The Impact of my NPQSL- On Me, my Career, and my Academy!
By Joe Morrin
ATTI Fellow & Assistant Principal at The Dukeries Academy
A little bit about me
My name is Joe Morrin, an Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at the Dukeries Academy. Additionally, I am an evidence leader in Education for Derby Research School and an Early Career Visiting Fellow for ATT. In this role, I work with other leaders to bring about rapid change within their contexts while developing supporting material and coaching opportunities to support change.
Reasons why I chose the NPQSL
Having done various leadership roles in my previous and current positions, I wanted to develop my critical thinking skills to develop my leadership decisions further. I’ve always enjoyed being a bit ‘joyfully nerdy,’ so in 2016, I completed a Master of Education in Leadership and Management with the Open University, which provided me with an opportunity to work with experienced leaders across different contexts to develop my understanding of leading change through the development of a small-scale leadership project. However, my role was more significant than in 2016, and the need to broaden my understanding of school leadership through practical examples was becoming increasingly important. For instance, I was becoming increasingly involved with the link governor for Teaching and Learning and participating in Local Governing Body meetings, and I needed to develop my knowledge of the importance of governance. Moreover, much of my role has involved overseeing professional development at my school, and the National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership looked like an excellent opportunity to develop my leadership skills using the “learn that…” and “learn how to…” approaches.
My experiences with the NPQSL
The format of the NQPSL was great; a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous material provided opportunities for flexible study around my busy schedule. I found the reading material structured with helpful vignettes outlining practical examples, helping me apply theory to practice. During the course, there are opportunities for face-to-face local and online meetings. I thoroughly enjoyed the face-to-face meetings, as it was a chance to discuss the reading with leaders who work in different contexts and to see how they have been applying the reading to their practice. This was also an opportunity to undertake coaching-on-coaching to develop our leadership skills.
Applying the knowledge from the NQPSL to my practice
The NPQSL focused heavily on the Educational Endowment Foundation’s (2021) Implementation Framework: Explore, Prepare, Deliver and Sustain. This was extremely useful in shaping my leadership thinking and helped me to successfully implement three teaching and learning initiatives at my Academy, namely live modelling, tracking, and cold calling. As a result of this course, I developed the Academy version of an implementation framework to support staff at all levels to implement changes successfully at our school. This has helped to create a culture of ownership and clarity over expectations linked to implementation. The face-to-face meetings also provided an opportunity to discuss my implementation plans with other school leaders to gain fresh perspectives and look at potential implementation issues.
Treat implementation as a process, not an event; plan and execute it in stages. (EEF, 2019). When implementing change, consider what activities may need to stop to implement change successfully. Explore all avenues when identifying the issue and identify a tight area for improvement. Ensure you have the active ingredients for the change and communicate this this staff throughout the whole process to ensure fidelity to the intended strategy and don’t be afraid to revisit the intial idea if lethal mutations arise.