This has been one of the most positive weeks since the start of the school year but there were a few moves that might have backfired.
On Monday I took a risk and shared the Year 11 student and parent school experience feedback with all colleagues. The feedback results were a mixed bag, with a few hard punches, and bound to raise discussions between staff members – there would always be some who focus only on the negative.
It prompted discussions in my line management meetings and with colleagues in the corridors and classrooms. Certain colleagues pleasantly surprised me with their responses, taking the positives and wanting to ensure we continued to improve the ratings and areas of concern. What continually came up in conversation was that everyone had appreciated the transparency and trust in sharing the feedback so openly.
In our staff briefing on Friday, I reinforced the positives from the feedback and reassured colleagues of our vision to continue to develop and move forward as a school, as faculties and as individuals. I reassured that no matter their role everyone is on a supportive pathway to continue professional development.
The school also hosted key stage 3 Parent Evenings and Parent Forums* – in some scenarios this forum could be likened to going into the Lion’s Den, unaware of what awaits! After a brief presentation and questions and answers the general consensus was really positive – parents were really pleased about the school improvements, the teaching, the communication and the leadership. It was summarised nicely by a parent who said if their children are happy then they are happy – and they are happy! Some more happy news to share.
We continually reflect on feedback from stakeholders, make changes where necessary and carry out what we say we are going to do. We all know a friend that ‘says’ but doesn’t ‘do’ – it’s essential we stay true to our word to keep people with us.
I’ve learned that being transparent will raise eyebrows – but done in the right way it earns trust and colleagues value knowing the truth. We’re not wearing rose tinted glasses, we are addressing our weaknesses, but it is empowering to have the evidence that says the school is heading in the right direction. It’s an exciting road ahead.
*informal opportunity to meet with SLT and raise questions or queries about your child’s year group anonymously.