Tagged: Creativity

CAD Modelling with Creo – Dalek, Scooter and Caster

Now that I’m an accredited teacher-trainer in the use of Creo, I thought that I’d write something about it! Creo is the latest version of the 3D CAD software which is developed by PTC. Many years ago, my school used ProDesktop before moving to AutoDESK Inventor back in 2008. Whilst Inventor does ‘the job’ well, I must say that I am really impressed with Creo. I find the whole design experience more rewarding (have a look at CreoFreeform on You Tube) and the photo-realisitc rendering is amazing – produced by a MentalRay add-in (for those of you who have ever heard of it – this is the same rendering technology which saw Yoda and Spiderman come to life – and was also used in movies like The Matrix). As I now develop courses in Advanced Higher Grade Graphic Communication, I thought that I’d post up a couple of models which I have produced this week.  Hopefully, this nifty software will also be used in Product Design, Engineering Science and in Practical Craft Skills.

The scooter was surfaced modelled and the caster is solid – both to unit standard as outlined in Outcome 1 and 2 in the AHGC course. The Dalek was a muck-about, though it turned out to be a pretty good impression of the classic Dr Who baddie! The Dalek can be downloaded as a part from Grab Cad. Enjoy!

             

Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe

The Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe (EIPPEE) is a two-year project which aims to increase the use of evidence to inform decision-making in education policy and practices across Europe. The network also provides a series of free online and face-to-face courses to help people working in education to explore and evaluate practices, using findings from research. For more information and to view the EIPPEE’s first newsletter, please visit their website at http://eippee.com/cms/.

 

 

 

When is a school not a school?

I am currently writing an article asking the question – when is a school not a school? I have a bit of a ‘bee in my bonnet’ at present about Curriculum for Excellence – and whether the marriage to Scottish education is actually working.

I believe that a 21st Century Education means that ‘schools’ must produce scientists, musicians, scholars, engineers, trades people and artists if they are to compete in a global, economic market. At present, and this and a tradition thing, we focus too much in churning out young people with as many qualifications as possible simply to drive statistics under the auspices of improving life chances.

How does that enrich the curriculum and produce successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens? The answer is – it doesn’t and that is why we are failing our children and young people.

There are some excellent examples which demonstrate that the CfE philosophy is absolutely the best thing to happen to Scottish education – but there are also some whopping big barriers to progress. Watch this space for my next post – and I apologise in advance it reads as a bit of a rant. I need to get some things off my chest before it is too late!

Learning & Teaching in 2011

Thanks to those colleagues who left comments or emailed me directly. I find it really useful to hear from those who practice on the front line; it’s very easy to lose sight of the practical implications when working nationally across the country and globally across education systems which can differ quite radically. The strange (but not surprising) conclusions are exactly the same regardless of where the learning takes place: The United Kingdom; The United States; Australia and Canada for example; teachers and educators all share a common ambition and there is common agreement regarding the most appropriate practices for 2011.

This is my first post of the New Year and I wanted to go back to my grass roots and focus on learning and teaching within schools. So, given that, where to start?

Once upon a time, there were three Billy Goats Gruff. The little Billy Goat was called The Learner, the middle Billy Goat was called The Teaching Profession and the Big Billy Goat Gruff was called The Curriculum. Together, they wanted to cross the bridge and taste the green, green grass in the land of Learning and Teaching in the 21st Century.

Any kind of curriculum change requires a teaching profession that is modern and is capable of delivering learning with today’s young people. This is the first challenge; the culture that teachers and educators work within can be restrictive and doesn’t always provide an opportunity to explore creative pedagogy. In a world where pre-school children can navigate through the applications on an iPhone, play games on the Nintendo Wii and surf the internet for episodes of Ben 10 Alien Force (reference to my four year old), is it any wonder that the historic “blah blah” of the chalkboard does not stimulate or engage?

Learning and teaching is such a massive topic for discussion that it would be near impossible to describe it all in one post. As such, I’ll be general and ask what is having the most impact on learning and teaching, today? Clearly, technology is at the top of this list, with the use of virtual learning environments, computers, the internet and interactive smart boards bringing with them an interesting methodology in which young people can learn.

This is why (not solely) school leadership is important; there must be drive and empowerment to use the technology available. This needs to be consistent and not simply a fad which sees the equipment pulled from a dark and dusty box once every few months. With a staffing compliment of 100 FTE, 5 creative teachers thinking out of the box is not good enough.

Connections between different lessons need to be much stronger, making full use of transferable skills and building upon a core composite of literacy, numeracy and health and well-being. This is where the true depth of learning takes place. Personalisation and choice is paramount. In an ideal world every young person will choose to study something that is both relevant to them and appropriate to their learning progression.

Supportive transitions between episodes of learning are essential if outcomes are to be improved. Strengthened by the need to focus more on achievement rather than simple attainment; every young person must be entitled to the support that they need in order to make a transition successful, whether between primary and secondary or upon leaving school and entering higher or further education, training or employment.

Practices within the school to raise attainment and to support learning and teaching need to be more innovative; individualised target setting for every child and young person and a programme of mentoring to support them is required. For most, this will simply be a guiding word here and there, for some, intensive pastoral care is likely to be needed with support from several agencies.

Differentiation is now a thing of the past; individualism and personalised, supported learning is the phrase of 2011, with information, advice and guidance on tap.

Using techniques such as Cooperative Learning and Restorative Approaches is becoming increasingly popular and there is evidence that these can lesson anti-social behaviour, reduce the number of high level referrals and create a more conducive ethos. Self-esteem and motivation can be helped along here, but this needs to be a consistent whole school approach led by senior leaders if it is to work effectively.

School partnerships with colleges and other providers of learning must pave the way forward. To plan and deliver a Senior Phase which is built upon the broad, general education there must be a range of learning opportunities and experiences which connect the different episodes of learning and provide the young person with a relevant and appropriate curriculum. There are inherent challenges for schools in establishing productive networks and relationships as there needs to be open and honest communication, the sharing of resources, mutual respect and reliability. This is embedded within the cultural and structural changes required to make transformational change within the curriculum (and to the way in which the timetable is produced) and that is why it is difficult to manage.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to overcome challenges as innovation does not happen without an element of risk.

Managed risk taking amongst staff is vital and the extent to which teachers are supported to do this very much depends on the school leaders. Although related to the practice of learning and teaching, there is often little encouragement to do something new or out of the ordinary as the outcome cannot always be predicted. Adverse publicity or negative outcomes are a big turn off for leaders and managers, though the short term outcome needs to be weighed up against the longitudinal ‘end game’. If you’re lucky enough to have a manager who encourages distributed leadership and provides room to manoeuvre then you must embrace the opportunity!

So, in conclusion, these are the things most likely to have a positive and effective impact on learning and teaching in 2011:

  • Drivers behind curriculum change and innovation;
  • Information Communication Technology within (and outwith) the classroom;
  • Improved school leadership (and distribution) and management which encourages managed risk taking, creativity and focuses more on the outcomes of the individual;
  • Stronger connections between strands of learning which highlight common and varying skills across the curriculum and illustrates the value of education;
  • Better transition planning for all young people but especially those with Additional Support Needs, between Primary and Secondary and into the Senior Phase;
  • School wide practices to reinforce target setting and individualised learning plans;
  • More relevant and appropriate personalisation and choice throughout the curriculum;
  • Modern approaches to positive behaviour, restorative approaches embedded within the ethos and culture of the school;
  • Use of Cooperative teaching and stimulating lesson planning and delivery to engage 21st century learners;
  • School partnerships and collaboration with the community, other providers of learning and organisations to support young people will expand the curriculum portfolio;
  • A higher focus on achievement rather than just attainment;
  • The opportunity to deepen learning within literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing right across the curriculum.

 

My penultimate conclusion, I hope you agree, is the transfer of knowledge and continuing professional development that teachers and educators aspire to achieve regularly, either through INSERVICE or through other collaborative tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

The learners have moved into the 21st Century and the teaching profession has started to move forward too (some teachers faster than others – but that is not surprising) and now the opportunity to bring the curriculum into the 21st Century is a tempting siren.

Only when the learner, the teaching profession and the curriculum have crossed the bridge together and tossed the troll of tradition into the stream, will the green, green grass taste better. This must be our focus for 2011!

Global Education News Hub

Though I have thought about it for some time, thanks to a colleague in The States, I have finally produced the Global Education News Hub. It’s still in its infancy and is very much a work in progress. The Hub is a collection of RSS Feeds and news articles from some of the most interesting sources of education news and blogs from around the world. My intention is to provide a one stop shop or a first port of call for anyone looking for the latest updates from their own country or internationally.

I hope to expand the Hub and so if you are aware of any interesting news sources or if you have a blog that you’d like included, please do get in touch and let me know. Likewise, if you have any suggestions to improve the Hub.

The Hub can be found at http://www.netvibes.com/leeandrewdunn

Please retweet/share this article throughout your networks – the more visitors that use the Hub the better it will become.

Delivering Educational Outcomes & Portfolio Parity

For those of you following my series on Service Synergy, I have (finally) managed to put aside some time to write a post on Delivering Outcomes. I’m currently sitting on a train, travelling from Alloa to Glasgow, so I estimate that I’ll have about 35 minutes before the train gets so busy that I’ll be forced to put my laptop away. Delivering Outcomes follows articles on Living Within Our Means and Enabling and Empowering People. I’ll also include within this post, mention of Portfolio Parity. I’d originally intended to write a separate piece on this, but given that it cuts across public value and the ability to deliver on outcomes, it’s probably best placed here.

First, let’s place this article into context with economic background, as this tends (rightly or wrongly) to be one of the drivers behind service planning. Scotland is experiencing a recession, narrowly avoiding a double dip. Youth unemployment now reaches more than 77, 000 young people aged between 16 and 24. To the economy, despite a record £80 million worth of Christmas sales in the stores this weekend, there is a large decline in output and public debt is often substituted for private debt; creating an unsustainable landscape of delivery and prompting necessary change.

Public services will need to evolve through innovation or they will cease to function.

Increases to the cost of living and significant budget cuts to both central and local government indicate that without intelligent approaches to portfolio management, it’s very likely that strategic vision will not be implemented and that frontline service delivery will be affected. Indeed, this is already being felt within schools and other learning settings.

It’s important for education leaders and those managing local government to be aware of the world around them, identifying and acknowledging likely pressure points across the learning infrastructure. By this, I mean education inclusive and beyond school; Community Learning and Development, colleges, universities, employers, third sector and so forth. I recently blogged about Public Value and there is an element of that here.

People expect certain things from Education, Social Services, Housing and Health; their ambitions and objectives need to be joined up.

This needs to realise policy alignment as only through parity will there be less duplication, clever use of resources and better ways of delivery. The case here is not to increase the amount of work one is asked to do, but to do it differently in the first place. Job specifications and post remits now need to be re-written. Teachers do not teach a subject, they teach children and young people and it is here where the focus must now sit. I’ll blog more about the future role of teachers and the teaching profession in the New Year.

There must be a series of mechanisms which anticipate how pressure will affect the aggregate of resources and in turn, how these can best be deployed to ensure that all children and young people are involved in their own learning and are becoming successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. By this, I refer to the need to understand what drives and influences learning and teaching within your own context. In order to deliver an outcome, resources and effort need to be targeted where they will have the most impact and provide the greatest benefit. Once agreed, the priorities need to be task managed, the public manager needs to lead through a series of implementation milestones and the authorisation zone needs to be clear and transparent.

When an objective has been identified and resources have been deployed under direction there is always an outcome, regardless of what was expected. From the outset, there needs to be a classification of what is desired, what is not and what scenario would be satisfactory. This can be flexible and expectations could change as implementation moves forward. I don’t want to get too involved in discussing data, but it really is essential to standardize indicators across the different factors, which will help in the identification of potential portfolio parity, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the success of the outcome.

For example, teenage pregnancy, anti-social behavior, nonattendance at school and low self-esteem all makes data collection challenging, as many of these factors are measured by different sectors: health, criminal justice, education or social work. Contributions from all these sectors are required and this is underpinned by Getting It Right For Every Child.

A classic example of parity driven by the need to join up policy to deliver better outcomes for children and young people. Curriculum for Excellence demands this, and so must we.

An evidence base is required during the mapping process, which begins once the desired outcome has been discussed and the priorities for action have been agreed. Here’s a basic timeline. In reality, they are far more complex but you’ll get the idea.

Cycle starts: Client/Service Need Identified – Desired Outcome Discussed – Priorities for Action Agreed – Implementation of Action – Evaluation of Outcome: Cycle Ends (or does it?)

One would not expect monitoring of performance to start during the stage of evaluation. It is more appropriate to start this whilst identifying the client need and a cycle of reflection and continuous improvement would begin. While there is some anecdotal evidence on the barriers to the uptake of services, evidence on why young people engage (or fail to engage) needs improving if it is to inform effective service delivery. Schools are the main site for offering the right support and provision for young people and agencies should work closely with them to develop effective means to target hard-to-reach groups, particularly those excluded from education or with Additional Support Needs. Good information on vulnerable young people needs to be gathered, recorded and shared by schools and other partners in order to inform the right support and the right learning provision for the individual.

At the highest level, outcomes are driven by delivery, which is produced by policy and is this is created by strategy and vision. The outcomes are normally (but not exclusively) portrayed as a series of objectives and activities. A plan is required and the important components will include:

  • The desired outcome and evidence to be used to judge whether it has been achieved
  • Evidence of the starting point
  • Available resources
  • Constraints and obstacles
  • Intermediate objectives which help to define the activity
  • Key milestones and staging points
  • Measures of effectiveness and efficiency
  • The baseline (or trend) for comparison

 I’m going to return to my teaching roots now and give you some homework. Regardless of where you work (indeed this model applies to any situation which requires improving), I want you to identify a need (this could be for an individual or a collective) and work through a strategic implementation plan to produce a desired outcome. Be ambitious (but realistic) and remember to include short term wins as this adds momentum.

My article on Enabling and Empowering People may help here.

You don’t need to write a 400 page document – keep it simple but retain enough detail to record your intent and your progress. Once you’ve completed the cycle and produced an output, decide if it was the desired outcome, an adverse outcome or something in between. I’d be interested to see what you chose and how it played out – please do comment on this post or email your findings to me and I’ll upload them to my blog.

By popular demand, I’ll integrate all the articles on Service Synergy into a streamlined .pdf and upload it to the web within the next week or so.

UNESCO-IBE: CoP Paper on Assessment

 

Annual E-Forum 2010: The Role of Assessment in Promoting the Development of Student’s Competencies

22 November Week 1 – Reflective Paper on Assessment in Scotland

The following article is taken from my paper on Assessment which was recently submitted to the International Bureau of Education Community of Practice. This is the first of three papers which span this year’s theme as described above. It is available as a .pdf; if you want a copy please get in touch with your email address and I’ll forward it to you as soon as possible.

Discussion Paper – Theme

What are the current issues and visions relating to the improvement of assessment formats in your region, as seen from the perspectives of teachers, researchers and other educational stakeholders?

Rationale – The Scottish Context

Across Scotland, learning providers including schools, colleges, universities and third sector organisations have started to implement Curriculum for Excellence. The ambition is to help all our children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. These are the four capacities which sit at the heart of education in Scotland, with particular focus on numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing.

Scotland is building upon the strength of effective approaches to assessment within the formal context of attainment and under the wider auspices of achievement. The vision aims to ensure that existing good practice is shared, reflected upon and implemented  in  order  to

raise standards of achievement for all children and young people, regardless of ability or the  young person’s learning setting. It also takes account of best practice elsewhere and the findings of international research such as those in the Analysis and Review of Innovations in Assessment (ARIA). 

In Scotland, it is recognised that learning (both formal and informal) can take place through school, further and higher education, National Training Programmes, Employment, Personal Social Development (informal learning) and Volunteering. 

An inclusive curriculum accommodates the needs of all learners and through the planning and delivery of a broad general education (3 to 15) and effective transition into a positive and sustained destination within the Senior Phase curriculum (broadly 15 to 18) it is possible to promote assessment which permits cultural and social inclusion whilst providing a rich and diverse experience based on a range of skills for learning, life and work. 

Ergo, in the Scottish context, the purposes of assessment can be defined to: 

  • support learning that develops the knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities which contribute to the four capacities as previously described; 
  • give assurance to parents, learners and others, that children and young people are progressing in their learning and developing in line with expectations; 
  • provide a summary of what learners have achieved, including through qualifications and awards; 
  • contribute to planning the next stages of learning and to help learners progress to further education, higher education and employment; 
  • inform future improvements in learning and teaching.

Culture, Structure and Process 

Teachers and the wider school community have implicit theories and assumptions on what counts as ‘good assessment’. These mental models have developed their own history as current educators relate to their personal experiences as students, making the ideas natural and resistant to change. 

In Scotland, encouragement in innovation and curriculum design requires transformational change to the whole education system in terms of the culture and ethos within schools, the structure that supports the system and the processes and practice which drive learning and teaching. If society does not understand a new policy, even well intentioned change cannot be sustained. There is evidence in Scotland that key stakeholders have invested massive resources into the new assessment framework which underpins the new curriculum and this can be seen in the new Framework for Assessment, as part of the Building the Curriculum series. 

Through the planning and delivery of a personalised learning pathway, children and young people are recognised as individuals and as such they must be provided with the opportunity to realise their potential whilst accessing high quality teaching, information, advice and guidance. This means that the majority of young people, following a more academic route into further or higher education, will still study formal National Qualifications. It is vital that the system recognises that not all young people are able to pass formal examinations within this context and that the culture, structure and process allows those whom choose to follow a more vocational based pathway are given the opportunity to do so.

16+ Learning Choices is the Scottish Government’s policy to support all young people into positive and sustained destinations. This is a tailored programme of support which places emphasis on recognising the student as an individual and not part of a cohort and assessment of competence, risk and support is essential in this context. Every young person in Scotland aged between 15 and 18 (broadly) is entitled to this support.

Barriers and Attitudes

There is sufficient evidence that there is a consistent and joined up approach to learning, teaching and assessment. Habitual practices which exist within schools and the teaching profession in Scotland can be challenging and present significant barriers to progress. It is only natural that teachers have different levels of knowledge and expertise in planning and carrying out assessment practices that could enable them to implement more inclusive approaches when assessing the competency of their students.

As Curriculum for Excellence is implemented, there is likely to be some discrepancy in the way in which informal classroom assessment is carried out, whereas the more formal assessment through national examinations and portfolios of coursework will be more reliable, as this is verified and quality assured by The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Using formative assessment to provide deep learning and achieve competencies has questioned previous teaching pedagogy and indeed, the role of the teacher is now changing, from subject specialisms, which will remain, to broader interdisciplinary teaching based on a broad general education; Experiences and Outcomes.

Inclusive education is promoted by all major stakeholders in education; The Scottish Government, Learning and Teaching Scotland, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, Scotland’s Colleges and the teaching unions all share a common vision. Our Universities and Higher Education institutes provide invaluable research on equality and inclusion which encompass this shared vision and this is built into teacher training, the standards for registration set out by The General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Through Assessment Is For Learning (AiFL) teachers have been provided with a multitude of assessment resources which allow both formative and summative reflection on the progress of individuals.

Through training models, student teachers have paid particular attention to the different types of assessment, the strategies they are built upon and how to maintain records – monitoring and tracking being a recognised essential component in developing student competencies. The largest proportion of training takes place during University based lectures and workshops, though student teachers are given the opportunity to practice their skills and pedagogy through direct engagement with young people whilst on a school placement.

With an arsenal of strategies to deploy, it is important that teachers know when it is appropriate to use a particular method and when it is not. It is therefore relevant to mention that part of this training, which is on-going even for the most experienced teachers through a series of in-service days and continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities, to hone these skills by translating research into effective practices, assess the progress of all students through the curriculum; including how to assess learners whose attainment is lower than average; use assessment as a planning tool for the class as a whole, as well as drawing up individual plans and targets for pupils. It is expected that teachers in Scotland spend an additional 35 hours of CPD activity, though this does not necessarily need to be based upon assessment.

There is evidence, supported by reports on school inspection by HMIe, to suggest that most schools have short life working groups or committees’ set-up to address assessment, usually under the auspices raising achievement and attainment.

All of the following strategies and record keeping practices for competency based-  assessment are amongst the toolkit of all teachers in Scotland, underpinned by a desire to promote the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence. Where subject specialism’s differ, the type of project work and evidence gathered could diverse significantly. The list is not exhaustive by any means and as creativity is encouraged, teachers are developing new innovative methods of collating assessment evidence. 

Glow, the schools digital network, provides opportunities for online assessment of homework and coursework. In Scotland, though significant resources have been applied to Glow, it still only scratches the tip of the ice-burg in this context. There is potential here, to develop a world class leading system of digital learning. 

Type of Assessment

Strategy Record Keeping
 

Observations

Group work, problem solving, learning centres, excursions, incursions, developmental play, learning stories Anecdotal notes, skills checklists, marking criteria, photography, video/audio/digital recordings
 

Work Samples

Individual work items: concept mapping, drawings, activity sheets, writing tasks, reflections, visual representations, surveys, position papers Portfolios (digital and hard copy), student profiles, scrap books, files
 

Performances

Dramatic enactments, debates, interviews, operas, raps, poetry, songs, dance, panel discussions Marking criteria, rubrics, peer and self assessment, descriptive feedback – oral and written
 

Products

Models, murals, collages, written projects, community projects, presentations, design briefs, powerpoints

Marking criteria, ruberics, peer and self assessment, descriptive feedback – oral and written.

 Moss & Godinho (2005) 

The UNESCO-IBE discussion paper recognises that internationally, contextual assessment is under-developed. There is a historic culture in Scotland that when a young person struggles to attain their potential, that they themselves are to blame. This attitude, which is not unique to Scotland, has started to change in recognition that to be inclusive, the education system is responsible for allowing young people to grow and develop. New partnerships with internal and external agencies are now driving forward progress; new ways of working with a range of professionals in Health, The Police, Psychological Services and Social Workers are now accepted as normal practice by teachers, parents, carers and indeed children and young people.

Common, single assessment is now the approach which promotes the young person at the centre of any planning and delivery within the education service. Through various strategies such as Cooperative Learning and collaborative assessment; teamwork, leadership, communication, organisation and high level skills in preparing for learning, life and work are all core components of a rich and diverse curriculum. This requires, from the onset in teaching training, a sound understanding of the purpose of assessment and the role that it plays on developing competencies. Teachers must now be the facilitator and the evaluator and they need to understand where one role starts and the other stops.

There is a desirable need for schools to change their practices if they are to become 21st century learning providers. Policymakers and staff delivering frontline services need to realise that it is acceptable to promote alternative assessment practices if they are to inform the progress of an individual or a cohort. The new National Qualifications will employ a systemic and robust quality assurance process which sees the required assessment being consistent and orderly across Scotland and this will soon be made public in detail from The Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Service Synergy Part 3 – Enabling and Empowering People

On October 11th, I wrote an article on Service Synergy – the first in a series of articles on public service integration. I have since written an article on Living Within Our Means.

First, let me state that I am not an expert on leadership or motivation. I’m simply going to write down my personal thoughts on this topic, based on a theme of change within global education portfolios and curricula. I have used John Kotter’s model in the past and find that it works well. There are loads of examples of such practice and you’ll need to find what works for you.

Indeed, being heavily involved in educational change in Scotland, I can base some of this on experience; I recognise that enabling and empowering people is crucial to effective change management and that being sensitive to this issue is the first step in realising successful innovation in education; culture, structure and process.

To be successful you will need your people to be with you. If they are content with the status quo and do not see then need for change, you’ll have real difficulty making it happen. I guess the first step is to identify the drivers for change and the opportunities that can be exploited to bring about better service delivery. This would include honest discussions which stimulate people, both within the service and also with external partners. It is always helpful to establish a sense of urgency at this stage as I find that it tends to increase productivity.

When people ask, ‘what’s in it for me?’ have an answer prepared or better still, tell them before they ask!

From the initial discussions, it’s really important to identify the key players. Who can lead effective change and who has the good ideas? The team needs to be built around the various personalities required for any good team; innovators, finisher completers and all that. Emotional commitment is essential; if everyone has a vested interest then it’s easier to sell ownership. It’s also important that there is a good mix of people from various levels within the organisation. Collaboration is the name of the game and I’ll come back to this later.

A clear and transparent vision is needed to guide educational change. This needs to be specific and should not be vague. From this, an implementation plan needs to be developed; use the key players identified from the initial discussions to help with this.

Perhaps the most important element, which should happen all the time, is communication and engagement. The expected changes need to be modeled and explored with key stakeholders. Any disaffection needs to be addressed immediately; identify concerns, be open, honest and involve those who challenge your vision or implementation plan. Be ambitious but realistic in what you can achieve.

Don’t worry about making mistakes along the way. If you get something wrong, acknowledge it and adapt your structures and procedures accordingly. Move forward but accept that there will be set-backs. When things go wrong, a good leader looks in the mirror, a poor leader looks at the workforce.

Driving the change and making the vision into reality is probably the most difficult stage in empowering people. Success needs to be acknowledged and rewarded; set-backs need to be supported. If someone is not fully engaged, ask them why and talk to them. Listen and where possible use their ideas. Collaboration gives a real sense of ownership and people are more likely to follow you. Being strategic is about being open to everything that is going on. Make sure that your performance management processes support your objectives. I’m going to blog about Delivering Outcomes within the next few weeks and that article will supplement this series on service synergy.

Use your influence rather than your authority and trust people to do their jobs. They are more likely to approach you for support if there are obstacles and barriers to progress if you can do this consistently.

Identify and select easy changes that make a real difference. Short term wins add momentum to your strategic implementation plan. I have found that some kind of consolidation helps to inform change, regular meetings to review progress and to review activity will help to identify potential improvements. Look for ways to bring in more influential people into your team as this can revitalise engagement.

Finally, share successes and praise those who perform well. Some healthy peer competition drives change and enables the workforce to strive for excellence. Be reflective and review your own learning. Challenge yourself and others where there is slippage. Develop and embed your vision into the culture, structure and process of the service and use communication channels such as the intranet and newsletters to publicise progress. Remember to build in quality assurance and continuous improvement processes as this will help you to sustain change.