How Very Effective Primary Schools Work

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Overview

'Chris James, Michael Connolly, Gerald Dunning and Tony Elliott have produced a comprehensive analysis of the very effective primary school. Although the research for the book draws on the authors' experiences in Welsh Primary Schools, the range of literature cited and the analytical frameworks employed ensure that their findings have a much broader relevance. They define 'a very effective' school as one that provides high levels of attainment and rich educational experiences despite being located in extremely challenging circumstances. A key insight of the book is that although these schools are consequently 'extraordinary' their practice was in many ways quite 'ordinary'. This is because these schools worked in much the same way as the very best of schools have always done. In many ways, this as the authors note, is an optimistic message - that all children deserve to be educated in such very effective schools. The virtue of How Very Effective Primary Schools Work is that it makes clear those characteristics and strategies that can help every school to become great' - David Hopkins, HSBC iNet Chair of International Leadership, and formerly Chief Adviser on School Standards to the Secretary of State 2002-2005 'All children, especially the poorest, deserve capable, mature and well adjusted teachers and leaders who work together to lay firm foundations of learning and behaviour, then enrich and elevate everyone's learning far beyond that in optimistic cultures of security, persistence and hope. Based on solid research from 18 outstanding schools in challenging circumstances, this is the vital message of this important and unique book. Chris James and his colleagues show that highly effective schools need high functioning adults and communities who expect and get the best from everyone, dedicate themselves to others without burning themselves out, are not frightened of challenges and contradictions, stay around to fulfil their obliga

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Educational Change
"...This book provides a valuable theoretical underpinning for those who want to develop their schools into learning institutions and make a strong commitment to their communities. " -JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE— Karl-Heinz Arnold
Journal of Educational Change - Karl-Heinz Arnold
"...This book provides a valuable theoretical underpinning for those who want to develop their schools into learning institutions and make a strong commitment to their communities." —JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Chris James is the Professor of Educational Leadership and Management in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. He researches leadership and management in schools and colleges, the affective aspects of educational organisations, collaborative working in schools and school governing and governance. During his career, Chris has worked with a range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations including numerous local authorities and schools. He has directed a large number of educational research projects and published over 200 items including six books.
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Table of Contents

A Review of the Literature
Key Issues in School Effectiveness
The Characteristics of Effective Schools
Schools in Challenging Circumstances
Organisational Culture
Contextual Influences on Effectiveness
A Way of Understanding Schools as Institutions
Theories - Purposes and Problems
System Psychodynamics
Aspects of the System Psychodynamics
The Research
The Education System in Wales
The Central Issue
The Kind of Study We Undertook
The Schools We Studies
The Data Collection and Analysis
The Case Study Schools - The Nature of Disadvantage
The Central Characteristic
A Productive Culture
A Strong Culture
A Highly Inclusive Culture
Continuing Professional Development
Changes/Initiatives
Extra-Curricular Activities
Leadership
The Headteacher
The Development of Leadership Density and Depth
The Leadership Work of the Governing Bodies
The Mindset
The Mindset
The Teaching Team
The Teachers
Teamwork
Additional Classroom Support
The Pupils and Their Parents
Pupil Engagement and Commitment
Parental Engagement and Commitment
Very Efficient and Effective Organisation
Structure, Management and Systems
The Management of Pupil Performance Data
The Sizes of the Schools
The Mutual Support, Validation and Valuing Of The Community
The Schools and Their Local Communities
The Schools and the Wider Community
The Schools and the Education System
What Makes These Schools Very Effective?
An Interpretive Review of the Findings
The Characteristics of the Case Study Schools In Comparison With the Characteristics of Effective Schools
Why Were These Schools Very Effective?
Concluding Comments
The Primary Task - Interpreting the Outcomes
Group Mentalities
Espoused Theories and In Use Theories
Leadership
Boundaries
Defensive Behaviours
Containment and the Transformation of Anxiety and Emotion into Creativity
Working with Passion
Collaboration
Concluding Comments
Reflections on the Research and the Outcomes
New Research Issues
Messages for All Schools
Very Effective Schools Are What All Children Deserve
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