Posts Tagged ‘school improvement plan’

Implementing a school vision

July 23, 2012

In this 3rd and final blog in the current series on school vision, I turn my attention to implementing the vision.

So the vision is set and you know what you’re aiming for. What’s next? Let’s look at this in 4 parts:

1. Communicating the vision

How clear is it and how easy is it to communicate? A common response to this is to simplify it in the form of a strap line: e.g.

‘Excellence for all and from all’

Where do you display it, as part of your communication strategy? In the school vision survey I carried out last year, the most common place was the school entrance (40%), with the Head’s office second (33%) and in classrooms third (24%). Does this reflect your current practice? Other places included: the website, the staffroom and school headed paper.

Do you stick to displaying your vision in word format (73% of schools from the survey) or in pictorial format too? (22%). Could you get the pupils involved in this process, or even the wider school community?

2. Delivering the vision

A strap line is a useful concise way of stating the vision, but all stakeholders need to know what it means.

What does it actually mean on a daily basis?

Regardless of who is involved in the initial creation of the school vision, it needs to be owned by all stakeholders. This can be achieved by identifying how each group contributes to the overall vision.

I don’t think it’s necessarily about telling stakeholders what their roles are. You can ask them how they think their roles contribute to the overall vision; a useful group task as part of an INSET / staff meeting on this topic. It helps to encourage ownership and accountability. If they can’t see how their roles contribute, perhaps some guidance is needed or their roles need a revamp.

A good vision helps people at all levels make more informed decisions because it is clear and they know their part in it

3. Supporting the vision

A few questions to consider with this part:

  • What practices, if any, need to be different?
  • What role will the SLT have in driving and maintaining it?
  • What new teams need to be created?
  • How will the School Improvement Plan support the vision?

Part of supporting the vision may involve behaviour changes, which come from having different expectations (of pupils, the curriculum, each other …). It’s important that staff are supported in making sure this is a success.

How will you build this into your INSET / staff development strategy?

4. Monitoring the vision

As with anything that is implemented in school, some form of monitoring needs to take place. So who will be involved in monitoring the vision? What format will this take, and how often will it be done?

54% of respondents to the vision survey felt it should be reviewed annually. Do you agree?

Once you’ve decided on frequency and format for monitoring, a final couple of points to consider are:

  • How will the outcomes be shared / communicated?
  • What will your next steps be?

I’d love to hear your thoughts / experiences on revisiting, creating or implementing your school vision. It’s always useful to share good practice!

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