An Introduction to SfA From Our Managing Director

Success for All – A consistent, structured, multi dimensional approach to school improvement

‘If we truly believed that every child could learn, we would be relentless in our pursuit of those circumstances.’ 2 Million Children – Slavin, Madden, Chambers and Haxby

This first blogpost on Success for All, a consistent, structured, multi-dimensional approach to school improvement, provides a background to the charity and its work.

Success for All grew from a desire to see all children succeed, whatever their background.  It is an approach to school improvement based on over thirty years of evidence-based research which, if implemented with fidelity, provides a high level of consistency and classroom practice that is of huge benefit to schools.  It improves pupil outcomes, creates a positive school climate and provides professional development for all staff.

Focussing on literacy, Success for All comprises of a suite of different components expertly designed to meet the needs of children; Curiosity Corner, Kinder Corner, Roots, Wings and Quest.  Underpinning all these programmes and the central tenet of SfA is Cooperative Learning.  Cooperative Learning, if used effectively, results in children who feel safe, relaxed and happy at school.  These feelings and emotions are essential if children are to have a positive, fulfilling learning experience.  If Cooperative Learning is embedded and consistently applied across the school, children willingly work hard because they want to do well and make progress.  Many of the ideas found in Cooperative Learning will be evident in some form or other in many classrooms but what makes SfA unique is the step by step approach that ensures all strategies are implemented consistently in every classroom across the school.  This transparency enables schools to have a shared understanding of what constitutes best practice, to develop professionally by learning from each other and gives children stability due to a clear understanding of expectations.

In the most exemplary Success for All schools all components from Curiosity Corner in Nursery to Wings and Quest in Y6 are underpinned by a fully embedded Cooperative Learning framework that is applied with consistency and fidelity.  This is the approach that was fully researched and introduced in Baltimore, USA in 1987 to resounding success in the most deprived schools and continues to transform schools to this day.  As Cooperative Learning is an essential cornerstone to the strategy, schools who find themselves unable to introduce the SfA model in its entirety for whatever reason, still benefit hugely from prioritising its implementation.  It provides a clear framework that makes structures explicit to everyone and ensures a consistent approach to teaching and learning throughout the school.   

Success for All was designed to put into practice the findings of research on effective school systems.  It was built around the assumption that every child can learn and was designed to anticipate the ways in which those at risk could fail and provide interventions in advance of this happening. Subsequent years of development and research have seen SfA grow and benefit schools globally, most notably in the USA and the UK.  As is noted in 2 Million Children: ‘Success for All is by far the largest research based, whole school reform model ever to exist.  It is the first model to demonstrate that techniques shown to be effective in rigorous research can be replicated on a substantial scale with fidelity and continued effectiveness’. 

Success for All is not an ‘off the shelf’ solution to a school’s problems, nor is it a silver bullet or snake oil to provide a quick fix remedy to identified difficulties.  It is driven by a belief that all children can learn and all deserve the best possible education and the best possible schools.   The aim of Success for All remains the same today as it did over thirty years ago, to relentlessly stick with every child until that child is succeeding.

30th October 2019

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