Values-led leadership in a climate of high stakes accountability: The Reality

It is interesting that as I write this, large numbers of our profession are gathering in Birmingham for the #claimyourcollege meeting with a strong focus emerging about building capacity and taking ownership. It draws me to reflection on the concluding thoughts of our Annual Leadership Conference in November and:

“the absolute belief that leadership has to be values-led. …..It is clear colleagues are not on their own. It is through the collaboration and networking  evident throughout the day and across the county that we will be able to maintain the courageous principled leadership that is required ……to provide the educational experience and outcomes that West Sussex deserves.

The conference certainly set a tone and a theme for the year, we can now give further details of the forums that will continue the discussion (all booking details are at the bottom of this blog).  The absolute intention of our work through WSDN is to enable colleagues to meet and share ideas and current issues. To gain a little extra knowledge or wisdom each time and through collaboration with peers, develop the confidence and understanding necessary to make the choices and decisions that not only meet the requirements of the accountability we all experience but do so by putting our learners and our schools at the heart of all that we do.

VI Form Forum on 29th January reflects issues high on the agenda for schools with sixth forms; whether it’s funding, curriculum change or performance measures there are pressing accountability issues to be considered. Our forum with Sylvia King (SSAT Head of Post 16 and Vocational and Regional Lead South East) explores all of these. We will balance the need for updates and information with the importance of discussing different approaches and at each turn question the impact on the learner in the decisions we make as well as wider issues around the care and provision for 16-18 year olds in a school setting.

Our Accountability Forum on 26th February is headlined by Mary Myatt (lead inspector for Ofsted, adviser, writer and trainer supporting schools) and Chris Moyse (Head of Staff Development at Bridgwater College Academy and Educational consultant). The programme will enable Mary to guide colleagues to address head on, the recent changes in the framework, updates and implications for schools preparing for inspection. Mary will also be able to expand on her thinking around feedback and marking, addressing some of the issues surrounding this and how it is being managed in schools. Chris will then be explaining his schools approach to lesson observation without grades, the impact of developing a coaching approach to lesson feedback and how this fits with a requirement to self-evaluate for accountability. Book fast on this if you are interested as we will be opening up to non-WSDN members.

Back by popular demand, on 6th March our Curriculum Forum this year unpicks the nitty-gritty of Progress 8 and Attainment 8, getting under the skin of these measures and the implicit curriculum choices that can result.  Guiding us through the finer details will be Andrew Hill from the FFT, colleagues are advised to bring their FFT Aspire log-ins as there will be opportunity to explore your own data and curriculum model in that context.  We will also be exploring the currently available and “countable” vocational courses as well as opportunity to discuss and consider the impact of all the available choices on the students in our schools and their future choices.

In the summer term, our usual Inclusion Forum will evolve to represent input from this year’s SecEd Pupil Premium Conference and aim to give colleagues chance to discuss not just successful strategies and case studies for intervention with Pupil Premium but also SEND provision under the new code. We will focus as well on the methods and ideas around demonstrating not just impact but effectiveness and value for money of spend in both these areas.

At every event we host for WSDN we are struck by the positivity and willingness of colleagues to collaborate, share ideas and support one another. This year is no different and we look forward to more healthy debate and discussion in these forums and other opportunities as they arise.  We will continue to support and share the work of the JPD projects from last year whilst also looking to open up new opportunities this term for colleagues who wish to work positively and collaboratively with others to develop interesting work that “provides the educational experience and outcomes that West Sussex deserves……. Watch this space!

Booking details:

VI Form Forum 29th January at St Wilfrid’s School: WSDN Members (no cost) by email to

 Accountability Forum 26th February at The Weald School :  WSDN Members (no cost) via e-PD: click here.  Non-members please indicate interest via (there will be a £50 charge invoiced)

Curriculum Forum 6tH March at Downlands School:  WSDN members (no cost) via e-PD: click here. West Sussex non-members please return the booking form and £15 admin fee to e-PD

Inclusion Forum Summer term: Details to be confirmed

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