This is the title of my research project. I’ve spent the last term reading, researching and making contact with senior leaders in other schools about workable strategies that they use to improve outcomes for students without putting the students, themselves or their staff under unnecessary pressure. Easy gains is what I’m aiming for. Different and smarter ways of working – not putting in extra hours. I needed time to negotiate my way through the woods of all the excellent research-based learning that exists and is readily shared and of the established ways of working at my current school to give my project the best chance of succeeding.
Then I designed my intervention programme and got ready to launch it, which I did at the start of this term. It’s a pilot and is still under construction with some year groups, whilst proceeding apace with others. I have a team of teachers across all departments working with me, some handpicked by me and other volunteers. We have cake at all our meetings. The launch meeting we established a consensus for reporting on Independent Learning a recent addition to the frequent school reports. Teachers, students and parents need to know what is being measured and that we are all using the same criteria.
It’s exciting and scary in equal measure. It’s twenty years since I last led a team in a school; I started off at my current school as a part-time teacher, returning to the classroom after fifteen years of being a full-time mum with a small income stream from running workshops, tutoring and writing educational materials. I had no kudos as a senior manager, many people had no idea of my past experience and at the moment I have no real budget with which to run the intervention programme.
But I have vision, bags of energy, a determination to create something worthwhile for the teachers and the students at my school, a great mentor and team to help me – and home-baked cake. In next week’s meeting we’ll be looking at the great activities that are already happening in the school to promote independent learning and finding ways to share and celebrate them all.
Keep in touch.