This May, Richard Lockyer and Eddie Hannifan facilitated Coaching and Leadership, and an Intensive Outstanding Teacher Programme (IOTP) to the staff of the RAK Academy’s schools in the United Arab Emirates.
This was the culmination of working in partnership with Ian Campbell, Headteacher of the RAK Academy Secondary School, to ascertain the Academy’s particular needs, understanding the context in which they have arisen and listening to what they wanted to achieve.
The first two days was a conceptualisation process for the senior leadership of all three schools. This introduced the OLEVI models, making sure that there was a common understanding between what we do, our coaching ethos and principles, and whether it fitted with what they believed about growing their Teaching and Learning. The process helped explore Moral Capital – what this actually meant and how do we challenge that to achieve a common goal.
The SLTs said that, in terms of moving their schools forward, they did not want it to be a top-down approach, but very much a collaborative approach; a developmental culture not a judgemental one. The executive fully supported this approach. The SLT members were expected to lead the progress/change in their schools and would be given the responsibility to do whatever they felt necessary to move the schools forward.
On the following four days we worked with 15 members of the schools’ teaching staff on an Intensive Outstanding Teacher Programme (IOTP). Staff on the IOTP were seen as good to outstanding practitioners, who, with the support of their senior leaders, were being given the authority to make a difference, working together within their schools and across the academy, to share good and best practice, and challenge and support other members of staff to move with them (not against them). SLT members visited their staff during this process too, helping to develop a rigorous understanding of coaching.
“Over the four days we have watched individuals grow,” comments Eddie Hannifan. “We’ve watched them become more confident, as they realised they were needed and had the potential to do more than they thought they could.”
One delegate said:
“I can now lead the learning of others. Not just my pupils, but my colleagues, to address quality disparities between classroom practice within my school, and disparities across our group of schools too. It highlighted that it isn’t good enough anymore to be aware that disparities exist and do nothing about it. Therefore, if you are a leading school, what do you know and what have you got, skills and quality, that could be used to help others move forward.”
To facilitate our programmes within a different cultural context, and working with the RAK Academy, has been a wonderful opportunity for OLEVI. The staff of the RAK Academy now have the tools to challenge and engage their learners. How these are applied for their specific needs is up to them. We look forward to supporting them grow Outstanding Teaching and Learning in the Emirates.