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Making schools more effective

We put school improvement at the heart of our most ambitious technical support, focusing on a package of mutually reinforcing measures from head teacher development, through teacher training and upgrading infrastructure and learning materials.

In the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) we developed a multi-faceted approach to school improvement with external funds. This proved sufficiently successful and affordable to persuade State governments to invest their own funds in similar ways.

An effective school is one in which children learn and are supported to fulfil their full potential. To become effective, schools must have adequate infrastructure, well-performing teachers, appropriate learning materials and access to funds Most importantly, they must have strong leadership and management.

We put head teachers at the centre of our approach to improving schools – we focus on developing their professional leadership skills as well as their ability to manage staff and resources. Through numerous education programmes, we have designed and delivered high quality training and materials to help head teachers develop these skills. However, training alone is not sufficient – head teachers need ongoing on-the-job support from local education authorities and they must become accountable for the performance of their school both to the local government and to the community in which their school resides.

Schools do not exist in isolation and therefore cannot be improved in isolation. They are part of an education system, which must also be made more effective. This means efficient mechanisms for funding, recruiting and deploying teachers and robust systems for inspecting and supporting schools to drive up standards.

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