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Beating the Odds

by Harry on March 2, 2009

How do schools with disadvantaged populations beat the odds? England’s Chief Inspector of Schools just released a report examining a group of schools that do and analysing what they have in common:

* They excel at what they do for a high proportion of the time
* They prove constantly that disadvantage or not speaking English at home need not be a barrier to achievement
* 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 provide outstanding teaching, rich opportunities for learning and encouragement and support for each student
* They are highly inclusive
* Their achievements happen by highly reflective, carefully planned and implemented strategies
* 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.

This is exactly what you’d expect from the school improvement and effectiveness literature. I’ve been reading a lot of this lately, and what is surprising is how much convergence there is on this. You might think that having achieved such a high level of consensus it would be easy to move into some sort of policy promoting such schools. But it’s not so easy.

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