For the purposes of this training, a Çluster Leader” is any person who works to improve the quality of teaching and learning by visiting and working with schools. A Cluster Leader could be supported by a member of the School Management Team (SMT) or the Teacher Development Team (TDT).
This training is designed as a reference for Cluster Leaders to consult as they carry out their roles and responsibilities. It will guide them to improve each school they work with by supporting teachers, Head Teachers, and other school staff. The focus for Cluster Leaders and those they work with is improving the quality of teaching and learning.
This training provides guidance on three main areas of their work: improving classroom practice, strengthening school leadership, and gathering and sharing information about schools.
The best Cluster Leaders will recognize that all schools, Head Teachers, and teachers are different. They need different things and achieve different kinds of excellence. This means that the best Cluster Leaders do not spend their time pretending to know all of the answers and telling people what to do. The best CLs spend their time watching, listening and discussing, and trying to help other people to do their jobs better. This training gives some suggestions about how to do this but it is not instruction training and it does not have all of the answers.
The Cluster Leader Training is divided into sections outlined below:
Improving classroom practice
- How to make lesson observations effective
- How to support school based professional development activities
- How to organise a cluster activity
Strengthening school leadership and development
- How to support school development planning
- How to promote inclusion
- How to carry out a school visit
Gathering, sharing and using information
- How to compile School and Cluster reports
- How to manage my cluster of schools
- How to share information within my District
Templates for Reporting
- A school visit plan
- School report guidance
- Cluster report guidance
- Sample School report
- Sample Cluster report
- Cluster based activity list
- Sample cluster based activity list
HOW WE ENVISION OUR CLUSTER LEADERS
I am a Cluster Leaders and I…
…am the key agent of change for a cluster of schools.
My vision is that all of the schools in my cluster work to improve all pupils’ learning by increasing the quality of teaching, leadership, and planning.
I know that nobody has all of the answers. I use my knowledge of what is happening in other schools in the cluster and by discussing problems with other CLs, to help Head Teachers and teachers to solve their own challenges.
This means that I always ask myself…
- Can this challenge be addressed using something I learned during training?
- Has this challenge also appeared in another of my cluster schools?
- Has this challenge also appeared in another Cluster Leader’s school?
- Which Head Teachers or teachers could I discuss this with in my cluster schools?
- Who could I discuss this with at my District?
- Which SMT member could I discuss this with?
I am not an inspector or supervisor, but a mentor and critical friend. My role is not to judge, but to support. To be a supportive mentor, I need to develop effective relationships with the people I work with, especially teachers, Head Teachers, other CLs, and District management.
In order to develop effective relationships, I…
- listen as much, or more, than I talk
- ask questions rather than make demands
- smile and praise
- identify how I can help
- be the change I want to see.
Cluster Leader’s roadmap to success
The most important thing I do is to visit each of the schools in my cluster. I do this to understand what is happening there, and to give support and advice to the teachers and Head Teacher. At the end of each visit, I agree with the Head Teacher what will happen next in the school, what I will do for the school when I return to my LGEA, and when I will visit again.
Every week I…
- visit at least one school
- discuss the schools in my cluster with other CLs
- discuss the schools in my cluster with a member of District management
- reflect on what I have done to help my schools improve.
Every term I…
- write a report on the progress of each school in my cluster
- discuss each report with that school’s Head Teacher and SGB Chair
- discuss each report with that school’s SMT
- write a Cluster report summarising all of my schools’ School reports
- discuss the progress and challenges in my schools with the other CLs
- identify what I have done well that term, and what I want to improve next term
- share the reports and some significant achievements or challenges in my schools with a member of District management.
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