The Network for Social and Educational Equity undertook a survey of educational professionals in the west of Scotland.
The survey is part of work we are doing to evaluate the effectiveness of the West Partnership Regional Improvement Collaborative, Scotland’s biggest RIC in terms of the number of schools and pupils. It gave us a snapshot of practitioner views and practices, and examined five themes – Reflection and Enquiry, Planning, Involvement, Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) and Leadership.
The survey received over 1,700 responses, 615 from members of the senior leadership teams and1,115 from Staff, in schools and other educational establishments.
Baseline of collaboration
Our key findings suggest there was a baseline of collaboration between teachers and schools with colleagues using enquiry within classrooms and out with their establishments, by sharing their learning and practice. However, collaboration was not widespread and more likely to be experienced by senior leaders, rather than staff.
Almost 50 percent of senior leaders believed they had most, or all of the skills required for professional learning through enquiry, while nearly 50 percent of staff said they had some of those skills, which means a considerable proportion of respondents don’t, nor are they confident in this undertaking.
Respondents had knowledge of their establishments’ improvement priorities, but fewer staff members are frequently involved in agreeing those priorities. Staff are much less involved than SLT in establishments` strategies for raising attainment than SLT, it could be the case of course that they might not necessarily believe they are involved in the strategies but are involved in the practices.
Collaborative working ‘taking forward improvement’ and leadership of change
Collaborative working in taking forward improvement is effective to some extent; with staff believing it to be somewhat less effective than the senior leadership team (94% of SLT were equally split between it being very effective and effective to some extent).
Parental Engagement is taking place to shape curriculum and future direction of establishments and in engaging parents in their child`s learning, but not that frequently or not that effectively.
Pupil engagement is happening, their views are taken into consideration either frequently or sometimes before major changes are made.
There was some dubiety about CLPL focus in establishments; with a majority of staff thinking it was neither very focussed on practice or on building leadership capacity. In addition, senior leaders seemed to be more likely to be given opportunities to take on leadership roles, internally and externally.
There were many positives to draw on: review of practice, active collaboration for planning and enquiry, with internal and external colleagues. There is a foundation for change through the existence of enquiry skills, planning that takes place, involvement of senior staff in setting priorities for improvement and attainment and support for professional learning.