Delivering outstanding learning for all
The Learning Quality Framework is a rigorous developmental framework, based on the learning sciences and the principles of learning organisations, that guides a school towards delivering outstanding learning, leading to:
- Creative, independent lifelong learners who achieve well and are prepared for the challenges of 21st Century living
- Inspirational teaching that expands all young people’s capacities and appetite to learn
- A collaborative learning culture that supports experimentation and personal responsibility
1. A culture for change and challenge
Learning Quality Framework: captures the essence of learning
The Learning Quality Framework captures the essence of what a learning school does to ensure that all its people — staff and students — become better learners. It guides and progresses the long-term learning journey of a school that aspires to:
- build young peoples’ mental, emotional and social resources to enjoy challenge and cope well with uncertainty and complexities
- map, plan and validate its development as a vibrant, dynamic and confident learning organisation
- play a more expansive educational game
The fact that you are visiting this website probably means that your school is already working on some of the sentiments raised above. When implemented rigorously the Learning Quality Framework has a major effect on a school’s culture, systems and processes. Implementing the spirit as well as the letter of the Standard has the potential to generate profound change in the school.
The Learning Quality Standard blends the ideas of a ‘learning organisation’ with the latest ideas in the ‘how’ of learning, and provides a route map for the learning journey. Using the Standard does not tie the school to a single learning approach. It may be using a whole range or combination of learning approaches e.g. Assessment for Learning, Philosophy for Children, Habits of Mind, Personal Learning and Thinking Skills, Growth Mindsets, Building Learning Power. What is important is that the learning approaches being developed are rooted in the learning sciences, and the psychology of learning to nurture lifelong learning behaviours.
By taking on the Learning Quality Framework the school is embarking on possibly the most challenging but worthwhile change process it has ever encountered. It involves creating and strengthening a culture that is comfortable with change, incorporating robust structures and systems for planning and evaluating, radically adapting the learning process in classrooms and in professional development, and engaging students and parents more in learning.
It’s really useful but the best thing is that it’s not a tick the box framework. It stimulates thinking rather than doing all the thinking for you. It gets you curious to find out more. We’ve had enough of being told what to do. This framework treats us like professionals. It guides you to find your own way through a long and challenging process.”Secondary School DH
The culture being created is one in which future innovation will thrive, improvement effort will be sustained and people will flourish.
2. Reaching your school’s educational core
A Learning Organisation… Where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, when new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”Peter Senge 1990
The Learning Quality Framework embraces and applies the sentiments of a learning organisation to a school. Organisations become learning organisations because they want to ensure the quality of what they do; their products or their services. However, here the ideas apply not only to staff and organisational learning but, importantly, to how students learn.
The product of a school is not only their students’ performance in examinations but in how their students are as learners, as citizens, as potential employees.
“It made sense of my random thoughts. We have been struggling to think about what we needed to do next. We had lots of ideas but they were random and disorganised. The framework has drawn these all together. It’s the school’s plan for the future”Secondary School DH, Solihull
People’s orientation to learning becomes the core purpose of the school; all are empowered to become better learners by using an understanding of the learning sciences. This affects how learning is understood as a process, how it is led and managed, how it is talked about and celebrated, how it is stretched and grown, how it is tracked and the results used to further enable individual and organisational learning.
Given that learning itself is a gradual, sometimes difficult, but hugely worthwhile process the framework depicts how each aspect of a learning school might be at different stages of growth. The stages are cumulative, each growing from the one before. The framework captures aspects of a school’s organisational culture which can be made hospitable, rather than unhelpful, to the development of learners.
It is increasingly evident that the educational methods we have been using for the past 70 years no longer suffice. They are based on the scientific assumptions about…..the learning process that have been eclipsed by new discoveries. Yet changing them has been slow because the nature of educational reform is largely one of tinkering with institutional arrangements. Rarely has reform penetrated the educational core.”Lauren Resnick
Professor of Psychology PITTSBURGH University
The Learning Quality Framework will enable schools to reach their educational core – that of developing people as better learners; building their confidence, capacity and enthusiasm for learning throughout their lives.
The Learning Quality Framework guides school development towards the creation of a learning powered culture, offering pathways and stages to signpost and drive your development action. Using its twelve clearly defined principles the school can realise and authenticate its prime educational goal of developing better learners.
3. A long term commitment
A serious learning challenge
The Framework is not a quick fix to raise examination results. Rather it is the basis for thoughtful planning, aimed at what will be, for most schools, a significant change in culture (‘the way we do things round here’). It is a deeply formative framework rather than a set of summative hoops to be jumped through. LQF shines a light on both the formal and informal learning processes of a school and shows how, when these are aligned, they work together to expand young people’s, and indeed the school’s, capacity and appetite to learn.
Blending culture change, habit change and learning formation
The school makes its own journey in its own way, but the supporting materials and consultancy are there as fuel and guidance to make the journey efficient, fruitful and rewarding. Getting it right, making it stick, and keeping it going need to be seen as a gradual, sometimes difficult, but hugely worthwhile process; a process that blends culture change in schools, habit change by teachers, and learning habit formation by students.
Teaching that expands the capacity to learn
In many quality standards the work of change is undertaken by senior or middle leaders which then impacts positively on other staff. With the Learning Quality Standard (LQS) the major work of change lies with classroom practitioners in shifting their teaching style to that of a learning coach; assisting students to become more confident, curious and independent learners. This significant shift takes time. It is estimated that working purposefully through all the LQS levels could take a school between three and five years. So the LQF process is not a quick fix to raise examination results but rather a thoughtful culture change which expands young people’s capacity and appetite to learn, and expands the whole school’s organisational capacity to learn.
A long-term commitment
Timescales for making the journey are difficult to predict. Much will depend on how a school’s current practice matches up to the standard’s levels. A few schools will start their journey at about the Bronze stage and work first towards Silver; a very few will start close to Silver and work towards Gold. But most are likely to find that even the Bronze level will require a good measure of carefully planned action, and managing that journey securely could easily take a year. Progression beyond Bronze involves broadening, deepening and strengthening the LQF principles. For example, more teachers will be using expansive education techniques in more lessons, and with greater fluency and skill. These three aspects of progression — broader, deeper, stronger — are what makes the achievement of a level take time. In many schools, each level beyond Bronze might take a further two years to achieve. These time estimates reflect the scope of development, involved in meeting the Learning Quality Standard.
At first I thought “We’ll just use this very useful framework by ourselves quietly. We don’t need to go for any external assessment.” But then I revised that idea. I realised that having a level in view and working towards recognition would give added impetus and purpose to our endeavours. We wanted to become that Silver Level school and we wanted to be recognised for our effort and expertise. This award gives public recognition that we are a different sort of school. We are ‘nailing our learning colours to the mast.’Primary School HT
The planning and effort that will go into reaching any of the levels will well deserve public recognition, which the award of a Learning Quality Mark affords.
4. Outlining: The Learning Quality Framework
The Learning Quality Framework offers schools a rich view of learning and learners, unlocking the features of a learning school. At its heart is the Quality Standard that captures how key aspects of a school’s culture link and grow together to ensure it becomes hospitable, rather than unhelpful, to developing learning.
What the Standard looks like
The Standard is structured around twelve principles and thirty three indicators.
The twelve Principles of learning are concerned with different aspects of a school’s culture. These include the school’s vision for education, its beliefs about learning, how leaders lead learning, how classroom practice, assessment and the curriculum are best designed to build learning habits, how staff are best enabled to develop their practice, and how the school itself acts on its own learning.
1. Vision for learning
2. A Framework for Learning
3. A Language for Learning
4. Leading innovation in learning
5. CPD policy and strategy
6. Curriculum Design
7. Teaching for a Learning Culture
8. Learning from a Learning Culture
9. Learner Engagement
10. Parents, Governors and Community
11. Evaluating the impact
12. Evaluating the learning organisation
Here are a couple of the principles to give you a flavour of the power and precision of the of the Quality Standard.
Vision for learning
An engaging vision for 21st Century education based on social, economic, moral and personal learning imperatives guides the school and its community.
There are many changes, pressures, dissatisfactions and opportunities that are leading thousands of people around the world to ask hard questions about the purpose of education and take a radical re-think of priorities and practice. The learning school will be researching, developing and using a shared vision for education that takes account of cultivating a core set of generic learning skills, attitudes and dispositions, which help people to flourish in a changing world. This vision is gradually translated into action through the school’s strategic plan.
Assessing for learning
Tracking and authenticating the growth of learning dispositions (with regard to when, where and how well they are used) builds learners’ motivation and informs learning design.
The learning school takes action to keep track of the development of students’ learning habits. Tracking covers whether the habits are being used more frequently, in more contexts and more skilfully. In other words whether the learning behaviours are becoming dispositions that will be used whenever and wherever they are needed. This tracking helps in the continual design and re-design of learning opportunities across the curriculum. Learners are deeply involved in reflecting on their learning.
The Indicators (statements of practice)
Each principle is described through Indicators, or statements of practice. These show how the principles are enacted in practice. And since the whole point of the standard is to describe a learning journey, the statements of practice are related to four stages of development; coherent staging points on the journey where you might take time to reflect and prepare for the next stage.
Weaving the threads of good practice
The standard offers criteria of good practice. Nothing is hidden. It describes best practice throughout the learning journey and thus ensures the school has all the components or threads in place to be able to move forward. Classroom practice won’t develop without appropriate professional development; the school is unlikely to make headway without sympathetic leadership characteristics; advances in classroom practice will stall without accompanying curriculum development; the learning philosophy of the school will face an uphill battle unless parents are brought on board. So the Learning Quality Standard weaves together all the threads a school needs to pay heed to on its journey in becoming a learning school.
Stages of Development
Bronze Learning Quality
– Starting out on the journey
At this stage the school is actively casting around for and trying out ideas, building a culture of experimentation, self-reliance and learning rather than dependency and performance.
Silver Learning Quality
By this stage the school is using its learning from enquiry to create its best-fit learning strategies and is harnessing professional development to ensure effective learning for all. It’s bringing its learning philosophy to life.
Gold Learning Quality
Here the learning driven approaches to pedagogy, professional development, student engagement, assessment and curriculum design are deeply embedded in the school’s culture, not reliant on a few leaders or champions, and becoming world class.
Platinum Learning Quality
The school is operating as a learning organisation where all its people, staff and students alike, expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire and engage with other organisations to create wider cultures of learning.
5. How we support your journey
Support for your journey is offered through the rich online support package. It looks like this:
The rich online support package covers 6 steps in understanding, developing and securing a level of the Standard.
Step 1 explains the structure of the Standard.
- Learning more about the LQF how the Framework fits together, what the levels are about and how it links with other standards.
- Raising awareness in school here we learn from schools that have piloted the LQF – what they have found essential in leading the school through the culture change described in the LQF.
Step 2 introduces The School Development Guide.
- The School Development Guide unpacks the framework’s structure, principles and indicators at three levels of development and gives detailed guidance on how you might achieve them.
- It also contains a full version of the Learning Quality Framework.
- This is available in two formats .
Step 3 offers advice and tools to help you audit current practice
- The basic audit tool for a quick review of current practice against the Standard
- The deep audit tool view for a more up close and personal review against the Standard
Step 4 offers advice and tools to help you plan your action for each level of the Standard
- Clustering framework indicators together to form action projects
- Sequencing action and integrating it into the schools’ strategic plan
Step 5 offers a wide range of advice and tools to help keep your plan on track
- Making sure you know how things are working in the school.
- Tools to help you assess how your action plan is moving forward and evaluate progress.
Step 6 offers all you need to know to prepare evidence for a review or level assessment.
- Completing a Level Assessment Chart
- Planning the on-site visit to best effect
- Celebrating your achievement
- Making best use of the review or verification report
- Re-auditing your practice
- Developing a next level Action Plan
We will use this framework to guide our journey and we will want our progress validating. Going for assessment at various milestones or staging posts will be our way of celebrating that progress.”Secondary School HT
This is my development plan for the next five years.”Primary HT, Winchester