I spoke for the first time at #FCTeachmeet (Fareham College, Hampshire) on the subject of what a county like Hampshire could learn from schools of all kinds within London, who deal with significantly greater levels of deprivation and additional individual need, yet manage to get their children to achieve at the highest level.
I was asked if what I had seen was underpinned by values education principles and the simple answer is yes.
Schools talk of ethos, principles and values, but, in practice, they meld into an amorphous mass, with the over-riding effect that "Every person matters", evident through relationships, accessibility and communication, in all forms. Schools make it easy for parents to make and keep in contact. In so doing, they reduce "stewing time", where a parent waits for a return call, or for a busy member of staff to phone.
In essence, it is a case of "Done with and through", rather than "Done to".
My slides for the Teachmeet will support further commentary. There are a number of significant visible methodologies evident across the broad range of schools.
However, if you look at those schools in London who achieve and are enabling schools more broadly, they show the following: -
It is worth considering whether a strong authority creates more of a dependency culture. One phone call solves all problems, so disabling local decision making. This is not a call for academisation, more wondering if authority feeds on itself and its status, so relies on keeping others in their place.
The rich curriculum is created and available to every child, not just the Gifted and Talented, so it creates significant opportunities for learners to explore together, to share oral language and to bring back to the classroom the same experience to explore further with appropriate guidance and support.
Many of the schools took advantage of the cultural wealth of the capital city, ensuring easy to reach venues were used extensively and harnessing the availability of additional adults through the local enterprise schemes. Some staff came in to read with children, during lunchtimes, while one used city business men to mentor older students into clear thinking about the world of work.
Articulation of, often complex systems, was clear, with interpretation available as necessary. The schools went "above and beyond" in the words of parents, what they had been expecting. Parent support for the schools and for learning was a strong feature.
and, interestingly, every member of the school community saw themselves as the "eyes and ears" of the schools. They valued what they had and wanted it to be unviolated.
The third slide articulates the process that these schools adopt. It is akin to the first slide, but articulates the actions taken.
It could all be summarised in the words of a song; Do what you do do well
and as a result; don't they do well?