I enjoyed reading the RSA report “Schools with Soul” (http://www.thersa.org/action-research-centre/learning,-cognition-and-creativity/education/reports-and-events/reports/schools-with-soul) last term. It got me thinking about our school and how we could turn the SMSC debate into some real life actions. In preparation for our OFSTED visit we have spent some time reviewing and reflecting and this piece of action research arrived at just the right time in my opinion (via twitter).
I have always had an interest in how policy and research gets into the classroom. During the course of this year I will try to share how one tweet linking to an article caught my eye and how it might impact on how our school operates. I hope to provide a series of posts which explains my thinking and gives a view of how I think whole school developments can be implemented. I also hope to develop my (limited) skills of blogging and writing. My intention is that it will force me to regularly review and reflect whilst clarifying my thoughts (which is if you know me a job that is long over due).
I am very lucky to work in a high performing school where systems and structures are well-developed and examination results have been excellent for a number of years. It is a school which is constantly looking to improve and takes a humble view of its achievements. As part of our self-evaluation we completed an SMSC audit this year which has been posted on our website to share the work that we do across our teams but I didn’t want to finish there (http://eggars.net/page/?title=SMSC+%28Spiritual%2C+Moral%2C+Social%2C+Cultural%29&pid=277 – any feedback would be appreciated please).
The executive summary of the “Schools with Soul” research provided two useful documents to structure the start of the debate and identify the place and value of the SMSC at our school. In a busy term this was shared with the lead for PPD and the senior team . The three aspects of school life below will help structure some of our discussions as we start again in September reviewing and refining what we do.
Extract from Fig 1 of Exec Study
- Vision and Goals
- The Learning Environment
- The Curriculum
The challenge is if I think this is an important piece of work how do I get my voice heard and how do I encourage others to get involved? I think these three areas will help us generate another conversation about the values of the school and develop our SMSC provision. I hope we will be able to agree some potential outcomes early next term with our middle leaders and governors but that will require some planning and meeting time first.
- I would be interested in finding out how clear the vision and goals of other secondary schools are reviewed, agreed and shared.
- How much focus is given to the learning environment (as defined by the RSA) and how do other schools cope with the changing nature of the curriculum at the moment?
- Finally how do these three areas link to developing the values of the students and when and where does this take place?
I also found Figure 2 of the executive summary very useful. It explains six channels (?) which could be used to extend our audit and develop the well-being of the students. How and when this will take place is yet to be decided.
I would love to work in a school with a soul. The prospect of developing a different aspect of school life excites me and makes me look forward to September. I have an action plan brewing and if truth be told some of the actions were started in July. Will this work have an impact on outcomes like the RSA suggest? Do I need to do some more research? Or should I trust my instincts?
Or should I spend more time looking at spreadsheets, VA scores and levels of progress ??
I hope you can help ……..