Training Modules

SLT4AA, School Leadership Toolkit for Accelerating Achievement, is a two-year Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership project, which aims to equip leadership teams with the competences, structures and tools to transform underperforming schools into high performing schools.

Partners have now been able to trial the ‘toolkit’ modules in a range of different schools in their own country.

All six training modules have been tested and refined. They are now approaching the end of the second phase of testing. They all have a set of activities and resources, but they have been designed in a flexible way to enable each school to use the parts they think are most appropriate and to develop their own resources to go alongside the activities.

The modules are:

  • Pre-workshop Activity – Collecting data
  • Module 1 Creating a Vision for Improvement
  • Module 2 Communicating the vision
  • Module 3 Personnel Management
  • Module 4 School Structures
  • Module 5 Teaching and Learning and Measuring Impact
  • Module 6 Action planning

Third Partner Meeting

The third partner meeting was held at the University of Lusofona in Lisbon, Portugal on 21st and 22nd January.

After dealing with administrative and financial issues, the meeting provided an opportunity to for all partners to share the work that they had done with their schools and for us to review both the content and the structure of the training modules.

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Different schools had different priorities for improvement and this was seen as very helpful, as the aim was to produce training modules that can be adapted according to need and that can be applied across the education sector.

The priorities identified included:

  • team building due to reorganisation
  • management structures
  • formative assessment & improved pedagogy
  • communicating a new vision
  • defining priorities
  • indicators to show improved competences
  • non-formal learning opportunities
  • improved parental engagement
  • better improvement planning
  • ensuring consistency

The meeting was joined by the external evaluator of the project, Vilmos Vass, who was able to produce his initial positive evaluation of the work of the project and contribute to suggestions for further developments.

The Portuguese schools in the project are part of two school consortia, the Agrupamento de Escolas D. Antoni de Ataide and the Agrupamento de Escolas de Alhandr, Sobralinho e Sao Joao dos Montes, We were hosted by the two Principals, Carla Ferro and Isabel Estevinha, who took us to visit several of their schools and talked to us about the work they were doing. This was a very profitable experience.

Evaluation of the Workshops and Training modules

There are two sets of evaluation. This first was completed after the initial trials by the partner organisations and the second is to be completed by the schools that were involved.

The initial evaluation highlighted a lot of positives in terms of impact. These were:

  • Meaningful lesson observations – peer support, not threatening
  • Collective discussions
  • More focussed action planning
  • Clear visioning and communication
  • Better consistency between visioning and action planning
  • Facilitated a different perspective on issues – more objective
  • Very positive response to the workshops – seen as relevant and differentiated to individual needs
  • Schools were mutually supportive
  • Informal networks have been established
  • Evidence of a change in attitude
  • Schools are more confident in tackling issues
  • Understanding that the priority is student learning
  • Adaptability of the training modules.

Areas for development included:

  • Timing of the workshops
  • Time needed to demonstrate impact
  • Time needed to implement strategic change
  • Maintaining commitment
  • Recognition of the responsibility of the school
  • Engagement of staff
  • Timing of the workshops
  • Managing staff attitude and practice
  • Managing the ethos and culture of the school
  • Managing without support from the partners
  • Setting SMART targets

Overarching Research

The University of Durham in the UK is carrying out an overarching research strand, which explores five research questions:

  • How does the project develop clarity of vision and the direction of this in each setting?
  • What are successful relationships between the development of leadership, school improvement and the learning environments like?
  • What does student and staff engagement/distributed leadership look like in each setting and what are the impacts on transformation?
  • What can we say about the application of methods and their impacts across all settings?
  • Are there any unique or specific contextual impacts and what are they?

Throughout the project, the University has collected data from key staff of the schools involved. The research outcomes will be published in the project’s final conference in July 2016.

Dissemination

A number of dissemination activities have already taken place. The project was presented to the ECER conference in September 2015, which attracted participants from across the globe.

Following the partner meeting in Lisbon, many of the partners attended the first International Conference on Comparative Education, on 25th to 27th January. The project was shared at this conference.

Between May and June of 2016, each partner will hold a dissemination seminar on the project. This seminar is open to all those interested in school improvement and you can find more details from the national partner involved.

Final Conference

There will be an international conference in Debrecen in Hungary on 1st July 2016 to share the project results and the research outcomes. This conference is open to national and international guests.

The conference will be workshop based and we are delighted that all of the schools involved in the project will be present to share their experiences in the workshop sessions.

Registration details will be available soon on the project website: http://slt4aa.eu

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