OLEVI Conference celebrates impact of shared vision, a coaching culture and investment in CPD in developing great teaching and learning outcomes across the globe
Wow! What a day it was. The excitement, mixed with a little apprehension around hosting our first OLEVI International Conference, turned to joy and pride as we welcomed over 100 friends and colleagues from schools and organisations from across the world on what would be an amazing day of learning, reflection, collaboration and celebration.
Richard Lockyer, CEO of OLEVI, opened the conference highlighting the importance of the Alliance. Introducing the new OLEVI logo and mission statement, he reinforced the notion that the Alliance represented more than just being a member of something: “All those in the Alliance are part of something bigger – a shared vision of growing people and creating an outstanding learning experience for pupils, with a common language, values and goals – a community where all have something to bring to the table.”
He went on to reaffirm how OLEVI works on two levels: “OLEVI is an organisation at the forefront of quality CPD, with a set of programmes dealing with the issues affecting the people in schools, such as improving teaching and learning, developing high-quality leaders and creating a coaching culture. But, importantly, it is also about the people we have grown over the years to be part of that Alliance, who feel they are actually part of something exciting – a movement.
“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.”
“Today we’re building the Alliance,” Richard continued. “We’re bringing teaching and learning, and coaching, as the two focus areas. But we’re adding into the mix past and present through the case study presentations – What are you proud of; what can you celebrate? What are you doing now? Can we appreciate what we’ve got? Best practice? And looking towards the future – 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.”
In support of this, we were honoured to have Peter Matthews OBE, and Sarah Urquhart, founder of The Coaching Clinic, as our two keynote speakers.
“The best teachers are those that continue to learn.”
Professor Peter Matthews OBE shared his research around the importance and value of creating a culture of CPD to grow teaching practitioners to provide the very best teaching and learning outcomes for their pupils; and, importantly, his research on the impact CPD has when followed up with instructional coaching. “The best teachers are those that continue to learn,” concluded Peter.
Sarah Urquhart gave everyone food for thought around how we use coaching to develop those around us. Her knowledge around the importance of understanding people’s values and building trust was insightful. “We often don’t realise people’s values until we tread on them,” said Sarah. Reflecting on how we conduct coaching conversations can have a huge impact on how people move forward.
The impact. Schools journeys with OLEVI
Throughout the day we heard from Alliance members who gave inspiring and thought-provoking presentations. Delegates were told how the OLEVI approach has helped connect and progress schools in the Western Quebec School Board, Canada, 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 as a cohesive approach to school improvement for its 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, we heard from Tuxford Academy, and Cardiff High School, one of our Welsh Hub Schools in the Central South Wales Consortium, who have been credited with making great strides towards developing collaborative networks of schools willing and able to share knowledge, expertise and best practice.
Each case study highlighted how, within their own distinct context, the adoption of DR ICE as the ‘language of learning’, and the coaching ethos and growth mindset of the TLC model, had created a culture of continual learning – with a recognised impact on moving staff and pupils forward in a way that many could only have imagined at the beginning of their journey.
Indeed, the breadth and variety of work in which our models have been adopted and used were truly inspirational. Organisations have moved forward in a way that is right for them. There was a real buzz in the air, with everyone eager to get to know one another, excited to share their unique journeys, learn of the impact they have experienced and celebrate their successes.
And, in true OLEVI spirit, delegates were actively tasked to discuss and reflect on what they had heard, and to identify what they could decontextualise and how they could apply it to the benefit of their own school.
“Those who have experienced the power of the OLEVI approach in transforming the mind and skill set of colleagues into high-performing people – who not only positively impact their students but also the people and places around them – know the impact it makes.”
“The adoption of the OLEVI model internationally has provided evidence that it is a system that can travel across borders,” said Damian Mitchelmore, Managing Director of OLEVI, in his presentation. “Those who have experienced the power of the OLEVI approach in transforming the mind and skill set of colleagues into high-performing people – who not only positively impact their students but also the people and places around them – know the impact it makes.
“Programmes like the OTP and models like DR ICE have tested the passage of time. They have proved to be powerful, no matter the context, in shaping the right kind of teaching professionals. To this end we will be creating a cutting-edge and highly effective Teaching and Learning syllabus that continuously defines and re-defines what outstanding pedagogy and curriculums look like, and consistently and sustainably equips, empowers and enthuses the outstanding teachers, teaching assistants and leaders in learning who create them.
“Being part of the Alliance means we have a common vision: that every student in every school will benefit from an outstanding teaching and learning experience,” commented Damian. “The provision of programme enhancements and new modules and units will be rolled out to the Alliance over the coming months and will ensure that we remain current and able to fulfil our purpose.”
In his closing address Professor Sir George Berwick, Chairman of OLEVI, remarked, “It is amazing that we have representatives from 36 countries here today. This is the start of the evolution of OLEVI. Schools that took our work are now growing it in their own way, using it in a way relevant to them, and sharing it and developing new ideas.” He emphasised the importance of sharing and collaboration: “Communication is really important. People have come together and are speaking, and we are building capacity for the future to contribute something to all these schools.”
“A very big topic of today’s conversation has been how we get together as a group to accredit high-performing people,” concluded Richard. “There is a strong future for OLEVI in terms of accreditation, being the number one organisation that accredits educational coaches. This is a huge network now with a real sense of international, global work.”
It was a remarkable day, with much collaboration of ideas, sharing ‘Golden Nuggets’ – or fridge magnets as they have become known – and a commitment to driving the Alliance forward. A huge thank you to all those who presented and attended the conference. It was your day. And we look forward to exciting times ahead!
Read more: Paul Day, Leading Practitioner for Teacher Development at the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, reflects on the impact felt by those who engage with the OLEVI culture and ethos