The surplus model of school improvement

2020-11-02T13:04:52+00:00November 2nd, 2020|leadership|

In chapter 2 of Intelligent Accountability I suggest that schools can operate either a surplus or deficit model of school improvement. Schools often seem to be run on a deficit model whereby any deficiencies or failings are attributed to a lack of understanding, information, effort or good will. The efforts of ‘experts’ (school leaders, inspectors, consultants, senior teachers, etc.) who understand what needs to be done are stymied by the actions (or inaction) of non-experts (classroom teachers) who do not. In a deficit model, failings are attributed to the inability of non-experts to understand or enact “realistic budgets, plans and targets”. [...]

What if we started trusting teachers?

2014-11-23T14:10:08+00:00November 22nd, 2014|leadership|

Who would not rather trust and be deceived? - Eliza Cook The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. - Henry Lewis Stimson I've been out of the classroom for just under a year now. In that time I've had the privilege of visiting many more schools than I ever visited during the 15 years or so I taught. And in that time I've had the chance to see the sublime, the ridiculous and almost everything imaginable in between. The other luxury I've had is time. Time to think in a way that was never really possible when bogged [...]

The surplus model of school improvement

2018-01-17T10:06:41+00:00October 15th, 2014|leadership|

As teachers we are sometimes guilty of assuming that all would be well if only children behaved better and worked harder. This is basically sound; everything would be better if kids did what was in their best interests. So why don't they? Well, in some schools they do. In some schools there are strong social norms which ensure that misbehaviour and laziness are the exception. This isn't because only children from more affluent postcodes are capable of doing the right thing, it's because schools and teachers have worked hard to make it easier to do the right thing than the wrong thing. [...]

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