All change! … What direction now?

Welcome to the new #TeamADL blog where we focus on leadership.  This month, I wanted to focus on change … given the last 18 months, we have just had – that’s possibly the last thing you want to consider.  But bear with me and let me share the 3Cs of change.

It is that time of year again! You know; I mean that time when at least one member of staff asks, ‘Where will I be working next year?’ (by which they mean, which class of pupils, which staff are you putting me with?)  Some have even threatened to leave if I put them ……… (complete the sentence!)  The truth is, every year I have been working on several versions of the staff and class lists (furtively since January).  If only they knew!  On top of that we have the COVID 19 year to add to the mix of challenges (bubbles, flow tests, equality agenda, Ofsted due ……)

So how can I make ‘change’ an easier transition for all?  Consider the 3Cs below:

  1. Celebrate!

Be proud of what you have achieved by keeping your school community on track despite the myriad of changes and choices you have had to make at speed day in day out for over a year. 

You have made all the difference in the lives of children, families, and the staff alike.   Have you looked after yourself on this journey through uncharted jungles? If not, now is the moment to consider Leadership well-being (there I said it, the ‘W’ word).  Your well-being affects the culture of the whole school moving forward.  Will this be at the core of the school’s recovery next year?  It starts with you and investing time and resource in establishing a healthy culture for yourself and your leaders.  A healthy leadership team has a well proven link with success, increased productivity, and outcomes all round. Yet, how many of us have promised just about everything else as a priority over our own well-being that has not led to sustained success? 

Many are talking about Emotion Coaching approaches to developing Behaviour policies/Relationships Policy.  This year I encourage you to explore Emotion Coaching Leadership to build / rebuild effective teams and get the best out of each staff member post lock down.  Come back to my July blog ‘Who’s following me?’ for more about this approach to leading.

2) Curtail!

So now as we enter June 2021, deadlines for staff resignations have passed, so we have some confidence in planning staff structure, class groupings and budgetary oversight for the next academic year.   Work with staff, parents, and Governors to get feedback on the systems, processes and work tasks that are helping or hindering the vision you have.  Honestly consider the tasks that you can start, stop, reset, repeat, or review according to the impact you want them to have.   Following the Covid 19 alternative ways of working, this is a great opportunity to continue new ways of working that we now see as efficient and effective, whilst acknowledge which things do not really impact on the quality of education for the pupils. 

Curtail (verb) to stop something before it is finished, or to reduce or limit something.

Cambridge Dictionary

The table below provides you with a framework and an example of how to curtail.

Impact statementStartStopRe-setRepeatReview
Pupils with autism level 1 preferred learning online and at home    Look at lessons learnt from SEND provision we had in place on site before, during and after lock down.  Can we adapt to implement in school strategies that worked for the pupils at home?
Data showed trend of progress in wider curriculum up to March 2020How can we better share progress data with learners and parents?Refine what we collect and how we useRe -establish the high quality teaching strategies that were having impact prior to 2020Connectivity between data 
  Etc, etc etc …           
Framework example for curtailing – could be used in 360 conversation with teams

When we curtail, we indirectly create. We create space for new ideas; we create space by stopping the things that have no impact; we create space for open conversations. This sounds ‘counter-cultural’ because the temptation is to create before we curtail. However, that way round, we just keeping adding and the pressure mounts. Curtail to create helps build capacity, without increased workload.

3) Collaborate!

I mentioned the word ‘vision’ above.   Do you still have one? Have you managed to hold on to it throughout 2020 or does it need a refresh? As the SEND Code of Practice (2015) espouses, collaboration is key to ensuring the right sense of direction for provision for pupils with SEND.  This is what creates ‘true measure of successes’ to work towards. 

Post Covid 19 lock down, I would suggest pupils of all abilities are likely to have gaps in development holistically (physical, sensory, mental health, communication skills and cognition and learning).  With Ofsted reminding us about the importance of long-term memory, I ask are we collaborating with our pupils and partners in designing the way forward with the short term and long-term curriculum provision plans holistically, to maximise the impact on academic progress?  Considering collaboration to establish strategy in the 2021-22 School Improvement Plan will help set the right and most effective work streams that have impact on well-being and progress as equal partners in the journey ahead. 

There are no easy answers, and I often find inspiration in poetry:

I shall be telling this with a sigh.

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1915)

In the days ahead, we will all be walking road less traveled … what will you use to guide your journey and that of those you lead? 

Since this is our first #Leader5ADay blog, I would value your thoughts, comments, and feedback. What appealed to you in this blog? What could I do better?

Till next time,




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