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Leading for deeper learning: international perspectives

Alma Harris Orcid Logo, Michelle Jones Orcid Logo, Cecilia Azorín Orcid Logo, Alex Southern, Jeremy Griffiths Orcid Logo, Ingileif Ástvaldsdóttir Orcid Logo

Journal of Educational Administration, Volume: 62, Issue: 1, Pages: 122 - 137

Swansea University Authors: Michelle Jones Orcid Logo, Alex Southern

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Abstract

Purpose – This article draws upon evidence from a contemporary study of all-through schools (ATS) in three countries. ATS combine at least two stages of a child’s education in a single establishment. Many admit children aged 3–19. Most children join the school at nursery or kindergarten level and co...

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Published in: Journal of Educational Administration
ISSN: 0957-8234 0957-8234
Published: Emerald 2024
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64970
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Abstract: Purpose – This article draws upon evidence from a contemporary study of all-through schools (ATS) in three countries. ATS combine at least two stages of a child’s education in a single establishment. Many admit children aged 3–19. Most children join the school at nursery or kindergarten level and continue there for their entire education before moving on to further or higher education. ATS are also called all-age, in some contexts, because they bring children of all ages together into the same school environment. Models of ATS vary internationally; hence, there is not one definition of an ATS. This article takes a comparative look at ATS in Iceland, Spain and Wales. The purpose of this article is to explore innovative pedagogies in ATS and to explore how far deeper learning occurs because of the integrated and inclusive model of schooling. The study focused on pedagogical practices in ATS and examined how far these innovative practices are considered by teachers to foster deeper learning outcomes.Design/methodology/approach – The article draws upon a three-year comparative research project that explored pedagogy, leadership and well-being in ATS. The article investigates pedagogy with a cross-cutting focus on enquiry and deeper learning from the perspective of leaders and teachers. Using focus groups and lesson observations, a qualitative case-study approach was utilised to gather evidence about the teaching and learning processes adopted in ATS. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with school leaders. The analytical approach adopted was one of constant comparison with the prime aim of eliciting common themes across the data sets. In relation to the pedagogy theme and an exploration of pedagogical innovation, research questions included(1) How far do ATS foster innovative pedagogies?, (2)What are the leadership conditions that support innovative pedagogies? and (3) To what extent do innovative pedagogies promote deeper learning?Findings – Within and across the three education systems under investigation, the study found that all through schooling engages students in a positive learning environment and provides innovative pedagogical processes associated with deeper learning. The article provides evidence about how deeper learning functions in ATS from different parts of the world and reflects on the way deeper learning is promoted by leaders and teachers, resulting in deeper learning for students. The evidence from this study reinforces that opportunities for pedagogical innovation and deeper learning within ATS occur because of flatter structures, more fluidity between different phases of learning and greater cross-over of teacher expertise. The study also highlights how leadership is a critical factor in creating the conditions for collective professional practices that foster pedagogical innovations to secure deeper learning. Findings suggest that leading for deeper learning is fundamentally concerned with creating the conditions for innovative learning environments that are equitable, inclusive, diverse and cross age ranges.
Keywords: Leadership, Deeper learning, All-through schools, Pedagogy, Innovation, Cross-phase teaching
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: This article contains data about the “All Through School” project, carried out within the European-funded programme Erasmus+ Action KA2 . 2019-1-UK01-KA201-061536.
Issue: 1
Start Page: 122
End Page: 137