Intervention for learning : supporting school improvement
Bringing about school improvement has become a national focus for education. There has been little research into school improvement from the perspective of intervention, yet it has become an urgent issue due to the commitment to address under-performance in schools. This research provides insights into the use of research findings about school improvement and effectiveness in working with schools; and insights about how best to support schools in promoting a culture and ways of working in which development can be secured. It uses the development of two projects, in the first phase gaining insights from intervention with eight schools, and in the second phase gaining a closer look at the impact of interventions in two schools at the different levels of headteacher, deputy, subject leader, class teacher and children. The sample draws on schools from different contexts. In the first phase, schools were considered where intervention was welcomed, and the second phase included schools with more embedded difficulties and where intervention had not been sought. The interaction between the impact of intervention at school, classroom and pupil level is explored, drawing out the inter-relationship between the elements of intervention in promoting improvement. The research drew upon a phenomenological perspective to consider the perceptions of those involved in terms of the interventions; methods of data collection were developed which drew upon both qualitative and quantitative processes, including narrative analysis. A model for intervention is offered alongside the identification of the activities and skills of interveners working to promote school improvement. Aspects of change are identified in relation to the technical, cultural and micro-political development. A new identification of the phases of development is given, and aligned to the inter-related aspects of the change process. Turbulence and uncertainty had to be managed constructively as schools moved to the awareness that the skills of rigorous self-evaluation were a key lever for their improvement. Identification of the intervention which supports aspects of change and is phased for different stages of improvement is a recommended way forward.