Our end of year report
As another school year draws to a close, we recap on 11 months of helping to make the job of school head more productive, more effective and more rewarding.
In fact, thinning things out a touch to provide just a little thinking and breathing space can be hugely valuable. But where to find that space?One option is to outsource HR, but how do you realise those benefits whilst retaining control?
Action centred leadership
As the first term of the new school year drew to a close, we were revisiting John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership model. There’s always a tendency to look for the new to reinvigorate your approach to leadership, but it’s important not to ignore the proven tools and techniques that can make a head’s life easier without reinventing the wheel. The model may be 40+ years old, but its familiarity shouldn’t get in the way of its value.
Creating a performance culture
In December, we explored one of the most challenging aspects of the Ofsted assessment: creating a performance culture.
We looked at the key steps heads can take to embed a true performance culture – from setting more precise and more effective goals to SMART-based continuous, regular feedback – so, when Ofsted next comes looking for evidence of your performance culture, you’ve far more to show them than merely a completed set of performance appraisals.
Cutting staff absence by 50%
Staff absence is a perennial problem for heads. Earlier this year, we explored how our work with a primary school in the north-west of England reduced staff absence by a massive 50%.
In real terms, the reduction amounted to 127 fewer absences and a saving of over £33,000 over the nine-month period, including the ‘fluey’ months of November, December and January.
As March arrived, we turned our attention to the habits that can help us be more productive. Studies show that, when you start each day in the right way, the rest of the day is likely to be far more productive.
In this post, we explored our Productive Mornings guide, your handbook for creating to-do lists that get done, building momentum for long lasting change and understanding the patterns that help you become more productive.
A practical difference
Chances are, the personal development courses and activities you’ve undertaken can be neatly divided into two camps: the ones that have made a genuine, practical difference and the ones that didn’t. In May, we spoke with Nick, a head teacher who spoke about the effect The Practical Manager programme had on him.
“The programme has boosted my confidence which, in turn, has improved my wellbeing and I believe I and the school are seeing the knock-on effects of that,” Nick told us. “I’m definitely less anxious in handling difficult situations now, because I know I have the strategies to deal with them.”
Outsourcing HR while retaining control
HR is a natural candidate for outsourcing and freeing up school resources. Yet, for all its numerous benefits, it’s vital to ensure you remain in control, so the HR strategy remains aligned with your wider objectives for the school.
In our final post of the year, we explored ways to outsource HR while retaining control.
More effective leaders
One of the final tasks of a busy year is issuing reports. So, what would ours say? This year, we’ve welcomed more heads (and others in school leadership positions) onto our Effective Leadership & Management course than ever. Feedback has been hugely positive, much in line with Nick’s account above. The Managing Absence Toolkit is having an effect in schools across the UK – and we’re eagerly anticipating our first school to break the current 50% absence reduction record.
Free HR consultancy
Most pleasingly, our offer of free HR advice and consultancy as part of every Effective Leadership & Management package has been enthusiastically adopted. We are regularly in touch with school leaders, helping them find new ways to tackle stubborn challenges.
Read your way to success this summer
As you head off on holiday at the end of this school year, we wanted to give you some inspirational summer reading to help you gear up for the next one. If you’ve ever wondered why people who are successful in one area of life seem to succeed in virtually any area they set their mind to, you’ll find the answer in our Developing a Success Mindset
It could help you develop a mindset that sets you up for a successful new term, and much more.
Until then, to everyone who has worked with us this year, we wish you a very happy summer break.