Schools as Learning Organisations: Update LO22864
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 09:01:23 EDT

Some members of this list might recall that our school is engaged in the
process of moving towards becoming a learning organisation.

It has been 18 months since we put the plan into action and the following
hard evidence gives some measure of the progress we have made:

The school, in common with all other Scottish schools, was set a target in
respect of examination results. As I have mentioned on this list before
(see Target Setting in Schools) we decided to focus on the process rather
than the externally set targets. In our most recent examination results
our 4th Year students (16yrs) surpassed the three year target which the
school had been set for 2001 by 6%. The 5th Year Students surpassed their
target by 15%. These results stand comparison with any other school in

87 4th year students (106 in year) recently attended four after-school
sessions on memory techniques and revision skills.

60% of staff are involved in voluntary working groups related to
priorities in the development plan.

Over 75% of staff have participated in voluntary staff development

30% of staff have participated in a peer shadowing scheme. This figure
will reach 55% this year.

Four new members of staff who are new to the profession have two volunteer
mentors from our experienced members of staff.

Three teachers participated in separate action research projects and
reported their findings back to all staff. Another three are woking on
different projects in the coming year.

70% of our senior students have volunteered to particpate in a peer
support programme.

75% of staff have conrtibuted ideas/comments to an article we are
attemting to write collectively about the teaching process. This is
involving a great deal of reflection and challenge to the notion of tacit

Five departments are experimenting with memory pegging techniques:
physics, french, biology, physical education and chemistry.

In a recent consultation exercise undertaken by a local education
department administrator with a group of senior students the following
collective opinion was noted:

"Selkirk High School is already aiming for excellence, and is increasingly
improving (their words) - they have 'noticed the school improving'."

The adminstrator also recorded her own thoughts that " the school had made
significant progress in the past nine months."

The 'hard' data helps to provide support to the 'soft' process which is
gradually transforming the school into a learning organisation. There is a
great deal of work to be done to allow all members of staff to feel part
of the process yet much of the 'subjective' feedback received by myself,
the other members of the management team and advisory service would appear
to suggest that we are moving in the right direction.

The benefit of having a sound systems-based rationale, as provided by the
likes of Senge, Argyris and Fullan, in managing the change process makes
it a fascinating and tremendously rewarding experience.

All the best

Don Ledingham


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