Great ideas are already out there

25th January 2008 at 00:00
Moves towards sharing more good practice between schools and classrooms in Wales is generally welcomed by all in the teaching profession (page 3). The thirst for better teaching and learning techniques, with the aim of raising learner performance, is a sure sign that enthusiasm for self-improvement is alive and kicking.

A good example is Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno and its brilliant idea of a "butty system" for newly qualified teachers. Geography teacher John Bagnall, who is in charge of the school's good practice and looks after the needs of new recruits, shows how experienced school staff can be used to help those who are new to the profession.

Spreading good practice between schools, classrooms and local authorities under a collaborative approach is the aim of plans for a School Effectiveness Framework in Wales, reported by TES Cymru last week and due to be launched next month.

Under the framework, school improvement will involve joint working, bringing together the best teaching methods in Wales in a bid to end the present inequalities in our system and enable more of our children to fulfil their potential. It could also mean heads being paid by the Assembly government to work with coasting schools. It is a radical and possibly controversial idea.

But no one can argue that this is not a positive move. The idea that schools can tap into the expertise of teachers and headteachers is the right one.

Education experts, who have been working behind the scenes to deliver this framework, have their reservations. One of them, Professor David Reynolds from Plymouth University, believes the government should be going further to raise "dire" standards in some of Wales's worst schools.

But whatever the shortcomings, this has to be a step forward. The new plans have at their heart the spreading of good practice. Ysgol John Bright should be climbing aboard. However, there will be concerns that these proposals demand a huge culture change. And schools that are struggling right now to raise standards should not become scapegoats in this story. Hopefully, it will have a happy ending.

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