Complex Systems Modelling and School Leadership: applying hierarchical process modelling to school leadership

  • Deakin Crick, Ruth E (Principal Investigator)
  • Green, Howard (Co-Investigator)
  • Barr, Steven (Co-Investigator)

Project Details


A continuing challenge for the education system is how to evaluate the wider outcomes of schools. Academic results are important but other, less easily quantifiable measures of success make for a complete education. For example, the development of students as life-long learners, employability skills, citizenship, self-confidence, teamwork and emotional wellbeing are widely recognised as essential qualities for individual success in adult life and for social cohesion. Unless methods are found to evaluate these broader outcomes, the education system will continue to focus on a single measure of school effectiveness: test/exam results. This paper describes the rationale and methodology underpinning a pilot research project that applies hierarchical process modelling to schools as complex living systems, using software developed by engineers at the University of Bristol, called Perimeta. The aim is to create a systems design which accounts for the full range of outcomes valued by each school, collect evidence of success – in the form of quantitative, qualitative and narrative data – and to model this using Perimeta software which returns visual analytic feedback against each outcome in the form of the Italian flag. Red represents what is not working, green represents what is successful and white represents what is not known, and is therefore an area for organisational learning and development. The project involves three Academies in the UK. The systems design which has been developed to underpin this pilot study, is one which recognises that the purpose of the school is to facilitate the learning and achievement of all students and the core processes which are essential for fulfilling this are: leadership learning, teacher learning and student learning.

Layman's description

Apply complex systems modelling to school improvement
Effective start/end date2/09/1130/12/12

Structured keywords

  • SoE Artful Narrative Inquiry Network


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