The Bigger Picture
How effective leaders, share a vision and build a climate for learning which is lively, non-judgemental, probing and collaborative
OLEVI’s Outstanding Leaders in Education programme (OLE) is enhancing effective leadership by providing a forum and structure in which to unpick individual schools’ needs, and creating a professional audit, which builds on generic skills, to support and grow success.
Ros Bartlett, Director of Teaching and Learning, at our Earls High School DOC, shares how the programme is helping schools achieve their goals.
The Earls have facilitated the OLE since the Spring of 2013. First regionally, then nationally, and most recently internationally, in India and Qatar. This has enabled schools to discuss leadership at many different levels including: Senior Leadership, Middle Leadership and New Leaders in Role.
Initially, we facilitated the programme in venues across the West Midlands and included sessions on Friday afternoon, followed by dinner, and an overnight stay at a local hotel, which gave delegates the opportunity to network in a relaxing environment. The programme sessions then continued on Saturday.
OLE gives delegates the opportunity and time to explore their own leadership style, in a probing yet non-judgemental framework and encourage greater collaboration. For example; on one of these West Midlands programmes, eight colleagues from Perryfields High School, Sandwell, applied the Leadership Audit to improve internal communication systems and structures within their school.
Likewise, Rachel Cutting, Head Teacher, Olive Hill Primary, stated that attendance by her colleagues on the OLE:
“…has clarified the vision for Olive Hill and honed the leadership skills of senior leaders.”
Since November 2014, the OLE programme has been facilitated at The Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran to support schools in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. This has enabled neighbouring schools to come together to develop their understanding around the leadership of learning. Schools are now taking the opportunity to visit each other’s schools, to share their experience of leadership in order to impact on the learning of all young people. “Meeting teachers/professionals from other schools, to share best practice and develop a wider understanding of leadership has been invaluable,” said one delegate.
James Rees, Associate Head Teacher, Dyffryn High School, comments that over a third of their staff have now attended the OLE programme in their pursuit for excellence, and benefited from this high quality professional development. He states:
“When colleagues reflect upon and evaluate the impact of their experiences, it is clear that they have developed their understanding, approach and confidence in being an effective leader.”
In February 2014, we facilitated the programme for the Transcontinental Schools Innovation Alliance (TSIA) as part of their study visit to schools in Delhi. Due to the success of this visit we were invited by The Global Education and Leadership Foundation in February 2015 – who in partnership with TSIA arrange our Indian Study Visits – to facilitate the OLE programme for leaders in Indian schools. This was a wonderful experience for both the English facilitators and the delegates attending the session, with comments such as:
“My mind is flooded with so many ideas and this was a truly enriching session. A recharge!”
“I am excited to go back to school and share my learning with my colleagues… A great platform for learning.”
Without exception, the feedback we receive is exceptionally positive and leaders tell us that the programme allows the opportunity to reflect on the impact of their leadership as well as an opportunity to develop leadership over time.
In May 2015, we were given the opportunity to facilitate the OLE to teachers from Qatar International School in Doha. The invitation came from Deane Baker, Principal of QIS, who had previously, attended an OLE programme during his time as Head Teacher at The Thorns School, Dudley.
This final quotation sums up how privileged we feel to have been given the opportunity to facilitate the OLE and the impact it is having on leaders, locally, nationally and internationally:
“Really enjoyed the opportunity to have deep, structured and stimulating discussions about a plethora of pertinent leadership issues, in an uninterrupted forum.”
Ros Bartlett,Director of Teaching School, and Nikki Meredith, Assistant Head Teacher,The Earls High School