Creating Outstanding Classrooms
A whole-school approach
Routledge – 2013 – 416 pages
This timely new book outlines a whole-school approach to embedding a sustainable model of teaching and learning that puts the learner at the heart of the system. It provides an entire framework for ensuring all students achieve above their expectations; incorporating school vision, teacher professional development, assessment models, school culture, leadership and management, and core classroom practices.
It takes what the current research suggests does – and does not – work and builds it into a practical approach that has been tried, tested and proven to work. Each section incorporates the research, a model of how this can be embedded across a school and then a training section that allows senior leaders in schools to teach the skill-set to others to ensure it can be embedded and reviewed.
Covering all aspect of teaching and learning including curriculum design, teacher practices, assessment and leadership, the book features:
a clear planning framework that is easy to implement;
subject based case studies to exemplify good practice;
diagrams to clarify and consolidate information;
training activities throughout each chapter, also available to download at www.routledge.com/9780415831178.
Designed to be used as a training tool for both new and established teachers, this book is essential reading for senior leaders that want to equip their teachers with the skills and knowledge to create a school of outstanding classrooms.
'It does not take long to realise that Creating Outstanding Classrooms is based on a long and rich history of running schools, on two authors who know how to turn theory into practice, to learn from research and from others, and to focus on the important. With so many demands made of schools it is refreshing to see learning, knowing one’s impact, and a sense of fun in creating outstanding classrooms. The many ideas and activities can be readily adopted but there is an underlying strength in their arguments while at the same time they confront some of most difficult problems.' John Hattie, Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne
'Drawing upon wide experience of teaching, senior leadership and curriculum development, Oliver Knight and David Benson have attempted the most comprehensive and practically grounded account yet of a disciplinary curriculum in action. With a winning and unusual integration of pedagogic, curricular and professional development concerns, they build their case that deep professional reflection on subject structure and subject knowledge leads to vibrant learning and shared, valid measures of the quality of that learning. Benson and Knight are trenchant in their critique of generic "thinking skills" approaches, arguing that different disciplines foster different ways of thinking and different forms of knowledge and that these distinctions enable rather than constrain, liberating both staff and students. They place these at the centre of whole-school professional development and professional debate, showing ways forward for the whole-school management of subject-driven learning that is knowledge-rich, demanding and lively.' Christine Counsell, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education
'Oli and David have proven they know how to run outstanding schools; this powerful manual captures how. It should be essential reading for every school leader and governor in the country. It is a practical and powerful end-to-end blueprint of how to run an outstanding secondary school.' Tom Shinner, Lead Proponent and Vice Chair of Governors, Greenwich Free School
'Creating Outstanding Classrooms appears to be the ‘missing link’ in that it brings the best of practice in each discipline together and underpins them with good research and well thought out case studies… We will be purchasing copies for all our staff and using it to radically alter our approach to delivering the curriculum by adopting the concept of ‘fertile questions’ across all school subjects.' Sir Iain Hall, CEO, Great Schools for All Children
'We know that effective schools are schools in which there are effective classrooms and this book provides a valuable set of resources to improve the quality of teaching in classrooms, with a clear focus on teaching for understanding…it is stimulating, thought-provoking, and eminently usable.' Professor Chris Husbands, Director, Institute of Education
'Creating Outstanding Classrooms is a book that you need to read at least once. At times provocative and challenging it is always a practical handbook for those of us who are compelled to make our schools better.' Mark Keary, Principal, Bethnal Green Academy (Most Improved School in London 2011)
'One of the greatest challenges facing school leaders is in-school variation. You just seem to solve a problem in one area when another one ‘pops up’ somewhere else. This book is a great resource for school leaders and teachers providing case studies and tools to crack inconsistency. It is a handbook that can be used every day to create outstanding practice.' John Baumber, CEO and Director of Education, The Learning Schools Trust
'Creating Outstanding Classrooms provides an ambitious framework for teaching & learning, assessment, leadership and school culture; a framework that places classroom teaching at the heart of the system…. there is much that other schools can learn from this book.' Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO, TeachFirst
'The quality of teaching and the vibrancy of learning is at the heart of school improvement. Sadly in all the discourse around structural change, curriculum and accountability such critical discussions are often lost. Fortunately, in their excellent new book, Creating Outstanding Classrooms: A Whole-School Approach, Oli Knight and David Benson have given us an insightful and strategic approach to enhancing teaching and learning.' David Hopkins. Professor Emeritus, Institute of Education, London and Director of Education Bright Tribe Trust
'This is a fascinating and important book, underpinned by deep, systematic thinking about the curriculum and pedagogy, and yet written with a light and wholly readable style that makes it practical, compelling and uplifting. All teachers will find ideas here to challenge as well as to reaffirm aspects of what they teach and how they teach it. Recommended.' Geoff Barton, Headteacher, King Edward VI School, Suffolk
Learning in the 21st Century; 1. Curriculum Planning; 2. Teacher Practices – the nuts and bolts; 3. Every Teacher is a Teacher of Language; 4. Assessment Models – what do we value and are we assessing it?; 5. Leadership – the framework for creating the culture
Oliver Knight is Director of Teaching and Learning for Bright Tribe Trust and was formerly Vice Principal with responsibility for Teaching and Learning at Ark Academy in Brent and a member of the Future Leaders programme.
David Benson is Principal of Kensington Aldridge Academy in North Kensington, and former Vice Principal at Ark Academy in Brent, with responsibility for Teaching and Learning, Assessment and Curriculum.