• Assessment: Evidence-based teaching for enquiring teachers

      Atherton, Chris; Poultney, Val; Sir John Deane's Sixth Form College; University of Derby (Critical Publishing, 2018)
    • Can we work together and still be friends?

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (2011-04)
      Recently at my institution, the University of Derby, we have recognised a burgeoning increase in the number of academic staff undertaking postgraduate courses which requires tutoring or supervision from other academic colleagues. Increasingly the postgraduate team is undertaking ‘colleague to colleague’ supervision for Master’s and Doctoral programmes. While this may be nothing new in Higher Education (HE) institutions I was interested in some of the ways in which this pedagogy impacted on professional relationships. There appeared to be little written in the academic literature at least about ‘colleague to colleague’ supervision, but at a recent University Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) conference the theme was widely recognised by many university staff. There are increasing constraints on the CPD budgets in secondary schools that goes nowhere near covering professional development requirements for all staff. Schools must therefore turn ‘in house’ and make full use of existing teacher capacity to cover the shortfall perhaps under the auspices of coaching and mentoring. This drive for getting ‘value for money’ would require teachers to work more closely together, perhaps on a one to one basis over longer periods of time. How do teachers manage one to one professional relationships; which can be improved when they work but difficult to sustain if they do not.
    • Challenging the PhD: managing the alignment of an EdD programme alongside a traditional PhD pathway.

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (University of Middlesex, 2010)
      The impact of undertaking a professional doctorate on professionals is now well documented (Butcher and Sieminski, 2006; Wellington and Sikes, 2006). However, the cultural and pedagogical challenge the EdD brings to the traditional research PhD is less well recognised. The aim of this paper is to examine the cultural and pedagogical changes currently being experienced by one University in two aspects: (1) from the ‘master/apprentice’ (Professor/student) model traditionally reserved for PhD degrees to a more flexible and responsive pedagogy; (2) managing the integration of the EdD within already well-established university systems that do not easily support its wide and diverse approach. This paper raises issues related to the means of securing robust doctoral provision, whilst maintaining diversity across a range of doctoral routes, which complements a work-based learning and widening participation agenda. Further, it challenges university staff to develop an understanding of an emerging pedagogy which is equivalent to, but different from, a traditional PhD research route. Finally there are considerations of making more effective operational working practices related to administration and support of doctoral programmes perhaps effected by locating them all under a central Research Office, rather than within separate Schools/Faculties.
    • Different schools, same problem: What value teacher research and inquiry?

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (BERA, 2019-02-11)
      Robust school leadership is seen as the most effective route by which schools and outcomes for students can be achieved (Greany, 2015). But how does a headteacher of a school graded ‘outstanding’ by the inspectorate maintain the motivation of its teachers to work consistently at this highest level? I am a university academic, and recently I was in conversation with the head of an outstanding secondary school about this issue. He explained that most of his staff are graded as ‘very good’/‘outstanding’, and student outcomes are consistently above the national norm. The school is not aligned with a teaching school alliance, nor is it part of a multi-academy trust (MAT). Networking with other teacher professionals is limited because of a restricted budget for cover teachers and for fear of compromising standards in the long term. We talked about teacher research to encourage staff to engage with wider external networks, in order to keep them motivated about practice. This might open opportunities for dissemination to enable the staff to adopt a more critical perspective on their work. He seemed interested.
    • ‘Empowerment at the higher level: the perspectives of learners and their tutors on critical professional reflection at Masters’ level’

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (2008-09-03)
      This research aims to look at the perceptions of a cohort of professional teacher-learners and their University tutors regarding critical professional reflection and how it might be developed and incorporated within a Masters’ course. Tutoring a group of professional teacher-learners to be analytical, enquiring and evaluative requires skilling them with the scholarly processes that will enable them to be an effective part of the postgraduate workforce. Developing critical thinking skills may require a ‘learning conversation’ (Brookfield, 1987) but it might be that tutors could do more. Garrison’s (1991) concerns about role modeling critical thinking implies a lack of pedagogic expertise on the part of tutors, however tutors unwilling to adopt the characteristics of reflective critical thinkers or be role models for such may deprive teacher-learners of skills and qualities needed to become independent learners. Drawing on a survey approach using questionnaires, telephone interviews and focus groups, teacher-learners and tutors were invited to talk about their experiences of critical professional reflection. Early indications revealed that teacher-learners’ understanding of critical professional reflection is roughly in line with their ‘learning maturation’ and that more challenge and role modeling of this type of thinking by tutors is required, both at early and later stages of the course. It is also significant to note at this point that teacher-learners’ perception of their critical thinking has been highlighted as a result of this research. The data has raised issues for pedagogical practice within one institution and provides data for on-going pedagogical discussions. Teacher-learners engaging with knowledge from both academic and professional sources are beginning to understand that critical professional reflection skills will not only serve them well in the school context, but will also give them the resources to engage and disseminate their knowledge in a wider variety of academic and professional arenas.
    • Evidence-based teaching in primary education

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (Critical Publishing, 2017-04-03)
      Trainees and school-based practitioners are being encouraged to engage more with evidence-based teaching methods. Teachers are now more responsible for the outcomes of their own practice and are charged with sourcing ‘best practice’ solutions in their pedagogical approaches. And schools are moving more towards in-house professional development approaches that have a clear focus on raising standards in the classroom. This book focuses on how universities and primary schools can work together to lead, manage and sustain a culture of teacher inquiry. It examines the role of the university in providing a critical perspective on teaching and learning and how academics can support schools by working as ‘knowledgeable others’ and advocates of classroom-based research. As a case study, it explores the journey taken by one particular primary school, in partnership with a university, over a two-year period, detailing how this work has impacted on the professional lives of staff, the children they teach, the overall culture of the school and the impact on school improvement. Chapters are contributed by professional school leaders, university academics and primary teachers and there is a focus on the rigorous examination of models of evidenced-based teaching, practical examples demonstrating some of the best and most sustainable approaches, and positive outcomes.
    • Evidence-based teaching: A critical overview for enquiring teachers.

      Philpott, Carey; Poultney, Val; Leeds Beckett University; University of Derby (Critical Publishing, 2018-07-03)
      This book provides a critical overview of evidence-based teaching, with balanced and reflective consideration given to arguments supporting various approaches to increasing the use of evidence in teaching and arguments that raise doubts about, or problems with, these approaches. It offers practical advice on how to implement evidence-based teaching and help with reflectively evaluating its success.
    • Jetting off on another flying faculty visit: what have we learned?

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (BERA, 2018-01-31)
      The increased demand for education as a tradable commodity has seen a growing number of international students seeking UK qualifications over the past decade (OECD, 2009). It is becoming commonplace for universities to have their programmes delivered ‘off-site’ by a teaching team of academics who make regular trips abroad, often at great distance, to teach international cohorts for intensive periods of time. This is commonly known as ‘flying faculty’, and research into this phenomenon has revealed that it is anything but a holiday in the sun. Smith (2014) found that there were four areas UK academics needed to consider when preparing to undertake such work. Issues around quality assurance of the programme. The teaching and learning practices of the department/faculty. The professional development of the academics. The challenges of undertaking this type of work.
    • Leading change for survival: the rural flexi-school approach

      Poultney, Val; Anderson, Duncan; University of Derby (BELMAS, 2019-08-19)
      Nestled in the Staffordshire moorlands, a small rural school appointed a Head Teacher, who also served as teacher, for a school community of 5 children in 2010. Shortly afterwards, the school was earmarked for closure. Passionate for the school to remain open, the Head Teacher sought to adopt a flexi-schooling approach. The school is now at capacity with just under 50 children, most of whom have previously been home educated or school refusers. Carnie (2017) describes flexi-schooling as an agreed contract and partnership whereby the school and family agree responsibilities for the education of the children concerned. It is characterised in part by there being no unique location for education. Parents, according to Neuman & Guterman (2019) are important and active participants in the education of their children. They have a clear educational role working in close collaboration and partnership with the school, where the home environment is central to the teaching process
    • Leading change for survival: The rural flexi-school approach

      Poultney, Val; Anderson, Duncan; University of Derby (Sage, 2019-10-08)
      This article seeks to present the perspectives of three school leaders in one rural primary school in the English East Midlands, who, when faced with closure due to a falling student numbers, decided to offer and operate a flexi-schooling model of educational provision. We aim to find out, through a theoretical model of systems school leadership, how the school leadership team addressed this issue. Findings suggest that the principles of systems leadership, operating through an open systems model, have facilitated the journey towards flexi-schooling and ensured the survival and growth of the school. The learning community created with parents and the personalisation of the curriculum for learners reflects an innovative curriculum design and in part solves the problems which led to the initial decision taken by parents to home-educate. Focusing on ways to secure healthy student numbers, school leaders developed a partnership with a multi-academy trust, yet they still face challenges in formally recording student numbers when their attendance is only part of the week
    • Leading the flying faculty.

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby; Institute of Education, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Sage, 2017-11-23)
      This article employs a reflexive methodology to critically examine the opportunities and challenges raised for a leader of a UK EdD programme when the home institution undertakes short periods of intensive teaching abroad – a model known as ‘flying faculty’. The University of Derby had, until 2010–11, a large institutional partnership with Israel via its own Inter-College and UK EdD programme. Academics from the UK made regular trips abroad to teach and tutor doctoral students, working alongside an Israel-based professor. This article identifies two key leadership themes arising from this type of work. The first is related to an academic team working abroad under pressure to deliver an intensive course in a short time period. The second theme looks at issues of sustainability of an EdD programme in this context, namely the maintenance of productive working relationships with the local professor and student cohorts over distance and protracted time of study.
    • Learning rounds: What potential for teacher Inquiry?

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (Leeds Beckett University Carnegie School of Education, 2018-11)
      Back in 2015 I began work with a primary school in Derby City that was under Special Measures. It was the beginning of a school-university partnership that was to last for over two years. During that time the staff were given the opportunity to ‘research’ and collect evidence related to problematic areas of their practice. Looking back at this work which was eventually published Poultney, 2017), I began to wonder just what ‘research’ had really meant in this primary school context and what these teachers had gained from their experience of collecting evidence, arriving at solutions to their teaching problems, telling other teachers about their findings and writing their chapters for this book. Many of the contributors to the book have since taken up promoted roles, been confident enough to speak at various conferences and make contribution to many professional events since then. Over the time we spent together these teachers have developed a confident ‘critical eye’ and the ability to ask insightful ask about practice. Day (2017) refers this as the establishment of ‘human capital’ which is likely to engender trust and a sense of individual and collective well-being which will motivate teachers to engage in activities directly related to raising school standards.
    • Maximising leadership capacity and school improvement through re-alignment of children's services.

      Tarpey, Christine; Poultney, Val; University of Derby; Derby City Council (Sage, 2014-07-25)
      This article emerges from work undertaken with leaders from a local authority who took part in a programme entitled ‘Advanced Leadership in Integrated Children’s Services Environment’ or ALICSE programme. The aim of this course was to engage leaders and managers in thinking differently about their roles and to consider how they could make changes to their leadership practices to cope with the fast pace of change now enforced on the educational landscape. Through coconstruction of work-based knowledge and the application of integrated leadership theory with a local Higher Education Institution (HEI) during 2012, this research offers some insight into how a group of Local Authority (LA) teams have provided a de-centralised service for vulnerable families whilst maintaining and improving educational standards across the City’s primary schools. A range of leadership, improvement and process strategies are currently being piloted with inner city schools and presented in this paper as a series of vignettes which exemplify these strategies. By taking a more holistic, integrated approach to working with key personnel at both local authority and school level it has been possible to demonstrate a greater alignment between the different LA teams in respect of the support they are offering to the schools. These outcomes have arisen as a result of professional teams working on the development of a more autonomous approach to leadership based on a ‘can do’ attitude firmly embedded within a morally focused culture.
    • ‘Personal reflections on the governing of private schools: a case study’

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (Sage, 2013-07)
      Much of what we understand about school governance is generally under-researched and there is almost no recent research undertaken into the governing of schools in the non-maintained, private or independent sector that are financed by the payment of fees. These schools broadly follow a model of governance that is similar to that of the maintained sector in their constitution, with some notable differences around how governors are appointed and their roles are conceived. This article aims to analyse the nature of independent school governance generally, focusing on a case study of a small private school located in the Midlands. The context of this school is a fairly unique one with governance being held accountable to non-executive Trustees who have overall control of the school operation, but who devolve that responsibility to the governing body. This article starts with a review of the current governance model in private schools, then looking in more depth at the characteristics of governance in this independent school. An analysis of the findings is then explored with some thoughts and conclusions around opportunities for further exploration into private school governance.
    • Researching reciprocal leadership: using the consciousness quotient inventory (CQ-i) as a pilot methodology to explore leadership with the context of a school–university partnership.

      Poultney, Val; Fordham, Jon; Univeristy of Derby; Allenton Community Primary School; Institute of Education, University of Derby, UK; Headteacher, UK (Sage, 2018-01-17)
      This article looks at the potential of using an online self-completing inventory that measures leadership consciousness awareness. The Consciousness Quotient inventory (CQ-i) has been developed to encourage leaders to be more conscious of their ability to be accountable and responsible for their leadership practice. The CQ-i as a method for researching leadership is piloted here between a university academic and a primary headteacher in the context of a school–university partnership. Pilot outcomes reveal that the inventory can be used as an evaluation of partnership work and ways of thinking about leadership on two levels: the personal and the partnership. The method is somewhat limited by a lack of distinctive criteria for personal domain statements and the absence of an overall profile outcome for the CQ score. Its strength lies in the way the outcomes of the inventory can be used as a starting point for personal reflection on leadership and as a vehicle for discussing a range of different ways of leadership working within different settings, such as school and university contexts.
    • The role of the effective subject leader: perspectives from practitioners in secondary schools.

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby; University of Derby, UK, (Sage, 2016-06-23)
      In a report by Bennett et al. (2003) for the National College of School Leadership on the role and purpose of middle leaders (Subject Leaders) in secondary schools, two areas were identified for further research. First was the nature of effective subject leadership and second, the Subject Leader's pivotal role in leading and managing cultural change and the extent to which they are creating a "new professionalism" that tackles the tension of managerial and educational aims (NCSL, 2003: 18). This paper considers evidence (Poultney, 2006) from Subject and Senior teachers and their Subject Leaders about their perceptions of characteristics of effective subject leadership.
    • 'The self-improving primary school': understanding and approaching teacher inquiry: a pilot study.

      Poultney, Val; University of Derby (University of Cumbria, 2016)
      This paper examines how one primary school in the East Midlands region has worked to establish a culture of teacher-led, evidence-based teacher inquiry. It reports on a pilot year of research when the senior leadership team (SLT) decided to implement a strategic focus on evidence-based teaching, which would generate their own school knowledge, equip teachers to take more responsibility for their own teaching and professional development and to broaden their local and national networks. The SLT led the inquiry process using various initiatives as suggested vehicles for inquiry with the aim of galvanising teaching staff into making changes to their pedagogical approaches. Working with a local HEI academic as supporter of this process and advisor to the Head teacher, appropriate practice-based methodologies were deployed, trialled, role-modelled and evaluated by the SLT. A local HEI academic advised the SLT on the implementation of this approach, which was followed up by a small scale piece of research and evaluation to further inform the evidence base.
    • Teacher professional learning through lesson study: teachers’ reflections

      Poultney, Val; Fox, Alison; University of Derby; The Open University (Emerald, 2020-10-15)
      This study examines the experiences of five teachers working in two English secondary school subject departments after being given the opportunity to engage with Lesson Study (LS) to increase student performance in their subject areas. This study aimed to reveal the drivers for the teachers’ engagement in LS, and how this experience of Joint Professional Development (JPD) might be contributing to their learning as teachers. This study application of a model of learning for analysis of teacher reflections on collaborative learning experiences. Understanding individual teacher reflections on LS experiences, are underrepresented in the literature in particular studies providing insights into conditions conducive and constraining to JPD.