08 Jun 2018

Exploring the Implementation Guidance Report

Exploring the Implementation Guidance Report

We were delighted to welcome delegates to Sandringham Research School on Wednesday afternoon to spend some time exploring the EEF Implementation Guidance Report.

After a brief introduction to the work of the EEF generally, we delved straight into the six recommendation provided by the EEF, as seen below.

Stages 1 and 2 identify the factors that affect a school’s ability to implement successfully – the foundations that are required for good implementation. Firstly, was the key idea of seeing implementation as a process rather than event and allowing enough time for this process. Secondly, the importance of cultivating a school climate that is conducive to change is highlighted. Both of these were seen as the fundamental but not easy to achieve. For example, in the day to day course of life in a school you don’t always have the time to plan and prepare – sometimes you have to make an immediate change. However, these two recommendations were certainly seen as the ideal.

It was in looking at these two recommendations that we introduced the gardening analogy that we revisited throughout the session. If we just drove to the garden centre, bought all the plants that looked good and plonked them in the garden the results would be poor, possibly with everything dying. In order to get a garden right, you need to take the time to understand the soil and conditions, to think about what plants and designs might work best, and to take care of them once planted.

Stages 3 and 4 – Explore and Prepare – were emphasised as essential and again linked to the gardening analogy. Prepare is the longest section in the guidance, but seen as the most rushed stage in schools. The idea of active ingredients was discussed – identifying key things, the non-negotiables. There was a very interesting discussion about the active ingredients delegates could identify in key interventions and programmes in their own schools, linked to the implementation activities provided in the Guidance Report. Importantly, this part of the guidance also focuses on the importance of creating a shared understanding of the implementation and training.

Stages 5 and 6 – Deliver and Sustain – are the point at which your seeds have germinated but are still young and vulnerable! This section of the report highlights the importance of monitoring progress and providing follow-up support within school, perhaps through coaching and mentoring.

The key things we asked delegates to take away from the session were:

• View implementation as a process not an event

• Implementation needs time, especially for the preparation

• Think about sustainability from the outset

• Have a clear, logical and well-specified plan

• Know where to be ‘tight’ and where to be ‘loose’ (faithful adoption vs intelligent adaption)

• Use high-quality training AND follow on support

And, to finally hammer home the gardening analogy, we provided all delegates with their own seed to nurture and sustain! Thank you to all our delegates for attending.