Quality of Education: creating a culture of continuous improvement

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Curriculum, Leadership, Quality

Quality of education: creating a culture of continuous improvement

OFSTED have clearly defined the curriculum as the focus for assessing the quality of education in our schools and colleges across England. It is, therefore, where we must begin in our quest for defining and pursuing excellence in ensuring quality outcomes within all educational settings. To use the term quality is quite an interesting starting point in creating opportunities for senior leadership teams to craft their vision for what they want to see in relation to the curriculum, how it is planned and delivered and what the outcomes are in relation to the impact on learning.

However, quality should go much wider than the curriculum and look in detail at whole organisation continuous improvement. Quality in business is a deeply structured process that we can emulate and create profound structures that build exceptional and sustained quality assurance systems.

Building a quality plan starts with deep thinking and innovation

If we were deciding on the strategy for designing and producing a product, setting the standards for customer service in a hospitality environment or having a set of procedures for building a house there is a wealth of documentation and standards to draw on within the framework of a tried and tested formula around quality assurance benchmarks and a system called Total Quality Management. Those in the education profession do not have anything like a similar model to work with. So, we have created one.

Defining the quality of education

A good starting point might be to ask the questions, ‘What is a school for?’ ‘What do we want to achieve that will make a difference?’ ‘How can we create a culture that puts learning at the heart of everything we do?’ Leaders in education, and I include myself in this category need to embrace what OFSTED have defined as quality in their Handbook for Schools but we also need to have our own definition of quality and what it means in our particular setting.

Embracing quality assurance as a measure of excellence and creating a strategy that delivers an education version of Total Quality Management (TQM) requires commitment, a carefully crafted vision, knowledge about the strengths and needs of those who will be a part of the process and a sequenced time-related plan of how it will enhance the capabilities for everyone within the organisation. It is linked to ensuring CPD for senior, middle and subject leaders as well as CPD for teachers and their support teams focuses on the ultimate goal of continuous and sustained excellence.

How to build a TQM strategy

It is essential to create a powerful system that will deliver the highest quality outcomes for all staff, pupils and the wider community of stakeholders. This requires a systematic process of well-crafted indicators that can be embedded across the organisation where clearly-defined critical success factors are identified and agreed within the different teams that will work towards achievement of TQM. The indicators we have created as a result of extensive research in this country and internationally do provide a structured way forward for a TQM approach that is relevant to the education sector. These include,

Working together to build a vision on total quality
  • Positive and effective leadership
  • Identifying the needs of all learners
  • Engaging and empowering all staff
  • Identifying the processes involved in achieving successful learning outcomes
  • Defining assessment and continuous improvement strategies
  • Data and information to inform evidence-based decision making
  • Involving and engaging with all stakeholders

The process involves a carefully focused vision for clearly stated quality outcomes that emanate from a vision for excellence and continuous improvement that is built on,

  • The creating and disseminating of the rationale and ambition for change and challenge
  • Determining the needs of all learners including pupils, teachers and others involved in the process of learning
  • Conducting a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and gaps of staff and how to build in planned CPD for senior, middle and subject leaders and a similar strategy that embraces CPD for teachers
  • Creating a culture where there is no such thing as failure and where analysis of what happens when something goes wrong is part of a genuine approach to learning and development
  • The defining of critical success factors that are time related and create the benchmarks for evaluating progress towards continuous improvement goals
  • Knowing the value of data as an opportunity to aid decision making and evaluate success against the short, medium and long term goals already agreed
  • Celebrating success along the way and at the end of a specified period of time

CPD for the quality journey

Symmetry in learning

CPD is an essential component of how to deliver powerful quality solutions and shape a process of ongoing professional development that leads to excellence and continuous improvement across the school or college. We have undertaken extensive research to put together a Senior Leadership Coaching Programme and a stand alone training course, Creating Quality Assurance Systems within an Education Setting which is for senior and middle leadership teams to work with our expert quality guru and use our highly praised resources to start your journey towards Total Quality Management.

We also have the courses below that also embrace the need for high quality feedback and essential goal setting.

Re-thinking Appraisal in Education: Positive and Effective Professional Development
Positive Lesson Observation for Constructive Feedback, Change and Challenge

Quality is a relative term, there is good quality, high quality, poor quality. Defining your own goals for what the highest quality in your organisation looks like is so important. It is all about a clear focus on outcomes and the impact you want. This is in relation to your vision for curriculum implementation and impact, your approach to empowering others to achieve the highest possible leadership and team building standards, your ambition for all teaching staff to be outstanding in pedagogy and learning and your quest to lead the way in well-being, behaviour and pastoral care.

We are always available to share our expertise and deep research into this arena, contact us here,
01746 765076 / 0797 4754241
Use our Contact us form from our website

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