Creating the secure personalised bridge for learners to close the gap 

If you didn’t get a chance to see Create’s Managing Director, Ronnie Heath’s keynote speech in the Bett Arena at the Bett Show on Thursday, 22nd January please see below for Ronnie’s blog post:

Cultural community change vs short term interventions

At Create Development we have had the privilege to work together and support over 2000 schools. All are striving to do better for all their students, indeed in particular they are committed to creating better life chances for their more disadvantaged pupils. In our experience, there is one clear distinction between the really successful ones and the ones still battling hard to try and make a difference.

The difference is the most successful ones have a much smaller, but, relentless focus where there is a clear obvious and deliberate alignment between:

  • What they believe in. 
  • What they say. 
  • What they do. 

Let’s develop a programme and a supporting tool to deal with root causes instead of treating symptoms of underachievement. 

Cultural community change vs multiple and sometimes random interventions

When we were discussing preparations for the Bett Show it reminded me how similar the problem is with the way we approach our own health and fitness. We believe it is the most important thing, we sometimes tell others but we rarely do what is necessary to make it our priority.

At this time of the year most of us have either broken our recent resolutions or are seeing our commitment falter. And the reasons why?

  • Aggressive short-term interventions unsustainable.
  • We join a gym and go everyday for two weeks for intense sessions.
  • We decide immediately to stop eating chocolate, crisps, drinking alcohol or switch to a gluten free diet.
  • We even go on a novelty diet i.e. 5 and 2 or join a weight loss commercial club. They both work, in fact the weight loss clubs business plans are based on them working followed by you failing alone and returning again creating a dependency relationship.

The challenge is to establish clear alignment in:

what we believe in,
what we say
what we do

Imagine if you only had to make small, simple changes that made a massive long-term difference. Maybe not just you, but, a cultural community change where everyone around you is working on the same habits and behavioural changes. What if those small, simple changes were enjoyable, pleasurable and rewarding.

Now consider that everyone goes to the gym, it’s on your doorstep. You have achievable goals, personalised for you, for your aspirations. A clear, enjoyable journey with milestones to celebrate and that make you feel proud. You are supported and coached by others indeed you coach and support them.

The whole community praises your behaviours and your favourite tasty healthy foods are in abundance at home. But not just in one room, all rooms, not just at home but at work, in restaurants, and everyone else’s home, no temptations or confused messages yet a huge amount of choice and personal control. An ‘exceed’ environment where we exceed everyone’s expectations.

A school ‘exceed’ environment, an exceed cultural change:

  • Everybody working together, developing and supporting each other to exceed everyone’s expectations.
  • Clear learning journeys, personalised goals.
  • A balanced diet of challenge and success.
  • A sense of belonging and feeling good about myself with autonomy over my decisions. 

We know and accept how incredibly tough it is, sometimes fighting against a present home environment of fear, mistrust and anger. But every small step is worth it. Overtime, we can create a warm supportive community that can provide the learning nutrition for every child to thrive and for those who need it most.

As part of the ‘exceed’ programme, the Create Development Wheel (CD Wheel) supports us all to build a foundation of accelerated learning culture, it encourages us to shift our valuable resources and focus on the most important things that make the biggest long-term difference.

Simple changes to embed habits that sustain progress over time for our most vulnerable children. 

Examples of action:
Heath and fitness.
Ultimately, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. We can quickly gain short-term wins but they must create foundations we can build upon. For example, habitual walking, carrying a water bottle, eat an apple daily and carry fruit and nuts in the car.

The ‘exceed’ programme and the CD Wheel supports us to address the 3 key challenges we face to close the attainment gap. 

  1. Long-term sustainable, ‘secure’ bridge for our PP children

We reject short-term, quick fixes and only accept quick wins that provide platforms to be built upon.

  1. Clear focus

Focus on specific needs by clear profiling, recognising personal starting points and celebrating each step.

  • Develop a personalised approach.
  • Provide clear learning journeys towards shared vision.
  • Focus valuable resources on the essential core elements, the most important things.

Small, simple consistent changes that transform learning.

  1. Togetherness

Where everyone is pulling together to create a consistently positive learning environment without contradictions.

  • Pupils feel valued and a sense of belonging.
  • Management, teachers and all support staff develop simple, effective habits to model and provide rich and balanced learning nutrition.

Let us make this really clear. In conclusion, we are suggesting we ask our teachers and support staff to do less.

Questions for Phil Wylie, Closing the Gap National Lead

RH: Phil, you have personally, successfully used the CD Wheel and the ‘exceed’ programme in schools. Tell us what are the essential habits for teachers and support staff to transform learning? 

Learning Nutrients – high expectations

  1. A clear, personalised outcome.
  2. Success and failure (appropriate challenge).
  3. Praise for positive behaviours.
  4. Celebration/review of progress.
  5. Coach and support others (pupils collaborate).
  6. Control.

RH: Phil, how does the ‘exceed’ programme work? 

‘exceed’ is a comprehensive training programme, which will transform the teaching habits of your staff and the learning behaviours of your disadvantaged pupils, with market leading tools to evidence progress.

transform learning culture,
close the attainment gap,
exceed expectations

RH: How does the CD Wheel help to develop those habits and behaviours? 

  1. Accelerate learning, maximise Pupil Premium impact with the CD Wheel
  • Personalise your approach, inform your planning.
  • Put your time and energy into doing one or two simple things really well.
  1. Transform teaching habits
  • Focus on simple strategies.
  • Create small measurable changes in your teaching habits.
  • Help them feel good and enjoy their teaching!
  1. Transform learning behaviours
  • Focus on essential learning skills and behaviours.
  • Change pupils’ perceptions of themselves and their abilities.
  • Help them feel good about themselves!

Find out more how we can work together by clicking here.