Author: Teach First Ambassadors
Institution: Policy First / supported by PWC
Full reference: Teach First. (2010). Ethos and Culture in Schools in Challenging Circumstances: A Policy First Publication. London: Teach First.
This Policy First Publication was researched, written and edited by 25 Teach First Ambassadors who are graduates of the two year Teach First Leadership Development Programme. The report features contributions from over 225 Teach First teachers working in diverse and challenging schools.
The study includes an analysis of current academic research on the value of ethos and culture in schools alongside interviews with head teachers in the UK and USA.
The report’s stated aim is as a catalyst for debate about the role ethos and culture can play in schools. It is argued they are “a school’s DNA, the basic building block from which every aspect of the schools life is constructed“.
Strong ethos and culture are therefore seen as vital to a school’s long-term success – with the argument being the more challenging the circumstance of the school, the more pronounced the impact of this ethos and culture. The report also argues that it is a relatively cheap, even potentially free, school improvement tool that offers potentially big benefits – making it additionally attractive during an age of austerity.
A number of recommendations designed to help the improvement of pupils, teachers and schools are put forward:
Mixed method approach – Literature review / Case studies / Interviews / Survey of Teach First ambassadors and participants with 225 responses / attendance at three party political conferences / visits to 4 New York schools/ each of the authors own personal experiences of teaching.