How would you lead teaching and learning? #360Review (Part 2 of 6)


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Here, I offer my reflections on my own school leadership. In this post: How would you lead teaching and learning? I pose a series of questions for the reader and offer my very own #360Review.

You are reading part 2 of a 6-part series of leadership articles on: ‘How would you lead teaching and learning?’ #360Review

The context for this post is here in Part 1.

How would you lead teaching and learning?

Is this something you could bottle?  Photo Credit: HikingArtist.com via Compfight cc
Is this something you could bottle?
Photo Credit: HikingArtist.com via Compfight cc

Considering everything you have learnt; experienced; witnessed; read; mistaken. Could you bottle this formula?

This leadership reflection has been taken from the Leadership Standards and falls under two distinct categories and into six key areas.

  • The categories are Knowledge and Professional Qualities.
  • The key areas are Shaping the future; Leading learning and teaching; Developing self and working with others; Managing the organisation; Securing accountability; Strengthening the community.

Leading Learning and Teaching (Knowledge):

The headteacher should know about: strategies for raising achievement and achieving excellence; the development of a personalised learning culture within the school; models of learning and teaching; the use of new and emerging technologies to support learning and teaching; principles of effective teaching and assessment for learning; models of behaviour and attendance management; strategies for ensuring inclusion, diversity and access; curriculum design and management; tools for data collection and analysis; using research evidence to inform teaching and learning; monitoring and evaluating performance; school self-evaluation; strategies for developing effective teachers. (Knowledge)

  • Do you know What and How to lead teaching and learning?
  • Do you live in your teachers and their practices?
Photo Credit: mars_discovery_district via Compfight cc
Do you know What and How?
Photo Credit: mars_discovery_district via Compfight cc

Here are the key questions to consider, with my own analysis in the photo that follows.

  1. I know about strategies for raising achievement
  2. I know about strategies for achieving excellence
  3. I know about models of learning
  4. I know about models of teaching
  5. I know about the use of new and emerging technologies to support learning
  6. I know about the use of new and emerging technologies to support teaching
  7. I know about principles of effective teaching
  8. I know about principles of assessment for learning
  9. I know about models of behaviour
  10. I know about attendance management
  11. I know about strategies for ensuring inclusion
  12. I know about strategies for ensuring diversity
  13. I know about strategies for ensuring access
  14. I know about curriculum design
  15. I know about curriculum management
  16. I know about tools for data collection
  17. I know about using research evidence to inform teaching
  18. I know about using research evidence to inform learning
  19. I know about monitoring performance
  20. I know about evaluating performance
  21. I know about school self-evaluation
  22. I know about strategies for developing effective teachers
  23. I know about development of a personalised learning culture

Self-review of Knowledge:

My self-review is shown below, Click to enlarge.

Leading Learning and Teaching
Leading Learning and Teaching

Now, firstly, I am currently on a journey of leading teaching and learning. This has probably been my greatest challenge and the most enjoyable.

You can see for yourself, that I clearly need to have a tighter grasp on what “I know about inclusion; diversity and equal access, specifically in terms of knowledge of leading teaching and learning at whole-school level.

Allow me to elaborate. Apart from being a form-tutor for 11 years, I have had no other experience of pastoral education other than the day-to-day comings-and-goings of school life. In leadership, leading on whole-school pastoral duties, had never been asked of me as a head of department. This wasn’t until I started to understand what my role was as a curriculum leader, regarding my own explicit pastoral duties within my own department. For example: supporting the needs of all students; adapting curriculum plans; intervention groups; individual support plans; specialist classes and excursions; adapting resources and so forth.

Do you support the needs of all your students; staff and parents?  Credit: http://www.sitesplus.co.uk
Do you support the needs of all your students; staff and parents?
Credit: http://www.sitesplus.co.uk

Inclusion, access and diversity:

The world of inclusion, access and diversity was also unknown to me at whole-school level, when I first became a senior leader. Suddenly, I was tasked with admissions; seclusions; exclusions; inclusion and a vast array of teacher-training requirements (for myself and staff) to meet of complex needs of students.

This urgent need to be competent to deal with inclusion and access, as well as the legal requirements at leadership level, cannot be given to you in an external CPD course! There is a necessity if you are new to this role, like I was, to be shadowed by a colleague. Work very closely with this person; sit in on meetings; panel hearings and paperwork processes. Oh, and don’t forget to insist on being mentored and monitored.

Students must be supported, where appropriate, by teaching staff, teaching assistants, learning mentors and specialist services such as counsellors and therapists.  To build up this a range of knowledge and skill to be able to lead on such a role – particularly a new one – must not be taken lightly. My advice; look to shadow a colleague who has the experience, prior to beginning any new role; even if this means taking on additional responsibility without any other incentive, other than stepping up.

Leading Learning and Teaching (Professional Qualities):

The headteacher should be committed to: the raising standards for all in the pursuit of excellence; the continuing learning of all members of the school community; the entitlement of all pupils to effective teaching and learning; choice and flexibility in learning to meet the personalised learning needs of every child. The headteacher should be able to: demonstrate personal enthusiasm for and commitment to the learning process; demonstrate the principles and practice of effective teaching and learning; access, analyse and interpret information; initiate and support research and debate about effective learning and teaching and develop relevant strategies for performance improvement; acknowledge excellence and challenge poor performance across the school. (Professional Qualities)

Don’t be a parrot!

Don't be a parrot! Learn to go your own way.  Photo Credit: Today is a good day via Compfight cc
Don’t be a parrot! Learn to go your own way.
Photo Credit: Today is a good day via Compfight cc

Learn to go your own way. Form your own opinions.

Here are the key questions to consider, with my own analysis in the photo that follows.

  1. I am committed to the raising standards for all in the pursuit of excellence
  2. I am committed to the continuing learning of all members of the school community
  3. I am committed to the entitlement of all pupils to effective teaching
  4. I am committed to the entitlement of all pupils to effective learning
  5. I am committed to choice in learning to meet the personalised learning needs of every child
  6. I am committed to flexibility in learning to meet the personalised learning needs of every child
  7. I am able to demonstrate personal enthusiasm for the learning process
  8. I am able to demonstrate commitment to the learning process
  9. I am able to demonstrate the principles of effective teaching
  10. I am able to demonstrate the principles of effective learning
  11. I am able to demonstrate the practice of effective teaching
  12. I am able to demonstrate the practice of effective learning
  13. I am able to access information
  14. I am able to analyse information
  15. I am able to interpret information
  16. I am able to initiate and support research and debate about effective learning
  17. I am able to initiate and support research and debate about effective teaching
  18. I am able to develop relevant strategies for performance improvement
  19. I am able to acknowledge excellence across the school
  20. I am able to challenge poor performance across the school.

Self-review of Professional Qualities:

My self-review is shown below, Click to enlarge.

Leading Learning and Teaching
Leading Learning and Teaching

Finally, as you will also see from my self-review on the professional qualities of leading teaching and learning; I am ‘able to access information’, but the question here is; do I understand the information and what can I do with it? You will also notice that I have not ranked myself at the top-level of “challenging poor performance across school”.

In terms of teaching and learning (which is what this particular #360Review (Part 2 of 6) considers) this is work in progress, yet something I would consider myself to be performing well. However, I have re-considered this evaluation and included the ‘bigger-picture’ in terms of challenging all manner of poor performance(s) across the school. For example; staff attendance; staff discipline; accountability; below expected levels of progress; and so forth.

The verdict:

"And where is your evidence?"   Photo Credit: cali.org via Compfight cc
“And where is your evidence?”
Photo Credit: cali.org via Compfight cc

I should show that… (with my own summary in red font):

  • Ensure a consistent and continuous school-wide focus on pupils’ achievement, using data and benchmarks to monitor progress in every child’s learning. Inclusion is an area I really need to develop. One that I must broaden my knowledge at headteacher level, in order to meet the deep, complex and varied needs of students. I know this is lacking depth from my repertoire.
  • Ensure that learning is at the centre of strategic planning and resource management. I am confident this is achieved and sustained. A personal target, would be to include a wider range of staff in the strategic process.
  • Establish creative, responsive and effective approaches to learning and teaching. I am confident this is achieved and sustained; yet the views of students need to be taken into account more often. I am currently setting up a student-observer panel as part of our student-voice / student leadership team.
  • Ensure a culture and ethos of challenge and support where all pupils can achieve success and become engaged in their own learning.  I am confident this is achieved and sustained.
  • Demonstrate and articulate high expectations and sets stretching targets for the whole school community. I am confident this is achieved and sustained.
  • Implement strategies which secure high standards of behaviour and attendance. I am confident this is achieved as part of working in my leadership team; but this is far from coherent in my own mind and individual role/responsibilities.
  • Determine, organise and implement a diverse, flexible curriculum and implement an effective assessment framework. I am confident this is achieved as part of working in my leadership team; but this is far from coherent in my own mind and individual role/responsibilities.
  • Take a strategic role in the development of new and emerging technologies to enhance and extend the learning experience of pupils. I am confident this is achieved and sustained.
  • Monitor, evaluate and review classroom practice and promote improvement strategies. I am confident this is achieved and sustained.
  • Challenge under-performance at all levels and ensure effective corrective action and follow-up. I am confident this is achieved, emerging and becoming sustained at all levels.

Further reading:

In Part 3 of the leadership series, you will be able to view my own #360Review of Developing self and working with others. In parts 4 – 6 of this series, I will offer comments from colleagues I have worked with as part of this leadership #360Review.

  1. Part 1: Shaping the future: What makes an outstanding senior leader? #360Review
  2. Part 2: Leading Learning and Teaching: How would you lead teaching and learning? #360Review
  3. Part 3: Developing self and others: How to develop yourself and work with others? #360Review
  4. Part 4: Managing the organisation: Can you manage the school organisation? #360Review
  5. Part 5: Securing accountability: Securing accountability with leadership actions: #360Review
  6. Part 6: Strengthening the community; Headship: Can you engage with the internal and external school community? #360Review


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