Professional Learning Communities: Divergence. Depth and Dilemmas

Louise Stoll and Karen Seashore Louis (editors)

There is great interest internationally in the potential of professional learning communities for enhancing educational reform efforts and sustaining improvement. This international collection expands perceptions and understanding of professional learning communities, as well as highlighting frequently neglected complexities and challenges. Professional Learning Communities is a must-read for anyone interested in building capacity for sustainable learning and the ability to harness your community as a resource for change.

2007 – Available from Open University Press/ McGraw Hill



It’s About Learning (and It’s About Time) – Louise Stoll, Lorna Earl and Dean Fink

The purpose of this book is to re-orient the current agenda in education towards learning. The recent emphasis has been on achieving standards through managing schools, teachers and the teaching process. But the real purpose of schools was, is, and always will be about learning. In an increasingly complex, diverse and unpredictable world, it is necessary for schools and those working with them to refocus on learning at all levels – pupils, teachers, leaders, the organisation as a whole and all of the school’s partners. It’s About Learning is a clear and well written discussion woven with practical examples and strategies. Questions are also posed for reflection and discussion.

2003 – Available from Routledge.



No Quick Fixes – Louise Stoll and Kate Myers (editors)

There is considerable interest in ‘failing’ schools, but what exactly is a school in difficulty? Why and how did it get that way? What roles do the headteacher, the LEA, the governing body, ‘critical friends’ and government policy initiatives play in turning such schools around? What part does the system as a whole play? The contributors to this book offer a range of answers to these issues from their various perspectives. Many prevalent assumptions about causes, types and remedies of failure are challenged. Suggestions are made about how to improve schools in difficulty, although those seeking ‘quick fix solutions’ are likely to be disappointed.

1998 – Available from Routledge.



Changing Our Schools – Louise Stoll and Dean Fink

Many of our schools are good schools – if this were 1965. Processes and structures designed for a time that has passed are no longer appropriate in a rapidly changing society. Throughout the world a great deal of effort and money has been expended in the name of educational change. Much of it has been misdirected and some of it wasteful. This book assists people inside and outside schools to bring about positive change by helping them to define the purposes behind change, the processes needed to achieve change and the results which they should expect. By linking the why, what and how of change, the authors provide both a theoretical critique and practical advice to assist all those committed to changing and improving schools.

1996 – Available from Open University Press/ McGraw Hill



Making Good Schools: Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement – David Reynolds, Robert Bollen, Bert Creemers, David Hopkins, Louise Stoll and Nils Lagerwijs

The disciplines of school effectiveness research and school improvement practice and research have been apart for too long. This book is the first major attempt, by leading writers and practitioners in these fields, to bring the areas together in a coherent way. Existing knowledge about the characteristics of `good’ schools is outlined, together with the knowledge base about how to `make schools good schools’. The book also makes an entirely original contribution to re-thinking practice in school improvement that can revolutionise our thinking in the late 1990s, and which can be of use to academics, to policymakers and to the practitioners which much existing work has neglected.1996 – Available from Routledge.



School Matters: The Junior Years             Peter Mortimore, Pam Sammons, Louise Stoll, David Lewis and Russell Ecob

Do schools vary in their outcome? Are some schools better than others? Can such schools improve the life-chances of children from disadvantaged circumstances? Is it possible to explain how different results arise?

School Matters addresses these and other questions and provides unambiguous answers. Schools do vary and they can have powerful effects for the good. In addition it is shown exactly how it is that schools achieve their results. This book is probably the most detailed account of the primary school milieu ever undertaken. The authors traced the fortunes, over a period of four years, of 2000 pupils in 50 randomly selected London primary schools. They examined precisely what went on in these schools and measured the varying effects on the pupils’ progress. Each child’s progress was monitored repeatedly for both academic and social skills. The resulting wealth of detail gives the clearest possible picture of the factors that make for success in schools. The authors spell out these measures of effectiveness – all within the control of the school – and show the bearing they have on children’s progress.

1988 Open Books, 1995 Paul Chapman Press.