Book: The Nine Pillars of Great Schools by David Woods, Rachel Macfarlane & @damianmcbeath via @JohnCattEd

Published by John Catt Education

The Nine Pillars of Great Schools

14.00*
8.3

Content

8.0/10

Accessible

8.5/10

Authority

9.0/10

Pedagogical

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Advocates practice to help schools move from 'good' to 'great'.
  • The Nine Pillars outlined in this book provide a guiding reference point to help self-analyse, reflect and improve upon some of the challenges faced each day.
  • The authors make it very clear that attention should be made in involving students as citizens of the school community in a real sense.
  • The book is well researched, and integrated with best practice from case-studies.

School Improvement!

Now, now, bear with me – I can hear those collective groans you know! Everyone in education should have just one shared goal, and that is to offer an education that inspires and gives individuals the tools in life to realise their true potential. That’s where school improvement fits in and, as educators, it’s critical to explore tweaks, changes and research that helps improve the academic outcomes of our students. But, there are just so many variables within each different school that managing a successful improvement plan can seem near impossible.

But making the step from a ‘good’ school towards a ‘great’ school takes time, vision and collegiality, where there is an expectation that everyone can and must make a difference to the success of the school. In advocating The Nine Pillars of Great Schools, David Woods, Rachel Macfarlane and Damian McBeath set out important principles that are needed in place to ensure that schools are offering an outstanding education.

The Nine Pillars advocated throughout this book are by no means rocket science. They ooze common sense. But with many distractions placed upon schools, it is easy to see how the focus has moved away from the core principles that result in a great school environment. Take, for example, Pillar 4 – A relentless focus on engaging and involving students. As pupils are the beating hearts of all our schools, their involvement and engagement in the community should be a priority rather than something that might be ‘added on’. The authors make it very clear that attention should be made in involving students as citizens of the school community in a real sense.

Additionally, with Pillar 5, the authors argue that personalised and highly effective CPD within the school community should be a priority. All members of staff should feel valued, invested in and developed. Similarly, the other Pillars within this book looks at simple, common-sense steps that any school can implement immediately to work at becoming a great school. Vision, leadership, exceptional teaching, inclusion, a rich curriculum, partnerships and self-evaluation also have an important place in this book. Each chapter (Pillar) starts by listing key indicators of great schools but then flow into a commentary, supported by further research and case studies that highlight how changes can be made – some subtle, although some would require further investment in time and resources.

In great schools, the promotion of high-quality learning and teaching is at the heart of the school’s endeavours, with very high levels of exceptional and consistent practice within a rich, innovative and inclusive curriculum. If that definition sounds like the vision you foresee for your school, then the Nine Pillars outlined in this book provide a guiding reference point to help self-analyse, reflect and improve upon some of the challenges faced each day. Even though this book is focused around the systems within England, there are tips, guidance and ideas for great practice that could be implemented within any school globally, whose primary aim is to deliver a well-rounded, inclusive education for all within their community.

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About @digicoled 298 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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