Creating the conditions, growing the culture
‘I want to put on record that transformation of students’ learning does not happen in schools where the headteacher is preoccupied with raising attainment scores or meeting the expectations of Ofsted as goals in themselves. Rather, transformed attainment and outstanding Ofsted judgments are bi-products of a school culture in which students and teachers are passionate about their work, are excited, engaged and empowered by their learning, and where they (both staff and students) profoundly believe that their role is to liberate the learning potential of each and every learner.
Because the embedded implementation of REAL Projects takes 3-5 years, the task requires leaders who create the conditions for this long-term development work; who engage with the work themselves; who learn alongside their teachers; and who model and use the PBL processes in school-wide adult learning.
Leaders with a PBL mind-set understand that focusing on achievement and scores comes with a low ceiling – and that ‘getting an Ofsted outstanding’ is not a compelling vision. Instead, they realize that growth potential lies in transforming students’ learning experiences through trusting teachers and equipping them with the tools that allow collective critique and refinement of their craft. Leaders have to inspire about what is possible, set a context for success, and then to let go and empower their teachers, in the same way that teachers have to do that for their students in the REAL Projects classrooms.’
David Jackson, REAL Projects Leadership Coach
(Freely adapted and developed from a Drew Perkins 2015 blog post.)