Quality learning outcomes should be the central concern and responsibility of all schools – Iona’s characteristic approach to this responsibility is to promote and operate within an atmosphere of high academic expectations. We must ensure that our structures and curriculum offerings remain agile and responsive to the needs of 21C learners. Learning must become visible and we must maximise the power of feedback to ensure it enhances student outcomes. It is what teachers know, do and care about which is most powerful in the learning equation.
Developments in the use of data analytics, evidence and research- based approaches to pedagogy, advances in cognitive neuro-science, the growing role of technology in the learning construct – and many more influences – have served to modify the landscape of schools and their core business. Added to this are moves to de-privatise classrooms, to expose the policy-practice divide which exists in accountability procedures. The preoccupation with the initiation phase (‘We have to do something about it’) and the tick-the-box style outcomes, often results in schools particularly (and organisations generally) masking deficiencies and avoiding the real issues of improving teacher performance.