Monday, March 2, 2009

Beating the Odds In English High Schools

A new report from the British Office for Standards in Education--known as Ofsted--"showcases 12 schools in challenging circumstances that have been rated as 'outstanding' in at least two inspections," concluding that:
The outstanding schools in the sample succeed for the following reasons.
  • They excel at what they do, not just occasionally but for a high proportion of the time.
  • They prove constantly that disadvantage need not be a barrier to achievement, that speaking English as an additional language can support academic success and that schools really can be learning communities.
  • They put students first, invest in their staff and nurture their communities.
  • They have strong values and high expectations that are applied consistently and never relaxed.
  • They fulfil individual potential through providing outstanding teaching, rich opportunities for learning, and encouragement and support for each student.
  • They are highly inclusive, having complete regard for the educational progress, personal development and well-being of every student.
  • Their achievements do not happen by chance, but by highly reflective, carefully planned and implemented strategies which serve these schools well in meeting the many challenges which obstruct the path to success.
  • They operate with a very high degree of internal consistency.
  • They are constantly looking for ways to improve further.
  • They have outstanding and well-distributed leadership.

The full report can be downloaded here, and the BBC coverage is here. The strategies will, I'm quite confident, work just as well on our "side of the pond."

1 comment:

  1. t's interesting that this study of 12 "outstanding" English high schools bears the same name, Beating the Odds, as a study done last year on 13 high-performing schools in New York City by my colleagues at the Annenberg Institute, Carol Ascher and Cindy Maguire. The topic is the same: what successful high schools are doing to put low-income students of color, many from immigrant families, on the pathway to college. The findings, not surprisingly, were also very similar.

    Because the findings were so striking, I worked with Carol and Cindy to create a tool that high schools can use to assess their own practice. The tool also identifies many very specific practices these schools are using in four key areas: promoting academic rigor, a network of timely supports, a college-going culture, and effective use of data. Many of these practices are designed to engage families, a particular interest of mine.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!