Where might the journey start?Perhaps a school has realised there may be a bigger goal for education, that it might actually be cultivating habits of dependency in students through too much spoon feeding; or perhaps an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ judgement is not backed up by Outstanding teaching and learning; or perhaps Outstanding is a long way off, but the school is serious about getting there. For any of these schools, the LQF offers the basis for a radical re-think of their vision for learning.
A serious learning challengeA school that takes on the Learning Quality Framework will be embarking on possibly the most challenging change process it has ever encountered. The Framework is not a quick fix to raise examination results. Rather it is the basis for thoughtful planning, aimed at what will be for most schools, a significant change in culture. It is a deeply formative framework rather than a set of hoops to be jumped through. Using the Learning Quality Framework helps the school to:
- shine a light on both the formal and informal learning processes of the school
- align key processes to expand young people’s and the school’s capacity and appetite to learn
- blend culture change in school, habit change by teachers and learning habit formation by students
- save hours of thinking time yet be treated professionally: stimulating your thinking rather than doing it for you
- gain a Learning Quality Mark, giving public recognition to the school’s pioneering efforts.
Here are just some of the views of people who have used the framework.
1) Bringing order to chaos
It made sense of my random thoughts. We have been struggling to think about what we needed to do next. We had lots of ideas but they were random and disorganised. The framework has drawn these all together. It’s the school’s plan for the future" Secondary School DH, Solihull This is my development plan for the next five years." Primary HT, Winchester It gives us a very clear (but not easy) picture of the dynamic nature of learning. I know what classrooms need to be like now and we will gradually work towards this." Primary School DH Aha! Now I see where I am going; it all makes sense. This gives me the big picture. We have been working in a small area of this and when you are working down in the detail you lose sight of the whole. This gives me a route map for so many aspects of school life." Secondary School DH, Birmingham It will probably save SLT about 100 hours of thinking time. This framework has organised so many things about learning into a format that we can use with all staff." Secondary School Assistant HT It makes sense of so much of what we have been thinking about for a while. It’s as though our bitty incoherent thoughts have been plucked out of our heads and straightened out into something really useful." Secondary School DH
2) Re-energising effort
We have been working with learning to learn for a little while now but it had started to fizzle out because we were unsure what to do next – how to grow it. This framework shows what we need to do – it’s the anti-freeze, giving the help we have needed/wanted." Primary School HT It’s really useful but the best thing is that its not a tick the box framework. It stimulates thinking rather than doing all the thinking for you. It gets you curious to find out more. We’ve had enough of being told what to do. This framework treats us like professionals. It guides you to find your own way through a long and challenging process." Secondary School DH It will be helpful to any school, irrespective of where they are on their journey." Primary School DH
3) Upping the challenge
I didn’t know I was looking for this – now I’ve found it I don’t know how I could ever have functioned without it." Primary School HT, Warwickshire Our school wasn’t challenged by Ofsted. This framework gives us a whole new challenge – something worth working towards." Grammar School HT We owe the next generation more than we give them now. This framework shows us how to do that." Academy HT
4) Flying the colours
We will use this framework to guide our journey and we will want our progress validating. Going for assessment at various milestones or staging posts will be our way of celebrating that progress." Secondary School HT At first I thought “We’ll just use this very useful framework by ourselves quietly. We don’t need to go for any external assessment.” But then I revised that idea. I realized that having a level in view and working towards recognition would give added impetus and purpose to our endeavours. We wanted to become that Silver Level school and we wanted to be recognized for our effort and expertise. This award gives public recognition that we are a different sort of school. We are ‘nailing our learning colours to the mast.’ Primary School HT