This module focuses on the role of the MSL and the impact that it has for ensuring whole school improvement in Mathematics. It uses practical activities and processes to enable you to reflect on your role within the SLT and uses questions to prompt discussions and further reading. All the activities can be used with teams as well as individuals in your school and are devised to enable whole school clarity about the scope and impact of your leadership role.
By the end of this strand you will be able to:
- plan effectively for change
- build a team
- develop processes and systems which support change
- evaluate the impact of success criteria.
What makes change manageable and creative?
Involving other teachers in developing mathematics
You don’t have to do everything, in fact it is often more productive to include other people in developing teaching and learning. You can distribute responsibility within your school or look outside the school, or do both! These activities are adapted from the secondary MSL materials.
Which aspects of mathematics are the teachers in your school good at?
You will have found out what particular skills the teachers in your school have by:
- sharing successes - explain something that ‘went well’
- analysing results
- feedback from parents and pupils
- observing lessons
- using questionnaires
- book sampling
- exciting but focused planning.
Plan how you will ensure you know what skills the teachers in your school have.
How will you use teachers’ skills to develop mathematics?
- in formal coaching or mentoring partnerships
- in informal partnerships
- as an expectation following CPD
- as part of an Action Research project
- in demonstration lessons
- in short demos at staff meetings
- using video or observation rooms.
Record your thoughts about working with colleagues in your Personal Learning Space.
Using people outside your school to develop mathematics
There are many people outside your school who are willing and ready to help you develop teaching and learning in your school. These will vary from working with another school to develop an aspect such as questioning together using co-coaching, to inviting in a specialist to talk about problem solving approaches to the whole staff and then working on the suggestions together.
‘Change leadership is not a skill or a talent that only senior leaders need to develop. It must go right through the organisation...for example, a middle leader might be working across a network of schools and agencies to deliver projects and initiatives.’
School Leadership Today, NCSL 2009
Activity: Working with others outside school
Construct a diagram that shows who you might recruit to help your staff develop their mathematics teaching.
Make notes on who you might use and who you might contact.
For example you may have a governor with specific maths expertise.
NB: care needs to be taken at all stages that the school complies fully with the safeguarding of children legislation.
Models of change
Although there are many models of change in existence no one model fits all in education.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has developed a model process that schools have used to implement significant change.
It is a five stage linear model:
‘Change happens whether we encourage and welcome it or not. To direct it and ensure it is positive progress, it is vital to have a vision, a strategy and a proven, structured and adaptable process for managing change in place, supported by appropriate skills and tools.’
The most effective change models enable schools and other organisations to develop effective and long-term change that meet their own specific circumstances. It is a generic and powerful process that produces unique 'made to measure' outcome. Ticklists of how to do it are therefore less effective than supporting whole school changes that impact on pupils.
Effective change processes therefore, enable and encourage schools and their partners to:
The change curve
- identify and agree where change is necessary
- facilitate a vision of the future shared across whole-school and stakeholder communities
- collaborate internally and externally, with other schools, organisations and agencies, in an effective and productive way
- create and implement plans for 'tailored' change in an atmosphere of consensus
- embed an inclusive and proactive culture of long-term progress, and
- improve standards for staff, stakeholders and pupils.
John Fisher developed a model to represent the personal journeys of individuals through the transition processes. This is a useful starting place for individuals to identify their reactions to change and to make others aware of their feelings.
Emotional responses to change
Reflect on a successful change that you have implemented in your professional life.
What went well?
Were there any setbacks?
Draw a graph to show the positives and negatives of this change from your perspective.
Reflect on our emotional response to change.
Now think of the impact of a change on other members of staff.
How will they react to the changes you propose?
Are there ways of supporting individuals with changes that are needed?
Record your thoughts in your Personal Learning Space.
What is a strategic plan?
Activity: Strategic planning
‘In an era of rapid change and multiple initiatives from government, schools have to take on new ideas and learn from doing them. The importance of developing a reflective and learning culture so that strategy can emerge from the analysis of experience is a powerful way of dealing with complexity.’
Davies et al, 2007:74 ‘Success and Sustainability – Developing the strategically focused school’ in School Leadership Today, NCSL 2009
Find your school vision statement. If you have not revised it recently or you do not have a vision statement that is shared by all stakeholders complete ‘How can I include all stakeholders?’.
Decide on one change from the school vision for mathematics that will have a big impact on pupil learning.
Write a goal statement which reflects what the outcome of the change will look like for pupils.
By the end of the change pupils can..........................
Assign an end date for the project.
Break down this goal into manageable chunks:
- what needs to change? When?
- how do you want to make changes?
- what will count as a successful change?
Who will make the changes?
- choose a target group identified in the SIP e.g. girls' achievement in Mathematics at KS2 or gifted and talented pupils in Year 2
- identify which staff will work with you to bring about the change.
How will you evaluate the changes?
- use action research methodology?
- use formal/informal observations
- discuss the outcomes at a staff meeting or SLT meeting?
How does this impact on the vision?
- have you met the success criteria for pupils?
- how can you extend this success to other pupils?
Activity: Where should we start?
Use a staff meeting to discuss the following:
What changes do we want to make in order to bring about the goal identified above?
Write down each idea on a separate post-it note.
In fours answer the following:
- which changes could be made quite easily?
- which changes must be made no matter how hard they may be?
- which changes are beyond your control to make?
Sort the post-it notes into 3 columns - similar to this table
Collect all the post-its from the staff and prioritise the must dos on a timeline that fits with the school development priorities.
- what changes in values must be facilitated?
- what will people have to learn to make the changes?
- how can this learning be facilitated?
Choose one ‘change’ from the ‘quick-fix’ list to implement tomorrow! Write it down and read it out to the rest of the staff:
In two weeks’ time I will have .............................................................
Make notes in your Maths Subject Leader file of the outcomes of this meeting.
Include the following:
the overall goal with timescale
the three column chart with post-its
each individual commitment.
Record your thoughts in your Personal Learning Space.
What challenges do you face implementing these changes?
Write down your next steps with timescales.
Leading by example - how can this impact on our success criteria?
The influence of leading by example cannot be underestimated. This brings expectations and pressures on the Mathematics Subject Leader that requires careful planning and monitoring with the Senior Leadership Team. Personal targets that support the strategic plan for Maths are a powerful way of demonstrating the impact of changes for the better. At the end of each term it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of these targets on pupil progress. Building on success by using your evidence to share with other staff is a powerful way of implementing whole school change.
Here is an example of an MSL embedding whole school strategic targets with her personal targets.