Dundee, together with researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, is to launch a major new strategy aimed at improving the quality of education for all children and young people in the city.
Developed by a group of experienced head teachers, the two-year initiative will be evaluated by the university researchers. Through the work of their Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) they have developed a methodology that encourages collaborative working that has seen impressive results in the local authorities where it has been taken up.
The new strategy concentrates on the three P’s:
- Presence – ensuring that all pupils attend regularly and promptly
- Participation – creating a climate within schools that allows all pupils to feel welcome and valued
- Progress – developing policies and practices that maximise the achievement and ambitions of all pupils.
Central to the strategy is the creation of an education system that is driven collectively by school leaders. It will involve practitioners at all levels of the education system, including early years and further education, in taking shared responsibility for improving the quality of education across the city.
Collaboration for success
Nationally, more than 100 school teams have developed collaborative projects using the NSEE model. This approach is cited as best practice in the nation-wide school self-evaluation guidance (How Good is our School 4).
One participating local authority saw numeracy attainment increase by 14% (P4) and 11% (P7) since 2016, while literacy increased by 9% (P4) and 13% (P7); changes attributed to the NSEE approach.
A crucial aspect of the NSEE collaborative approach is local context. Educational research shows that the most effective collaborative school/system improvement efforts are those led by local teachers and education department members working in partnership with like-minded professionals and others.
Improving life chances
Professor Chris Chapman, Founding Director of the Robert Owen Centre, said: “We look forward to working with our colleagues to improve life chances for all Dundee’s children and young people. While strategies like this are not a quick fix, working collaboratively and taking account of the local context has been proven to lead to better outcomes for pupils time and again.”
Audrey May, Chief Education Officer at Dundee City Council: “I am really excited about the launch of this Strategy to support us in continuing our journey of improved outcomes for our learners in Dundee. I am looking forward to further developing our collaboration and networks across the system and encouraging the leadership of strategy from within our schools and nurseries.
“There is so much good practice to share across the system and by moving this knowledge around, I believe we will truly deliver excellence and equity for Dundee’s children and young people.
“I would like to acknowledge my appreciation and gratitude for our partners on this journey – Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow and to the head teachers who formed the Strategy Group.”