Posts Tagged ‘clear vision’

What’s the Team Vision?

February 19, 2013

iStock_000017185027XSmall

It’s quite commonplace for a school or organisation to have a vision, and previous blog posts have discussed why this is useful and how you might go about creating and implementing one.

But what about the teams within the school? The Key Stage teams, for example. What is their vision – if, in fact, they have one?

Personally, I see no reason why teams within a school shouldn’t have their own vision, provided it supports the school’s overall vision.

Here’s an exercise that you can do with your team to develop the team vision.

Developing the smaller team vision

  • Split into groups of 3 or 4
  • Ask them the question: “What do you want our team to achieve by the end of this term / school year?”
  • Alternatively, ask: “What do we want the children in our team to have achieved by the end of this term?”
  • Tell each group to prepare a news report that will outline the team’s success at the end of the given time scale.
  • Encourage them to be creative and think wider than they’ve done previously
  • Remind them it’s not just about numbers/results!!
  • Encourage them to draw on team members’ strengths and aspirations when considering what can be achieved

Share and compare the news reports. This can prove quite interesting, as you could get lots of different reports! But what’s most useful is that ideas & strengths will come from it that were previously untapped or unknown.

This then opens up the discussion within the team about what your vision could be. At this point, you may decide to share the whole school vision and see how the team vision could support it.

I’ve had some interesting outcomes when doing this exercise with teams, as well as a lot of fun! It’s a great collaborative exercise to bring teams together, as well as build relationships with new teams.

If you try this – I’d love to hear how it went!

Thinking of developing your school teams?

Call me to find out more and discuss your options

Creating a school vision

July 16, 2012

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

Revisiting your school vision this autumn?

July 13, 2012

Thinking of re-connecting with or revising your school vision next term?

    

I realise that it’s a few weeks off as I write this, but the start of a new term is a great time to look again at your school vision.

Here are 3 key reasons why:

  1. It helps to remind staff why they are doing the job (it’s not just for OFSTED!!)
  2. It can give more clarity to everyone’s roles and responsibilities
  3. It helps to give a school its individual identity

Let’s look at these in more detail …

Re 1 – Reminding staff why they are doing the job

Whilst working with some Heads this year who’ve recently been through an Ofsted inspection, they’ve commented that staff are deflated and there’s been an anti-climax after Ofsted have left. There has been an element of “Is that what we’ve been working for? So what’s next?”

I’m not reducing the importance of Ofsted here, but surely the Ofsted process should form part of school life, not totally consume it. Before Ofsted came along (and they weren’t doing their thing when I started my teaching career!) teachers had a purpose for going to work which didn’t involve the Big ‘O’.

One Head I’ve been working with summed up her thoughts on this: “I want the school to be outstanding, not for Ofsted, but for the children.”

How can staff re-connect with the greater purpose?

This can be achieved in part by finding out what each member of staff’s own vision is for their role. Try discussing / exploring this at staff meetings, key stage meetings, INSETs or during 1-1s (e.g. performance management sessions).

Re 2 – Giving greater clarity to roles and responsibilities

Once you’ve identified your school’s vision then useful discussions can take place with staff about how their roles and responsibilities support the vision. (More on this in a forthcoming blog.) Making the link between what staff do on a daily basis and the bigger picture is often missing from professional discussions.

Do you link your vision to your School Improvement Plan?

In a survey I carried out last year on creating a school vision, only 40% of respondents said their school improvement plan reflected the school vision. Slightly more positively – 54% were clear that an effective school vision states how & why it is relevant to all stakeholders, although didn’t state that’s what they currently do.

Re 3 – Giving a school its individual identity

All schools are different, and what makes them so are a combination of factors including:

  • staffing (staff strengths, skills and resources they offer, etc)
  • leadership of the school
  • pupils (including type of catchment area)
  • general school ethos
  • school environment (internal and external)
  • how individual school issues / challenges are dealt with

The school vision should reflect, or at least take account of, all these things and more.

In the vision survey I mentioned earlier, I asked schools to share their vision strap lines. Here are a few:

  • “Your future, your dreams, our challenge”
  • “The highest expectations, inspirational teaching and a therapeutic environment”
  • “Building tomorrow’s future one day at a time”
  • “Excellence for all and from all”

Strap lines, by their nature, tend to be general statements and should summarise the essence or highlights of the vision.

Do you have a favourite from those above? 

What’s your school strap line?

I will continue this theme in next week’s blog, when I’ll look in more detail at creating a school vision, and share some of the things schools I’ve worked with have done. In the meantime, would love to hear your thoughts on the topic so far!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New Year’s Resolutions are Ineffective …

January 17, 2011

Make sure you achieve your goals this year

So, we’re approaching that time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to get broken….

How are you faring? If you’re going strong, achieving success and are confident of attaining the end result, then you probably have a winning formula, and congratulations! If, on the other hand, things have slipped, doubt is creeping in and certain obstacles have forced their way into your path, you may need a helping hand.

In themselves, I believe New Year’s resolutions are ineffective UNLESS they are supported by well thought-out plans. I remember setting NYRs year after year when I was younger, and each year saying to myself, “this year will be different!”, and “I am determined!” But determination on its own is not enough. In my previous career I often set targets and objectives, and in my coaching training I was given tools and techniques to help clients set effective goals …. all far more effective than merely ‘resolving’ to do something differently. Some people cringe when you mention goal-setting and perhaps it’s an over-used term, but whatever term you choose to use (target, goal, resolution….) when you want to make changes you need a well thought through plan.

I recently posted a question to fellow coaches on different coaching forums, asking what they considered to be their Top 5 tips for Goal-Setting, a little bit of research, you could say! Many engaged in the discussions and their responses were quite varied, ranging from using the SMART process, to ensuring you are being authentic (i.e. linking your goal to your ideal self, based on a strong level of self-awareness).

I will now share with you the top 5 tips from the coaches who took part.

Tip 1 Goals must fit SMART criteria (although see link to this discussed in a separate blog)

Tip 2 Goals must be linked to your values

Tip 3 You need to enlist support: your peers, a coach, a family member ….

Tip 4 You must have a clear vision of what you want (which can be supported by mind maps / images / drawings, etc.)

Tip 5 Reviewing your goal regularly during your journey towards its conclusion is important; learn what (if anything) isn’t working and make adjustments; but remember – there’s no failure, only feedback!

In a previous blog I suggested my own Top 5 tips for setting effective goals / targets. Future blogs this month will address goal setting tips in more detail, but for now I hope the tip outlines are a useful start.

 

Above photo courtesy of jscreationzs