VIEWS From the pen of... David Hughes Future proof your school!

This month, in our regular series on authors in UK education, we hear from DAVID HUGHES, who explains how you can “Future Proof Your School”.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’ve spent the last couple of years thinking about better learning in schools. It has led me to some stark conclusions about critical deficiencies in the way I have previously, and schools generally, go about their development planning. I was fortunate to be involved in the

Building Schools for the Future project of the last Labour government. It was a seminal opportunity to explore how schools could collaborate and research effective ways forward in organisation, learning and pedagogy. These were

exciting times when there was funding for development and serious explorations. However, over the last ten years I've watched government policy effectively ossify on education. The Michael ‘we’ve heard enough from experts!’ Gove approach was to ignore research. For example, heutagogical research on learning spaces was reduced to classroom design being a simple multiple of space per pupil – in much the way the statutory allocation is worked out for battery hens. An area of particularly significance in BSF was the relationship

schools enjoyed with architects and contractors when they were involved in significant building projects. I was on secondment to the RSA Academy in the West Midlands at the time, involved in both a radical new build and the implementation of the Opening Minds curriculum. I was much taken by the Prince 2 project planning methodology used by the contractors to specify the management of the project. It got me thinking that schools could adopt and adapt the same

principles to their learning development. I was aware of some glaring anomalies in school project planning...

for example, few schools have an up to date and comprehensive database of staff expertise. This means they lean too heavily on outside experience rather than on employing and developing the internal expertise of their staff through project management experience. Schools don’t do ‘strategy’ well. Schools consider 'strategy' to be

nothing more than a series of one year campaigns aimed almost exclusively at raising examination standards. Instead they need to build on a proper five year development plan which focusses on the experience of the student passing though the school who has one opportunity to experience an education of quality. Schools have little idea about how to initiate a project around

sound principles and seemingly no experience of how to end a project! Schools start at the implementation phase, rather than exploring whether a particular project is needed, timely and addresses the appropriate targets at the right time. Nor do they specify appropriate Key Performance Indicators so that they understand the critical waypoints and end of the project. The result is that project initiatives lose focus and scope. Unsurprisingly, staff fell overworked and under-appreciated as interminable projects demand their time... hence the recruitment and retention crisis plaguing our schools. Future Proof Your School is applicable in all schools and the debate

about the culture and outlook and subsequent project management of schools is one which needs addressing if we are not to fail our children.

Future Proof Your School by David W Hughes for Critical Publishing (ISBN: 978- 1- 912508- 44- 0) is available at and all good bookshops.

June 2019 British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA)

Buying education supplies? Make sure you look for the

BESA logo! This month, in his regular column for Education Today, PATRICK HAYES, Director at BESA, explains why you can buy with confidence when you see the BESA logo.

For over 85 years BESA has operated as the trade association for the British educational suppliers’ sector, having been founded in 1933. We are the industry body that represents educational suppliers, from furniture to textbooks and ICT products. It’s a fair bet that the majority of products in your school are provided by BESA members. You’ll know this, as many BESA members

(including this very publication) proudly sport our logo featuring a quality mark “tick”. But

why should you as an education professional be looking for this? The reason is that if a company sports the BESA logo, it is the

clearest indicator you can get that the company is supplying quality products or services that you can trust. Not every company can be a BESA member. To qualify, you have to

go through a series of financial and reputational checks that we take very seriously indeed. This ensures that when you see the BESA logo, you are engaging with a financially robust company who has a good reputation in the sector. Moreover, all companies that join BESA have to sign up to our Code

of Practice. This has been developed in consultation with school leaders from across the country to ensure that companies work to meet the standards that matter most to you when buying their products and services. This includes reassurances on: • Quality and Standards – BESA members seek to achieve the highest standards and will offer our products, advice and services honestly and honourably in a fair and transparent manner.

• Integrity - Everything we do as an industry will be with the aim of being in the best interests of learners, educators, parents and staff at educational establishments in the UK and across the world.

• Transparency & Openness – BESA members commit to being clear and precise about our identity and the nature of the products and services they are offering, and they will be fairly and properly described in advertising materials.

• Safeguarding & Data security – BESA members ensure all staff are aware of safeguarding issues, and will endeavour to comply with any educational institution’s safeguarding rules and regulations. They also seek to comply with all current and future data protection regulations in both the EU and the UK, and the relevant laws of countries we export to.

• Discriminatory conduct – BESA members strive to take reasonable care that all professional duties are conducted without causing offence on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disability or any other form of discrimination or unacceptable reference.

All of our suppliers take these commitments very seriously. And in

the rare event that there is an issue, you can be assured that any issue raised with myself and the team at BESA would be swiftly investigated. So next time you are considering which products and services to buy

– do ask the company whether they are a BESA member. If they are, you can be assured that your dealings with them will be of a high quality – and fair.

uFor information from BESA contact: u020 7537 4997 13

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