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In this article we answer some frequently asked questions about the widely respected Coachmark scheme for accrediting the use of coaching as a tool for school improvement

What is Coachmark?

Coachmark is the National Quality Mark for Coaching in Education and is a scheme that recognises the high quality of coaching that is taking place in many schools. The scheme provides schools with the opportunity to formalise the use of coaching as a vital tool for school improvement. It gives your school accreditation for its use of coaching and the positive impact this has had on staff and pupils.

What does the scheme aim to do?

Coachmark has been developed to recognise and celebrate high quality professional learning through a coaching style of professional conversation. It also seeks to expand the use of coaching across schools, colleges and universities.

What is the ethos of Coachmark?

In many ways Coachmark can be seen as the antidote to Ofsted because it:

  •     Focuses on peoples’ strengths
  •     Promotes independent thinking in all members of the school community
  •     Recognises and values commitment to professionalism and support
  •     Develops trust and openness.

How does the scheme work?

Schools can work towards three levels of award: bronze, silver and gold, with each level requiring that specific criteria are met. The process is developmental and provides clear ‘next steps’ and an action plan to sustain good practice and to further develop coaching in your school. Through an audit, development and assessment process, the Coachmark award offers a supportive guide to assist your school to achieve the highest standards in coaching practice.

How is your school assessed?

Assessment is via completion of a Portfolio of Evidence and a school visit from an accredited Coachmark partner. The following five points give an overview of the criteria that Coachmark uses to gauge the suitability of a school to achieve the award.

1. Previous Training

2. Conduct and Provision in Coaching Practice

3. Purpose and Principles

4. Impact of Coaching

5. On-going Excellence in Coaching

How could Coachmark benefit your school?

Schools that have participated in the Coachmark scheme have found that it brings with it a range of benefits:

  •     It provides a robust and supportive process for developing high quality professional development for your team, giving confidence to leaders, teaching and support staff, parents/carers, partner-schools, children and young people
  •     It shows your commitment to high quality staff development
  •     Robust criteria are applied to your school, resulting in national recognition of excellence
  •     It is underpinned by ‘The West Sussex 41 Schools Coaching Project’, which gives guidance on what makes organisational professional development successful
  •     It is supported by The Institute of Educational Coaching, which seeks to promote the highest quality coaching in education settings
  •     It provides external verification of your school’s staff development processes
  •     It raises your profile, giving added value to your school and impacting on your reputation and ability to attract further high quality staff.

What further information is available on the Coachmark website?

The website includes a more detailed explanation of the Coachmark accreditation process and some inspirational case studies from schools showing what has been achieved with the help of the framework.

To learn more about Coachmark and to sign up for updates about coaching and Coachmark simply click here