Smart collaboration

Smart collaboration

Given the importance attached to collaboration and partnership work in our 'self-improving system', there is surprisingly little research on the most effective means of collaboration between and within schools. Yet to move beyond anecdote and staffroom exchanges and establish structured partnerships, we need to find ways to work smarter to achieve the best return we can for teachers and pupils on the time and energy invested.

Michael Fullan states ... "The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things - for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still - working together generates commitment."

Patrick Watson, EdCentral's resident EdExpert says: "It is commonly claimed that no school system can be better than the quality of individual teachers in that system (ref. Professor Michael Barber). But the counter claim – brought by Professor Hargreaves and Fullan - is that if teachers work in effective partnerships to help each other to improve their practice, substantial value is added across the system. The sum then, becomes greater than the parts, bringing significant benefits for teachers' professional development and pupil attainment."

Are you missing a trick?

There are many options for structured collaboration. We've put together a checklist of some approaches that could give your school an advantage:

Shared teaching responsibility
Strong collaboration with shared accountability can lead to better progress and attainment for pupils. Take a look at 'Partnership working in small rural schools'.

Meeting of minds
Bringing school leaders, teachers and governors together to pool strategic thinking, skills and knowledge can supercharge your strategic planning processes.

Resource sharing
School leaders, teachers and other staff can be shared across more than one school, opening up new solutions to recruitment and succession planning challenges.

Extra enhancements
Finding, funding and offering specialist expertise or enriched curricular/extra-curricular activities can be easier for groups of schools.

Professional development
Save time planning training and development and get better deals with a joined up approach, by sharing external training and appointing a group coordinator.

Economies of scale
A collective purchasing strategy can help make even a shrinking budget go much further.
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