Building Our School For The Future

Building our school for the future

A PD vision

It seems ages ago now since the promise of our new BSF build disappeared after a disproportionate amount of money was wasted on totally unnecessary professional development aimed to support the projects. We were forcibly made to go to expensive hotels to listen to speakers and ‘facilitators’ gleefully prolonging their careers whilst the money would have been far better spent on giving us a new school and sport’s hall! Inevitably BSF ran out of pennies and Sefton, due to its late bid, got nowt and we remained the only LA in the North West without lovely new schools and we watched our colleagues in Liverpool and Blackpool put up a fight and win their right to new build. It was a chastening experience and the lessons learned involving best value expenditure and PD clearly draw a parallel with the resources and PD needs of a single school such as MCHS. Plan for the future to sustain and improve what we have but listen to the needs of the individuals within the process and remember that ‘1 size fits all’ is rarely appropriate and ensure that the planning involves all colleagues and all areas of our school.

On most of the measures schools usually self-assess themselves on, we are doing quite nicely and my desire to support the ‘excellence in every area’ notion that I enthuse about, probably to myself, may prompt colleagues to occasionally think, but not say too loudly, that a little breathing space may be due! Tempting! The reality, of course, is that the constant changes that face us with the tightening budget mean that we have to keep actively developing coping strategies to ensure our students continue to learn well and are successfully prepared for life after us. My emphasis this year, as we do build for the future, is to try to develop our staff so that as individuals and groups, they have the specific professional development that they need to drive themselves and our school forward through the next few years AND to crucially not create so much pressure of accountability and workload that colleagues, including myself and other leaders, burn out and disintegrate professionally and personally. Helping each of us to become a little more effective at what we do, creating opportunities to talk honestly and openly about our own roles and the future of our school and making it ‘ok’ to seek support when the going is getting tough for us as individuals are, as important as all of the other systems that schools use to monitor and develop. David Weston shared a visual description of where schools have gone wrong in this wonderful post-it could save you a bit of reading but I trust you to read on, follow our story and see how we are trying to avoid the same pitfalls!

Making it work

What does this look like in practice so far? I shared early progress made in autumn here

and mentioned changes to appraisal, interviews with support staff and department priorities. Since then our inset day in January gave staff the opportunity to discuss how we could make our data system more effective and less onerous on our workload.

Leadership building

Building for our future needs the development of leadership skills, the spotting of potential leaders, the retention of our best and the posts for them to develop and flourish in! We have 15 middle or potential leaders on our in-house NAML training, which as well as giving MLs the chance to become involved in research of their choice, affords 3 SLT the opportunity to develop their own leadership reflections in delivering the course. I’m delighted that friends from other primaries and secondary’s have joined us to give a wider perspective for participants. The initial outlay of expenditure is well worth the PD on offer and we will offer this again next year and hope to find a senior leader course, or write our own to fulfil this PD need. Currently we have 2 more colleagues on NPQSL courses, although we have withdrawn our own leaders from running the course whilst we concentrate on our own course. One other colleague has just been accepted on our fellow TSA Weatherhead’s potential SLT course and we have 1 on the SSAT aspiring head’s course and 1 on their aspiring SLT course. Again the courses aren’t cheap but we continuously overspend on PD and so we should, provided that it is equally distributed!

Our new teaching structure has already created 5 new posts for 2-5 year experienced colleagues who will become our research leaders. They will help to drive evidence informed practice across school and will be attached to different year groups to support age specific needs, as well as developing their own research themes to share across the school. I’m hopeful that the posts will support retention, distribute leadership even more and have a big impact on learning and teaching. These posts are classroom based and I’m aware that not everyone wishes to become subject or pastoral leaders and I’m trying to consider how teachers can progress as teachers-work in progress!

We also have 3 new SLEs who will be able to receive professional development training and the chance to hone their own senior leadership skills and potential through their external support. All of the new SLE, research leads and those on SLT courses have been able to use their leadership of our learning hubs as part of the evidence supporting their applications. The hubs offer cross-curricular leadership and hopefully have a qualitative impact on our learning and teaching strategies. They also cover some of the key issues on our SEF, subject priorities and individual appraisal objectives. The new ones beginning next week are these.

Learning Hubs

IRIS – run by Jen and Phil

We are making great progress with IRIS and it seems important that we continue to develop our practice in this area. Some of you are starting to use it with NTEN lesson study and for sharing videos for peer support and developmental dialogue. It is a great reflective tool and it would be great to see each department represented this time round.

Maximising the performance of the most able pupils – run by Holly and Beth

With the performance of high attainers being a focus raise online and internal reviews it is important that we look to address strategies that will maximise the performance of our most able pupils.

Spelling and vocabulary approaches across the curriculum – run by Katie

With the increased emphasis on SPaG both within English and across the curriculum it is important that we look at strategies and share ideas that can be applied in all subject areas and see where skills can be transferred to ensure consistency in approaches to best support the students.

Developing reading and annotation skills across the curriculum – run by Sarah

Focusing on a range of strategies to develop students reading skills from skimming to reading for purpose, as well as effective annotation skills which can help to break down text to make it accessible for students.

Supporting Lower ability students and those with Special Educational Needs – run by Marie and Martin

As we talk about Quality First Teaching and address the changes to SEND it is important that we continue to challenge ourselves to develop ways to ensure that all students can access the curriculum.

Developing responses to extended questioning – run by Colin, Katrina and Sophie

This follows on from Colin’s previous hub on questioning taking from it the theme of developing consistent approaches to addressing more extended questions. You don’t need to have attended the first hub on questioning and this would be great for those subjects with longer extended questions which require explanation, analysis and evaluation.

Developing a consistent approach to the teaching of key command words – run by Emma

This hub will explore any similarities between command words used across the curriculum and similarities in expectations of outcomes, working towards developing a whole school template for delivering certain command words.

Exploring different ways to give feedback using digital technology – led by Tim and Rosie

As we continue to work on trialling new technology this will focus on developing the use of technology for feedback, looking at different ways to give feedback via digital means and evaluating which is the most effective.

Time is given to share and make new resources and this is crucially followed up by informal observations or agreed lesson studies/more formal observations of choice. Colleagues have a choice of which hubs to attend, although we try to spread out faculty attendance. Evaluations follow the end of each hub term and they have proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration and collaboration. Collaboration only works though if it is followed by a time of ‘doing’, evaluation and adaptation.

Colin has already emailed me his agenda for his first meeting and I was delighted to see the names of volunteers and the potential in each presentation and especially important to me were the names of 2 of our TAs, joining the group and having the confidence to present too.

Below is a draft plan for the introduction Hub on Challenging questioning and command words next Tuesday. From the staff Feedback in previous hubs, it was clear that they like the new interactive approach of sharing ideas and completing a lesson!

The proposed plan for the hub is a follows:


  • Colin – 10 mins intro presentation on challenging questioning and command words (linked to current research and practice)



  • Gill  and Tracey 10 mins – How challenging questioning/command words  works for SEN students



  • Helen – 10 mins to share how her questioning ideas have developed since the first hub.



  • Sophie/Katrina (Katrina is likely to be in Drama moderation meeting)   – 10 mins share how questioning ideas have developed and ideas for NTEN project



  • Colin and other staff to act as TA’s!  -20 mins mini lesson on challenging questioning and command words with VLE feedback.

Please let me know what you think. Look forward to our first new hub!!

Lizzy has supplied each leader with reading information for their groups-

“Many thanks for agreeing to run a hub. I have attached details of the participants for your group and an introductory PowerPoint to recall objectives and outcomes as well as key dates. I will, later today, be sending out an email to all of your group with some suggested reading that can form the basis of discussions within your first meeting.”

The opening ppt slides are below.

Learning Hubs Feb 2016 Intro

Learning Hubs Feb 2016 Intro 2

As the hubs progress I should have 2 more TA 3 posts to provide cover, as well as our 3 cover supervisors so that we can increase the number of informal drop-ins and collaborative planning sessions.

Sharing ideas

Hub ideas are shared via our own teachmeets, blogs and ‘breakfast jams’. The latter, organised by Lizzy, have proved to be a popular sharing of magic moments and ideas for the hard-core early risers! The ideas shared form part of the Learning and Teaching bulletins that Lizzy has also introduced as another method of finding the best current practice and sharing this with others.

MCHS Breakfast Jam!

Every other Thursday

8.10am – 8.30am


Breakfast provided

Date Session Title Brief Description Led by Room
14th January Effective use of DIRT A brief look at the way DIRT is used in History and how stickers have been adapted to aid this.


GT Library
28th January IRIS A brief look at the benefits of using IRIS for professional development and reflection. JF/PJ Library
11th February Reading Strategies A look at the use of slow reading steps to enhance the reading of students and the use of dictionaries for clarity. LC Library

Subject Reviews

We have 3 subject/year reviews a year where the middle leader concerned meets with SLT to discuss their data, intervention, priorities etc. Time was given on inset day to begin the subject conversations with colleagues, so that all are involved in self-evaluation and we already streamlined department SEFS, as explained in my November blog. These were very much paper based exercises and I have changed the format to cater for whatever style the leader wishes to use to tell me about learning progress and the schedule now includes another subject leader being present. They can obviously pre-plan/discuss before the meeting if they wish to, can observe good practice from another ML in action and can see SLT modelling questioning and can themselves ask questions of data/raise concerns and so on. I’ll ask for feedback and see how it goes over the next couple of weeks! The change does allow our ML to be in a scenario quite similar to SLT interviews, and although I don’t want to lose them, I should be preparing them for their next steps.

Challenge Partners

The half-term finishes with a peer review from 4 visiting school leaders as part of the Challenge Partner’s scheme. I was slightly worried when ‘School’s Week’ had their front page covered with a negative response to such reviews and the word ‘mocksted’ appeared. External looks at our self-evaluation and some of our teaching is helpful if it can suggest developmental strategies we can engage with to become more effective. I’m hopeful that this will be the case-it is quite expensive but I prefer external evaluation and ideas from people from far away who know nothing of us, than people we know who may feel reluctant to be as honest as they should! The process also allows 3 of our leaders to visit other schools to review them and bring back good ideas from there as well as sharing our ideas with them. Lizzy had a wonderful experience at the Compton School in London where progress and general data puts them in the very highest ranks of state schools [even better than ours!] and we have to have a mind-set of wanting to learn from the best in the land.

PD for teaching assistants

Whist Lizzy was enjoying her London trip, I was able to interview all of our teaching assistants to find out their views and needs. We currently have 26 or so, the number fluctuates with need and the questions asked were these.

As part of your professional development, I will meet you all individually for a conversation about your work at Meols Cop and listen to your ideas and aspirations. This isn’t part of any appraisal process or anything to do with pay; it’s the chance for me to support wellbeing, development and for you to tell me how we can best support you in becoming the most effective professional that you can. I’ll send out a timetable tomorrow for next week and if you wish to think about and prepare answers to discuss beforehand that’s fine or we can just chat and I’ll produce a written account of what you have to say so you can keep it for your own PD file. Thank you as always for your support and for your understanding of what I am trying to achieve.

What aspect of your role have you most enjoyed or feel has been the most rewarding over the last year? Can you explain why?

 What do you feel has been the biggest impact you have had on one of your student’s learning? What did you do specifically do you think to make this happen?

 You probably work with lots of different teachers-which methods of communication with the teachers actually helps you the most to be most effective in your role? What would you suggest could make communication better-any practical solutions?

 Are there any barriers that are preventing you being as effective with your support as you might be? Please have some suggestions and solutions ready!

 Are you happy with your role and work here. If you aren’t what can you or we do to change how you feel?

How would you like to see your career develop over the next couple of years? How can we help your professional development?

 Are there any aspects of school life/structure that you feel we might consider changing? What would be so positive about your suggestion and what impact on learning would it have do you think?

 Anything else you are desperate to tell me and ask about?

I collated the feedback from my conversations and shared the general points with all on the staff.

The latest progress measure results and continual closing of the gap in MCHS between cohorts of students shows today the impact that our TAs can show for individual students in their care as they along with the teachers and mentors much valued and appreciated emotional and learning support. Breaking down any barriers that prevent learning is crucial in avoiding the risk of potentially limiting life-long opportunities for many of our students and it is important that our teaching assistants receive the best development and resources/support available to enable them to play an effective part. I’ve had a smashing chat with all of the TAs and I’ll try to provide a summary of some of the main issues raised and how I can respond. In line with my belief in honest open discussion shared with all-if I’ve missed anything-please shout!

I have to say that I was overwhelmed with the happiness and positive attitude I encountered but although we are doing well as a school, we can always do even better and I need to hear ideas and suggestions from everyone to ensure that every single area of our school is working as effectively as it can be. Comments, responses and further suggestions are welcome!

Issues raised-in no particular order/importance by individuals or more than one TA.

  • CPD-needs-various requests from individuals and advice given but as a whole the hour meeting with each other, originally in PSD, is missed and due to expenditure, inset day attendance has been stopped over the last years thus opportunities for all of our TAs to be involved in CPD [apart from individual courses] isn’t as much as it should be if we are to be effective enough. Martin has provided some training and meeting time this year, which has been well received and I will close school early 3 times in the spring and summer terms to allow for 1 hour of training for the TAs [and 2 hours on 2 days for the teaching staff] The first 2 days will be; Thursday 24th March and Wednesday 11th May.  Training will also be provided for TAs on the whole school inset day-Friday April 1st. Time in lieu will be offered at the most appropriate time e.g. Sport’s Week, Work Experience and so on depending on who is supported to avoid normal teaching days when TA support must happen. Choices will be offered.
  • TAs do appreciate being asked for advice/opinions on the students they support-they are with them all of the time and I was delighted to hear about so many examples of great collaborative work between the teachers and TAs.  Sometimes though feedback is asked for from the TA and then they are left in the dark about what happens next. Please do keep them in the loop and do try to seek their opinions and advice-they are fellow professionals and all opinions do count. I try to model a leadership style of seeking views and treating all colleagues with respect-same rule for everyone please!
    • The TAs are all very different personalities and with a wide range of experience in different areas. Some are quite happy to intervene for example in disciplinary issues, some aren’t. Most felt that in most classrooms that they know exactly what they are expected to do, what the boundaries of their role is and they appreciated when the teachers were able to tell them beforehand or in the lesson exactly what they wanted them to do. I do wonder if a conversation for all staff might be useful at some point to reinforce best practice in the effective deployment of TAs in the classroom-what do others think?
      • This leads on to the difficult issue of finding the time to talk to teachers about the support needed and to finding time to plan differentiated work/research issues and so on. Some TAs do have time built in and some receive extra pay for additional hours and so on. I’m interested in creating an hour a week on the timetable to build planning/prep time in for TAs but as we discussed, it’s not as easy as in primaries and I’m swinging towards the idea of increasing hours for those who want it from 26-27 hours which would include an hour of PPA to be taken when the TA could fit it in. I would expect to see the evidence, of course, of the fruits of this labour but it seems to be a sensible suggestion. Janet is working out the potential cost for me so I can think about the budget/against the value of my suggestion.
        • A couple of TAs mentioned to me that they felt confident of taking their own class should the teacher be absent-I’m looking into the legalities but I’m convinced that the learning experience for our students would be better with the their TA than it would with some visiting teachers! There would be an additional payment made but Mark will check if we can actually do this first.
          • Of course a few conversations concerned pay and progression and I want to have a good look at the overall TA structure, chances of career progression and the kind of work that we currently need doing, will need doing and whether or not we have the right people in the right roles! The historic nature of roles/grades doesn’t always apply to the current situation in all aspects of our school and over a period of time, I’ll try to create a dynamic that will be better suited to our next 5 years-be patient though!
            • If we do change anything or come up with different roles and opportunities; they must be open to all and fairly advertised and paid at a rate commensurate with the role

A fair bit here for all colleagues to consider but a really worthwhile experience for me and hopefully my visitors!

Our TAs make a considerable contribution to our overall learning and teaching support and it’s important that I find out their views, value their support and provide professional development to support them becoming even more effective hence more inset on the way, additional planning time and the offer of changing roles e.g. covering lessons which will also make informal observations, planning and collaboration amongst the teachers much more easy to organise. Previous posts outlining our work with TAs and others concerning the contribution of all of our support staff are here.

Lesson Studies/observations

Ongoing and continuing through the next few weeks are our lesson studies and developmental observations which give colleagues the chance to plan and together and support the development of each other. It seems such a long time ago now that I first tried to get colleagues to observe each other and open classroom doors to all and 4 years or so since I finally banished lesson grading! Not everyone thought that it could be done or should be done but who now would ever turn back the clock? I’m not quite sure why we even call observations ‘observations’ and am always worrying about the purpose of them and how we can use them more effectively, if at all. NTEN Lesson study has proved to be popular and in terms of allowing collaboration/coaching, morale etc. it is successful but whether or not I can prove that it has actually improved learning and teaching, I’m not so certain and will look to our research leaders to find out the answer!

I’ve shared lots of blogs on lesson observations but for external readers you can see the nature of the feedback sessions for non-lesson study obs here;

Discussion between observer and observed in relation to areas trialled

 Which area of your work from the hubs/research have you trialled/showcased? Did it have the expected impact?

Do you still feel this is an area for development?

Are there any other areas you would now like to focus on developing?

How has today helped to meet your appraisal targets and the “developing” focus of your professional portfolio?

Areas for development:
For the observer:

Identify 3 piece of “great teaching” that inspired you that you are going to use in your own learning & teaching:

For the observed:

Identify your 3 favourite piece of students learning from today (what and with whom)

Lesson study examples can be found in some depth here-

A quick glimpse of where we might go with observations and hubs can be seen in one of many email exchanges on the subject-you will have to guess who is saying what!

“Ooh…following on from my hubs email got some good idea re tracking obs and am thinking next round of Hubs for 2016/17 can be based on areas of development from the lesson obs this year (7 most common themes??) then ran by those that had those areas as a particular strength. Will hopefully link into people’s hubs/trials from this year as we are encouraging them to showcase this in their obs.”

“Yes and it can fit in with your tracking of the feedback from this time’s obs so you square the circle-this can be linked to an agreed appraisal objective. I was thinking in summer of hub people watching each other on agreed focus too.”

Making the ‘main thing the main thing’ the focus of professional development based on individual requests and needs is paramount to building our school for the future.

Book looks

Lizzy has also shared our ‘book looks’ to cover English, maths, humanities and MFL so far.

Seeing the visual image of everyone in the school’s best practice has proved to be great PD and we constantly observe practice shared this way in classroom use when colleagues borrow ideas and adapt for their own use.

Bring, Show and Share

I mentioned our Bring, Show and Share idea in a September blog

The first 3, where we invited colleagues from other schools in to share subject specific ideas on English, maths and science, started slowly in numerical terms and began to grow. They have been good professional development opportunities for our staff, who as hosts did all speak and share ideas and hopefully for everyone who attended and shared back. There will be a humanities event towards Easter and a much bigger research event in summer. Most participated in the spirit of the idea by bringing and showing ideas/resources and our last one looking at lesson study, deliberately tried to encourage our local primaries to ‘lesson study’ with us.Unfortunately they were shy to appear and good links were made again with other high schools. The attendance at these events by friends from local schools encouraged me to approach two of them, Birkdale [boys] and Greenbank [girls] to suggest trialling a directed time meeting where our faculties and departments could meet and make links with each other. All 3 schools are keen to develop their staff and share best practice so in March we will all host various subject staff for an hour after school to let them have subject specific conversations. The days are gone for hidden agendas and a lack of collaboration that might have prevented such events in the past. Our 3 SLT teams will meet before this, just after half-term to introduce ourselves and hopefully make some lasting and worthwhile links. We can all learn from each other and if these events prove to be honest, open and all are willing to share and reciprocate; this will prove to be another professional development experience to build on, invite other schools in our TSA and look at joint inset days. They are early days for such developments in our locality and we lag behind other areas. Interestingly Estelle Morris made a point this week that may be pertinent to our local situation

Heads are coming together because they recognise that where their school is situated is important. It isn’t instead of chains and trusts, but in addition to them. So what is it that heads know that politicians have missed? Two things. First, most teachers have a professional commitment beyond their own school; they are ambitious for all the children in their area. This doesn’t override their desire to compete to be the best, but it means they are willing to take some responsibility for pupils other than their own. Second, education is so often a collective endeavour. It works best when teachers and learners are supported by those around them. Being a good school matters – but being a school in a successful local school system matters as well….”


There won’t be too many schools, I wouldn’t have thought that don’t talk about the use of research to provide evidence or at least have a few colleagues who either read ideas on social media or follow up ideas from courses to find out the latest bright ideas to use in our classrooms. It sounds good stuff but the reality is that finding out what is actually proven to be useful and then deciding whether or not it would work here is a different matter and the growing trend to try to use research, does need careful guidance and advice from those use to working in the research field and its application in schools. Our research conference will help our guests and our own staff but in the meantime we are engaged in national research on English and maths best practice, setting v mixed ability and spacing. The validity of some of the research that I read and the methodology involved may be open to question BUT the involvement of our staff in these projects in the early days of a growing movement isn’t open to question and they will benefit from the experience, whether it be a negative or positive one, and be able to better support colleagues in their quest to be excellent in all areas.

Their choice of inset

We have 2 more inset days this year and both are given to departments to use as they wish. I would imagine that planning together for the new curriculum/exams might feature but it is important that choice is given and that subject specific needs are prioritised by the people whom teach the subject and they are left alone to get on with it. External experts are needed to at times to deliver what we may not be able to and over the last 2 days Dianne Murphy has led our Thinking Reading volunteers, we had a wonderful transgender session before Xmas and many colleagues have either visited other schools, attended courses or selected their own PD from social media-their choices, their PD. I just have to find the cash!

Involvement of all

This is a turbulent time in education and whilst some may prefer to ignore outside jabber and just get on with their teaching/support, others do want to talk about what some of the ‘big issues’ that may be coming our way. I have opened up our normal SLT meetings to invite governors and all staff to join us in different conversations. The first meeting examined the changing Ofsted demands on governors, Wilshaw’s views and an explanation of our pupil premium spending which features heavily on the governor agenda. The second meeting looked at all the different types of academies/free schools/UTCs etc. that are springing up as we sail obliviously on in our maintained LA Ocean of Tranquillity. We await our fate in the green paper but needed to have a good discussion re possibilities and also looked at the impact raising our numbers to try to at least take in some of the students who want to join us but can’t at the moment. Quite a few of the attendees stopped me afterwards to comment on how they didn’t realise how much the SLT have to consider in the big scheme of things outside of MCHS! Teachers, mentors and TAs found time to come along and it is important that all have their say and can begin to understand the possible impact on our school possible changes will have. It’s good PD for them and should moves have to happen, then the rest of our community will be involved.

Our governors are encouraged to attend training provided for them by local agencies but we have also changed the sending of information to them by having a secure network and giving them all a schedule of the committee meetings so that they can attend other meetings, if they wish to, as well as their own committee.

Everything that we do should be open to discussion and all should be welcome to express their opinions.

Workload and wellbeing

The final big meeting of late was the most popular! I’m determined to not just talk about reducing workload and caring for wellbeing but to make some lasting principles that will be need to be adhered to. We have changed systems to consider reporting, data, marking etc. and will continue to do so but do other things need to change to? I would like an agreed charter of workload/wellbeing for us all and could have written another blog on the relationship between the 2 Ws and the issues that I raised re them both. I don’t like to talk too much these days but as I have more time to find ideas on the issues than other people, I did talk for a little while! I shared my own views before introducing ideas from the 3 main unions-NUT, NAS, Unison and lots of others. I left the room to let discussion flourish and volunteers then organised another meeting to discuss more ideas. They were going to use the NAS survey to find our opinions but the time spent on completing it would have been a workload issue in itself and they decided on a more succinct approach.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire on well-being.

What is already working well in school that you feel we should do more of?

Is there anything you feel we should include to help us achieve our goal of a happy school where well-being and workload are important to all of us?

Is there anything that we do that is important but could be changed in order to improve?

Is there anything that we currently do that you feel we could manage without?

Is there anything you feel that could be done to reduce workload in school?

I’ll feedback on their feedback!

Up-lifting leadership at MCHS?

Over the weekend I read one of Gary Jones’s blogs [Gary will be speaking at our research day with Alex Quigley and Prof Robert Coe] about ‘Up-lifting Leadership’ where he introduced some of the ideas from a recent book of the same name by Hargreaves, Boyle and Harris.

The definition of up-lift is below.

Hargreaves et al define uplift within organisations as …. the force that raises our performance, our spirts, and our communities to attain higher purposes and reach unexpected levels of achievement (p1)As such uplift is about emotional and spiritual engagements, social and moral justice and higher levels of performance, both in work and life

The research is based on a range of private and public organisations and I’ll include it here as the 6 inter-related factors do offer a structure that I hadn’t thought of but perhaps have been talking about and crucially attempting to put into action! There must be a name for this phenomena but it escapes me at the moment! [Extract from Gary’s blog]

What does Uplifting Leadership involve?

Uplifting leadership involves six inter-related factors which come together to bring about transformations within organisations and these include:

  1. Dreaming with Determination – this involves identifying and articulating a clear, challenging destination, and which is informed by a moral imperative.  Furthermore, this dream is firmly connected with the organisation’s past and building upon what the very best of what that organisation has been in the past. 
  2. Creativity and Counter-Flow – this requires creating the new pathways necessary to reach the desired ‘dream’.  However, it also goes against the flow – in that it is not about following the predictable, it involves the counterintuitive – things that don’t seem to make sense or that others may already have rejected.
  3. Collaboration with Competition uplifting leadership is at times a counter-intuitive process and at times this will require working alongside current or future competitors.  Competition and collaborative are not mutually exclusive and it is possible for both to co-exist within the same context. 
  4. Pushing and Pulling – this necessitates using the power of the group to both push and pull things forward.  Colleagues when faced with difficulties are picked up and supported by others, whilst the higher purpose to which team members are committed pushes them onto higher levels of achievement
  5. Measuring with Meaning  – .  this  involves the extensive use of data  allows leaders to identify the direction the organisation is heading and what still needs to be done, yet is done in such a way which is both meaningful and owned by the people who work in the organisation
  6. Sustainable Success  – this involves working at a pace that is sustainable.  It’s not about leading at a pace which people cannot sustain for any substantive period of time.  It’s about recognising the ebb and flow of energy within an organisation and making sure that is managed in such a way as to bring about years and years or continuous improvement and development

I would hope that all of the leaders in our school have a dash of up-lift in them to build our school for the future. There were a lot of aspirational quotes floating around twitter from people who attended Hargreaves’s current UK speaking tour and others who joined in. I’ll include a few and ask colleagues to think about each one and ask 3 questions of it-1] Does this describe our school? 2] Does this sound like your leadership? 3] What more can we/you do to create up-lift?

Protect and support your greatest asset in any school. Your teaching staff. #teacherpower

Pay attention to teachers’ wellbeing says @HargreavesBC – uplift those we serve by uplifting those who serve them. #teacherpower

“You cannot address student wellbeing until you pay attention to teacher wellbeing” @HargreavesBC #teacherpower

Investment in teacher knowledge pays the best dividends @HargreavesBC #teacherpower @theRSAorg

This was a predominantly teacher’s conference hence the word teacher rather than ‘staff’ or ‘colleagues’ as I would constantly emphasise.

Professional development is very important to me, as I hope that you have seen. It will take some time for the newer initiatives to embed and I will use our membership of the Teacher Development Trust to externally evaluate how far we have gone and to suggest further possibilities based on knowledge of the best PD available in the TDT network. We have a lovely silver TDT CPD plaque in our foyer and whilst it would be brilliant to be considered as a GOLD CPD school, there is work still to be done, but we are on our way and hopefully we have up-lift!









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