When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.
Today I was on a professional development training day for new headteachers. Unlike some courses where you feel as though you haven’t learnt anything new, this was a very useful session. One of the facilitators was an Ofsted inspector so was able to update us about the new Ofsted Framework from January 2014 and gave us tangible advice about what we could do to make the inspectors happy! These things are always good to know! Something he mentioned were the ‘transition matrices,’ which I had not seen utilised in any schools I have been in. So, that is now one of my next steps, to get these in place so I can see progress in all year groups across KS2.
We had a chance to look at our school development plans, school evaluations and data. It is always interesting to see how other schools do things, both primary and at secondary level. With less and less support from the local authorities, a chance to discuss school issues with other headteachers is a welcome opportunity. In fact, it seems this is now the only way in which to really obtain effective support and further knowledge. Even though we were all quite new heads, we all bring different experiences to the table and unique ways of doing things. Having a range of different development plans to look at allowed me to gather some ideas of how I want to publish ours, further thinking about headings and implementation.
In a few days I am meeting with some governors to rewrite the existing development using the response from stakeholders during the initial ‘vision and values’ sessions I held at the start of the year. In preparation for this, I have put all of the text from the responses into Wordle documents. I have different ‘Wordle’ posters for the feedback from areas such as ‘strengths, ‘things to improve,’ etc. This was a visual way to see some of the key words and phrases that came up during these discussions. From these, hopefully we can begin to build up our longer ‘3 year plan,’ which takes into account of the future and where we hope the school to be in the long term. With this, I also want to produce a more focused ‘raising attainment plan,’ to look at short term priorities for this academic year. I was surprised that many schools present today only did a one year development plan and didn’t have another plan that took into account the ‘future vision’ of the school.
I think this is an important aspect of the development plan. You will always have more imminent targets, but there also need to be objectives that lead you to the ultimate ‘vision’ of where you want to see your school in a few years’ time. As mentioned yesterday, without a vision and a clear plan of how to reach that ‘vision,’ a school team could easily become complacent. A vision allows you to raise your expectations and challenge the ‘status quo.’
So, how does your development plan prepare you for the future? Are you aiming high and truly working towards a ‘vision’ or are you only focused on what is right in front of you?