There are few harder tasks than to rapidly improve a school.
I know because I did it.
I’d like to share some of the things I learned along the way…
To improve a school quickly, you have to improve teaching so that learning increases and achievement rises.
To improve teaching quickly, you have to focus on the professional development of the teachers, but teachers can only be contractually directed to work for 1,265 hours a year and almost all of this is spent in the classroom teaching lessons.
So, you have to support it during the school day, in the form of release time from classroom teaching responsibilities.
However, this is problematic because it’s both costly and damages the learners progress in the short term.
It’s costly because to release a teacher for one day costs about £600. Half of this is the teacher’s salary, the other half pays for the supply teacher. Imagine the number of days it takes to fundamentally improve a teacher’s teaching.
It damages progress because every time a lesson is delivered by someone who doesn’t know the learners well (i.e. supply teachers), the learners make less progress. Do this too often and you’ve got inadequate progress over time and you’re a failing school for supporting staff CPD.
I made some very bold decisions as a headteacher. Some probably called them rash, stupid or crazy, but the gamble paid off and we rapidly raised achievement, rapidly improving the school.
But here’s a thought. What if the process of teaching was teacher CPD? How transformational would that be? Teachers, developed by the very act of their teaching.
That would be quite something wouldn’t it?