Why does education need to change?There are many changes, pressures, dissatisfactions and opportunities that are leading thousands of people around the world to ask the kinds of hard questions out of which philosophies and approaches like BLP have sprung.
The economic imperativeEducation is often justified – by governments and others – as an investment in national competitiveness and prosperity, producing a workforce that is highly skilled, creative and adaptable to compete in global markets. However, report after report show ‘a significant disconnection between education systems around the world and the needs of 21st century employers’. There are repeated calls for a curriculum which would be effective at cultivating a core set of ‘generic skills and attitudes, pre-eminently, the ability to learn’.
The personal imperativeIn the complex currents of globalisation, young people find growing up in the 21st century hard. Exposure to multiple pressures and uncertainties concerning deep issues such as livelihood, sustainability, sexuality, loyalty and identity is driving young people to despair or more reckless behaviour. Whether young people flounder or flourish in the wider maelstrom of conflicting images and ideas depends on the resources they have at their disposal. To swim or sink demands a high level of mental and emotional development.
The social imperativeThe UK government’s major Foresight project on ‘Mental capital and well being’ gathered a wide range of expert advice on foreseeable social and technological trends and the personal and material resources that will be needed to meet the likely challenges and opportunities. The report included that human well being in a complex time will become increasingly dependent on the dispositions to be curious, inquisitive, experimental, reflective and sociable – in short to be lifelong and life-wide learners.
What students, teachers and schools do differently in Learning Powered schools.
Listen to Molly Coffey talking about herself as a learner and how Landau Forte school shaped her as a successful learning powered learner.See our Core Model to learn more about how it all works
- The school identified a team of lead practitioners: highly respected and experienced teachers who would act as champions to these radical approaches to learning and teaching.
- The lead practitioners reviewed the quality of learning in lessons, having been trained to know how to look at lessons through a Building Learning Power lens. Two days of intensive observations led to a full and detailed report that recognised the many strengths in current practice but also the missed opportunities on which the school could capitalise.
- This review led to a training course for the lead practitioners, followed by a staff development day in January 2012 – led by one of our BLP consultants, with follow-up workshops from team members. In response, deputy headteacher Alan Blackburn posted the following: ‘I can honestly say that we have not had a training day where so many people have sought me out afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it and valued it. Staff said they really enjoyed your keynote and also got a lot out of the workshops.’
- A second tranche of teachers were introduced to Building Learning Power in practice and linked to coaching partners from the initial team. This led to wider curriculum involvement and an infectious discourse about learning across departments.
- Training of the leadership team then followed to ensure that their quality assurance procedures were consistent with the approaches being taken – this involved joint classroom observations with the external consultant. A member of the SLT, who had been Ofsted trained, stated that outstanding teaching and learning would come from staying consistent to the coherent Building Learning Power approaches.
- Meanwhile, the lead practitioners adopted individual departments – not their own – and acted as mentors to nominated teachers in these curriculum areas.
- Focus work with individual departments
- One-to one work with heads of department or nominated leaders of learning
- Training of new teaching staff
- Formative reviews and reports on progress
- The bringing together of disparate teachers and students from two schools
- The scant training and development that many teachers had previously received
- The inflexible nature of the temporary accommodation
- The limited leadership experience of many who were adopting key roles
- Rapid turnover of teaching staff
- The numbers of new and inexperienced teachers who were starting their careers in less than ideal circumstances
- Regular twilight training sessions for the whole staff on the development of specific learning habits
- Focus work with individual departments linked to the coaching of subject leaders
- Continuous classroom observation and review of the impact of teaching on students’ learning
- Mentoring of individual teachers through a critical friend programme
- Development of student leaders as observers of classroom practice and teachers’ coaches
- Clear about the intended outcomes from lessons
- Aware of the progress that they will make collectively and individually
- Conscious of the learning habits they will be using in lessons
- Trained in routines that build independence and personal responsibility
- Purposefully engaged and moved through a range of cumulative learning experiences at a pace that is varied and appropriate
The products below will also assist in helping you to answer your own starter questions about learning power.
Book list for leaders
The essential BLP books that every school leader should read, one copy of each.
£64.93Add to basket
Learning Habits: At a Glance cards
Timescale: Up to one year
Objectives: Twelve double-sided A3 cards, available as a digital download (pdf), to help teachers infuse the learning power habits into their teaching.
The Learning Quality Framework
Guides the long-term learning journey of a school that aspires to make world-class learning its prime educational goal. It captures the essence of what a learning school does to ensure that all its people – staff and students – become better learners.