Assess Like a Consultant Doctor: Chapter 8 preview from Wholesome Leadership

As part of this series of short posts to introduce my book, Wholesome Leadership, today I’m sharing a preview of Chapter 8:  ‘Assessing Like a Consultant Doctor’.

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com 

This chapter sits in the second section of the book which is focused on the ‘head’ of leadership, part of the H4 Leadership Model which captures the heart, head, hands and health of school leaders. It follows on from previous posts I’ve written including Chapter 6 – ‘Strategic School Improvement & Research’ and Chapter 7 – Healthy Accountability‘.

H4 Leadership Model: ‘The Heart, Head, Hands & Health of School Leadership…

Assessment has become a primary culprit in the ongoing challenges of teacher wellbeing, recruitment and retention. Workload in this area has spiralled out of control – particularly in areas such as marking, data inputting and evidence gathering. Alongside this, a lack of clarity around national assessment since the removal of levels and increased accountability pressure on schools to achieve in performance tables have combined to create the perfect storm.

Within the chapter, I share some of the challenges that are faced by schools in this area, suggest 10 steps to ‘sorting out summative assessment’ and talk about how we can reduce workload through revising approaches to marking and feedback. The analogy of a ‘consultant doctor’ is used to suggest how we can use assessment in a more manageable and meaningful way within schools.

Assessing like a consultant doctor

One of the perks of having a child with a disability and a complicated medical history is that you get to see the expertise of consultant doctors up close.  I have immense respect for everyone in the medical profession, but some of the specialists who have worked with Freddie have been class acts. One of the things that strikes me about these doctors is how they look beyond the obvious and avoid drawing quick conclusions. Rather than making decisions based on limited information, the most skilled and experienced doctors will examine a range of information about a patient as part of their assessment, including blood tests, scans, examinations in clinic, patient history and referrals from other medical professionals. Similarly, the most effective teachers and leaders understand the limitations of any particular test or assessment and can use their experience and expertise to interpret them wisely. And just as careful and intelligent consideration of patient information can lead to an accurate diagnosis and the prescription of helpful treatment, meaningful assessment can lead to greater understanding of gaps in learning and effective tailored teaching and intervention.

Within the chapter, I interview Daisy Christodoulou (Director of No More Marking and author of Making Good Progress and the 7 Myths of Education‘.  who kindly gives up time to offer her expertise about the challenges that remain in schools to adapt to a life without assessment levels.

Here is a summary of the chapter in one page…

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com !

Wholesome Leadership Preview Chapter 7: Healthy Accountability

As part of this series of short posts to introduce my book, Wholesome Leadership, today I’m sharing a preview of Chapter 7:  Healthy Accountability.

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com 

This chapter sits in the second section of the book which is focused on the ‘head’ of leadership, part of the H4 Leadership Model which captures the heart, head, hands and health of school leaders. It follows on from previous posts I’ve written including Chapter 6 – ‘Strategic School Improvement’.

H4 Leadership Model: ‘The Heart, Head, Hands & Health of School Leadership…

Within the chapter, I identify three challenges for school leaders

  1. Taking the ‘fear’ out of the ‘challenge’, creating the right conditions in our school for healthy accountability. I use Mary Myatt’s concept of ‘High Challenge; Low Threat’ as a model for thinking about how we can keep the stakes low but the challenge high within schools.
  2. Developing effective processes for school improvement that are used consistently as part of an ongoing cycle. The chapter shares some approaches to processes such as appraisal, learning walks and the use of data.
  3. Managing external accountability with confidence; staying in control of inspection. I discuss how we can stay in control of external processes such as OFSTED and also offer some suggestions as to how OFSTED might further reform in the future.

For some more thoughts on developing healthier approaches to accountability in schools, I interview Headteacher, Michael Tidd, well known for his expert views and opinion on primary curriculum and assessment. Michael offers his typical blend of pragmatic wisdom and informed opinion on the challenges.

Here is a summary of the chapter in one page, as designed by the brilliant Oliver Caviglioli.

 

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com 

 

 

Wholesome Leadership Preview Chapter 6: Strategic School Improvement & Research

As part of this series of short posts to introduce my book, Wholesome Leadership, today I’m sharing a preview of Chapter 6:  Strategic School Improvement.

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com 

This chapter sits in the second section of the book which is focused on the ‘head’ of leadership, part of the H4 Leadership Model which captures the heart, head, hands and health of school leaders. It follows on from previous posts I’ve written about the heart of leadership such as ‘Finding your leadership voice’ and Building an Ethos and Professional Culture.

H4 Leadership Model: ‘The Heart, Head, Hands & Health of School Leadership…

Within the chapter, I focus on the importance of building a sensible school improvement strategic and present some ideas and models around how school improvement can be achieved. One of these is the ‘vital organs of school improvement’ – a simple way of looking at how to tackle the nuts and bolts of improving a school.

The chapter also looks at how research can be used more effectively to support school improvement. When I look back at the initiatives we were running in schools 10 years ago, I cringe at how we accepted them so willingly because they sounded like a good idea or perhaps we just had a hunch they were right. Thankfully now, there is a much better conversation taking place around the use of research in schools and I share some thoughts and ideas around how we might engage better in this.

The chapter features two interviews, the first with Sir David Carter, National Schools commissioner who I talk to about his model of school improvement: The 4 Stages of Improving a School. I first heard Sir David talk about this model in 2016 at the Education Festival and find his language a refreshing alternative to the OFSTED accountability labels that dominate too much of the discussion about school improvement across the country.

In the second interview, I talk with Clare Sealy about the use of research to support school improvement. As Headteacher of St Matthias Primary School in Tower Hamlets, Clare has become well-known within the research community in England for the application of research and cognitive science into practice within her school. I enjoyed questioning her about her journey over the last few years and what she has learned.

Here’s a summary of Chapter 6 on a page:

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here –  www.wholesomeleadershipbook.com