Best Practice

Marginal gains & school improvement: Big changes in small steps

Schools don’t need a big-bang approach to change or improvement, writes Matt Tiplin. It is far better to focus on small, realistic and sustainable improvements in teaching and learning…

Have you noticed the problem with new year’s resolutions is that we think too big?

We promise to transform ourselves with ambitious aims to eat a healthy diet, get fit, or completely reorganise our lives and then wonder why our resolutions start to flounder before January is out.

Instead, it would be better to cut out one sugary snack a day, do an extra yoga stretch, or sort and discard our paperwork once a week. These are the small but winnable goals which lead to sustainable improvement.

It is the same for schools. When it comes to improving teaching quality, it is all about doing a bit less – but a bit more often – rather than trying to solve everything in one go.

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