Working in a development role at College, this debate would be more than relevant for me.

The debate was shared by Rod Bristow, from Pearson, who shared a couple of videos from John Hattie to stimulate conversation.

Fergal Roche

Government have been obsessed with choice and autonomy.

Choice came about from Tony Blair’s government.

Encouraging schools to work within their local context is vital- not just having autonomy but making the most of their context in line with their autonomy.

Consistently good teaching= outstanding

We have a culture of resource being poured in at the start (not as much as in Finland) and then teachers tend to plateau

We’ve got to keep the inspiration teachers had at the start of their careers. Constant inspection and development as a result.

A&E= saving lives. Teaching= developing lives.

School leaders have to up the ante and get excited about the profession.

David Weston

We’ve maxed out on autonomy in our education system

It ain’t what you do but the way that you do it.

We don’t want people to be busy with change imposed from the outside but we want them to focus on their day-to-day practice- retention is improved as a result

Development of career routes for teachers and a ladder of professionalism

Philippa Cordingley

CPD and learning should be the focus.

School leaders learning in public has a huge effect on their staff: promoting the model of learning themselves is vital.

Parents, school, teachers and students aligned with what learning means in this decade.

What do we mean by impact? When we work it out, this must be shared with all of the above.

Students love sport because they know what success looks like and they know they need to out effort in.

Joint planning in light of the impact evidence they’ve collected

Hero teachers with their private kingdoms have no place in education- great leaders need to encourage all teachers to work towards goals in a collective way.

Q. To what extent should teachers have autonomy?

David Weston

They should have autonomy in the classroom but they should be held to account for decisions they make, the learning they engage with and the impact they have.

They need to be held responsible for keeping up-to-date with the latest evidence base- their own learning is their responsibility in providing the best experience for their learners.

If teachers can’t support their decisions and ideas with rigorous evidence then this isn’t acceptable.

Shallow accountability is damning to the profession- especially if watching teachers through a small lens for a short burst of time and then disappearing off having made a judgement, graded or not. These kinds of judgements have also been proven to be ridiculously unreliable.

Benedick Ashmore-Short

He walked into a school where they had been judged inadequate three years in a row.

Those same teachers are now teaching good and outstanding lessons- he filled them back with love for their profession

Educators live in a climate of fear and are scared to take the risk

Staff meetings were spent talking about logistics- pedagogy is now the ONLY conversation. Lesson study takes place and teachers need the space to become self-reflective.

Trust that the data will come as a result of this approach.

Time is given every week for teachers to explore a blog where the best practice and latest research is collected.

Q. What are the best ways of scaling up interventions?

Tom Bennett

Through the success of science and its arrival into the public consciousness, social sciences was born and it was treated in the same way.

Educators are paralysed by evidence as our relationship with it is new.

Difficulties of scalability with education research.

It’s immature to think that educational research that indicates certain interventions work in a certain context, will work in every single context and will have an impact on every single learner.

Intervention x has impact y in context z. The context z is vital.

Eleanor Bernardes

Evidence-based and evidence-informed is very different

Time needs to be given, without the accountability pressures to research fully

Fergal Roche

Short lessons every day and teaching more students at once

Structure schools to do less teaching but in less depth

More time for researching and informing their teaching

I then stopped paying attention as I’d decided to ask a question, in a room full of people: my heart was racing and my palms were sweaty. I was about to follow my own advice and make my voice heard…

The time for questions had arrived and we were told there would be time for just one question. There was no way, after all of this adrenalin, that it wouldn’t be mine. My hand shot firmly straight up into the air. There was another arm floating in front of me but it was way too limp in comparison – it could not compete with my uncharacteristically assertive arm! The lady in the middle of the room was pointed at- It was me! I was really about to do this!

I asked something along the lines of, ‘What would your advice be for teachers and middle leaders to persuade school and college leaders and governors that development needs to be further up on the agenda in the face of all the funding and data pressures they face?’

The panel members nodded vigorously and I was told it was an excellent question! 🙂 Proud is not the word. I hardly ever do things like this but I really had done it! 🙂

Vivienne Robinson Curee research was referenced

And, I think, this too.

The hazard of asking a question is that I was so busy feeling proud of myself that I don’t think I entirely took in all of the answers given…

A thought- leaders need to be learners but this needs to be explicitly shared with their staff all of the time. They need to be the example and they need to make space and time for CPD to occur. Actual space and time. They need to be brave and put CPD ahead of all else; trusting that the data will come. 

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