Transforming Learning and Teaching: ‘We can if…’


Barbara MacGilchrist & Margaret Buttress

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • About the Author

    Professor Barbara MacGilchrist is Deputy Director at the Institute of Education, University of London and an Associate Director of the Institute's International School Effectiveness and Improvement Centre. She has been a teacher, a head-teacher, local education authority inspector and chief inspector, and has substantial experience of professional development and school improvement programmes. She is the author of Managing Access and Entitlement in Primary Education (Trentham, 1992) and co-author of Planning Matters (Paul Chapman Publishing, 1995) and The Intelligent School (Paul Chapman/Sage Publishing, 1997; 2004). She has published a wide range of articles for practitioners in professional journals and on the National College for School Leadership website. In 2003 she was awarded an OBE for her services to the ‘education and professional development of teachers’.

    Margaret Buttress is the Headteacher of Highlands Primary School in the London Borough of Redbridge. Prior to this she was a teacher and deputy headteacher in the outer London Boroughs of Merton, Hillingdon and Ealing. She has led and managed two successful amalgamations, including Highlands, where she has been Headteacher since 1997. Awarded a Research Associateship by the National College for School Leadership in 2001, she has disseminated the transformational learning from the ‘Learning to Learn’ project locally, nationally and internationally. She has been a member of groups developing revised school self-evaluation and monitoring frameworks for Redbridge. She is also contributing to the Department for Education and Skills' pilot schemes and consultation exercises on the New Relationship with Schools.


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    Dedicated to Gareth Brooke-Williams

    an inspirational and charismatic headteacher who always believed ‘we can if …’. (1952–2001)


    This book reflects the learning journey of five primary schools and is a celebration of primary practice in the London Borough of Redbridge.

    In writing up the ‘Learning to Learn’ project we have tried to encapsulate the deep learning that took place within our learning community. Particular thanks are extended to the headteachers for their unwavering leadership, support and collegiality during the project:

    Lesley Hagon, Headteacher, Ilford Jewish Primary School

    Helen Marchant, Acting Headteacher, Oakdale Junior School

    Judith Skelton, Headteacher, Churchfields Junior School

    Dinah Smith, Headteacher, Parkhill Junior School.

    The outstanding contributions, and engagement, from staff and pupils in all five schools have been instrumental in translating the aims of the project into practical reality. The support of parents and governors was a vital part of this process. Judith Skelton's organization and collation of the children's views about learning was greatly appreciated.

    Special thanks are extended to the staff, pupils and governors of Highlands Primary School, for their enthusiasm, forbearance, and continued support whilst the authors were writing this book. Outstanding contributions from Jean Durr, Ian Bennett, Sue Barnes and Angela Sparkes in their leadership, challenge and support have been especially appreciated, as has the very practical support provided by members of the office staff.

    The vision, creative foresight, courage and tenacity of our mentor, Melanie Foster, enabled the learning journey to happen for all. Lisa Starr, through her unstinting support, kept us on track.

    We wish to thank Jackie Lee for her endless patience, goodwill and endurance in helping us to type and retype our story, and Bob Percival for his work in producing the data.

    We also wish to thank the following for their individual contributions. Martin Coles, Janice Eacott, Anne Farmer, Claire Griffiths, Sue Hyett, Rachel Jackson, Vicky Jones, Roz Levin, Isobel Madhani, Samim Patel, Mary Robinson, Maninder Sagoo, Jes Da Santos, Robeena Shah, Linda Snow, Geoff Southworth, Mick Taylor, Jo Wakefield, Saira Yakub and Meena Zaverchand.

    Last, but not least, Barbara would like to thank her husband, Bob, and Margaret would like to thank her husband, Patrick, daughters, Jessica and Martha, and her mother, Margaret, for their support and encouragement.

  • Glossary

    ALPSAccelerated Learning in Primary Schools
    ASTadvanced skills teacher
    ATAttainment Targets
    CPDcontinuing professional development
    CMTcurriculum management team
    DfESDepartment for Education and Skills
    EALEnglish as an additional language
    GaTgifted and talented
    HEIhigher education institution
    ICSEIInternational Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement
    ICTinformation and communication technologies
    IEPIndividual Education Plan
    INSETin-service training
    ISEICInternational School Effectiveness and Improvement Centre
    KSKey Stage
    LEAlocal education authority
    LPSHLeadership Programme for Serving Headteachers
    LSAlearning support assistant
    MDAmidday assistant
    MEASminority ethnic achievement staff
    NCSLNational College for School Leadership
    NFERNational Foundation for Educational Research
    NGfLNational Grid for Learning
    NLPneuro-linguistic programming
    NLSNational Literacy Strategy
    NNSNational Numeracy Strategy
    NPQHNational Professional Qualification for Headship
    NQTnewly qualified teacher
    OFSTEDOffice for Standards in Education
    QCAQualifications and Curriculum Authority
    RYreception year
    SATsStandard Assessment Tests
    SENspecial educational needs
    SENCOspecial educational needs co-ordinator
    SIGARSupported and Independent Guidance and Activities for Reading
    SIPSchool Improvement Plan
    TAteaching assistant
    TIPDPTeachers' International Professional Development Programme
    TLCtender loving care
    VAKvisual, auditory and kinaesthetic
    WALT‘We are learning to …’
    WILF‘What I'm looking for’


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