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The International Centre for Leadership in Teaching & Learning

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MOD’s school improvement vision comes to fruition

Impact of working with OLEVI on MOD's school improvement strategy

Through their engagement with the OLEVI ethos, principles and learning models over the years, the MOD schools have created a collaborative, open-door approach towards the professional development of their teaching community throughout the world, which in turn has been instrumental in growing a cohesive culture across the school network.

It was a delight for OLEVI to return to Cyprus this spring term for two one-week CPD sessions, providing a series of workshops to further support capacity building in teaching & learning, leadership and coaching for school leaders from across MOD schools, with delegates travelling from as far afield as Brunei, The Falklands, Belgium, Germany and the UK, as well as from a number of different schools in Cyprus. 

With the success of the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Programme (OTAP), initially piloted by the MOD school in Brunei, the organisation was looking to provide all its schools with the ability to develop the professional practice of their learning assistants (LAs). The first workshop saw Chris McGeehan facilitate an OTAP Train the Trainers, to give the MOD the ability to build capacity to facilitate the OTAP throughout their global network. This will enable a cohesive approach across all MOD schools, to ensure that learning support assistants have access to quality training which supports an understanding of the key principles, models, pedagogy and culture underpinning the OLEVI Teaching and Learning programmes. Facilitation of the OTAP is already being planned in Cyprus and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) following this training event. 

This was followed by a three-day SOLE conference to provide the MOD schools’ senior leaders with the opportunity to experience the Outstanding Leadership in Education programme at delegate level themselves, enabling them to gain a profound understanding of the OLE programme and the thinking models used to develop leadership at all levels to support a powerful culture change, with the senior leaders – from across many countries and different phases of education – working together they were able to deeply reflect on what they wanted leadership to look like in MOD schools and how change and growth could take place. 

Since the very first facilitation of our OTP and OFP to MOD schools in Germany five years ago, the organisation has gone on to utilise the facilitation of the teaching & learning and coaching aspects of our TLC syllabus. Leadership development was seen as the last piece of the puzzle for the MOD schools, and they were very excited about having the ability to develop leadership potential within their schools. 

With this in mind, the second one-week session focused on the senior leaders and members of the School Improvement Team participating in the OLE TTT, facilitated by Richard Lockyer. This would enable them to become accredited to facilitate the OLE and provide the programme to staff within their own schools across the organisation. Importantly, it was also about giving leaders, who may be stationed in various schools, a common language and common understanding of what each is trying to do. 

Common language, shared vision and cultural approach

The mechanism of a common language, shared vision and cultural approach is vital to ensuring consistency in an organisation where both staff and pupils are often in transit. The transient nature of being part of the MOD schools makes commonality very important for standards of teaching and learning. As people move around it is important to recognise the work that has been done so as to make transitions run as smoothly as possible. 

In addition, Richard also facilitated an APOC. “This was more of an individual experience for delegates,” said Richard. “It not only gave them the chance to understand more fully the coaching ethos and revise the benefits of coaching, but they had the opportunity to experience being coached too. As well as learning about higher-level, advanced methodology, the delegates also needed to put it into the context of their own school.” This gave the delegates the experience and tools to use coaching as a way of improving their schools; to look at ways to set up coaching so as to fully utilise its impact on the culture and growth of the school; and the ability to facilitate rich professional discussions to support individual growth. 

Strategically, during the programmes senior leaders were identified as the key players to support the vision of growing and empowering others through a coaching culture in MOD schools and to create opportunities for open professional discussions in relation to leadership at all levels of teaching and learning. 

Cynthia Symon, School Improvement Partner, MOD Schools, has been instrumental in setting up and leading the MOD’s OLEVI school improvement programme. Her passion about the impact working with OLEVI has had on the staff and pupils of the MOD schools ensures that these CPD sessions happen. Through their engagement with the OLEVI ethos, principles and learning models over the years, the MOD schools have created a collaborative, open-door approach towards the professional development of their teaching community throughout the world, which in turn has been instrumental in growing a cohesive culture across the school network. 

Cynthia is thrilled with the outcome of the two weeks saying:

“What came into fruition over the two weeks has been four years in the making. Working with OLEVI has always been the big, long-term strategy. Not just to be looking at teaching and learning programmes for teachers, but empowering learning support assistants to become part of the teaching and learning team. Really maximising them to make them feel valued. The leadership aspect was the last piece in the jigsaw, and we were extremely excited to have Richard come and complete our training, so that senior leaders can run leadership programmes for their year group heads, middle leaders, etc. in their own schools.” 

The two weeks in Cyprus were a truly amazing experience for us. The passion and commitment of the MOD schools to be the best for their pupils was deeply gratifying and humbling. 

“It was astounding to see what the delegates had had to do to get to the training,” said Chris McGeehan. “It’s a testament to the value placed on the OLEVI TLC model by MOD schools that staff had come from all over their global network to develop their practice together. They really valued and enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate, share and discuss how best to drive forward together as a cohesive whole.” 

We are very proud to be a key provider of CPD to the MOD schools, and being a continued part of their learning journey is deeply rewarding. 

On leaving Cyprus, Richard expressed:

“Feeling very proud of how the relationship between OLEVI and the MOD has developed over the past five years, and how it has moved the schools and the people within them forward.”