Schools in Northern Ireland welcome OLEVI’s CPD programmes’ unique, non-judgemental methodology and the benefits and positive impact they have on teaching practices.
This spring we had the pleasure of spending time with our colleagues from our Northern Ireland DOC. As the main provider of quality assurance of OLEVI programmes used within the region, the steering group get together two or three times a year to discuss programme provision and how it is all going. This visit was a chance for us to spend some time looking at the effectiveness of their quality assurance and gain further insight into the impact our CPD programmes are having in the schools which use them.
We had the pleasure to meet with twenty principals of schools that are sending their staff on the OLEVI programmes and to look at the benefits this was having. With many of the principals themselves not having had first-hand experience of OLEVI and our approach, it was a chance for them to introduce themselves to us and be taken through our concepts and some activities. This gave them a greater understanding of what OLEVI is all about and how to buy into our values. Our Upwards Convergence model was talked about; they were very interested in the idea of not starting with the least able, and focusing on failure, but looking at the best, and how to grow the top. This was very much in line with what they were looking to achieve in their schools. They particularly welcomed our programmes’ unique methodology for professional development because it is non-judgemental and has a positive impact on teaching practices.
Whilst in Northern Ireland, we also had the chance to meet with sixteen OLEVI facilitators who had been trained a number of years ago and had been running programmes diligently since. We spent time refining their techniques, refreshing their skills and making sure we are all on the same page. As these facilitators hadn’t had a chance to get together as a group, they really relished the opportunity to share stories and swap strategies. They found this extremely useful and very positive. They talked about keeping in touch, to continue collaborating and growing each other, and would like an annual conference forum to discuss what they are doing.
ITP/OTP (called Programme 1 and Programme 2 respectively) and the POC have been very successful as part of the provision for professional development. The programmes are deeply respected by teachers. Teaching staff really enjoy them, and they are making them work for their schools. The programmes are not facilitated in one school, but moved around the schools involved, so that they can learn about each individual school setting and context. Giving people the chance to work together in different contexts is really new and important. The reason many are prepared to put in extra work and travel is because they enjoy it and see the benefits of it. The OTAP has gone down extremely well, and schools are interested in OTAP TTT and also providing the OLE for middle leaders.
We were grateful to be able to meet with so many of our community in Northern Ireland, hear their stories and be part of their continual journey. We wish you all well with your future plans.