Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Romance and reality. Two sides of the educational coin

Reality
In a school where 40% of the senior leadership changed this year and half the team will be new within a 12 month window, it is not surprising that there has been a high rate of resignations. The negatives of this are a loss of expertise and the ethos built up over time in a school is held by staff. The ethos can quickly change. Fragile in the face of change, needing protection and care. Only if the community feels the ethos is still wanted.

Romance
The other side of the coin comes from predicting the next 12 months. Having interviewed new colleagues joining us and interviewing the new TLR restructured post holders, there is a rose-tinted vision of what the future holds. It is uplifting to see their enthusiasm, untainted by any reality.

Reality
If new colleagues and new TLR holders arrive with the romance, isn't it morally important for SLT to foster and build this amongst all colleagues? Indeed a bridging programme for 2 sectors of staff would be useful. Through buddy coaching and personalised CPD opportunities it must be possible to keep the romantic vision of teaching and leadership alive. A school wide CPD programme is important for key levers, however time is needed for reflection. Mindfulness is the new ideology for students but staff would benefit too.

Rigour
That spark of romance also needs to stand up to the daily rigours of learning walks, drop ins, SLT wandering and formal progress meetings. Will there be support to build on aspirations or will there be a dip like Year 7 students often experience? 

I have used twitter as a personal version of CPD. Outward looking and taking the opportunity to go to @Sltcamp helped network with leaders who cling on to the romantic vision of teaching, despite the daily rigours of reality. Inspite of an OFSTED visit in term 4 I look forward to the next 12 months to address issues all of us agreed upon.

The challenge is to hold onto the vision!

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