing example, although perhaps not what Mr Gove had in mind.
I was asked to talk about the future of 16-19 vocational education. Partly to avoid the morass of acronym-heavy policy reports, many of which aren’t relevant to the IBCC schools outside the UK, but mainly to cover up for my lack of detailed knowledge (if in doubt, broaden it out), I framed my presentation through a different question:
What would it take for the future of 16-19 vocational education to be bright?
Then, borrowing heavily from the OECD skills strategy, the Centre for Real World Learning’s report on vocational pedagogy, and a number of summaries of research on adolescence, I offered five possible responses.
1. Escape from the tyranny of the enlightenment.
2. Apply new findings about the teenage brain and behaviour.
3. Create a culture of evidence-informed and evidence-building pedagogy.
4. Turn vocational learning into an entitlement for 7-16 year olds.
5. Be clearer about the role of vocational education for the most disengaged learners.
To keep this blog short, I won’t expand on any of these, although if people ask me to via comments, I’ll be flattered enough to reveal more.
The photos above came from an RSA Area Based Curriculum blacksmith Project at Ark SCE School in Germany. They were taken by Windsor School SCE student Jack Turner to support his Arts Award Gold, with the support of photographer David Crausby.
Joe Hallgarten Director of Education @joehallg
Three weeks before the June 26 Spending Review, it probably feels like a civil service version of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘squeaky bums time’ down Whitehall way, especially for those Departments who haven’t yet settled with the Treasury. The seven departments who have settled are rewarded by helping to cast judgement on the others. However, with ringfenced budgets in place for two big spending departments, and the give and take of welfare reform rendering the DWP budget virtually untouchable, it probably feels more like tiller touching than any opportunity for radical re-engineering.
Rumours have been emerging that the Treasury might end the ringfenced budget for schools. Tony Dolphin’s blog last week argued that ringfencing the NHS and schools was no longer viable, pointing out that “by the time these [other] cuts are fully implemented, on the government’s current approach, other departments could have seen their budgets cut in real terms by one-third. This represents a massive reallocation of government spending to the NHS and schools.”
Any abolition of the ringfence for schools’ budgets might make the pasty tax and granny tax look like minor media scuffles. Unions such as the NASUWT are already screeching that the Chancellor is not, in practice, protecting school budgets at all. This is reinforced by the IFS’ 2011 analysis showing that, although the schools budget has been relatively protected (with the exception of the substantial cut in schools capital spending) as compared to other areas of education, the cash-freeze in per-pupil funding outside of the Pupil Premium means that the majority of schools at both secondary and primary level will see real-term decreases in funding per pupil each year to 2014-15. Schools with a high proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals are being protected from cuts, with a small minority – about 3% of secondary schools and 10% of primary schools – seeing an increase of 5 percentage points above inflation, as a result of the Pupil Premium. Increases in the Pupil Premium since 2011 have probably made little difference to these overall trends.
Despite this data, and although my RSA Academy headteachers and many Fellows won’t like this, I would still argue for a replacement of the ringfencing of schools’ budgets with a more expansive ringfence. The overall budget for government spending on 0-19 year olds should be protected for the next three years, but the schools’ budget should be open to redistribution within this ringfence. This would enable the DfE, Education Funding Agency and Local authorities to have the courage to have serious conversations about the most effective use of funding to achieve equitable outcomes for young people, and be prepared to make decisions that would be possibly counter-intuitive, hopefully evidence-based and probably unpopular. In doing this, education funders might want to learn from the principles of a social productivity spending review created by our 2020 Public Services Hub here at RSA.
My guess is that a proper ‘zero-based budgeting’ approach to could lead to significant redistribution: away from schools, towards broader services for young people; and away from secondary schools, towards the early years. The graph below from the DfE’s business plan shows how school spending dominates all, and leaves little scope for anything that might impact on the 80% of young people’s time when they are not at school.
Joe Hallgarten Director of Education @joehallg
As a committed Labour supporter, Alex Ferguson’s announcement to retire could have been better timed. It took the heat and light out of a Queen’s speech that was even duller than her annual Christmas message. If Ed Miliband did give the front bench the hairdryer treatment, it was lost in the photos, eulogies and trophy infographics of one of Britain’s greatest post war leaders (or is that brand-builder?)
We shouldn’t judge a government by the content of its Queen’s speech. Halfway through an administration, the big policy changes have already been pushed through, and the inevitable suite of unintended outcomes have not yet revealed themselves. It may be that “we don’t need much legislation”. New laws don’t grow economies, although like most of us I can’t quite work out what might.
But a dearth of real parliamentary business offers a potential opportunity. Margaret Hodge pointed out recently that too many MPs don’t have enough to do. This year’s legislative programme may lead to even more slack time.
How might MPs fill this time? There probably isn’t any room for more MPs at Number 10, whatever school they went to. As more policies become scrutiny-ready, Select Committee members should get even busier. The unlucky ones will be swallowed by the dull machinations of party business. Others may find more interests to register this time next year (one of the greatest ideas to come from Mark Thomas’ People’s Manifesto was that MPs, like F1 drivers, should be forced to wear the logo of any organisation which pays them). The natural and ethical way to fill your time will be to serve your real employers, your local constituents. A few MPs such as Stella Creasy and Robert Halfon are taking this beyond the standard reactive surgery and letter-passing approach to become genuine community entrepreneurs in their patch. Matthew Taylor once proposed that MPs should be given specific government projects to oversee, to improve their understanding of implementation, and feel the heat of accountability.
However, there could also be scope for under-occupied MPs to use some of the time to transcend the short term needs of their constituents, and the myopic demands of parliamentary non-business. They could do what politicians of all sides find most difficult, partly because we voters make it so difficult for them – to think about the longer term challenges we face, outside of traditional party or departmental divisions, and develop philosophies and policy ideas that will probably have too much depth to be manifesto-ready.
So for those MPs who are twiddling thumbs rather than fiddling expenses, here’s an offer of work. RSA education is currently developing a new research programme to redefine adolescence. How can society relish rather than fear the teenage years, harnessing its ‘hidden wealth’? How might attitudes, funding and policy towards adolescence make the same step change that we saw in the Early Years during the last 15 years? We are looking for a small number of MPs from all parties to help develop this programme. The salary is less than minimal, the coffee isn’t great, and the chances of promotion and prizes are zero, let alone of winning cups with big ears.
Joe Hallgarten, Director of Education @joehallg
Whilst obviously significant for all of us, today’s budget feels like a bit of pre-2014 Spending Review foreplay. So, provoked by Peter Bazalgette’s inaugural lecture as Chair of Arts Council England here at RSA this morning, the fantastic questions from our new Chair Vikki Heywood, and the launch of a new RSA-ACE project called Towards Plan A: a new political economy for arts and culture, here is an attempt at the real thing: a zero-based budgeting exercise for the arts.
Zero-based budgeting is often threatened across public services and departments, but in reality rarely happens – there are too many powerful, vested interests in maintaining some sense of status quo. It, (or usually the Treasury in some form), essentially asks the question ‘what would happen if this programme/initiative/whole area of public spending was no longer funded? Rather than tweaking spending decisions, zero-based budgeting gives the chance for more radical solutions to fiscal challenges.
Whether you are lover and hater of public spending on the arts (and please let’s not call it ’investment’ – it’s spending, stupid), try this scenario.
Imagine that the Government decides to withdraw all national funding for the arts (apart maybe, from a tiny amount of art education in schools), and also bans local government from supporting the arts. What do you think would be the consequences of such a decision, in the short and long term?
Your predictions will, of course, only be predictions. But they may still help you to understand what ‘market failure’ in the arts might really look like, and build a clearer picture of the purpose of state subsidy for the arts.
I tried this with a friend, and we came to a simple conclusion… which, in a crude attempt to get some comments on my blog, I will promise to reveal once I’ve got five predictions from other people.
You can have this for free – a paper I wrote on ‘art as evidence for public policy making’, titled Speaking Doubt to Power.
Is there anything Ofsted won’t do? Fresh from Michael Wilshaw’s ‘Damascene Moment’, changing his mind to pitch for Ofsted sticking around to support school improvement (aided by their new regional directors), David Laws claimed last week that Ofsted would make sure that the Pupil Premium was well spent.
Last week’s TES leader questioned Ofsted’s mission creep. Accountable to the Queen, Ofsted has a clear role: “to inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.” The Chief Inspector’s comments should be limited to telling the world what inspection evidence, and inspection evidence alone, tells us about the English education system, and priorities for improvement. Conflicts of interests around inspecting your own school improvement programme are not insurmountable, but are probably an unnecessary risk, given the emerging market amongst teaching schools, academy chains and other schools and providers to deliver school improvement services.
This mission creep goes against the original instincts of our Chief Inspector. As a brilliant school leader, his philosophy was about focusing headship on the key role of improving the quality of teaching and learning. All other activities, if not necessarily a distraction, should be subservient to this goal. This steer, and a much more focused inspection framework, rightfully reminded those headteachers who were tempted towards excessive innovation, social entrepreneurship and peripheral issues that they should to some extent ‘stick to their knitting’.
Ofsted has enough to get right, right now. Raising the quality of its existing inspectors, strengthening their scrutiny of the FE sector, and sensitively changing its inspection framework to incorporate new priorities should be enough for any body. All public bodies occasionally feel the seduction of extending their remit. Unless it’s a clear takeover of someone else’s powers, this strategic slipperiness is often problematic. Ofsted should resist.
Building on an earlier blog about four foundations for a self-improving school system, I am currently thinking through what the idea of self-regulation might mean in a school system context. It is too early to claim any breakthrough, conceptually or recommendations-wise, but I am fairly sure that a truly self-improving system will need to develop the power to self-regulate, and therefore to write Ofsted, if not totally out of the script, into the margins of footnotes and stage directions. A decade ago, Matthew Taylor and I wrote that ‘Ofsted’s long term aim should be to render itself unnecessary.’ I remember Chris Woodhead laughing off this idea, and perhaps it is fantastical. However, the principle of “inspection in inverse proportion to success” as currently applied to outstanding schools should hold true for the system. Our school system is improving, whilst Ofsted’s role may simultaneously be growing. This makes no sense.
Anyone who advocates three hour lessons (such as the RSA Academy in Tipton) should try and teach one. Whether you are sage on a stage or guide on a side, it’s exhausting. Today I had the daunting challenge of leading three hours with sixty headteachers from South Gloucestershire’s Leadership Academy. The time enabled me to go beyond the specifics of education policy and practice towards some broader issue. In the first half of my presentation, I tried to ban the O-word (Ofsted), F-word (funding) and G-word (guess?), and just about managed it.
We did inevitably talk about the C word of curriculum, as I explored the theme of ‘leadership for changing times’ under the banner of ‘clumsy, connected, curriculum-driven’. RSA has the perfect collateral to take people out of their edu-comfort zones, RSA Animates. Using the three Animates on 21 Century Enlightenment, the power of networks and changing education paradigms as stimuli, I asked participants to reflect on each in turn, and think through the implications for learning, school and system leadership, and policy. I then added my own spin. Without realising it, I followed the classic three-part lesson so loved by the old National Strategies.
Of the three sections, to my surprise it seemed to be Matthew Taylor’s Animate which got them most, er, animated. My fear was that the speech would be too theoretical, and the term ’21 Century Enlightenment’ might be off-putting. However, the animation connected the headteachers to broader issues, especially around ‘defining the ‘x’ rather than rational unquestioning pursuit of supposedly agreed goals. Empathy resonates as a driver for learning and for school to school partnerships.
Headteachers are generally described as doer, tinkerers, pragmatists. But the power of the ideas expressed through the idea of 21st Century Enlightenment (and the power of the animations which deceive you into thinking that the ideas are being presented simply, when in fact the media allows you to pack so much more into the time) resonated throughout the day. I also linked the Animate to Matthew’s latest ideas on clumsy solutions to solve ‘wicked problems’. We’ve never considered this in a school context before, and I can only imagine what OFSTED might say if a headteacher described his or her leadership as ‘clumsy’. Although they didn’t like the term ‘clumsy’, they liked the features, as outlined here. I sidestepped cultural theory for the moment, although, this might provide a useful framework for thinking through power structures in schools and classrooms.
The power of networks Animate led to a discussion on collaboration and a self improving system (which I have blogged about here). Ken Robinson provoked thinking around the new curriculum (where I could use the RSA’s new Grand Curriculum Designs CPD programme to express our beliefs and optimism). Both issues are great examples of ‘wicked problems’ – as is RSA’s name and brand. The strapline ’21st Century Enlightenment’ might feel like a clumsy solution to this problem, but, when given a bit of life and time, it still has relevance and currency.
In the second half of my presentation, I attempted to facilitate a 90 minute version of our nine month Suffolk Inquiry for South Gloucestershire. Groups were given 30 minutes to ‘define a problem’ relating to the three Inquiry themes, then 30 more minutes to create a solution group, with clear milestones for this Summer and next, that tried to solve the problem. Their commitment and ideas were rich and rigorous, ranging from collaborative approaches to teacher recruitment, to creating ways for isolated and vulnerable schools to lead partnerships, to developing a strategic cross-county approach to linking primary schools to the world of work. Each group’s final feedback was filmed, so hopefully they will permit me to share this at some point. Ultimately, thre hours didn’t feel like long enough, but the audience should be the judge of that, not me, and I await the outcome of those evaluation forms with the usual trepidation.
They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
Just because the RSA circumnavigates party politics doesn’t mean we can’t get political. And just because I misquote Billy Bragg doesn’t mean I can’t quote the over-quoted GK Chesterton.
Earlier this week, led by the chair of RSA Academies Sue Horner, and supported by the Royal Shakespeare Company, we hosted the launch of Meeting High Expectations, a collection of papers from a the creative, wise people who are leading Looking for the Heart of English, ‘a national discussion for everyone who cares about English and how it should be taught in the 21st century.’ A full Great Room heard anger, inspiration, pragmatism and poetry – Watch the event, read the twitter conversation, and take the time to reflect on the contributions.
The collection’s first contribution provides an elegant statement of principles for all of us to debate, question, and take forward in a number of shape-shifting ways. Although it deserves a full read, its summary critique is that the current (draft) Primary English Curriculum requires:
- imitation not imagination
- conformity not creativity
- looking within a book not seeing it as a window on the world
- correctedness not communication
- the application of skills, not interpretation and evaluation
- pupils to learn a script, not find their voices
The Heart of English collective has begun an interesting movement for change, one that the RSA aims to play a role in and hopes that our Fellows also contribute to. Although its next move will partly be informed by the impending final version of the national curriculum, the feeling in the room was that this shouldn’t become the dominant issue. Rather than gear up for a probably unsuccessful lobbying effort to change the national curriculum, the heart-lookers seemed up for creating new frameworks to enable schools to see the national curriculum as the good politicians had intended – a minimum entitlement from which many more exciting approaches can emerge. Teacher Jenny Lubuska showed how Hayes School in Kent had already used the ideas in Heart of English to start a conversation with teachers and develop new approaches to teaching and learning English across the whole school. With limited resources, we might need to lose the national curriculum battle to win the whole curriculum war. Any development of complementary new approaches to assessment and qualifications in English could also become key tools to turn imaginative ideas into rigorous classroom practice.
In some ways, this feels like a polite, educationalist version of the Occupy movement. I am not sure where OccupyEnglish will go next – that’s up to those who step up to lead the next steps. But, in l’esprit de l’escalier, here are three ideas that only came to me three days after the event.
- In fifty years time, people will laugh at our snobbish attitude to learning about non text-based English. Given its surround sound in our lives, media literacy deserves to be at the heart of any English curriculum, is probably safer and better integrated there than as a discrete school subject called ‘media studies’, and is better defined locally than nationally.
- If you want to find the heart of any school, check out their approach to English. This will tell you more about ethos and values than any prospectus, school improvement plan or mission statement.
- Any subject’s curriculum development should involve those who failed at or struggle with the subject. My guess is that all current contributors to The Heart of English are book devourers, notebook fillers, frustrated or fulfilled poets. Let’s find some reluctant readers and recalcitrant writers to join the crew.
As it’s a Saturday, here’s my favourite ‘looking for the heart’ from a man who definitely found a voice.
When I was a primary school history coordinator (in those heady, deluded days before literacy and numeracy targets swept most other priorities away, and QCA schemes of work did the rest), I had the delightful job of planning a whole-school history scheme of work. One of the many attainment targets for history was for children to be able to ‘distinguish facts from opinions’ by the time they got to secondary school. Given their collective seniority and expertise, I am hopeful that the Education Select Committee has the same ability, even if some of their witnesses struggle with this distinction.
When asked this week by the Select Committee about the Academies Commission’s critique of some aspects of policy, former schools minister Nick Gibb claimed that the RSA had a ‘particular view’ and didn’t come from ‘neutral ground’. This contrasts to others who wondered aloud (via twitter) whether a commission led by an academy provider such as the RSA would ever be anything other than positive about academies.
These claims insult the independence of the commissioners themselves, and the process they led. The RSA’s Action and Research Centre, with the remit to act and think, show and tell, innovate and recommend, will constantly need to navigate healthy tensions between our practice and our research. In combining thought leadership and social innovation, we aim to create a virtuous circle between research and practice. The Commission’s findings will inform how we develop our family of academies model, Working directly with these academies gives us insight to which areas of policy need exploring, and provides us with both inspiration for and reality checks on ideas for practical innovations. And the practical innovations we lead with larger numbers of teachers and schools, for instance through our Opening Minds framework and our area based curriculum, also help determine our priorities for future RSA programmes of work.
At the same time, recent exchanges have caused me to reflect on that slippery word ‘evidence’. When committees or commissions ‘take evidence’, they are really collecting stories, some of which will be facts, others opinions. As Dylan William and others remind us all, evidence is not the plural of anecdotes. Stephen Gorard has distinguished between the legal use of evidence, which aims to push a single viewpoint, and the academic use, which, to quote Chomsky, aims to ‘tell the truth and expose lies’. In thinking about education, only the latter will do, alongside a recognition that most evidence is far less conclusive that we’d like (and the more rigorous the evidence, the less conclusive it will probably be, as Education Endowment Foundation-funded projects are likely to find out in the next few years).
After such a deep, rigorous progress, it’s a shame that admissions ‘gossip’ (as opposed to the carefully considered recommendations about admissions in the report) dominated media headlines. We hope that the RSA’s current project on in-year admissions, which will involve surveys and data collection, may help shed light on wider questions about the impact of academisation on admissions.
Those who still have influence over the future direction of academies have welcomed the commission’s findings and want to engage in serious discussions about next steps, Whatever people’s views on the Commission, lack of balance is not the issue. Whatever Nick Gibb said, the Commission was entirely neutral in its deliberations. Mind you, given Nick Gibb’s dislike of RSA Opening Minds, he would have said that, wouldn’t he?
Commissions can be tricky beasts. Often, in the drive to achieve consensus among all parties, they can drift towards the lowest-risk common denominator. Last minute changes and compromises can skew narratives. And, as with all policy reports, subtle sets of recommendations can be misinterpreted by the media and others. Low-lying ideas can suddenly become top-line recommendations.
After nine months of gestation, we are delighted that the Academies Commission has avoided all of these pitfalls. We congratulate Becky Francis, her team at the Pearson Think Tank, and the three Commissioners Christine Gilbert, Chris Husbands and Brett Widgortz for producing a rigorous, fascinating and highly readable report.
We welcome the Commission’s contribution to the academies debate. The recommendations should have significant implications for policy and practice. The RSA, as a partner with a family of academies and with an education programme focussed on social justice, democracy and innovation, will reflect on and respond to the recommendations in due course, and we urge others to do the same. Comment below, or use #acadcomm on Twitter.
Many academies are transforming learning and form a valuable part of the school improvement ecology. However, the Government’s frenetic drive towards a fully academised system is not yet justified by evidence, and could actually damage the potential systemic value of a better targeted, more carefully supported approach to the growth of academies. We also hope that this report helps to initiate a more intelligent discussion about autonomy, centralisation, governance and collaboration in the English school system.
Two months late, and in anticipation of tomorrow’s launch of our Academies Commission report, here are some reflections from a very valuable National College for School Leadership seminar on self-improving school systems. The college is dealing well with both reduced budgets and; the risks that come through conversion to an ‘executive agency’ of the Department of Education. In truth, even as an NDPB the relationship between Department and College was usually less arms length and more Venus De Milo. But school leaders are rightly asking the College to exploit its privileged position within government without going totally native. It’s a space that the interim Chief Executive Maggie Farrar is occupying with astuteness and panache.
At the seminar, David Hargreaves discussed his fourth thinkpiece on the development of a self-improving school system in England, and offered views on progress made since 2010. Nearly three years since the white paper on the Importance of Teaching stated that “our aim should be to create a school system which is more effectively self-improving “, my own 3-point progress report reads as follows:
1. The system as a whole is up for the self-improvement challenge.
Education leaders, whether in schools, local authorities or academy providers, largely ‘get’ that this government is serious about a self-improving system, and that self improvement will only happen through collaboration. If there is recalcitrance to collaborate, it is probably down more to the prevailing uncertainties in policy direction than to the decisions that have actually been made.
2. Converter academies, despite government hopes and the fantastic work of some headteachers and chains, are insufficiently committed to and involved in school to school support and system leadership.
Whether this is due to genuine under-commitment, or the within-school capacity issues that come with conversion, it may be too early to say. But it is clear that conversion comes with very weak collaborative strings attached. If individual academies want to go for splendid isolation, there’s not much stopping them, and too many are taking the money and freedoms and running.
3. Teaching schools and especially teaching school alliances are positioning themselves to go beyond leadership of ITT and CPD towards full system leadership.
Teaching Schools appear to have a confused, multiplying set of expectations placed upon them, for very little funding. Despite or possibly because of this predicament, many are poised to grow their remit and influence. This is less mission creep and more mission clarification.
So overall, in response to Ben Levin’s question about whether we are ‘creating an institutional context that promotes or prevents collaboration’ I am generally optimistic about our education system’s collaborative potential. New drivers are coming into play. Austerity, which has barely touched school budgets (although is deeply affecting the budgets of the families they serve) could force the pace, catalysing the creation of harder federations, especially between small, otherwise-unviable primary schools. There is also the succession planning opportunity of a large number of retiring headteachers to exploit, possibly replacing them with a smaller number of executive heads. Emerging new technologies could support progress on all four of Hargreaves’ ‘criteria for deep partnerships’[i].
However, I would also agree with Hargreaves’ prediction that the next few years will see the growth of a “scattered and weakly connected self-improving sub-systems of school….but not yet a self improving school system”. I suggest four additional foundations that need to be considered if we really are going to move towards a self-improving system.
First, sustainable self-improvement will need policies that encourage genuine self-determination, so that schools have authorship and ownership over ends as well as means. To avoid the risk expressed in the DfE White Paper that “the attempt to secure automatic compliance with central government initiatives reduces the capacity of the school system to improve itself”, schools need what one seminar participant described as ‘the authority to determine the values of an education system.’ The new curriculum is a key opportunity and battleground here.
Second (and if Gove favours it for the press, why not for schools?) schools need to move to a culture of collective self-regulation – self and peer evaluation of their own performance against nationally and locally agreed goals. Challenge Partners has led the way here. Government should commit to a declining role for external inspection, in proportion to educational success, so that OFSTED gradually becomes an external moderator of collective self-regulation.
Third, schools should have a broader conception of ‘self’, and look to other people and organisations to support system improvement. Kevan Collins talked recently about a local mosque that had been successfully commissioned by Tower Hamlets Council to help reduce truancy, especially those caused by in-term visits to Bangladesh. Schools, if delegated budgets for collective approaches to school improvement, should sometimes look beyond schools for the best solutions.
Finally, system leaders need to learn the art of self-deprecation. From various off-record conversations, there is a feeling that headteachers as a tribe are developing a reputation for being self-satisfying, self-aggrandising, and self-serving, even when in the act of system improvement. This, of course, is a caricature – headteachers are as heterogeneous as any other group of leaders. One leader of a teaching school alliance talked at the seminar about the subtle differences between leadership language and partnership language, to keep the values and egos of all participating schools on board.
At its deepest level, the transformation towards a self-improving school system is a behaviour change issue, one that requires adaptive rather than technical solutions. As part of a new project on ‘re-minding education’, we are working with the RSA’s social brain centre to understand how research from neuroscience and behavioural economics might contribute to our understanding about how schools and teachers can best collaborate for improvement. Please get in touch with your insights and ideas. The project is not even half-formed yet, so this is a perfect time to shape our thinking.
Thanks to Shipa Nessa for her support with this blog. Shipa in on a short placement at RSA through Ladies Who Learn, a project developed by RSA Fellow Asma Shah with the support of Catalyst funding.
[i] Criteria for a deep partnership (in ascending order of difficulty)
- Joint practice development is well established within and between schools in the partnership.
- Social capital is high within and between schools in the partnership.
- Collective moral purpose is a value shared and enacted by all stakeholders, including students, within the partnership.
- Evaluation and challenge are practiced at every level within and between schools.