The four pillars of culture sit within the overall ‘spirit’ and intent of QCS, encapsulated by the Guiding Propositions. The Guiding Propositions must continue to ‘frame the work’, guiding our use of the data, ensuring that our data use remains entirely within the intent of the QCS Framework


The quality of an organisation cannot exceed the quality of its people.

This is a proposition about engagement and specifically about the need for people to have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about their work.

  • When the QCS Survey Reports come in, how will we engage the organisation in considering them?
  • What structures will we use to ensure that the report is ‘owned’ by all staff?

The quality of an organisation cannot exceed the quality of its people.

This is a proposition about engagement and specifically about the need for people to have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about their work.

  • When the QCS Survey Reports come in, how will we engage the organisation in considering them?
  • What structures will we use to ensure that the report is ‘owned’ by all staff?

An organisation is made up of conversations and its quality can be gauged by the strength of these conversations.

This is a proposition about learning.

  • How will we go about having the learning conversation that the survey data will promote?
  • How will this happen systemically?
  • What will we do to ensure that the data is used to promote learning and not to attribute blame?
  • How will we dialogue about our data report?

The report itself is a conversation starter, a rich picture of how our organisation is experienced by those that work in it and are members of the community. Will we have the strength and structure to continue this conversation?

The map is not the territory.

This is a proposition about achieving clarity of purpose. It reminds us that the data reports provide us with an accurate map of our current reality but that it requires skill and wisdom if we are to use the map well in context.

  • How will the ‘data map’ be used?
  • Will we allow ourselves the time to put the data in context so that any action arising will be contextually appropriate?
  • How will the system honour the need for context to be taken into consideration?

In the soil of this, trust and enlightened leadership are the key nutrients.

This proposition is fundamental and is the ground on which all four cultural pillars stand. The conditions in which authentic self-review can grow and be sustained require that we lead with a basic disposition of trust and belief in the professional wisdom of people. This takes a strengths-based view of human psychology and behaviour.

The data needs to be handled in a spirit of openness and transparency.

  • Is our leadership enlightened enough to see the data as a gift?
  • Are we prepared to believe that, with a good process of review, our people will make real improvements in practice?
  • As a system, can we demonstrate this by ensuring that the QCS survey data is entrusted to schools and our teams as a support to their processes of self-review?