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Evolving Systems Thinking

This is an Education Scotland leadership programme.

The Evolving Systems Thinking programme supports system level educators to enhance their leadership skills and experience through national collaborative working, with a strong focus on delivering excellence and equity for all children and young people in Scotland.

Designed in partnership with the Ontario Principals’ Council, this programme is for school and system leaders with a remit for curriculum and pedagogical developments, quality processes and effective collaborative improvement across the system. The content of the Evolving Systems Thinking programme is founded on research that points to a clear and powerful connection between effective school-level and system-level leadership practices (Leithwood K, 2013). Understanding what effective schools and school-level leadership looks like is the crucial foundation for delivering effective system-level support and thinking.

Evolving Systems Thinking aims to provide:

  • opportunities to develop systemic perspectives and strategies with a focus on improving outcomes for children and young people
  • development of system-level Professional Learning Communities across the six Regional Improvement Collaboratives
  • opportunities for enhanced collaborative working between heads of establishments and other system leaders
  • enhanced knowledge and understanding of a range of approaches to develop new capacities and cultures for professional learning and the attainment of children and young people.
Programme structure

The programme consists of six modules, delivered over three residential learning events:

  1. Leadership for system improvement
  2. Effective school systems
  3. Capacity building practices
  4. Data use and planning practices
  5. Instructional (pedagogical) practices
  6. Collaborative enquiry plan for system leaders
What are the benefits?

This programme has been developed in collaboration with the Ontario Principals Council to reflect the Scottish context and is aligned with system priorities. The programme is based on the highly regarded International School Leadership system level leadership programme and offers:

  • strong evidence of impact on system-level leadership practices
  • strong evidence of building a highly effective system-level team
  • advanced facilitation strategies supporting experiential learning
  • engagement with current research with the application of new learning to practice
  • opportunities to engage in future programme delivery.

The programme develops a deeper understanding of school and system leadership coherence:

"Think ‘system’ and not ‘individual school’ if the goal is to fundamentally change the culture of schools." Dr Michael Fullan, O.C.

Who is it for?

The programme is for school and system leaders with a remit for curriculum and pedagogical developments, quality processes and effective collaborative improvement across the system.

Candidates for the programme will be nominated by their local authority and will have experience of system level leadership within their local authority or national organisations. This may include:

  • Quality Improvement Officers or similar working directly with schools
  • experienced heads of establishments who are actively involved in leadership and system capacity building including coaching and mentoring with colleagues
  • colleagues in national organisations working directly with schools.

Each cohort will have a maximum of 30 participants.

Duration and key dates

The programme is delivered regionally through three learning events over a period of around nine months to suit the needs of each regional grouping.

·         3-day session for Modules 1 and 2

·         3-day session for Modules 4 and 5

·         3-day session for Modules 3 and 6

How is the programme delivered?

The programme contains six modules designed to be delivered over three learning sessions.  The learning sessions are highly interactive and use a broad range of strategies; therefore, registration is limited to a maximum of 30 per group.

 

The programme is also supported by a range of online resources, use of a reflective journal and ongoing programme evaluation.

Funding and costs

As the Profesional Learning and Leadership Team in Education Scotland is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, participation in the Evolving Systems Thinking programme is free of charge.

Where travel costs are incurred they should be met by local authorities. The programme is non-residential, however accommodation for those travelling significant distances will be considered individually.

Applying for the programme and further information

Candidates for the programme will be nominated by their local authority and will have experience of system level leadership within their local authority or national organisations.

For further information about this programme, or for an informal discussion with a Lead Specialist, contact us at edspll@educationscotland.gov.scot.