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The International Centre for Leadership in Teaching & Learning

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The impact of being a Facilitation School

Lead QA Consultant, Karen Hughes, shares what recent QA visits have told us about the wider impact of being an OLEVI Facilitation School

During a QA visit, the QA consultant, along with the school’s facilitators, the project manager and the headteacher, explores the impact being a facilitation school is having on the school itself.

Some schools have chosen to run the OLEVI programmes because they wanted their school to benefit from the impact of having regular visits to lessons by external delegates. A common theme is a change from a ‘closed door’ culture to one where teachers not only welcome others into their lesson, but also where observation is actively sought out. Many schools told us that they no longer have to ask teachers if they could visit on a Ward Round as all teachers were willing to completely open their doors without prior information or permission.

This often results in a developing collaboration between staff, where teachers and TAs visit each other for their own learning outside the programme. This approach then becomes adopted by other staff members and a collaborative, non-judgemental ethos becomes part of the school culture.

Schools also tell us that the programmes are useful tools in supporting other schools. They facilitate a change in mindset and culture, and help establish a collaborative relationship, which impacts on the quality of teaching and learning. What is valued, when the programmes are used as part of a support package, is the focus on the leadership of learning in order to develop teachers of quality.

Numerous headteachers told us that they chose to offer the OLEVI programmes to help them ‘develop a collaborative culture that would bring people together’. Often this collaboration is developed between schools that share a facilitation team to offer the programmes across their schools. Facilitation schools share the feedback from the visiting delegates with their staff, who welcome the feedback and utilise it as an opportunity to reflect and develop.

The OFP is thought to be great CPD for staff, and the skills developed are used outside the programme to have impact on the school. One head of department told us that it had transformed his approach to running his department and he now runs team meetings as OTP-style strategic planning meetings, with staff now contributing more and taking greater ownership over the direction that the department is taking.

Other facilitators use their facilitation skills to run more effective senior leadership meetings and to engage with governors more effectively. The development of a shared understanding of coaching supports this leadership development; staff listen to each other more and think more deeply about their responses to each other.

Finally, the utilisation of DR ICE, as a common framework to think and talk about teaching and learning, is a key benefit to the schools. For example, some facilitation schools have DR ICE displays in classrooms and utilise them with the students to enhance student learning. Another has placed DR ICE at the centre of formal lesson observations as an alternative to Ofsted-style judgements.

One headteacher summarised the impact of being a facilitation school very effectively:

“Everyone who engages with OLEVI grows.”

We would like to thank all our facilitation schools for all their hard work and commitment to growing the OLEVI programmes and their delegates. On our QA visits, they are an inspiration to us and we are glad to share some of this inspiration with you.