Overwhelmingly, we find that inspectors love BLP when they see it. From the reports we have gathered from inspections of BLP schools, their reaction is to congratulate schools where they find pupils are self-aware about their learning, happy to take on responsibility for their own learning, good at collaborating, and so on. Most of our Learning Powered schools improve upon their Ofsted ratings after adopting BLP. We are now pleased to see that the benefits of BLP maintain their impact under the new assessment system, with several Learning Powered schools rated as ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ in recent months. But the benefits of BLP are not limited to those at the top of the Ofsted spectrum: many schools in challenging circumstances have moved from ‘requires improvement’ when BLP has been part of their coherent plan to enhance learning and achievement.
Of the four key areas against which schools are assessed by Ofsted, Building Learning Power directly addresses three – quality of teaching, pupil behaviour, and quality of leadership and management – and naturally impacts on the fourth – pupil achievement.
4. Isn’t BLP just ‘good teaching’ wrapped up in fancy words? It looks like what good teachers have always done.
11. This sounds all well and good with younger pupils, but how do you maintain this during the 'examination' years?
If you see the first years of education as the ‘learning foundation years’ and adapt your curriculum and pedagogy accordingly then you will have prepared students to learn in ways that will both gain them excellent examination results and equip them with the habits of mind for future success. Stop thinking ‘dare I try this with my year 6 students (if you teach in a primary school)’ ?, or ‘dare I try this with my year 11 students (secondary) ? – rather think how much easier it will be to be helping to prepare confident, thoughtful, resilient, independent, self-motivated learners for examination success.
‘What you are talking about makes such good sense – I’ve been thinking all the time about the applications of what you say to the world in which I operate. These habits are what we use all the time and what we need our people to demonstrate in the way they work. I’ve been worried for some time about what I’m looking for beyond good qualifications and this is helping me articulate what we – as employers – need now and in the future.’
Our programmes are often bespoke, but generally have a blend of the following elements: initial SLT awareness so that leaders present a united front about these developments; training of learning champions whose own practice can be enhanced as a precursor to their coaching of other colleagues within a professional learning community; awareness training days for the full staff; all supported by ongoing online support to ensure that the school’s efforts to build better learners remains on track and becomes, over time, a reality. Additional support in terms of a learning review, or The Learning Quality Framework, offer further external support to ensure that progress is sustained.
All of our key programmes are supported by online materials that maintain momentum and act as a stimulus to teachers to adapt their practice with learning in mind. Because these materials are online and can be accessed over an extended period of time, schools are finding them a cost effective means of supporting the development of Building Learning Power.
The fact that many schools have continued to engage us over a number of years and written us into their school improvement plan, is a sign that you will get value for money from what we will do together.