We have been back in school for 2 weeks and 2 days. Time for a little reflection I think.
Some of you may know that my school has undergone a change in leadership this September. After 23 years my school for very poorly children has a new Head Teacher. Not new to the school, she was the Deputy previously, but nevertheless, new to the top job. Myself and a colleague have become AHTs and we have no deputy. This is a very flat structure, 4 SLT has become 3, the workload for the 3 of us has increased and things are somewhat different. In my role I have retained all of my old responsibilities. I am still CPD and assessment lead, NQT/ITT mentor and Primary curriculum leader. My colleague has retained her WRL, Enterprise and Senior curriculum leader roles. We have taken on new challenges without much discussion. There has been very little handing out of jobs and responsibilities, my colleague and I both know our own strengths and weaknesses. As things have arisen we have each gravitated towards things we are naturally suited to. This is a measure of the trust placed in us by our HT. She hasn’t felt the need to inform of us our duties, she just knows that we will cover all the things we need to for the good of the school and the children in our care. As a result of this, I can’t speak for my colleague, but my confidence has grown and I think I may be doing a more effective job due to the trust placed in me.
So what changes has the new HT made. To be honest, very few, yet things are different. There is a clam and quiet air around the corridors. I’m struggling to find the reason for this but here’s what I think. The changes that have been made have been subtle but powerful. For example, on day one the staff briefing was to welcome everyone back, old and new colleagues alike. Every HT does this, no change there. What she did do was comment on how smart everyone looked and that she was happy to see that standards hadn’t slipped over the summer. This was a lovely way of reminding everyone not to wear jeans and made everyone feel good about their appearance rather than beginning on a negative tone like some HTs might have done. Another subtle change has been the empowering of staff. They have been encouraged to make some big decisions for themselves. Swimming rotas have been drawn up by our wonderful TAs. They are the ones who do the swimming, why should they not be in charge of the rota? A jolly fine job they have made of it too! Other TAs have been encouraged to help with lunchtime rotas. Again, they are the ones on duty and are therefore best placed to work out the rotas. By putting her trust in the staff our new HT has cleverly and subtly built their confidence which in turn helps them to do a better job.
I think the new regime can be summed up by saying there is a renewed emphasis on staff well being. For our previous HT it was all about the children. The staff featured heavily and he created an almost family like atmosphere with the children at the centre. This is exactly as it should be. Our new HT has built upon this wonderful approach. She has started by putting her trust in the staff and building their confidence by empowering them to make decisions for themselves. All is calm and quiet and everyone is happy. Happy staff equals happy children. Everyone is pulling in the same direction, which is ‘onwards and upwards’ to quote our new HT. Everyone is working to help the poorly children be the best that they can be. I can’t really put my finger on the reason for this extreme calmness. I only know that it is there. If I was to send a message to our previous HT it would be to tell him that he chose and trained his successor well, she is doing an ‘outstanding’ job :). His school, the children and staff are all faring well under the new regime.