About learning. Every day. For everyone.

learning cultures.

learning communities.

We find that a growing number of schools are looking for new solutions to achieving excellence in education, ensuring the wellbeing of its community, and providing fulfilling learning experiences and growth opportunities for their school, staff and students. 

How do you begin to create an environment of excellence in performance integrated with daily processes of reflection on practice and collaborative, creative generation of innovative improvements?

What are the first steps to creating a culture committed and passionate about continuous professional learning to deliver continuous improvements in student learning.

What is required from leadership to establish a safe, trusting culture in which risk-taking and exploration of innovative solutions is an everyday part of the professional commitment to self-improvement?

Ensuring the right culture and conditions for learning to flourish requires skilled and consistent leadership of the whole school community. The fostering of strength and continuity across the community in ethos, trust, relationships and values provides the foundations to integrate continuous learning and innovation into your school.

We provide the expertise for school communities in fostering a culture designed explicitly to support leaders in establishing continuous learning practices so all leaders, teachers and students are engaged in effective reflection and learning every day. We offer a broad and comprehensive spectrum of expertise to support learning communities in delivering excellence, innovation, and individual fulfillment through a collaborative culture designed for continuous and sustained improvement in operations and learning performance.
Learning cultures imageLearning cultures image
Your Learning Community imageYour Learning Community image

A fully-evolved learning community is founded upon practice, beliefs and support which both the organisation and its members to learn and improve individually and collectively every day. Wellbeing, satisfaction, commitment and the quality of outcomes all continuously improve in these environments. These organisations thrive in a learning environment which delivers innovation, adaptability and a genuinely cohesive dedication to daily growth.

If your school is on this journey, or is seeking to undertake a journey to becoming a mature learning community, we can provide the tools and guidance to support you in achieving this.

We will support your school community in establishing its core purpose to nurture individuals through their personal transformations within a culture founded on high levels of organisational and relational trust, distributed leadership and decision making, and rapid learning to support advancement and adaptability. Your leaders and teachers will be fully conversant in understanding the social and personal challenges which exist in becoming highly effective in learning autonomously and with others, in mentoring and guiding others, the agency to expertly direct their learning experiences and author the creation of their futures.

We advise and guide schools in establishing the values, relationships, interactions and practices which are most effective in delivering continuous learning – both collaborative and individual. We will support you through the processes and development stages in becoming independent creators of the pedagogy, learning space and organisation which comprises your culture, in order to realise the fullest potential of your school’s vision and the potential of all those within your community.
We will support your transition from a community focused on professional development to professional learning community, from information learning to transformational learning.

In becoming a dynamic, learning focused organisation in which all members are provided with every opportunity to evolve each day to realize their full potential, we can we can help:

  • Restructuring  from formal hierarchy into informal learning-focused relationships;
  • Developing the awareness  for compassionate conversations, the skills for effective dialogue and the discernment to effectively balance dialogue and discussion;
  • Fostering the high levels of trust and psychological safety essential for effective high-challenge learning, and help you identify and remove the behaviors and practices which are blocking this;
  • Establishing leaders as lead learners and facilitators of your community learning culture;
  • Adding value to the attributes and skills of effective learning and collaboration;
  • Establishing internal evidence generation and evidence engagement, including research generation and research centres;
  • Establishing external research engagement and innovation partnerships;
  • Embedding approaches and techniques for monitoring and nurturing the learning community and the individuals within it.
From Professional Development Practice to Professional Learning Community imageFrom Professional Development Practice to Professional Learning Community image

Is the development of a learning organisation the right step for our school?

We believe that the model of a learning organisation is ideal for schools.

What are the benefits to schools of a learning organisation culture?

Based on research evidence and our personal experience, there are substantial and ranging benefits for schools.

What is In-House Professional Learning?

Quality professional development is classroom-based, ongoing, collaborative, and autonomous.

What is the Agile Mindset?

The agile mindset is not a prescription. It's a choice to create a culture that learns - for everyone.

ACE Accreditation and practices for NEASC imageACE Accreditation and practices for NEASC image

We are pleased that as important an accreditation agency as NEASC has taken a stand for student agency in their new accreditation guidelines. Self-regulation is what we believe in, what we train for, and what we believe your school should invest in.

We can support schools going through the accreditation process by making accreditation meaningful, and turning preparation into a sustained, manageable exercise in professional development that has at its core a central tenet of agility: inspect and adapt. Accreditation should be an aid to aligning schoolwide effort around a few initiatives that impact student student learning. Let us help you align accreditation requirements with professional development, teacher self-efficacy, and student success.

We are experienced with CIS and NEASC (and ACE) accreditation, but are not individually affiliated with any accreditation agency as inspectors or representatives. Our approaches are strongly consistent with the criteria for ACE accreditation. We are therefore able to support schools directly in their development and preparation for an ACE accreditation.

We also support schools in fully aligning with the principles of the NEASC ACE, and embracing the practices as the foundation of their school ethos and culture.
Agile Learning image
Paul and his colleagues at Leysin American School and around the world have been pulling agile into education since 2015.

Agile is perhaps best know in the software development world, where Scrum and Kanban are commonly used processes - and mindsets - for organizing people and projects. The application to education has recently been formalized by Scrum Alliance, the world's largest not-for-profit company supporting agile in business and schools.

We have formulated our conceptualization of agile for education in the ten practices of EDgility. Leading with a commitment to student agency, we train in the creation of an agile mindset to support self-regulation, quality feedback, short iterative work, and a joy of discovery that treats mistakes as positive steps forward.

Paul is a regular blogger for The international Educator (active link) on topics related to student agency and what school could be.
About imageAbout imageAbout image

James Costain and Paul Magnuson have been working for the improvement of learning in schools for the past eight years. We are passionately immersed in educational research, professional development and the fostering of effective independent learning for students. Our approaches are research-based, innovative and directed to allow school communities to foster their own internal expertise, evidence-based approaches and schools-based training.

Our work is driven by a commitment to authentic individual and collaborative learning for students, teachers, leaders and organisations. They have developed a wide range of instruments and processes to support the development of teachers and schools, including innovative observation tools, data-based programs and software apps to support professional learning, reflection and data capture.

We have presented at numerous conferences, worked collaboratively with top universities and schools, and led workshops in schools and at conferences. We have both held the position of Chair for the ECIS Research Engaged Schools Special Interest group over two term tenures, and have conducted research on educational products. Through ETHOS we provide schools with the skills and approaches to becoming self-sustaining and outward looking innovative learning communities.

Please contact us to discuss how we may help you to take your learning community to the next level.

James Costain


Paul Magnuson