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We Did it Here! Inspirational Stories of School Improvement and Classroo

ISBN: 9781845900892

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This inspirational book tells the story of how school leaders and teachers have made dramatic improvements in their schools, thanks to a special blend of vision, creativity and determination. Our current education system is replete with new initiatives, government programmes, imposed targets and national tests. For many working in education today, this has stifled creativity, innovation and motivation. When confronted with exciting findings from educational research and inspirational training courses that could benefit schools, the response, ''but we couldn't do that at our school'' is frequently heard. It seems that many of those working in our schools have become disenchanted with change and disempowered from creating a brighter future for our children.Using up-to-date case studies from a range of secondary schools, ''We Did It Here'' shows how others have brought about dramatic changes in their schools. It showcases outstanding and inspirational practice from schools throughout the country. During a tour of some of the finest educational practice today, the book details how you too can learn from the schools featured and put meaningful change into place in your school.The issues addressed include: turning around a failing inner city school; creating partnerships with the community; focussing on learning; embedding ICT and e-learning; creating an enterprise school; and regeneration through school collaboration. The book concludes with a chapter on learning the lessons of these case studies and Brin's own vision of how to bring about effective change in your school, department or classroom. ''We Did It Here!'' will make you think afresh about just what you can achieve in your school and challenge you to lift your horizons.''This is both an enthralling book and an excellent source of effective practice and strategies for change. With the pressure on so many schools to push forward the targets, the book is full of support materials for managers and staff at all levels. As a freelance consultant who has witnessed the consequences of both uplifting and disappointing performances by short term change gurus, it was heartening to read of the sustainable progress at Northumberland Park and Matthew Moss schools. It was particularly pertinent to note the significant role played by student observers of teaching and learning at Matthew Moss school. This book is a must for all managers to enable staff teams to reflect on good practice in other schools and to ask themselves whether “We Might Do It Here As Well.- John Morris JTM Educational Consultants''In this entertaining book, Brin Best, a teacher turned education consultant, reports on instances of inspirational school improvement and classroom change. He wants to get across that the ''you couldn't do that here'' attitude is plain wrong - that there is room for creativity and imagination in education.He recounts the story of the PE teacher who has a Year 11 class where 96 per cent of pupils are expected to achieve grades A*-C at GCSE in 2008 (it was a lowly 27 per cent in 2006), or there's the head, who turned to the '14 principles for effective organisations' that were put together by US business leader W. Edwards Deming, the man credited with improving Japanese management from the 1950s onwards.Best's book is a celebration of innovation, creativity and motivation - aspects that are often lost in the climate of initiatives, national targets and tests. As he portrays successful schools and school leaders, he builds to a climax where he draws up a 10-point manifesto for 'real change in our schools'.Best's lessons for school leaders are clear. Two of the main ones are that leaders must accept the responsibility that comes with the more flexible educational framework for schools that lies ahead. They should also commit to making creativity a key Dart of the ethos of the school.''Leadership Focus UK Dec 2008''After a career spent writing about school improvement and working closely with educational professionals to support positive and sustainable change, Brin Best decided to capture real stories from real schools that have successfully embedded new initiatives. He does not shy away from the fact that the climate for educational change has not always been great, arguing in his 'manifesto for real change in our schools' that schools, government and society all have a, role to play in bringing about a more positive approach. He links this to investment in strong leadership and organisational skills, as well as the need to trust teachers as highly trained professionals.Seven case studies from a wide range of secondary schools provide honest and accessible accounts of the challenges and triumphs encountered when grappling with the need to embed new practices. Although the book is based on secondary schools, Best argues that the principles of the case studies can be useful to the primary sector too. One of the closing chapters features a summary of 'lessons learned', in which he crystallises the key features of schools managing progress towards their goals. This is a truly engaging and inspirational read, which can be used to complement approaches to action research and enquiry.''-Jo McShane, Learning and Teaching Update, April 2009''For those stifled by government initiatives, worn out by imposed targets and demotivated by lack of autonomy, We Did It Here! may be a welcome antidote. The book carries a range of secondary school testimonies, designed to show how teachers and school leaders managed to effect powerful change in their schools. Most helpfully, each case study gives practical guidance on how they reached their goal, and useful materials for others facing similar challenges. In one sense the range of studies is the book's one disadvantage - a teacher will be wanting different inspiration to a head, for example - but it does mean the book appeals to a wide range of people. What it certainly does deliver is inspiration and strategies for anyone wanting to bring about change in their school.''- Rosie Akeroyd, The Teacher November 2009