A strong alliance will ensure the future success of OLEVI, outstanding leaders in teaching have been told at the first OLEVI International Conference.
Launching the OLEVI Alliance, an evolution of OLEVI International, co-founder and CEO Richard Lockyer said a shift in mindset towards an alliance and beyond simply membership was necessary if people were to maintain a shared vision of building people and creating an outstanding learning experience for pupils.
“Today is about reaffirming that OLEVI is at two levels – it is an organisation with a set of programmes dealing with the issues affecting people at school, for example improving teaching and learning, developing high quality leaders and creating a coaching culture in schools. But really it is about the people we have grown over the years to be part of that alliance, who feel they are actually part of something exciting, rather than something they simply pay a membership for.”
More than 100 delegates attended the conference at The Warren in Bromley from schools across 35 countries. They listened to presentations from keynote speakers and case studies from around the world demonstrating how the OLEVI model has been adapted to their own educational structures, with a central theme of collaboration.
Delegates were told how the OLEVI approach has helped connect and progress schools in the Western Quebec School Board, which vary in structure from inner city establishments with 1,000-plus pupils to small rural schools with fewer than 20 pupils. In Qatar, a single partnership with Qatar International School has now spread to a network of participating schools around Doha.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence uses the OLEVI programmes to connect schools across the world and in Uganda schools have been able to share outstanding teaching methods through the network of Scholé schools. Closer to home, schools in the Central South Wales Consortium have been credited with making great strides towards developing collaborative networks of schools, willing and able to share knowledge, expertise and best practice.
Following each presentation, tables of delegates were tasked with discussing key points and identifying what they could decontextualise and apply to the benefit of their own school.
“We’re building the alliance,” explained Richard Lockyer. “We’re bringing in teaching and learning and coaching as the two focus areas. But we’re adding into the mix past, present, and future. What are you proud of, what can you celebrate? What are you doing now? Can we appreciate what we’ve got? Best practice? If you’re going to be at the forefront of education … it’s alright saying we’re good now but that’s not good in four or five years time. In essence the alliance needs to be able to create high performing people, anticipate where we’re going in the next few years and prepare for it. “
For the collaboration of delegates around the tables, to discuss the success of their peers and learn from them, is regarded as central to the OLEVI approach.
“This is the start of the evolution of OLEVI,” said Sir George Berwick, Chair and co-founder of OLEVI. “Schools that took our work are now growing it in their own way and making their own use of it, they are sharing it and developing new ideas. What is really important is the communication part, the fact that people have got together and are speaking and we are building the capacity for the future to contribute something to all these schools.”
OLEVI was born out of the London Challenge, which was set up in 2003 to turn around schools in London by utilising a hub system, whereby underperforming schools were able to draw on the knowledge of successful peers.
Damian Mitchelmore, Managing Director of OLEVI, said the adoption of the OLEVI model internationally provided evidence that it was a system that can travel across borders: “It has proved to us that the OLEVI approach works in every context and it can be adapted by high performing people to move their organisations forward in a way that is right for them.”
Now OLEVI is looking to grow the alliance, to utilise the benefits of collaboration on a much wider international stage.
“It is a strong future for OLEVI in terms of accreditation, being the number one organisation that accredits educational coaches. I think a very big topic of today’s conversation has been how we get together as a group to accredit high performing people,” said Richard Lockyer. “Another huge issue I have picked up today is accrediting International Teaching Schools. Numerous people have come to us today to ask how we would set that up. This is a huge network now, there is now a sense of international, global, work.”