Research School Network: Communicating (and over-communicating) the Core Components of an Approach Developing a shared understanding of WHAT is being implemented

Communicating (and over-communicating) the Core Components of an Approach

Developing a shared understanding of WHAT is being implemented

by Great Heights Research School: West Yorkshire
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How often have we walked out of a meeting to discuss a new approach or initiative, or a staff training session launching said initiative and walked away with a lack of clarity around exactly what we need to be doing in classrooms, on corridors etc? It is hard to know how to implement something without knowing precisely what it is yet, surprisingly often, schools head into making changes without a shared understanding of what is being implemented.

When developing our own approaches, we need to spend the time specifying the core components and agree to them as the fixed elements that will be applied consistently. Finding this level of precision and consensus can often be tricky but is fundamental to enable effective implementation. 

Think safeguarding; we have meticulously identified the core components of our policy, we communicate and over-communicate, sometimes we even distill these components into a gentle cue on the back of toilet doors. How can we apply this level of precision to other areas of implementation?

Why is this so important? How do core components help to keep us on the right road?

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Unite: it is much easier to unite people around practices if those practices are clearly understood

Implementation strategies: armed with tightly specified core components we can assess and reflect on existing knowledge and practice. How are far away are we from our intended components? What blend of implementation strategies, including training, will we use to close that gap?

Staying on track: core components provide an anchor, they are something that we can return to and revisit as implementation moves into classrooms.

Fidelity: if we don’t know what the core components are, what are we looking for during initial stages of monitoring? 

Intelligent adaptation: specifying core components is hard, professional dialogue around what can and can’t be adapted and in turn leaders can keep reviewing the core components. 


  • Do you have adequate time and space to discuss identification of core components? 
  • What opportunities are there for engaging others in the process of identifying core components?
  • Can all members of the leadership team articulate the core components of your approach? What are they? Why are they important?
  • Have core components been written in a way that is accessible to all staff to ease communication?

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