Best Practice

Creating a culture of high expectations

Developing a culture where everyone in the school has high expectations and takes responsibility for learning should be the goal of all school leaders. Steve Burnage looks at the key elements that such schools are built on

The focus on standards-based reform, as championed by the UK government and through the current Ofsted inspection framework, has led to an increased emphasis on tests, coupled with rewards and sanctions, as the basis for “accountability” systems.

These strategies have often had unintended consequences that undermine access to education for low-achieving students.

They have also undermined, according to Ofsted’s chief inspector, access to a broad and balanced curriculum and this is something that Ofsted has recognised in its consultation over the new Education Inspection Framework due for implementation in September (Ofsted, January 2019).

From my point of view, more successful outcomes are often achieved in schools and colleges that have focused on broader notions of accountability, including investment in teacher knowledge and skill, the organisation of schools to support teacher and student learning, and the use of systems of assessment that drive curriculum reform and teaching improvements.

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