NCSL launches coaching and mentoring guide
The National College for School Leadership (NCSL) has launched a new guide to coaching and mentoring in England’s schools.
‘Leading Coaching in Schools’ recommends a seven point plan for schools wishing to develop coaching and mentoring schemes urging school leaders to firstly develop themselves and make sense of the whole before developing a system.
It says coaching and mentoring is important in "the quest to ensure that there are sufficient future leaders in the system to secure succession when the current generation moves on."
NCSL’s assistant director of research, Jane Creasy, says the workbook highlights the many benefits of coaching and mentoring and will help to address the inconsistency in this area across the schools system.
"Coaching and mentoring have become familiar concepts in education, and in our study we have found some excellent examples of coaching in schools but, whilst people are interested in the idea, there is some very varied practice across the country," she said. "Heads and senior leaders buy into the idea, but are keen to find out ways of really embedding coaching throughout the school."
According to the NCSL, content for the guide was drawn from a series of NCSL Leading Practice seminars, in which heads from around the country with a proven track record in effective coaching and mentoring, gathered together to share their approaches.
The guide will be launched at a new Leading Practice event on coaching and mentoring on 20 October. The event at NCSL’s Learning and Conference Centre, Nottingham, will feature contributions by schools which feature in the workbook along with a presentation from Philippa Cordingley of CUREE (Centre for Use of Research and Evidence in Education) who has led work on the development of a National Framework for Coaching and Mentoring.
One of the schools that has contributed to the guide is Manchester comprehensive Newall Green High School, which has pioneered a process of confidential peer coaching in which classroom observation plays a key role. But, unusually, the teacher coaches the observer rather than the other way round.
"The person that is doing the teaching is in effect the coach," explained headteacher Neil Wilson. "The observer is looking at good practice to use in his or her own teaching."
The school says the scheme has had a positive impact on pupil performance with students taught by teachers involved in the coaching programme adding three points onto their Key Stage 3 test scores. English, maths and science departments participated in the scheme which is now being rolled out across a number of additional faculties and staff.
"We felt that traditional methods of staff professional development were not working for every member of staff at Newall Green," Neil Wilson added. "Often this activity was expert-led and would involve a senior leader working with a middle manager who in turn would work with a junior member of the department.
"What happened was that there was one way dialogue which was often counter-productive. We wanted to break away from this because we had learned that the best development occurs when you work with a colleague on an equal footing with no status issues."
Jane Creasy added: “All school leaders have a moral responsibility to promote everyone’s learning – adults as well as children, and an imperative to develop the next generation of school leaders. High quality coaching and mentoring is one way of achieving this because it supports professional development, develops future leaders and helps school improvement.”
Copies of the publication, priced £10, can be ordered through the NCSL website – www.ncsl.org.uk/researchpublications.
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