1. Introducing the PLI – Summit Learning Trust Roadshow

Our ambition – to create a dynamic, inspirational professional learning and research community – to offer high quality development opportunities, accessible to all – to make professional expertise and curiosity the norm across all our establishment.

As an organisation we are at a great time to start to realise this ambition. With so much talent and expertise in each of our schools/college. Following initial findings we want to work together to design and devise a cutting edge professional learning community. This community will bring with it aspects of (Stoll et al, 2015):

  • Sharing a focus on pupil learning
  • Cultivating wide involvement and distributed leadership
  • Nurturing respectful relationships and trust
  • Promoting collaborative enquiry leading to deep learning
  • Seeking evidence about processes and outcomes
  • Ensuring supportive structures
  • External facilitators and critical friends

Ultimately this is  not about staff being the ‘receivers’ of CPD but instead it is to focus on our commitment to high quality professional learning as an entitlement and a priority.

Who would like to be a Changemaker in order to make this happen?

2. Securing the PLI rationale & principles (20th May 2019)

“The best way to manage change is to let it happen….to be pulled by the concerns out there, rather than being pushed by the concepts in here” (Mintzberg et al, 1998, p324 & p373)

On the 20th May 2019 Summit Learning Trust the Changemakers came together for the first time to transform the Pofessional Learning Institute rhetoric into reality. The day was facilitated by Jane Creasy who carried out the role with the finest finesse, teasing out the direction of thought from the day. Carolyn Hughan (Wildern School) also joined us to support conversations and to really challenge our next steps.

We initially engaged in West-Burnham’s (2008) differences between shallow, deep and profound learning taking this through the ‘three fields of knowledge’. Taking this idea we began to come up with key terms and statements which we wanted to underpin the rationale of the PLI – these would become our key principles.

The following activity was to really establish our GOALS grid; an opportunity for colleagues to grapple with ‘what is it we want and don’t have?, ‘what is it we have and want to keep?’, ‘what is it we don’t have and don’t want?’ and ‘what is it we have and don’t want?’. Using this we were then in a position to consider our priorities. These would become our ‘stakes in the ground’ in terms of what we need to achieve going forwards.

3. Prioritising the potential & Self Evaluation

On the 17th June we all met to complete the next steps, which were to:

  • Finalise and agree the PLI rationale, principles and elements
  • Finalise and agree PLI priorities – what we want to achieve 1st
  • Review the staff self-evaluation process

Following discussion the principles were agreed collectively to be summarised as follows:

  • shared culture for taking responsibility  of our own, group and collective professional learning
  • establish meaningful collaborative relationships between schools/college within Summit Learning Trust
  • focus on professional learning to have a collective responsibility for the learning of all pupils
  • develop a reflective cycle of professional inquiry to deepen practice
  • secure evidence – based practice to drive forward long term developments
  • enhance opportunities for coaching and growth principles in all we do

Taking the results from the GOALs Grids (20th May) we were able to put our GOALs into themes. We then spent some time prioritising them and beginning to action plan the ‘top 3’.

A discussion on what the self-evaluation needs to include. We reviewed the previous model and took feedback for consideration to secure the ‘needs v desire’ model we want to achieve. We want to ensure that it; identifies needs and desires and provides the right information to tailor professional learning.

4. Preparation for the in-school presentation launch

The Changemakers met for a third time in July (8th) with the aim to:

  • Present the agreed PLI rationale, principles and elements
  • Overview of priorities
  • Next steps for the self-evaluation process
  • Draw together and finalise the main points for the Changemakers presentations in September.

The Changemakers were amazing and up for the challenge of another planning afternoon. The self-evaluation is a pinnacle component to both the school/college and the PLI to shape a coherent Professional Learning offer for all. The discussions were fabulous providing clarity and direction to produce the final self-evaluation for both non-teaching and teaching staff.

The Changemakers decided the main message that they wanted to secure in their presentation to colleagues across their school / college. We look forward to seeing the presentations in action during September.