Leadership is about unlocking potential

By Giles Delaney

It’s a new year – a time of reflection, gratitude and expectation of the year ahead. In this blog, my intent is use use a narrative reflection to draw out dome key learning points for those in leadership or stepping into it.

Recently I was reminded of an interaction I had some years ago with a newly appointed member of our school leadership team. She had been appointed to lead a section of the school which involved responsibility for pupil progress, pastoral care and parental liaison. She was an inspirational colleague who enjoyed the absolute respect of the pupils and the strong support of her colleagues.

Six months into her appointment, she met with me (the head teacher) to say that she did not feel she was performing her role well enough and that another colleague would be better in the role she held. I asked her why she felt this and she replied that her colleague, with whom she enjoyed a strong working relationship, had many really excellent ideas/observations for the department and she was concerned that she was missing things and had not thought of these ideas herself.

This interaction highlighted the dilemma that many face on taking up positions of leadership: a sense that others can do the job better or that they are being judged by their colleagues for their apparent weaknesses.

Over a period of some weeks, I was able to coach, discuss and evidence with this colleague her many strengths and demonstrate, even over a relatively short period of time, the systemic change she had begun to implement in her department. I felt that this ‘validated’ her appointment and current position, but also showed her the measurable progress she had made against her own development plan: she was, undeniably, ‘on-track’.

She had contributed in a significant way to a systemic change in the culture of the school (and been appointed for exactly this reason) but her story draws into focus the dilemma facing many who move into leadership positions in the education sector.

When many join the teaching profession, a significant driver is the desire to build meaningful relationships with children and to make a difference in their lives. In the early stages of our career, this is manifested by personal interactions which fuel our motivation, commitment and a sense of our own identity. Messages of gratitude from parents, the pupils’ own testimonies, observing their academic or creative progress as a result of our personal intervention: these are all significant factors. However, when we enter a leadership position, this dynamic can change fundamentally. There are two changes that are particularly marked: firstly in our colleagues’ perspective of our performance and ability to bring change and secondly, in our fundamental relationships with our pupils which, on an individual level, are reduced. The very factors which drive our sense of identity and motivation have changed at our most vulnerable time.

My colleague experienced this same sense of anxiety: that there were aspects of her leadership role that others were doing better than her and, importantly, in areas that she felt were critical to her identity as a leader, for example; innovation and reflection. She was of course right in the sense that her colleague was contributing experience that she did not have, but it is important to acknowledge the culture she had brought about. She had given this colleage the space and confidence to share their oberservations in the knowledge that they had something of value to offer. She had created an environment where her colleagues cared so deeply about her vision and wanted to contribute and play their part. This was a measurable element to the ‘systemic change’ I mentioned earlier. The pupils sensed the teachers’ buy-in to this cultural change and their relationships with them had begun to change also.

As leaders, one of the most important things we can do is to recognise that our own success, at that of our schools, rests on our ability to unlock the potential in our colleagues and to create an environment in which they can be the best version of themselves. If they can offer skills and knowledge that we cannot, then so much the better.

These changes do not minimalise our influence or agency, they re-focus it on a larger scale. We can still have an enormous impact on individual children but the ‘drivers’ I spoke of earlier will be replaced often by influence and change which is not as easily measured or which evolves more slowly. This change is the result of our creating an environment where both our children and colleagues flourish: it is the essence of ‘servant leadership’ – serving those around us.

It seems appropriate to finish with the first piece of advice I ever received after taking up my first headship. My new secretary at the time said to me “…remember, you cannot look after 300 children….but look after the staff and they will look after the children for you”. She was absolutely right, although it was very difficult letting go!

What advice would you share with fellow leaders or those aspiring to be leaders?

About Giles

After more than two decades of headship, Giles joined TeamADL in the latter part of 2022. He has a Masters degree in Teaching & Learning, but is pursing further studies in child-centred approaches for wellbeing and academic progress. To contact Giles visit www.teamadl.uk


Leadership Legacy

By Giles Delaney (Joint TeamADL Leadership Blog Lead)

This is my first blog for #TeamADL and I wanted to use this space to reflect on two things:

  1. What can we learn about leadership from those who have gone before?
  2. What models of leadership are we planting and investing in the learners we teach?

Past Reflections

As a school leader, I have often reflected on the way I lead and it is natural when we do this, to compare ourselves to others. As someone who has worked in Jesuit institutions for the past 25 years, the life of St Ignatius is well-known to me and in this blog, I explore four timeless aspects of leadership, based on a Christopher Lowney’s book ‘Heroic Leadership’ (2005)

In his book, Lowney shares the 17th century story of St Ignatius of Loyola and the evolution of the Society of Jesus, (colloquially known as ‘The Jesuits’).  It is an extraordinary story of how Ignatius created and nurtured one of the world’s most successful, innovative, globally-integrated and socially impactful institutions that has ever existed!

Lowney argues that the challenges faced by modern corporations are the same as those faced by Ignatius 450 years ago and Lowney points to the fact that Ignatius created a model for their organisation that was’ ‘change-ready’, adaptable and which enabled them to think globally, be ambitious and take risks.

The Society was founded in 1540 by ten men with no capital and no business plan but, in time, it became one of the world’s most influential institutions of its kind which enjoyed unrivalled global influence. Jesuits and were known to be confidents to the Chinese Ming emperor, the Japanese Shogun, Mughal emperors and European monarchs and within a decade of their creation they had opened over 30 schools across Europe and at one time educated over 20% of all pupils across Europe.

Lowney distils this success and the model into four key attributes:

Self-Awareness: This is about being aware of the all the dimensions of our being and the impact these have on others.

Ignatius’ believed that we are all leaders, all of the time, irrespective of our position in an organisation.  He believed that leadership springs from within each of us: it is about who we are, not what we do: consequently, it was not seen in individual traits but in our way of living. It is an ongoing process, never completed. If our whole lives are one of leadership, conscious or otherwise, then Lowney proposes that we do not therefore not always choosing our opportunities to lead. To do so requires a sense of adaptability, agility and an ever-ready approach to challenge and opportunity.

Ingenuity: This is about being inventive and finding new solutions to fit the season, population and space.

Ignatius’ leadership style and vision for the Society swam against the prevailing and influential ideas of the time and in particular against the Catholic church itself. Whilst the Church’s reaction to the threat of Lutheranism was to excommunicate the Augustinian monk and ban all ‘illegal’ literature which contradicted its teaching and threatened the infallibility of the Pope, Ignatius instead saw the potential to emphasise and propagate the joy of the Gospel (Good News) through education. The Jesuits’ response to Luther was to translate the Bible into new languages and dialects and to spread the word of God across the known world and beyond.

Love: This is more than just about kindness, caring or being affectionate. Its about honouring from a place of seeing the inner core, not just outer expression.

Ignatius’ vision for his emerging companions was to spread the word of God with “more love than fear”: as Lowney says, “they saw in each person a uniquely endowed with talent and dignity”. How often do we see the limitations and errors of those with whom we work? Instead, Ignatius implores us to reflect on how we can make the very best of each person. As leaders, whatever industry or role we work in, we are educators. The word derives from the Latin ‘educare’ to draw out or to lead, and Ignatius teaches us that we can better fulfil our collective vision by recognising the inherent value and potential of our colleagues. Let our HR department do their very best: our role is to develop, or draw out, from there! Also think about this in relation to behaviour management.

Heroism: This not about wearing a cape, but everyday bravery. Taking risks for the greater good.

The Jesuit’s call to arms, still 450 years after their inception, is the idea of ‘Magis’: what more can I do what more can I give? It is this restless idea for human flourishing through contribution and advancement that has inspired some of their greatest achievements. Whether it was Benedetto de Goes’ odyssey across the Himalayas, St Francis Xavier’s missionary journey to Asia, Matteo Ricci’s entry as one the first westerners into China or Christopher Clavius’ ground-breaking work on the Gregorian calendar: Ignatius’ voice and vision hasbeen perpetuated through the centuries and his perspective of human flourishing, or what we now term ‘leadership’ is a true today as it has always been. The capacity to take risks, to fail and rise again, is at the heart of human growth. Our role as leaders is to inspire this is those we lead and remains at the heart of our personal and institutional journey.

Future Hope

I often think back to a conversation I had with a group of junior teachers some years ago. When asked what they taught, one young member of staff, rather than defining herself by the subject she taught, replied assertively “I teach children” and she was absolutely right.

Our subjects are just one of the tools we use to facilitate a child’s growth and their full worth will ultimately be determined by their impact on society. It is our role to nurture in them an instinctive sense of leadership. This must not be defined by a title or role but by their potential to recognise opportunities to make a difference. The example we set them in our own lives has the potential to echo through the years. Let them be led with more love than fear and be defined by their potential.

So here is my question to you: how do you nurture future leaders, without necessarily giving them a role or title?

About Giles

After more than two decades of headship, Giles joined TeamADL in the latter part of 2022. He has a Masters degree in Teaching & Learning, but is pursing further studies in child-centred approaches for wellbeing and academic progress. To contact Giles visit www.teamadl.uk

Giving students choice in the classroom

By Steve Pendleton

In this month’s #Leader5Aday blog, I want to explore the importance of the power for choice in developing learning agency and motivation.  In a Post-COVID19 era, this is vital as so many young people experienced a lack of agency and choice during that period.

There appears to be a trend in English schools for teachers to be more and more directed by their managers as to how to operate in the classroom. For example, a friend working in a secondary school in Outer London was given a 50-point detailed and non-functional list, describing the non-negotiables of the school’s teaching policy. It seems that school leadership is becoming increasingly authoritarian and teachers are being given less and less freedom to teach in a way that suits them. Driven by the current culture of school accountability, school leaders may feel that exerting this sort of control improves the overall performance of teachers because individuals’ preferred methods may not necessarily be effective. Insisting on minimum standards may therefore be considered to eliminate poor teaching. However, this controlling approach may also bring about unintended consequences.

When teacher autonomy is suppressed, it is likely that it will lead to a reduction of student autonomy (Roth et al, 2007).  Self-determination theory (SDT) developed by Ryan and Deci (2017) concludes that autonomy is a basic psychological need, essential in order for individuals to develop self-determined forms of motivation such as intrinsic motivation. Such forms of motivation have been found to lead to many beneficial outcomes. For school students, these outcomes include improved academic performance as well as mental and physical health and happiness.

Autonomy for students in lessons means that they have a sense of control or agency of their own learning in that they can make decisions freely. An aspect of this is providing them with the opportunity to make choices. Given that groups in English schools contain 30 or so students, how can this be done? Fortunately, research conducted round the world has shed light on approaches that can work successfully.

Stefanou et al (2004) points out that three types of choice can be offered to students: organisational, procedural and cognitive. Organisational choice is allowing students choice of how they work together. For example, students can choose where to sit or in which group they will work. As a teacher, I worried that students sitting with their friends would be more likely to engage in off-task behaviour. Sometimes I sat them in allocated groups or in boy-girl pairs to suppress this. Now I realise I was mistaken. First, this approach restricted opportunities to collaborate with trusted peers. Also, this seating arrangement did not address why they wanted to avoid the learning activity in the first place. Their sense of autonomy would have been thwarted which would have made matters worse for the future. Of course, there are other considerations when managing the organisation of a group such as group social dynamics, the additional needs of specific learners and the need to encourage students to learn how to work with peers who they might normally associate with.

Procedural choice is where students are given options as to which materials they use for a learning activity. They could choose which questions they will answer or how they will demonstrate competence with respect to specific learning. Recently I saw a maths lesson where students could choose the difficulty of questions to answer – either easy, medium or hard. However, the teacher guided the students as to which questions they ought to select so it wasn’t a choice at all. The teacher encouraged some “more able” students to do the hard questions. This threatens how the rest of the class see themselves. They are more likely to feel lacking in competence which is another basic psychological need which underpins self-determined motivation. Not only that, but this approach could impact on the feelings of competence of “more able” students who are unable to do the hard questions.

Another way to provide students with procedural choice is by allowing them to carry out learning activities at a pace that suits them. Again, as a teacher I worried that if students were not given time limits they would be tempted to engage in off-task behaviour. With the benefit of hindsight, I think this had an adverse effect by changing the nature of the task from one where the objective was to learn something new to one where the objective was to complete a task in a given time – a subtle adjustment but one which undermined student autonomy.

The third category of choice is cognitive, when students have the freedom to use their chosen intellectual strategy to solve a problem. An example of this is when a group of students is given some text and some accompanying questions which interrogate their understanding of the text. The students could start by reading the questions and then have these in mind when they then read the text. Alternatively, the students could read the text first. Autonomy would be supported if the teacher does not insist on one of these approaches. Rather, the teacher could facilitate a discussion in the group afterwards to hear the experience of different student approaches. Students would then be able to consider choosing the other approach next time

Giving students choice will not always support autonomy. Students need to be able to choose options which reflect their own personal values and goals (Katz & Assor, 2007). Offering students the choice between writing an essay on either plants or animals is not likely to provide that but writing an essay about someone they admire might. Also, choices need to be limited in number (Lepper 2000). Otherwise the risk is that student effort is diverted to making a satisfactory choice rather than undertaking the learning activity.

When I was teaching, I think I was more inclined to offer choice to students that I considered academically “able”. I didn’t believe lower attaining students would make good decisions. This was a mistake. The students who had made less academic progress probably needed their autonomy to be supported more. They were more likely to be extrinsically motivated rather than doing activities for the pleasure of learning.

In conclusion, I would encourage teachers to offer real choice to students wherever this is feasible. This could be by allowing them freedom to choose who they work with, how they allocate their time or how they approach a problem. When students make choices that you don’t agree with, instead of correcting them, try to understand their decision by taking a curious and non-judgmental stance. Students won’t want to make bad choices and they will learn from their mistakes, so let them.  However, as leaders it is important to remember if we do not give staff choice, they in turn may not offer learners choice.  It starts with leadership.

Steve Pendleton is a school improvement specialist with expertise in the education of vulnerable and disadvantaged children. After a successful career as a teacher and leader in secondary schools, Steve became a school inspector, improvement adviser and senior leader in a local authority in the West Midlands. He is now a consultant working with TeamADL and is undertaking doctoral research at the University of Wolverhampton.


Katz, I. and Assor, A. (2007) ‘When Choice Motivates and When It Does Not’, Educational psychology review, 19(4), pp. 429-442. doi: 10.1007/s10648-006-9027-y.

Reeve, J. and Cheon, S.H. (2021) ‘Autonomy-supportive teaching: Its malleability, benefits, and potential to improve educational practice’, null, 56(1), pp. 54-77. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2020.1862657.

Roth, G., Assor, A., Kanat-Maymon, Y. and Kaplan, H. (2007) ‘Autonomous Motivation for Teaching’, Journal of educational psychology, 99(4), pp. 761-774. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.99.4.761.

Ryan, R.M. and Deci, E.L. (2017) Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. 

Stefanou, C.R., Perencevich, K.C., DiCintio, M. and Turner, J.C. (2004) ‘Supporting Autonomy in the Classroom: Ways Teachers Encourage Student Decision Making and Ownership’, Educational psychologist, 39(2), pp. 97-110. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep3902_2.

Why, why, why …. !?!

Here’s a story for you …. a boy enjoyed helping his mum cook the Sunday roast every week, he loved the senses, the smells, the textures and spending time one to one with his mum, chatting and asking questions.   He noticed every time mum cooked a chicken, she would carefully remove the legs and the wings before basting and putting it in the baking tray.   One week he asked, “Why do you remove the legs and the wings?”  Mum said that it was what she learnt from her mother.   And so, the mum asked her mother why, who in turn had to ask her mother and so on.   Eventually it turned out that great, great grandmother had a small oven and baking tray that was not big enough for the chicken!   This pattern of behaviour was passed down generations without anyone asking the question, “Why are we doing it this way?” 

Do you feel like that sometimes, or have you fallen into the trap of just accepting that we must do it the way we do?   Similarly, in my Deputy Headship role the staff ran the same reading intervention programme that had been running for nearly 10 years.   No one had asked the key questions about the underlying pedagogy, the impact on pupils’ progress or even how it all started.   You can guess, we discovered it started with good intentions for a particular child and certainly was a popular time of nurture for pupils, but it definitely did not have any evidence base or appear to improve outcomes.  I was not very popular for asking the ‘what, how and why’ questions.

I am often asked by schools to come in train them on how to carry out ‘deep dives’ (English school colleagues will immediately know why this requested!)   It’s a cry for help or reassurance that they will do well when OFTSTED apply their methodology to inspection.   I always say NO but reply with ‘what is the thinking behind the methodology?’   It’s not about jumping through another hoop, it’s far deeper thinking than that (“Rubbish!” I hear you shout through the page.  Here is the Research base underpinning the thinking behind the deep dive methodology )  Essentially, it’s about metacognition and theory around memory recall and ability to generalise knowledge to new situations.   Have you grasped the research behind this and discussed the evidence based arguments for or against the research OFSTED has referred to?  Now might be a good time to give yourself and your staff permission to breathe and read.  

Know the ‘what, the how and the why’ behind everything you ask staff to do and help them to understand the ‘the what, the how and the why’ behind each element of their ‘workload.’   Most of us will feel energised and willing when we are motivated by clear understanding and potential impact on improving the lives of our children. 

Remember, #TMOS (True Measures of Success).   #whathowwhy .  Let us know what your top tips for building evidence based work load practices into your school culture.  Here are mine:


Go through the school calendar and list all the tasks you and your staff are doing over each term.   Add in the list of things you do that you have not been asked to.  It will be a long list!    Sift out the list into three categories

[a] things we get value from and perhaps we enjoy.  Give these things priority (START, re-start)

[b] things that do not bear the fruit you thought (Stop doing these things)

[c] things that you are not sure about but need to reflect on. find the evidence base or impact statements, (Re-think)


Do not assume that because something makes sense to you that it is clearly understood or communicated well.  You may not be as good at communicating as you might think!   A classic example includes the use of published schemes (e.g. the recently approved Phonics schemes from the DfE, which by the way are NON-STATUTORY 😊)  They key as above is understanding the methodology.  If teachers are simply delivering by script and rote rather than with clear professional understanding of the evidence and pedagogy, then the impact may be limited and not allow teachers to make pedagogical decisions about any adaptations that may be needed to meet the need of key pupils.  For example, did you know that SATPIN is not necessarily the best evidence base order in which to teach the sounds?   Well how do I know that?  Where is my evidence base?   What are the implications of that for pupils with dyslexia?  Do you see?  


Yes, I said it!   No more hours debating how sports day should be organised!   I jest slightly, but seriously, I did replace staff meetings once in favour of SEMINARS.   I asked each teacher in turn to read an article, book or research paper and to plan an interactive task to teach their colleagues what they had discovered.  Teachers were then asked to try something new in their classroom practice each week as a result of what had been discussed.   I cannot put into enough words how much positivity and energy this put into meetings and classroom practice as a result.   And this was at a time in the 90s when I was introducing the use of target setting into our curriculum plans.   Learning about ‘Inside the Black Box’ research paper allowed to make sensible and professional decisions about what target setting meant to pupils rather than aimlessly putting National Curriculum levels after each pupil’s name.   The net result is that pupils made what we now describe as accelerated progress.  The teaching pedagogy aligned with the evidence base not just policy from on high. 

Please get in touch and share your top tips for reclaiming our what, how and why. #TMOS

Till next month … and have a good Easter break everyone!


Perspective is power (part 2)

Welcome to the second part of our two part #Leader5aDay blog about developing health perspective across your team culture.   If you missed part one, here it is Perspective is power – Leader 5 a Day (wordpress.com)

So, we talked about starting with recognising the gifts and talents we still have within ourselves and our teams, helping concerns about the current and future world be seen in the light of hope; communicated through our vision.  One school I worked with recently has reframed their vision using the language of building resilient mindsets and attitudes as the ‘superpower’ to still aim for the goals we had set for pupils; a readiness for the next stages of their lives. 

Similarly, Van Gogh’s painting, ‘The Café Terrace at Night’ shows us we can see the same pictures with different perspectives depending on what our minds are filled with at the time.  Like the painter, we can help draw our observers’ attention by spreading the light and communicating it visually towards the direction we want them to see.  

Building on from last month with John C. Maxwell’s 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork consider the following practical steps in drawing light towards the vision you now have.

[4] Law of the Big Picture

  • Ask your staff in teams to draw images (or collate pictures if they can’t draw) that build a picture of the goals you are aiming to achieve this term.  Do their images reflect what you set out to achieve?   Have they got and bought into the perspective you thought you had laid out?   Agree a set of drawings/images that truly reflect the goals you had laid out so that you create that shared understanding to keep revisiting in a visual way.  
    • Consider using a photograph of pupils that represent a cross section of your school community and discuss how achieving the goals you have laid out will impact them.   For example, I once shared a goal around a staff re-structure in a SEND specialist setting by placing their photo on the board and helping staff visualise with post-it-notes how many significant adults impacted on that child’s life each week.  We counted 26 different adults.  This helped me achieve commitment from staff to alter the way we deployed staff lesson by lesson.   What might your key student and visual be to help staff buy into the heart behind your goals?  Use it to bring your staff out of the dark shadows and sit at the table with you.

[5] Law of the Compass

  • Link the above visual exercise to a set of moral values that justify putting time, planning and mental energy into.   Teams will work their socks off when they can see the moral purpose behind the goals you are trying to achieve.  Where there is moral vision, people become disciplined in their efforts.  In the absence of such vision, the people cast off their boundaries and lose heart rapidly.
    • Link your strategy to building on what has been achieved and learned from past experiences, particularly the last 2 years.   This helps staff that fear change to see that their previous ways of working have not been discredited, simply we need to build on from there to help look to the future.
    • Have effective 1-1 conversations with your key team players to help them refocus their compass on the next steps, the part of the journey we can visualise between now and the Easter break.   Model for them how to do this to help them do the same for the rest of the staff team.  Get feedback and problem solve together the few that still seem to be willing to hide in the shadows of the painting. 

For more encouragement on achieving a staff wide lamplit perspective, consider reading more of Maxwell’s book or get in touch for your own one to one with Team ADL.   Remember, #TMOS (find your True Measures Of Success for yourself and your teams this Spring term). 

Till next month,


Perspective is power

Welcome to the first 2022 edition of our #Leaders5aDay Blog.   I hope you have had the opportunity for a mental break as well as a physical one.   If not, consider booking yourself a day’s retreat with one or more of your loved ones.  My wife and I had a 1 day (child free) visit to the Lake District a couple of days before Christmas, only an hour’s drive from here.   It helped us step off the materialistic Christmas culture train and put our week into a healthier perspective.  We walked along the base of a mountain and enjoyed a drink alongside Lake Windermere as the sun was setting before we traveled home.   Not an expensive trip but immeasurable in getting our minds in sync with nature and this amazing country we live in.   I cannot tell you how much I needed this shift in perspective, but I’m guessing many of you understand that after a tough school term.

So, this left me thinking, how can I help my teams find their healthy perspective at the start of the Spring term.   Here’s a starter for ten for you to try and consider cascading through your teams a healthy but structured dialogue around perspective.  

This is Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, ‘The Café Terrace at Night’ (1888).  

‘The Café Terrace at Night’ (1888).

Where would you say is the focus of the one-point perspective in this picture is situated?  (don’t cheat but for the answer visit Perspective Drawing – Using a Central Eye Level (artyfactory.com))  

This time of year, we sense and see the contrast between dark and light, as can be seen in the painting with the diagonal sections between the starlit and the lamp lit street.   I wonder what your eye is drawn to at first glance, in the same way I wonder what our team players are drawn to at first glance of each day, each challenge, each interaction with their colleagues.  

As always, the culture starts with how we as leaders set the tone.  Are we planning to launch straight into highlighting how dark the season is, how challenging our School Improvement goals are, how far away our pupils are from the results we believe OFSTED will be looking for? (#TMOS) Or will we be able to help ourselves and our teams start off on the right foot with the right perspective (which in the case of the painting is NOT at the end of a dark alley – there’s a clue for you!)

John C. Maxwell in his book, ‘17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork‘ highlights several hints that will help you put your goals for this season into a lamp lit perspective point.  This month let’s focus on one, the Law of significance – the key here is that we all need to feel we have significance. 

[1] Write down the things that you know provide you with value and self-worth.  Repeat for each member of your team and help them understand the significance they play.  The painting has a lit curve in the drain that leads your eye to man in white in the café.   Your role is to help create that path for your staff to be drawn to the lit focus and away from the dark shadows. 

[2] Make sure to connect the shared  vision and the short term goals you have.   Together we can put people into space and together we can find a path through, even when the predicted results seem out of reach.   If you or anyone else does not appear to be part of the team right now, consider why that might be.  Most common reasons I have from teachers recently include:

  • A desire to never return to the pre-COVID ways of working.  We’ve all experienced a work life shift, and many want to hold on to the pros of working from home at a different pace without weighty performance targets.   Work with your teams to find the most effective systems that will help move into a new way of working rather than assuming we must somehow find our way back to previous unhealthy habits.
  • Fear of the unknown.   Most of us have commitments beyond school, as partners, carers of elderly relatives, as parents, etc.  As well as being on the front line working with people most likely to spread COVID variants, we have worries about how we manage our own health and protect those we love at home and at school.   This is the reality.  We need to have open dialogue with our teams about this.  Use the painting as an analogy of working in the light we can find whilst acknowledging the dark alley is still there.   Remember, in the 1600s an estimated 30% of the entire world population died off due to pandemics and climate change, in 1918 20-50 million people died from the Spanish Flu, and yet in the UK we have been offered 3 jabs within 18 months free at the point of access.  
  • Consider utilising the exercise around mind mapping our fears and then identifying those that are within our sphere of control, those we could influence with action and those that are beyond our control at this time.   Focus our next steps for action on those things we can do well now and begin to influence the things that seem just beyond our reach.   The number one thing here for each and every one of us is the quality of practice in our classrooms.   Let’s focus our time and resources on high quality inclusive teaching strategies.   This will ultimately improve all measures of success we need for any measure of accountability. 

[3] Have meaningful 1-1 dialogue with your key team leads to clarify where they are at in relation to the above and light up their pathway with clear support and focus this Spring term.

For the next steps on this journey in spreading light through your teams get in touch with Team ADL for your own 1-1 and look out for part two of my blogs ‘Perspective is Power’ due in February 2022.