The Good School Toolkit
The Good School Toolkit is designed to transform the operational culture of the school, help educators explore what a good school is, and guide them through a process that will help them create one.
This intervention is created by Raising Voices. Raising Voices is a non-profit organization based in Kampala, Uganda working toward the prevention of violence against women and children. Our work strives to influence the power dynamics shaping relationships between women and men, girls, and boys by catalysing social change in communities, rigorously studying and learning from the work we do, and sharing our experiences to shape the field.
Mode and context of delivery
The Good School Toolkit is a methodology created to help educators and students explore what makes a healthy, vibrant, and positive school and guide them through a process to create this vision and reduce violence against children in schools in all its forms. It does so through seeking to improve relationships – between teachers, students, school administration and the surrounding community – and deliberately focuses on ideas and activities that do not require dedicated financial resources. Explorations of power are key to this process and emphasis is placed on encouraging student voice and equal participation among girls and boys.
In a Raising Voices’ study conducted in 2005 in Uganda, over 60% of children interviewed said they experienced violence at school on a regular basis. To address this urgent issue, we developed The Good School Toolkit, a holistic and sustainable methodology for creating violence-free schools. The Good School Toolkit was developed with the help of schools in Uganda and has been revised once in order to better meet the needs of teachers and students. A new “Agile” form of the Good School Toolkit is being developed in 2021 to facilitate taking toolkit ideas to scale.
Level/Nature of staff expertise required
The school administration must approve the school’s implementation of the Toolkit. The Toolkit is then implemented by educators and students who:
• are involved in the day-to-day running of the school
• see themselves as leaders
• feel the responsibility and inspiration to make their school a better place
• will be motivated to endure challenges and quick to celebrate successes
• will role model—in everything they say and do—an openness to new ideas and learning new skills
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
The Good School Toolkit uses the participatory learning method and a facilitator, who guides the group and encourages participants to take an active role in their own learning process. The learning process taps into the wealth of experience that participants have and uses it for collective problem-solving. Participatory learning has proven very useful for promoting change and working with participants who may not be used to being students.
The Good School Toolkit has four interrelated objectives that address:
- Development of a collective vision for the school.
- Creation of a nurturing learning environment.
- Implementation of a more progressive learning methodology.
- Strengthening school governance.
The Toolkit is designed to be systematic and child-friendly in its approach. It contains six steps that are designed to take a school through a process of growth that mirrors the stages of behaviour change. This enables key stakeholders to experience change in a manageable and natural way.
Description of intervention
The Good School Toolkit is delivered in the form of three ‘packages.’
The Introductory Package introduces you to the Good School Toolkit and provides the necessary tools to inform your decision to embark upon the journey to creating a Good School.
Package Two assists educators in preparing a team of community members who are dedicated to joining you on the journey to creating a Good School and explores what it means to be a good teacher.
Package Three addresses discipline and helps educators to establish a school culture and disciplinary methods that support positive discipline instead of corporal punishment. It also provides steps to think about the future, plan for the way forward, and measure and celebrate your success!
The Packages include child-friendly and inspiring learning materials such as posters and cartoon booklets.
You can watch a video about the intervention here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p5zJcMmEUQ&list=UU43fwM-Wsqt8fcpuIDdu-JA
Results published in the Lancet Global Health indicate that the Good Schools approach reduces violence against children. Key findings include:
In intervention schools, the Toolkit reduced the risk of physical violence by teachers and school staff against children by 42% (in the space of 18 months).
In intervention schools, 50% fewer teachers (compared to control) report using physical violence against students.
The Toolkit promoted students’ identification with their school, as well as their sense of safety and belonging at school.
Devries, Karen M., et al. "The Good School Toolkit for reducing physical violence from school staff to primary school students: a cluster-randomised controlled trial in Uganda." The Lancet Global Health 3.7 (2015): e378-e386.
Information correct at January 2021