So, a valuable lesson learned today! So often, as senior leaders in school, we are tasked with changing something: making it better… solving the problem. But how do we do this?
It is easy I suppose to act like a doctor. First we diagnose the problem then we apply the plaster or pass around the medication (like we learned at medical school) and thus the problem is solved. At least until the plaster falls off.
There is a problem here though. First we are assuming that we really understand the problem. What if no-one else thinks there is a problem? Or they think it is a different problem? Secondly, our solution is just that… our solution. If we turned the problem into a question or a hypothesis then all our staff would be able to be involved in the diagnosis.
By facilitating this, our staff would then be able to drive that school improvement themselves. They would have full ownership over the idea and surely then the chances of energetic, enthusiastic and sustained improvement are more likely.
As a side point, if it is the teachers themselves driving the change then they are more likely to be open to being accountable for it.
So something to remember…
A brilliant presentation today by the Early Years Leadership and Learning Forum.
Baseline assessment will be statutory from 2016 but the sensible advice seems to be that you will need a really good reason not to do it in 2015. If you don’t baseline then that particular cohort will be judged solely on attainment without the ‘backup’ of progress: A dangerous game to play!
Best practice seemed to entail making sure you get your assessments in early therefore ensuring your target path does not come out too high. Schools seem to be trialling a range of assessments but DfE will publish a list of approved schemes in early 2015. I suppose the scheme we choose is up to us but my feeling is that we would all want to choose one that is ‘Early Years’ in nature i.e. based upon observations and age appropriate, as opposed to a ‘good old test’.
This baseline will mean that from 2016, the EYFS profile will no longer be compulsory.
Interestingly, the idea of ensuring that all the schools within a collaborative use the same baseline assessment was proposed. This would ensure some ‘safety in numbers’ and the opportunity to moderate and ensure clarity across the collaborative. A great idea and perhaps one that KS1 and KS2 assessment leaders might look to?