NPQSL - Distance delivery month 3

NPQSL - Distance delivery month 3

Posted May 17 2019   Sarah Jane Sener

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Month 3


This has been a strange month, and I have felt slightly disoriented, almost an imposter at times. The highly intensive month wherein I studied frantically for the ‘Strategy and Improvement’ module ended with a sudden stop as I submitted the final assignment and then realised I had a month’s wait before beginning the next module. Rather than the relief one might have expected, I felt confused and not sure whether May should be spent resting (ha) or preparing the design phase of the school improvement plan (to develop an ethos of high expectations at school with a key focus on the challenge for the More Able). I chose the latter, opening up a Pandora’s box of concerns, assumptions and challenges which have almost taken my breath away. The NPQSL so far has enabled me to identify a need and has clearly shown me that addressing it will involve a team of people who share the vision. Research has afforded me glimpses of how to create such a team, and I have taken some steps in the right direction. However, I still feel somewhat isolated and occasionally overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of the task – basically to change the whole ethos of our school; to turn what we have believed upside down; to ask staff to buy into this new ethos and to change their practice; to develop the ‘know-how’ to assist them in doing this; and to ensure that this is embedded so effectively that it will continue to improve long after I have moved on.


Support for this has come from a variety of sources.  The children, of course, whose yearning to learn has touched me. The realisation that so many of our resources are poured into special educational needs, a rightfully important area of concern; but that this is not matched even remotely by the provision made for the More Able, leaving a huge group of children unable to fulfil their potential – a group over-represented in high school dropouts, and in this era where waste is becoming such an issue, a terrible waste of talent and ability. Middle leaders at school who seem enthusiastic about leading change in their departments, and are eager to learn more themselves. My head, who has promised me time to develop and deliver CPD programmes, and has made the project such an important part of the school development plan. And strangers, in other schools and other countries, who continue to share their expertise so generously – one even offering to come over from the Netherlands and provide in-house training to all staff – at no cost! Finally, the comments of my tutor on the NPQSL, which have been useful in pointing me in the right direction (although I must admit to being confused that all my assignments are marked 10/10 –they are not perfect so why not just grade as pass/fail?)

With all this support, I have begun to believe that this project has a chance of success, and I am buoyed up by my own belief in it – so my advice to anyone considering their project is to select something they are passionate about. This engenders moral authority and will encourage others to share leadership when they see that their organisation truly intends to do what is right for the students.


Sarah Şener