Put your differences aside and work together

13th November 2009 at 00:00
Experts urge schools to form partnerships to make new effectiveness framework a success

Original paper headline: Put your differences aside and work together, governors told

Schools must put aside their differences and work together for the good of all pupils if the attainment-raising school effectiveness framework (SEF) is to succeed, two top education figures warned this week.

Speaking at a Governors Wales conference in Llandudno, Richard Parry Jones, Anglesey's director of education, and Bill Maxwell, Estyn's chief inspector, both said that good practice could only be spread if schools worked together in effective partnerships.

The SEF is the Assembly government's flagship scheme to improve performance and reduce variations at school and classroom level.

The outcomes of the pilot projects, which involved teams of "superheads" spreading good practice and consortia of local authorities working together, are currently being examined by officials before the scheme is relaunched in September 2010.

But one of the concerns coming from the pilots is that some of the partners did not "buy in" to the activities and felt left out.

Mr Parry Jones, a former chairman of ADEW (Association of Directors of Education in Wales) and one of the longest serving education chiefs in Wales, said: "For too long the education system has been overly competitive, with practitioners unwilling to share and learn from each other.

"We have to operate on a more regional level and think along less competitive lines.

"We must set these narrow considerations aside and see that we all have a responsibility for every learner, whether they happen to be in your school or somewhere else."

He said this meant that schools must be willing to share the expertise of their headteachers.

"Bear in mind that when you release a head from your school they too benefit from that process and they can bring other skills back to your school," he said.

Mr Maxwell also urged governors to look beyond their individual establishments and have a "wider breadth of vision".

"It is important that you reinforce the view that schools should not be seen as islands unto themselves," he said.

"We should be looking at schools as an interdependent network of provision. It should be about the best interest of learners in your area, not just the best interests of the school as an institution."

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