This is true, schools that focus on M.A.G.I.C. probably do well but there is simply no one-size fits all formula.
Where schools are working well, it is because teachers, parents, and the school community have joined together to develop programmes and ideas specific to meet their own particular goals and challenges rather than relying on a prescriptive template of success.
Schools often draw on and quote ‘best practices’ but best practice isn’t always best.
If every school followed best practices, all schools would look the same. Best practices approaches can actually limit opportunities for new learning and growth when local contexts and the specifics are ignored.
So why do schools adopt a ‘best practice’ approach? Well, these practices attract teaching consultants and CPD evangelists who pronounce their virtues to all who will listen and convince us that things can work.
This isn’t to say that best practices shouldn’t be adopted – they should but they should be your own version of events and not someone else’s.
When a school adopts a best practice strategy then they do it on their own turf and terms through introspection, research, experience, testing and reflection – terms and local conditions apply!
Every school contains its own magic and that comes about through a continuing effort to change and grow where constant self-review weeds out weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
It’s clear that schools all share some key similarities such as a focus on the whole child, commitment to equity and access, family and community engagement, high expectations, distributed leadership, etc but there are always add-ons and bolt-ons that schools need to include and innovate so things work for them.
Schools learn that their own ‘best practice’ isn’t static as magic has a limited shelf-life. The right, home-grown best practices can help improve a school’s performance but only for a while. Best practice is a constant work in progress.