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Development planning is the mechanism for a school to define its strategic and operational improvement activities. Strategy, as a long-term aim, sets the direction for school and the core moral purpose. However a good strategy is not sufficient by itself but requires a sound short-term operational plan. Davies, B. J, & Ellison, L. (2005) emphasise that the strategic "plan provides a coherent way of translating the core moral purpose of the school and its values into action, influenced by a futures perspective and vision."
With the advent of local management of schools, parental choice, and the publication of school examination league tables, it is evident that a school needs to promote and market itself to avoid a fall in rolls. One of the challenges which the school sets itself, therefore, is to develop a system which recognizes and rewards pupil achievement in order to improve the school.
This framework strategy is produced for Ninestiles as a school improvement plan. In this plan I will collect and analyse the information and data from Ofsted, performance tables, and the school website and school profile to outline the strategic plan. In addition, I will recommend operational actions and planning processes. More importantly, through making the appropriate links between the literature review and the case study of school effectiveness and improvement, I will produce an appropriate plan to support and promote whole-school and pupil success for further education and life outside of school.
Schools, as educational centres, never fail to attract attention from people, society and governments since the 18th century. Accordingly, every school has to change to face challenges. However, school effectiveness and school improvement have become the focus of education systems in the modern world.
With development of economy and society, schools cannot close their gates and leave the issues of outside world in order to survive and grow in addressing the complicated change challenges in to the 21st century, which makes institutions more porous and permeable (Elkind, 1993). Schools therefore need to make conscious to confront with changes come from inside and outside of school.
Fullan, Cuttress, and Kilcher(2005) outlined eight key changes forces that all leaders would have to understand, overcome and tackle in schools. They are: "(1)engaging peoples moral purposes,(2) building capacity ,(3) understanding the change process, (4)developing cultures for learning, (5)developing cultures of evaluation,(6) focusing on leadership for change, (7)fostering coherence making, and (8)cultivating tri-level development." The eight changes forces are not isolated and integrate on an aim of education in school.
As an aim of education, the moral purpose is the greatest driver of change. "moral purpose in educational change is an orientation of school's spirit, that means to improve society through to develop educational systems and then to raise quality of all citizen. Fullan(2005) stated that focusing on leadership is the most powerful lesson of change. It is not controversial, Collins(2001) and Mintzberg(2004) agreed with Fullan (2005) and pointed out that successful school need a effective leadership.
"Secondary strategy for school improvement"(The pilot school and pilot local authorities, Defs and primary and secondary strategy, 2006) provides an overview of the essential elements of the secondary intensifying support programme, it as a guidance, makes sense for schools development. The key themes:
Building leadership capacity
Improving the conditions for learning
Improving the quality of teaching and learning
Using data intelligently
Providing an engaging and appropriate curriculum
Establishing a learning community(The pilot school and pilot local authorities, Defs and primary and secondary strategy, 2006,p?)
However, if Ninestiles School will address each of the themes, the primary condition is that there must be an adequate leadership and management and learning conditions within the school. A good suggestion made by "Secondary strategy for school improvement 2006" that is that a successful leaders should know as followed:
how to overcome resistance to anything new, grab opportunities and avoid hazard
That big leaps are associated with big rewards and that incrental chage will take them nowhere
That the central challenge is to change people's behaviours and that they can only do that by influencing their feeling as well as their thinking
How to lead change as well as manage it
Leadership in school should "address the status quo through establishing a sense of urgency, creating a guiding group, developing a vision and strategy and communicating both of them effectively". In short, leadership should be able to find out new ways and approaches of working through guarantee of short-term wins and consolidating progress in order to facilitate more change. Rationale is that leadership must ensure that the core activities of teaching and learning are central to responsibility and accountability of the school (The pilot school and pilot local authorities, Defs and primary and secondary strategy, 2006)
As a general driver, developing culture of learning provide a set of strategies for people learning from each other. Change knowledge requires fostering coherence making in order to increase peoples collective power to drive the system running forward smoothly. Dufour, Eaker, and Dufour(2005) stressed the necessity and power of professional learning communities while Fullan(2005) identified beyond one school and Pfeffer and Sutton(2000) commend that turning information in to actionable knowledge is a social process
Black, Harrison, lee, Marshall, and Wiliam 2003 and Fullam(2005) emphasised one of the highest-yield strategies for educational change recently developed is assessment for learning. Fullan(2005)claim that schools need to change individuals, as well as need to change contexts, cultivating tri-level development provide more learning in context( at school level, district level and state level,2006).
Barber(2005) states same viewpoint that eight drivers are keys to create effective and lasting change. These drivers are widely accepted and have become theoretic guidance for school's strategy.
The first serious discussions and analyses of School effectiveness emerged in the 1960s out of concern for equality of educational opportunity. In the beginning, studies stressed social background and heredity as the strongest influences. However, Wrigley(2004) and MacGilchrist et al (2005) have listed weaknesses of the school effectiveness tradition: "(1)too narrow a view of achievement; (2)over reliance on quantifiable outcomes; (3) pressure of accountability through testing, league tables and inspection and can distort the curriculum, teaching and learning; (4) identified features of effective schools may not be easily transferable. In fact, these issues are not special phenomenon, how to avoid these disadvantages has become more and more educationists' consideration.
In contrast to school effectiveness, during the past 30 years there has been a parallel drive for school improvement used to achieve organisational change through initially unsystematic efforts. Hopkins and Reynolds (2001) suggested that three elements should be taken into account when considering the evolution of school improvement: a 'bottom-up' approach to self-evaluation and improvement planning with teacher ownership; greater focus on pupil outcomes through links with school effectiveness community and becoming increasingly 'top-down' through strategic government intervention. In short, improvement demands change. Expediently, bottom-up self-evaluation is a fast and direct feedback for monitoring and following up improvement plan, top-down government intervention is a drive force to supervise and urge that schools must focus on teaching and learning.
Hargreaves and Shirley (2009.p5) analysed that three ways of change have gone before as followed:
First way of state support and professional freedom, of innovation but also inconsistency.
Second way of market competition and educational standardisation in which professional autonomy is lost.
Third way that tries to navigate between and beyond the market and the state and balance professional autonomy with accountability.
Entering the fast, flexible and vulnerable new world of the 21st century, we have to confront dramatically new problems and challenges. It is realized that the old three ways of educational change have not matched the new changes and development, A "fourth way" of educational change has been identified, based on the best of the old ways of the past without retreating to or reinventing the worst of them (Hargreaves and Shirley,2009). They asserted that "it is not a way to retain autocratic control over narrowly defined goals and targets. The fourth way, rather, is a democratic and professional path to improvement that builds from the bottom, steers from the top and provides support and pressure from the sides."
Considering context of Ninestiles School, the fourth way provide some inspiration:
Leadership is the key role for development of a school
Every teacher should put responsibility before accountability. Michael Fullan (2009) points out that school change depends on what teachers do and think. As a moral purpose, teachers should put responsibility before accountability - it is as simple and as complex as this.
Parents should be more fully engaged.
Students as active partners in their own development are most important.
Ninestiles school is a sixth foundation school and it is a larger than most secondary schools in Birmingham. It serves 1471 students (11-18 years old ) in the Acocks Green area of Birmingham but also attracts students from other areas of the city. Just over a half students are White British; slightly over 10% are from Asian Pakistani backgrounds and similar proportions are of Asian Indian heritage. A special unit attached to the school has 45 students with speech and language of community difficulties.( Ninestiles website 2011)
Ninestiles has been a specialist school for technology for 15 years and has had applied learning status since 2007. Ninelstiles school is committed to a curriculum which aims to provide a learning environment in which all students regardless of gender, ability, social or cultural background, are encouraged to achieve to their full potential, all the students have been exposed to a variety if teaching and learning styles experience of key skills. School's mission is to prepare well-rounded citizens who are able to play a full part in the life in the community. By pursuing objectives with vision, Ninestiles seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the school.
What does Ofsted say?
Ninestiles School was fully praised by Ofsted in 2009 and was judged as outstanding overall. Inspectors reported that Ninestiles "has made many changes in order to fully meet the needs of all students and overcome any barriers to learning" (Ofsted 2009 p.4).
Outstanding aspects of the school include:
Students' achievement, as the school is highly effective at motivating students who have made limited progress in the past. It is hardly surprising that the vast majority of parents are satisfied to the school.
Teaching and learning, because of consistent way in which teachers plan lessons in the light of student's target.
Leadership and management, as the key priorities are to the point and based on the sound evaluation and school has been creative in developing high quality leaders at all levels in the school.
Student's personal development and well-being as they appreciate in mature way about their school and course as superb role models for younger students.
Other effective aspects of the school were noted by Ofsted as follows:
The curriculum is effective in meeting the needs of all students. The curriculum is a major factor in ensuring excellent behaviour and high levels of motivation amongst all groups of students. Work-based skills, including teamwork and enterprise, work-related learning opportunities prepare students outstandingly well for employment or the next stage in the education. In addition, students have opportunities to sample a wide range of courses. These courses is strong work-related dimension. Accordingly, the Information and communication technology is used very well and extensively.
The care, support, assistance and guidance are extremely effective to contribute to the students' outstanding personal development. Students are safe in the school and parents and students value a very good relationship with adults. The rapid transition to an all-age tutorial system was handled very well.
Governors are very effective because they play a key role in ensuring that many new developments are carefully considered prior to implementation. Governors insist that best value principles are applied to all that the school does.
Ninestiles in the Performance tables?
According the Ofsted report in the last four years, there has been a fluctuation in GCSE results. Fortunately, there was a significant rise in 2010 from 51% to 64% 5+A*-C including English and Maths. However, the performance of students at GCSE needs to be kept stable and if possible further improved. More importantly; from the table as follows, it can be seen that compared with national and city figures its GCSE performance is now higher. Here we should pay attention to CVA, in 2009, CVA suggested progress in line with expectation at 997.1, but in 2010, the CVA raised dramatically to 1031. This suggests that in 2010 pupils made progress considerably beyond expectation.
Comparison with national and city figures
Source data: DfE School and college performance tables.
Ninestiles' own view of its effectiveness
Ninestiles is effectively structured to respond to the needs of 21st Century education. The school day has been carefully designed with modern learning needs in mind. The broad and balanced curriculum is responsive to individual needs and the changing national context. All teams have a structured remit and an awareness of the part they play in creating the vision.
About Curriculum statement
Ninestiles School is committed to providing a learning environment in which all students are encouraged to achieve to their full potential. Students are assessed on 21st century skills like teamwork and communication. The students, their parents and teacher are all involved to choose the level or grade in which students would like to aim. Ninestiles takes great pride in providing opportunities for their students either at the academic or vocational development as it is believed that making the appropriate links to the real world will not only enrich their understanding of the curriculum area but will also begin to prepare them for further education and life outside of school. The school day has been carefully designed with modern learning needs in mind. Reality Baste Leaning(RBL) is compulsory for all students. This type of learning focuses on real world scenarios and students learn by answering problems
About work-related learning
Ninestiles school has leading edge status of work-related learning. It has been a specialist school for technology for 13 years and has had applied learning status since 2007. Work-related learning is defined by school as any planned activity that uses work as a context for learning (OFSTED 2009) . By providing students with the opportunities and context in order to develop their work-related skills, knowledge and understanding. Such conception is based on logic of specialization and it involves work-related learning within the courses for all pupils at key stage 4. It occurs across the curriculum when different subjects and courses are offered to students. ninestile's mission is to prepare well-rounded citizens who are able to play a full part in the life in the community.
As a distinctive technology school school's strategies reflect our ambitions and we seek an appreciate the guidance and encouragement in carrying out these ambitions objectives. Every student in the school has been exposed to a variety of teaching and learning styles, experience and solve real world problems and leaves school with extensive experience of key skills.
Our ambitions are targeted not towards rankings but rather towards achieving a place where take great pride in providing opportunities for their students either at the academic or vocational development as it is believed that making the appropriate links to the real world will not only enrich their understanding of the curriculum area but will also begin to prepare them for further education and life outside of school.
Key priorities for improvement
Fortunately, Ninestiles School has made many changes positively, but we cannot shy away from facing its weaknesses. According to the inspection judgment reported by Ofsted in 2009, there are six aspects that should be improved and strengthened:
For the group (16-19) whose performance reached relatively lower grade than others group, most aspects inspection concerned with were at grade 2 or 3.
The middle manager working in (16-19) group should be adjusted and consolidated to to improve tutoring and mentoring systems and enhance top-down bureaucracy, prescription and guidance.
Finical support. Headteacher, with governing body and all staffs, analyses budget to ensure school development plan priorities with appropriate budget allocation. The school budget needs to be flexibly used to support a push for improvement. (Fullan, M., Barber,(2009)
Use the award system. The award scheme provide encouragement and recognition for effort and achievement . A study conducted by Harris.L (1996) showed that the better the children performed in all these previous areas ( classwork, homework, attendance, punctuality, behavior) the more successful would both teaching and learning become.
Another must be emphasized is in terms of personal development and well-being for school overall, students had really bad attendance(at grade 3) and healthy lifestyle(at grade 2).
Comparison with other similar school(table 2)
Ninestiles In 2009
Ninestiles In 2010
Birmingham In 2010
England In 2010
% of half days missed
Figure from OFSTED
From table 2, it can be shown that pressing problem of Ninestiles school is poor attendance, there are two measures that should be suggested, one is parent meeting and calling.The fourth way recommend parents should be more fully engaged. The school should introduce first day of absence calling home for all absentees and consult pupils and parents over rewards and sanction. Parents meetings should be held with all parents monthly and there should be weekly updates by phone. In this case, each students received monthly progress check.
Others is to establish award system. The fourth way stressed the student as active partner in their own development is ever the most important. Award system effectively build students confidence for their further study. It is traditional and very effective for student performance including class work, homework, attendance, punctuality, behaviour and performance at GCSE.
The third aspect should be highlighted is for leadership, inspection pointed the school's self-evaluation and community cohesion did not exert as well as expectation
"leadership should get the vision right to increase urgency and build the guiding team. The schools white paper (2010) emphasized school should improve top-down bureaucracy and "bottom-up" support. It is good circle for self-evaluation".
The policy has not been fully updated to meet all current requirements.
The school policy and practices should be shared and public in the school website. There is a statement in the school prospectus which linked to development plan targets. Policy and practice are reviewed and updated every term in light of changing profile. This is also a good way for all(students, teachers, parents and society) to evaluate our school.
The monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning has not always identified quickly enough the progress made by different groups of students
All the evidence from different education system around the world shows that the most important factor in determining how well children do is the quality of teacher and teaching. High quality teacher is key fact of successful school. The school change depends on what teachers do and think( Fullan(2000). As a moral purpose, teachers should put the responsibility before accountability. Raising entry requirements and more training in or out-school is suggested by white paper. The school should ensure all staffs must be in place in order to improve students' performance.
Specifically, the school needs to establish a special group for the monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning in order to respond rapidly to any variations in progress and monitor more effectively the progress that different groups of students make in lessons. This group is to monitor more effectively the progress that different groups of students make in lessons, particularly in Years 7 and 8(Ofsted 2009).
students performance at GCSE need to keep stable and promote and school's CVA should be Consolidated.
Teachers are clear about their teaching goals that effort on the school's highest-priority goals in ways most likely to improve students' performance of academic. In the case, teachers create a strategic plan for improving the quality of teaching and make expert use of existing teaching materials in order to devote more time to practices that enrich and clarify the content. To train teachers according to plan and make sure their knowledge and teaching stills keeping updated to match the needs of social and individual's development.
Exactly, School improvement group need meeting with teachers to identify and explore the issue that are involved in identifying pupils in years 9 and 10. this conference should be based on data gathered earlier in the school from logbooks and discussion with student deputies.
Furthermore, there should be voluntary after-school or lunchtime lesson provided by staff and an extra session, involving strong links with external agencies is based on exam techniques, is organized
What issues/weaknesses have been identified?
Priorities for Improvement
For the age group (16-19) whose performance reached relatively lower Ofsted grade than other groups in this school. For this group, most assessments reached only grades 2 or 3
Improve quality of teaching and learning
Adjust middle leadership working in this group. Raise student aspirations through links with business and higher education
For this group, target of most assessments should reach above grades 2
Students had really poor attendance (at grade 3 with 8.5% absence),
Work with parents to promote good attendance, recognising links to attainment
the attendance to reach 95% persistent absence to be reduced to 5% at grade 2.
The school's self-evaluation and community cohesion were not effective as well as expectation. the policy has not been fully updated to meet all current requirements.
Monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning have not been always identified quickly enough
Build improvement group
Monitor and track progress more rigorously
school improvement groups become increasingly influential in driving up standard
Student's performance at GCSE needs to be kept stable and promoted.
Provide encouragement and recognition for effort and achievement.
Establish "good learning " culture in school.
It will be expect to 70% 5+A*- including English and Maths by 2012
In recent years standards have risen steadily in our school, the most important thing is that a school is able to sustain this progress or not when it confront with challenging circumstance sometime. It is shown above that Ninestiles School has won a well-deserved reputation for its current effectiveness and improvement from society and Ofsted while Ninestiles school has leading edge status of work-related learning. the school assets, management and social supports all have been ready for Ninestiles to remove obstacles for learning and made many changes In order to meet all students' needs. However, there are still many challenges that school has to confront with.
Ninestiles school can provides thoughtful and far-sighted strategic leadership that create the environments that makes good teaching pay off and learning effectively to support and track our all objective. There has been an extremely clear vision that reaches into every corner of this school.
However, the most common view of strategy is to set the direction of school (Davies, B. Davies, J. & Ellison, L. 2005). It consists of some short-time aim, that is: First, school should strengthen leadership that should get the vision right to increase urgency and build the guiding team. Secondly, The school should establish evidence-based approach to improving teaching and learning and improve consistency in feedback and marking. Thirdly, school should put in place enhanced tutoring and mentoring systems to ensure that all students are supported according to their needs. Finally, the school needs to set our assessment system to ensure that our initiative on track and monitor our school as a whole is achieving the short term goals and long term aspirations.
Pursuit of excellence, as guidance, sets an ambitious agenda of aspirations by specific strategies and plans, which call for us to settle down to work in much ground for one's own duty and focus on coordination, steadiness, preciseness, applicability and actual effect. Our school needs to ensure that all students and teachers can be fully equipped to make a difference in the planning period. In another words, the school should be already to plan the next phase of its evolution because of "no best, but better "