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At Ysgol Eirias, Colwyn Bay, we believe that developing schools in Wales as learning organisations makes perfect sense…

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

SLO boardroomOur Leadership Team at Ysgol Eirias were keen to get our hands on effective strategies to build capacity ready for the new curriculum. So we were excited to use the seven dimensions of the SLO model for Wales to help us move forward.

Our first introduction to SLO as a pioneer school by the OECD was an enlightening experience: it linked all the education reform activity together! We could now see the common thread through Donaldson’s Successful Futures, Furlong’s Initial Teacher Education reform and the new Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership.

The SLO dimensions made perfect sense and provided scope for targeting professional learning and collaboration to create an engaging whole school philosophy.

We used the seven dimensions as a basis for this year’s whole school targets in our School Improvement Plan and set targets to fully explore each dimension.

SLO Dimension 1: developing and sharing a vision centred on the learning of all learners:

The newly appointed head teacher devised a vision in line with Donaldson’s four purposes; the vision has moulded and influenced school policies including performance management.

SLO Dimension 2: creating and supporting continuous learning opportunities for all staff; AND SLO Dimension 7: modelling and growing learning leadership:

As part of the drive to continuously improve professional learning, a Career Development Pathway (CDP) has been devised to enable all staff to plot their progress and explore appropriate pathways. Pathways can branch off in various directions and are used to help teachers improve their pedagogy.  Staff have been using this approach to inform performance management discussions.  A package of ‘pathways’ is also available for those wishing to progress into leadership.  The CDP  also includes teaching support and administrative staff.

SLO Dimension 3: promoting team learning and collaboration among all staff; AND SLO Dimension 4: establishing a culture of enquiry, innovation and exploration; AND SLO Dimension 6: learning with and from the external environment and wider learning system:

The school’s ‘observation’ system has been evolving over the past few years to enhance supportive ‘reflection.’ All staff have access to a coach to ‘reflect on’ lessons, based on pedagogical targets.  The new standards provide a focus for the reflection – staff select from a range of standards aligned with our head teacher’s vision for the school.  The process of reflection is designed to promote collaboration and to encourage a ‘live feed’ during the lesson.

New action research groups have enhanced team learning amongst staff. In collaboration with the local University, all members of staff conduct action research in a specific area. The school has set up seven groups based around Donaldson’s pedagogical principles and allocated time for the research.  The University has debriefed staff on effective action research strategies and is also supporting some of the research, ranging from small scale in-classroom projects to those which might turn into Masters’ Units!

As a lead partner school for HEI Initial Teacher Education provision, we have strong links with the wider learning system – these will be further strengthened through the action research groups.   We have made ‘Community’ a whole school target and look forward to improving our links with all aspects of the community.

SLO Dimension 5: embedding systems for collecting and exchanging knowledge and learning:

This dimension is being addressed through re-evaluating our approach to data collection and review across the Key Stages in order to adopt a more ‘mastery’ style approach.

Many of our ideas are in their infancy but they are already bringing collaboration and research back to the table for teachers, even if we are only taking small steps at first.

In the same way as Ysgol Eirias, over 30 pilot schools have contributed to the development of our approach to transform Schools in Wales into Learning Organisations.

Ysgol Gynradd Aberteifi, Aberteifi

Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Abertawe

Christchurch Primary School, Swansea

Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, Swansea

Pembroke Dock Community School, Pembroke Dock

Crickhowell High School, Crickhowell

Craigfelen Primary School, Swansea

Welshpool High School, Powys

Tredegar Comprehensive School, Tredegar

Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Coed duon

Caldicot School, Caldicot

Glan Usk Primary School, Newport

George Street Primary School, Pontypool

Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary, Blaenavon

Deighton Primary School, Tredegar

Risca Primary School, Newport

Bishop Hedley High School, Merthyr Tydfil

Fern Federation (Craig yr Hesg Primary and Cefn Primary)

Cardiff High School, Cardiff

Romilly/Rhws Primary Schools, Barry

Oldcastle Primary School, Bridgend

Llanishen Fach Primary School, Cardiff

Heronsbridge School, Bridgend

Cardinal Newman High School, RCT

Y Pant High School, Pontyclun

Eirias High School, Colwyn Bay

St. Christopher’s School, Wrexham

Ysgol Gynradd Llandrillo yn Rhos, Bae Colwyn

Connah’s Quay High School, Deeside

Ysgol Gwynedd, Sir y Fflint

Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, Bangor

Ysgol Bryn Gwalia, Yr Wyddgrug

Ysgol San Sior, Conwy

Ysgol Emrys Iwan, Yr Wyddgrug

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