Anyway I digress, what in really wanted to share was some of the main points from one of the books I read whilst I was there. This book was 'Why Not The Best Schools?' Written by Brian Caldwell and Jessica Harris. This was first published by the Australian Council For Educational Research (ACER) in 2008. In this book Caldwell and Harris consider what the best schools look like and pose the question in the title for their colleagues in Australian schools and education systems to consider. Caldwell had written before on schools and education and he encapsulates his thinking around this by identifying four key 'capitals' that he believes need consideration when looking at school improvement. He feels these Intellectual, Social, Spiritual and Financial capitals all need focused attention if schools are going to achieve the best for themselves and their pupils. Both Caldwell and Harris refer to the Mckynsey report on global education that stated 'The quality of schools will never exceed the quality of their staff' and how they wished to consider this further by looking closely at successful schools in six different countries. These were China, Finland, England, Wales, Australia and USA. As part of their investigations the two authors worked with schools and staff from each of these countries.
As a result of their work, they felt they were able to identify common practices found in successful schools within the six countries. I share these with you as follows:
- The schools select staff to reflect local needs
- The schools share a strong focus on CPD, particularly in-house sharing of knowledge and skills
- The schools share strong relationships with other schools to share knowledge and skills
- The schools have developed relationships with organisations other than schools
- The schools have clearly defined values
- The schools have student well-being as a priority
- The schools receive government funding
- The schools seek funding from other resources
- The schools have developed leadership structures appropriate to their contexts and are led by valued and visionary leaders
- The schools have have high levels of freedom for day to day management
Over to you.