Secondary schools are facing many challenges today. Reform in curriculum and assessment, new methodologies and terminology along with a raft of compliance requirements to name but a few. Striving for best practice is more important than ever to help manage and meet these challenges.
Best practice is not something you achieve and then stop, it is a continuous process of collaboration, reflection and improvement.
You may have islands of best practice within your school, which is great and you should definitely use these as exemplars when introducing best practice policies across the rest of the school.
Best practice is created by consistent behaviour. We have found that schools with great processes have three important elements, we call the 3 C’s
- Collaboration – They provide the space and importantly the time where departments can work as a team. Spaces where they can share their experiences and learn from each other in a safe environment.
- Communication – Everyone is kept up to date with what is happening and has as a chance to provide input and feedback.
- Capture – They capture what worked well, not so well and what could be done better next time. Sharing and reflection are used positively to improve things going forward.
So, what are the supports you can put in place to create an environment where you can foster and encourage best practice?
Plan – Clear realistic milestones. Clearly communicate your vision for best-practice in the school and how this helps everyone in the long-term.
Time – Allow departments time to plan, work together and reflect. This can often be overlooked.
Environment – Provide a space that consistently promotes and facilitates the 3C’s. This should be everyone’s default position and what you commonly work towards.
SchoolWise is a department driven platform. Enabling departments to work together, share and communicate easily is at the core of everything we do. We provide the tools and the scaffolding to give everyone the confidence they are meeting their requirements.
Best practice is something we take seriously at SchoolWise, which is why we built it into every aspect of the platform.
So, when you have delivered your first unit of learning for the new Junior Cycle you can easily capture what worked well and what can be done better next time. Any changes to units will be automatically recorded so you have that information for additional reflection or for the inspectorate later on. Lessons that have proven to be effective are easily shared with everyone in the department.
Automatically generated reports spell out what works and what does not work, displaying positive and negative trends from planning to assessment, academic tracking to enable effective S.S.E which helps in developing best practice and saves you precious time in the process.
Remember this is a process. Best practice is something that develops over time through constant iteration but fundamentally it is through consistent collaboration and communication by individuals in a department.