Delegation – CLF / ESL assignment

Habits of Highly Effective Leaders
Simon Scarborough
Habit – Don’t try and do it by yourself (delegation)
Rationale– there is so much expertise in my department, but I sometimes wonder if I get the most out of them. Greig and Tom combine high skill levels with a growth mind-set, making them capable and willing to take on new projects /challenges. I can just delegate a task by making a simple ‘vision pitch’ to them. They then run with the idea and produce amazing outcomes. However, sometimes I feel I could formalise the process a little more to ensure a clearer understanding of:

·         the desired outcomes
·         constraints and boundaries
·         who the consultation should include
·         authority, responsibility and accountability
·         limits of empowerment and the reporting back process
The reporting back process is often informal and lacks any quality review of the project and identification for future development.
Project – Jump Cabot
Tom Hooper has experienced great success with the setting up and running of a Parkour club, currently engaging over 10% of the school on a weekly basis (this journey started with a ‘vision pitch’ from myself). Members of the club have performed at a variety performance talent show at Culverhay. I had the idea of creating a short film staring the Culverhay Parkour pupils, being filmed and produced by CLF pupils and a soundtrack from a CLF band. The idea involved the pupils traveling to each of the Cabot Learning Federation secondary Academies and performing various Parkour moves, a way of introducing themselves to the federation. The video could be used as a showcase for the academies. Tom is well suited to taking on the project for several reasons:
·         passion for developing his Parkour group
·         showcasing his pupils achievements
·         trying new skills such as filming and choreography
·         creativity
·         variety in his work
·         networking and establishing new working relationships

Week 1 and 2 of this term were spent on paternity leave. Some emails were exchanged to ‘plant some seeds’, with some agenda items set for our first meeting on my return.

Week 3 – finally met with Tom to discus the project. In this meeting we:
·         set the desired outcomes through a vision pitch and allowed Tom to contribute some of his own ideas.
·        Outlined constraints and boundaries – needed to be realistic about the practicalities of producing the film, the quality of the film, limited skills set in film making, time constraints and ability to get time off school to prepare and film. Highlightes our challenge day 5 as a day that could be used.
·         Consultation
o   David Carter – to give the green light.
o   Sean Turner ( Deputy Head Teacher / challenge day coordinator) – to consent to activity on challenge day and time off timetable to plan.
o   Principals of each Academy – introduce himself and propose plans.
o   Media expertise from within the CLF
o   Music expertise from within the CLF
·         Authority, responsibility and accountability
o   Tom – to choreograph the film, select and train the pupils, film the footage, organise and support the editing and production.
o   Myself – support making contact with key members of senior staff, promotion of the video on completion, regular interaction (formal and informal) to keep track on progress, due to the size and complex nature of the project.
·         Set a time line, ending in challenge day 5 (Friday 25th May) for filming, including day out to ‘reccy’ the sites, weekly meeting to review progress.
Week 4 – plans are underway with key dates being planned. I am asking for information on any updates / developments Tom may have. I am looking to support each step made and consider possible problems / issues arising that may need to be addressed.
Week 5 – final plans being made for the ‘reccy’ visit to the Academies. Some more support in contacting the JCA Principal required (who has become a key supporter/facilitor on the project). He has become a ‘gatekeeper’ into the other Academies.
This has turned out to be a major project and one that is still on-going. By maintaining a constant dialogue, I feel like I have supported Tom much more than I may have done in previous projects. Setting out the structure at the start of the project left both of us clear about the expectations of each of us. This clarity has helped Tom to focus on his roles and responsibilities. I am hopeful that the end result will be a fantastic film, which pupils from all over the federation feel proud about contributing to.

Ken Robinson – predicting the future

This is a brilliant talk by Ken Robinson, about how schools are killing creativity in young people. A must see for anyone involved in education.
It was used in an Emerging Senior Leaders training day – 10 habits of successful leaders, lead by the Executive Principal of the Cabot Learning Federation, David Carter

Part of the lecture refers to an education system that is geared towards creating University Professors, which ties in very nicely with todays news…

Headteachers and universities voice concern over Michael Gove’s A-level proposals – Education News – Education – The Independent

Worth remembering the clip is 5 years old.

Leading Inset

As I start to lead more Inset for staff within school and in a wider context, I am constantly looking for ways to make my sessions more engaging (as a teacher should with their lessons). One way of doing this is by learning from other Inset providers. I usually have a separate sheet of paper to make notes on delivery style.

As with teaching lessons, subject knowledge is just one element required to facilitate learning. Course structure and delivery is essential. Planning of these should be partly informed by the audience/learners you are delivering to.

One should not assume that because adults have a longer attention span than children,  they should have to tolerate a more didactic and bland mode of delivery. Quite the opposite in fact. In my experience, adults can sometimes go into a training day/session skeptical, especially if they do not see the value in the training. An engaging start is vital.

I recently attended a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) core training day, hosted by Kings Oak Academy in Bristol. The academy is part of the Cabot Learning Federation, which Culverhay is joining in September. Here are a few examples of good practice from the day that I intend to use in the future:

  • As part of the introductions, asking participants to state what they want to gain from the day.
  • Name tags – simple and easy to read to encourage people to be more personable. I think this promotes creativity and a deeper engagement. 
  • The use of Post it notes to write any questions or issues arising during the day, with a place to stick them where they could be read and addressed.
  • Asking direct questions to participants. I first noticed this style on another Cabot course, Emerging Senior Leaders, which is lead by David Carter, Executive Principal of the federation. This may not be appropriate for general Inset, but I think it is great to engage and challenge those that are wanting to be effective leaders in education.
  • Increased use and effectiveness of mini plenaries to consolidate learning.
  • Generating ideas around a theme, rotating groups and then reviewing and prioritising another groups work.
  • An active post-lunch activity to re-engage the participants.
  • Before having to complete the formal course evaluation sheet, the participants were asked for some immediate feedback on the course. Using WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) allowed me to listen to others thoughts and ideas, encouraging immediate and deeper reflection of my own learning.
Thanks to Claire Carter (Hans Price Academy, Leader of the CLF Teaching School) and Richard Rees (John Cabot Academy) for their expertise and delivery of the course.

Emerging Senior Leaders – Quality Assurance

This week, I completed a task for my emerging senior leaders course, being run by the Cabot Learning Federation. It was based on the topic of quality assurance.

The objectives of the session were:

– To agree what we mean by quality assurance
– To understand the areas we need to monitor closely as a leader
– To develop a series of strategies to answer the key question of “How well are we doing?”
– To create a quality assurance calendar for the Academic year

I am confident that we do many good things in the PE deparment at Culverhay. However, this session really made me think about how do I know/prove we are doing a good job. I was really challenged to think about what consists of a thorough QA process. I immediately started to think how I could start to regularly QA the work we do in the PE Department (as per last objective).

Throughout the session, I developed a clear understanding of a simple structure that the CLF use to QA.

Below is an example of some action research  based on QA of an element of my leadership / department.

Leading the Quality Assurance of Teams
Simon Scarborough – Head of PE, Culverhay School
1.Identified area for improvement
Physical Education at Culverhay School is currently in a strong position. However, engagement at extra-curricular clubs does not always reflect the levels of engagement in other areas of the Department.
2.Why is it a challenge?
I believe it to be a key role of any PE Department to promote and encourage pupils to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle. Part of this duty requires the PE Department to provide the opportunity and provision for pupils to engage in a range of appropriate physical activities outside of lesson time that they will enjoy.
·         Increase the number of pupils attending
·         Increase the variety of activities on offer to cater for all pupils, not just ‘sporty’ pupils.
·         Increase the number of times a week pupils attend extra-curricular clubs.
4.“So What”
Of the 10 areas that depend upon high quality outcomes, I have identified that improving levels of engagement in extra curricular activities could contribute to improved:
·         Teaching and Learning – Encouraging pupils to make a choice to come to extra-curricular clubs can support the shift of responsibility of their learning from the teacher to the pupil, thus increasing engagement in lessons.
·         Attendance – if pupils are engaged with extra curricular activities that they attend out of choice, School can be perceived as somewhere more than just to go and work.
·         Behaviour – Enjoyment and a sense of ownership with a club can have a significant impact on a pupil’s attitude towards school and towards their peers, which can improve behaviour in all areas around the school.

5.Action plan
1.      Programme – a review of the current extra curricular programme needs to be carried out, with a revised structure that meets the needs of the pupils being created.
o   What activities are popular, what should be included, student voice.
o   Identify who is currently engaged and identify target groups.
o   Seek funding to allow external coaches to deliver specialist activities e.g. modern pentathlon, Lacrosse.
o   Link clubs to lesson / enrichment activities.
2.      Shift in attitude – create a shift in attitude about extra-curricular activity.
By focusing on personal skills in lessons, create a culture of taking responsibility for their own learning. Promoting clubs in lessons as an opportunity to accelerate progress. Move pupils from taking responsibility for their own learning (level 6) to become independent and resilient learners (level 7). Target for pupils to become motivated to improve and regularly practice skills outside of structured lessons.
Create a tipping point, where by the popularity of the club becomes the main motivation for other pupils to engage. Older pupils invited to sessions and encouraged to lead a group (social level 6), motivate and inspire others (social level 7) and on occasions, mentor and empower others (level 8). The involvement of the older pupil as a role model reinforcing the tipping point.

6.Key Performance Indictors
Average numbers for each club/activity exceeds 20 pupils.
Pupils actively seek more extra-curricular activity.
KS4&5 pupils support KS3 clubs as leaders.
Range of activities on offer allows opportunity for every pupil to engage on at least 4 out of 5 days a week.
Mix of competitive and recreational clubs.
Improved behaviour in lessons and around the school.
Pupils taking greater responsibility for their own learning.

Emerging Senior Leader – CLF

I am currently taking part in an ‘Emerging Senior Leaders’ course, which is being run by the Cabot Learning Federation through their teaching school.

Before our first session in September, we had to write a mock letter of application for an Assistant Principal post at ‘Aspiration College’.  We could choose from 3 job descriptions. Every task we do during the course is marked by David Carter (Executive Principle of the CLF and course leader). I was given 68%, which I was pleased with as marks ranged from 55%-75%. A solid start.

Here it is…

Thursday 1stSeptember
Dear Mr Sir/Madam,
Re: Assistant Principal-Closing the Gap between Teachers and the Quality of the Learning in their lessons
I wish to apply for the post of Assistant Principal-Closing the Gap between Teachers and the Quality of the Learning in their lessons. The experiences I have gained and skills that I have developed through being the Head of PE and Public Services at Culverhay School,  have prepared me well to meet the challenges of an exciting, yet challenging post such as this.
Over my 5 years as a middle leader, I have blended my professional development in a way to maintain the highest possible standards within my own department, moving it from good to outstanding (Ofsted, 2009), while at the same time, increasing my capacity and effectiveness of implementing whole school change. I feel that I am ready and well prepared for a step up to senior leadership.
The PE Department has a central role in developing the pupils personal learning and thinking skills, and as such, make them more confident and motivated and learners. The core PE curriculum has been constantly modified during my time as head of department (HoD), to focus primarily on pupil’s cognitive, social and personal skills and not just their physical motor skills. At Keystage 4, I deliver GCSE PE, which consistently produces strong results and Level 2 OCRNational Public Services. This particular course has received the ‘Good School’s Guide’ award for the highest performing cohort nationally (from a boy’s school) for the last three years.
During their latest inspection of Culverhay, Ofsted (2009) recognised the improvements made in the curriculum at KS5. The PE Department was a lead Department in this area. The introduction and successful delivery of the OCR National Diplomas in Sport and Public Services have helped raise the standards of the sixth form. In 2011, 100% pupils achieved their ALIS predictions, with 63 % outperforming their targets. This year’s cohort on both courses has seen an unprecedented number of pupils retained in the Sixth Form.
My work extends further than the confines of the PE Department. I am an active member of the National College of School Leadership (NCSL)and have successfully completed theLeading from the middle (LftM) programme and more recently Leadership Pathways. I undertook whole school responsibility for SEAL for 3 years as part of this programme, including coordinating and leading an INSET day on SEAL and introducing restorative practice in March 2010. Pupils have become more tolerant of each others differences, have developed their ability to work cooperatively as a result of improved social skills, and have become more emotionally intelligent.
I have received coaching training on several occasions, from providers such as Bath Spa University, NCSLand Bath and North East Somerset LEA. With this training, I have been involved in leading a peer coaching initiative to improve teaching and learning, and recently coached three middle leaders through the LftM programme, which has built the capacity for middle leadership within the school. This reflects my commitment to improving standards across the school and the strong relationships I am able to develop with a range of staff outside of my own department.

If successful, a key principle underpinning the work I will undertake with the various departments around the college, would be to develop a positive culture amongst the staff where they feel confident to welcome colleagues into their classroom to share good practice, and talk openly and honestly about their own and others teaching in striving to achieve outstanding teaching and learning. I would also remember that the HoD’s have the expertise in the subject and that my role isn’t to dictate how best to deliver, but to plan strategically, guide and support to improve the performance of the Department.
After 3 months in post, I would aim to have met every HoD individually and encouraged them to talk openly about their department. For those underperforming departments, I would ask the HoD to speak to their team about their feelings and start to consider what issues may need addressing. I would also ask them to consider whether or not they are delivering the most appropriate specification or course for the pupils.
After 6 months, I will have coordinated a meeting involving all HoD’s (during an INEST day if possible) to share good practice and ideas. You stated that PE, the Arts, Humanities and MFL are high performing, and so should have valuable ideas that could help. I would highlight key areas for discussion, and allocate specific times for these to be covered. They would include long term planning, pupil assessment and tracking, intervention strategies and revision. I would like to have a follow up meeting with underperforming departments to consolidate the learning that has taken place and coach them towards planning a route to improvement.
After 12 months in post, I would have lead department reviews for all underperforming departments, where targets would be highlighted that focus on accelerating pupil progress and that are formalised respective department development plan. I shall encourage all HoD’s to make use of the existing performance management systems, to identify at least one target for each staff member, for which the outcome will be directly linked to improving the grades within the department. Beyond this period, I would hold regular coaching sessions to support the HoD’s to implement the changes identified as part of their department development plan.
I consider myself to be professional in all elements of school life, whether it is in the classroom, walking around the school between lessons, or in my role as a middle leader. I have always had members of staff in my department that are senior to me, and this manner has helped me gain the respect and trust required to work effectively with them. While I have no experience of line managing staff with teaching and learning responsibilities (TLR’s), I feel that my previous work as a coach for TLR holders has prepared me well for this. Holding them to account for their own leadership decisions is a challenge I look forward to.
I feel excited about the possibility of being part of the leadership team at Aspiration College. I would appreciate the opportunity for interview so that I can discuss with you in more detail my ideas and visions.
Yours faithfully,
Simon Scarborough

My Vision for Outstanding Education in the 21st Century

Here is an assignment for my Emerging Senior Leaders course at the Cabot Learning Federation.


Every pupil should wake up in the morning and want to go to school. Once at school, they should know how to respect themselves and the people they share their school with (peers and staff) and know why it is important to do so. As a result, they focus in class and are motivated to accelerate their learning. The learning experience for pupils should be partly curriculum based and partly skills based, tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual pupil.
Pupils should be proud of their school and want to express that pride through engaging in enriching extra curricular activities such as sport, drama and music. Pupils may choose to contribute to the success of the school by volunteering through a structure that provides student leadership positions such as peer mentors and house captains. In turn, these pupils provide the positive role models for the younger pupils to aspire to, and kick starting the process of contributing to an outstanding school.
At the end of their secondary education journey, pupils should have the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence to prepare them for their chosen pathway into adulthood, whether that be higher education, work based training or in full employment. Outstanding education means this outcome is achieved for every pupil. I intend to outline some fundamental principles that are required to create a positive learning environment in which pupils can be inspired to achieve and flourish.
The partnership between the school, parents and the wider community is essential in creating an environment that breeds success. I believe that an outstanding school should seek to become an active part of the community. It can do this by facilitating the use of its sports facilities, library and other amenities to those that live in the community. In the evenings, it can be used to provide adult education classes, thus improving the life chances and raising the aspirations of all of those in the community and not just the young. Regular events should be held to develop and nurture community cohesion.
Parental involvement has a significant impact upon pupil attitudes to learning, pupil achievement and standards. Communication in all directions needs to be clear, concise and easily accessible. This will help prevent misconceptions occurring and allows problems to be addressed and resolved quickly and efficiently. The use of social media (such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging) could be used to great effect to help engage parents with the school and their child’s education.
High quality teaching and learning is an essential factor in developing the motivated and happy learners being described at the start of this article. Lessons need to be engaging and challenging for all of its pupils. Middle leaders should be encouraging their staff to be innovative in their planning, challenging them to improve the format of their lessons every time they repeat a unit of work.  An effective assessment for learning policy needs to be combined with pupil tracking systems that are thorough and individual to each and every learner, with intervention strategies ready to be implemented when a need is identified.
Behaviour management in class should focus on positive behaviours and rewarding those appropriately. The relationship between staff and pupils needs to be positive, which relies heavily on the emotional intelligence of the staff and the developing social and emotional skills of the pupils. All members of the school community should treat each other with the highest regard and the pupils should be given the support to develop these essential life skills.
The choice of curriculum should be relevant to the cohort of pupils that the school has. It needs to offer a range of choice to allow pupils an opportunity to lead them in a direction that suits their strengths, interests and skills. Every qualification, whether it be academic focused or vocational, should be of high quality, ensuring that the desired outcomes are achieved. In addition to broad and varied curriculum content, schools should make time available to develop the skills required for pupils to be able to learn. Such ‘learning to learn’ programmes aim to equip pupils with the confidence, competence and emotional resources they need to be successful in a world that doesn’t exist yet. The use of emerging technologies needs to be embraced by all staff members and where possible and appropriate, embedded into the curriculum for the pupils to engage with.
The challenge for all schools isn’t just to provide the highest quality of education possible for its pupils, but to do it with an ever increasing restriction on financial budgets. Efficiency needs to be improved, while at the same time continuing to improve school standards and raising levels of achievement. I feel that this can only be achieved by collaborating with other schools. Leaders in education need to have support from experienced leaders from the financial sector, to ensure budgets are set appropriately, adhered to and maximise the potential for learning.
Steve Munby, Chief executive of the National College of School Leadership identified that the quality of school leadership is second only to teaching and learning in terms of the influence it has on young people’s progress. To ensure that every pupil in education gets the very best experience possible, there is a need to develop the very best leaders and share their knowledge and experience across the system.
The developing network of teaching schools across the country will see many benefits to the education system, which will ensure that the highest possible standards can be achieved more consistently. I believe they will accelerate the quality of leadership across a wide a range of institutions, allowing more schools and academies to develop their capacity in a more time and cost efficient manner. A 2010 Ofsted report on national support schools showed how national leaders of education and national support schools actually develop leaders as they support other schools, thus reinforcing the cycle of improving the quality of leaders and teachers in education, in striving to achieve outstanding education in the 21st Century.

Driving Up Standards – Middle Leaders Role

In a meeting this week, the Headteacher emphasised how important the role of the middle leader is.

He said that middle leaders are fundamental in driving up standards in school and so are required to be able to form accurate judgements of what is happening around the school.

I have always enjoyed observing teachers (often trainee’s in my early years) and making judgements based on ITE or Ofsted criteria (soon to be changed..again!). I really enjoy coaching and giving feedback when the lesson was good or better, but still find it a challenge to give feedback to satisfactory or unsatisfactory lessons.

A target I am hoping to address on my ELS course at the CLF.