Creating a school vision

In a survey I carried out last year on creating a school vision, I asked the question: “How did your school vision come about?” The main responses were:

  • From the Head, in consultation with all staff (58% respondents)
  • From the Head and the Senior Leadership Team (23%)
  • From the Headteacher (12%)
  • From the Head and Governing Body (7%)

Other respondents, though not many, said they involve the pupils as well. Fewer still mentioned involving parents.

Where does your school fit here? Do these results surprise you?

A vision has to start somewhere, and as the results above support, it’s usually initiated by the Headteacher. The Head needs to be really clear about where their school is going. This can be informed by 3 things:

  • Experience – within the education sector; of school development; of working on a school vision previously; of having high aspirations …
  • Knowledge – of how the school works well; of the children and staff (and their strengths / areas for development); of the catchment area / community links …
  • Imagination – of what it could be like in the future; how it could be better for all concerned with the organisation, particularly the pupils …

In a previous blog, I quoted a Head I’ve worked with who said:

“I want the school to be outstanding, not for Ofsted, but for the children.”

As a school vision it is commendable and simple, and once you have a statement that sums up your vision, like this one – the next step is to be clear exactly what it means. Let’s explore this by posing a few questions:

  • What time scales are attached to this vision…. Is it a 1 year vision, a 2 year, or a 3 year vision?
  • If outstanding is the aim – what is the current status? Does everyone know this?
  • What are the outstanding success criteria for everyone’s role?
  • What will outstanding look, feel and sound like?
  • What resources will be put in place to help ensure this standard is met?

Putting the meat on the bones of the vision statement can take place during well planned INSET days or staff meetings. Some staff like to brainstorm and create web-type diagrams, some create pictorial representations. It’s a good idea to use staff strengths and expertise to maximise this time, and be creative. One school I’ve worked with has used CARES after its name (also beginning with a ‘C’!) to form their strapline … and CARES stands for:

Creative

Aspirational

Respectful

Enthusiastic

Successful

Their INSET time on vision included identifying what each word meant for their school and the pupils. From this came a list of 5 priorities for the next 3 years.

A final point on values

Don’t forget what’s important. The vision needs to be underpinned by a core set of values that are shared by all. Start off by looking at your own values, and listing those that are pertinent to your job. Then decide what the values of the school/organisation are. These 2 sets of values need to be similar, if not the same. If too opposed – there will be problems.

What do you think is the most important element to consider when creating your vision?

Next week’s blog will focus on Implementing the Vision. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic so far, or about your experiences on creating a vision.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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