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Archive for the 'Leadership and management' Category

Leadership: how schools can build on their creative, community-based responses to the pandemic

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 April 2021

annawaldl / Pixabay

Peter Earley.

The pandemic has brought schools’ vital role at the heart of their communities into sharp relief, says visiting professor and former Chief HMI Christine Gilbert in the first of a series of Thinkpieces published by the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership (CEL). The paper will be followed by a public online forum on Tuesday 27 April from 5-6-30pm.

Gilbert’s ThinkpieceComing Back Stronger: Leadership Mattersargues that the pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for the education system to build our learning from the crisis into collaborative thinking, planning and action. Schools’ creativity in managing the disruption and complexities of the pandemic provides important lessons. It is now essential for school and other educational leaders to find time for reflection on that learning.

Her Thinkpiece identifies five leadership opportunities for building a (more…)

Quick catch-up or recovery over time? a systems perspective on the pandemic, part 2

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 March 2021

Melanie Ehren.

Education is going through a massive transformation globally with teachers gaining new digital skills, online teaching materials being developed and parents getting much more immersed in their children’s education. These transformations are, however, not benefitting all students equally, as discussed in Part 1 of this blog, with those from deprived backgrounds losing out on learning when schools were closed.

Across the world, policy-makers are thinking about how to build back better systems; in England, Sir Kevan Collins was recently appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner, with the responsibility of overseeing a programme of catch-up but also proposing a strategy for long-term recovery.

Here are my three take-away messages for where to prioritize short-term catch up of learning loss, and how we (more…)

Quick catch-up or recovery over time? A systems perspective on the pandemic, part 1

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 March 2021

Melanie Ehren.

While the pandemic has been disruptive to all learners, it has been more so for lower-income students. They have been particularly hard hit because of a lack of home support for online learning, limited access to good wifi or a laptop and a lack of quiet space to learn at home.

Initial studies indicate that students from deprived backgrounds have learned less compared to their more affluent peers, and their ‘lost learning’ amounts to the time schools were closed. A study by Engzell et al (2020) for example compared the result of school tests in the Netherlands before and after lockdown in spring 2020 with results from the previous three years, and found that losses are up to 55% larger among students from less-educated homes. The pandemic has brought the already existing inequalities into sharper focus and increased concern about the widening gap.

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Across the world, governments are announcing proposals to try and eliminate further unfair disparities and (more…)

To be transformed by research-informed practices, schools must have the right leaders

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 February 2021

Qing Gu  and Simon Rea.

What does it take to transform practice, culture and outcomes in the schools that need it most? Our evaluation of the Education Endowment Foundation’s Research Schools Network shows that the essential ingredient is committed and strong leadership.

This national network was launched in September 2016, and the research schools (RS) are funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to share what they know about putting research into practice, and lead and support schools in their regions and beyond to make better use of evidence to improve teaching practices.

These schools’ primary purpose is not to conduct academic research in classrooms or schools. Rather, they help schools to access, understand, critique, and apply external evidence in their own contexts through disseminating newsletters, blogs and other materials. They also provide CPD and training in their areas. In essence, RSs are brokers between the EEF’s evidence and school practice.

Our evaluation report on the experiences of the first five RSs in their initial three years provides clear and (more…)

How the COVID-19 home-schooling experience can boost creativity and enhance teacher feedback

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 October 2020

Sara Bubb.

You might expect that the lockdown imposed by Covid-19 last spring would undermine schools’ progress in engaging pupils with more creative teaching and learning. But in the Norwegian municipality where I am involved in school improvement, this has not been the case at all.

Much has been written about the negative impact of the pandemic on pupils’ education but research that I conducted with Mari-Ana Jones has found much to celebrate about remote teaching and learning.

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, it looked like a severe obstacle to the gains in creative teaching made between September and March, but surveys in April 2020 of teachers, parents and carers and pupils aged 6-9 and 10-16 showed that was far from the case. There was more creative learning, better progress, more useful feedback and greater student independence. School leaders (more…)

What are ‘stuck’ schools and what sort of fresh thinking can help them move on?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 May 2020

Bernie Munoz, Melanie Ehren and Jo Hutchinson.

The government is making some assumptions about so-called ‘stuck’ or ‘intractable’ schools that need to be closely examined. One of these assumptions is that placing a small group of failing schools in special measures will cause them to improve in order to avoid job losses, bad reputation and school closure.

It is further assumed that multi-academy trusts will adopt schools with persistent difficulties and provide stronger leadership to resolve these – but it is also assumed that if failing schools don’t improve, they will ultimately disappear as a natural consequence of low enrolment and sanctions.

However, there is a group of schools in England that Ofsted has judged to be failing for more than a decade. Paradoxically, they have been unable to improve, nor have they disappeared. This would suggest that the competitive educational quasi-market falls short when trying to understand the complexities of the system.

We hope our current two year study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation will provide some (more…)

The home schooling quagmire: it’s about more than laptops

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 May 2020

Jennie Golding.

The move to ‘home schooling’ has, quite rightly, triggered a storm of commentaries about how the gap between the disadvantaged and the middle class will widen.

Last week the House of Commons Education Select Committee conducted a session on the impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services. Several MPs, particularly from more economically challenged northern constituencies, expressed their fears about inequity of access to education during school closures. The answer to many of their questions was ‘We don’t yet know’ – whether there is a correlation between pupils’ time studying and their socioeconomic position, how many disadvantaged learners are not eligible for free laptops – or when and how schools will re-open to more young people.

Committee chair Robert Halfon warned that the UK could be facing a ‘wave of educational poverty’ as a result of the lockdown – and of course there is a moral imperative to prioritise the needs of those who are already disadvantaged. However, emerging evidence suggests the picture is complex, and there are serious challenges across all social groups.

My own current research with primary schools and A Level providers has serendipitously (more…)

School accountability: why multi-year measures would be fairer to everyone and how they could be implemented

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 November 2019

John Jerrim.

School league tables produced every year by the Department for Education currently use a single year of test score data in the headline measure. Based upon how a school’s most recent cohort of Year 11’s performed on their GCSEs, schools get labelled with terms such as “above” and “below” average.

This is not a smart thing to do. It would be much better to use the average performance of a school across multiple years instead.

This blog recaps the reasons why – and then suggests how this could be done.

(more…)

When teachers use good verbal feedback strategies, it saves them time and boosts pupils’ engagement

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 October 2019

Mark Quinn.

For some time now, teachers have been wondering whether there are better, less labour-intensive, ways of giving feedback to their students. Surely marking stacks of books every night cannot be the only way? We now have some evidence that verbal feedback is at least as effective as the written variety. And it might just help give teachers their lives back too.

Every workload survey of teachers in England reveals that they believe they are spending far too many hours on tasks they feel have little value for their students. In July 2019, Ofsted said that their own findings ‘show that teachers spend less than a half of their time on teaching, while lesson planning, marking and administrative tasks take up a large part of their non-teaching time’. Teachers told the DfE’s Workload Challenge survey that the amount of marking they had to do, and the ways they had to do it, was the key factor in driving up their workload.

The Education Endowment Foundation’s 2016 report, A Marked Improvement?, found few robust studies into the effectiveness of written marking, even though it takes up so much of a teacher’s time. Consequently, in their myth-busting document, Ofsted have reiterated that they do ‘not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.’

(more…)

How do headteachers in England use test data, and does this differ from other countries?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 October 2019

John Jerrim.

In England we are fortunate to have a lot of data available about school pupils and how they are achieving academically at school.

Organisations such as FFT aim to make this data available and easily digestible to schools through services such as Aspire so that it can be used to inform the decisions of teachers and school leaders.

But how does the way schools in England make use of data compare to schools in other countries?

(more…)