10 Questions to Ask Every Senior Leader by @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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When last did you reflect as a senior leader without prompt?

This is a blog for every senior leader to reflect on their own school-leadership practice.

Are you a reflective leader? If so, has this been sparked by a comment from your headteacher? Or an idea or a moment of criticism from a colleague? Or is this truly part of your leadership-DNA?

With the academic year soon to draw to an end, and working in a senior leadership position, rather than winding down for the academic year, you will be counting down the days left to be able to complete all the work in time before the last day of term. Does this sound familiar? This is not to say that you won’t be working over the summer holidays for a short period; more importantly, you need your colleagues now – before the escape for a well-deserved rest – to be able to contribute to your projects during term time in order to ‘be ready’ for the start of a new term!

During this term, the time is now to act. Here I share the following questions so that senior teachers can consider the following for personal reflection. This particular set of forward-planning questions will vary according to any leadership role. Rather than providing a generic set of questions, I have focused specifically on CPD and teaching and learning only.

Leadership Reflection:

  1. When last did you visit every classroom in the school?
  2. Which teachers across the school, need support? And what specifically? By when? Is this costed/communicated?
  3. Which teachers are keen to share with others? Do they have a forum to do this? How is this disseminated to all?
  4. What CPD needs to be put in place for this term? And for the start of the academic year?
  5. What CPD pathways need to be refined? Good to Outstanding? NPQML? Masters? Action-research groups?
  6. Have you recently read the Investors In People designation process to achieve the kite-mark? It is very useful for self-review.
  7. Have you contacted new staff regarding dates for school induction? Teaching and learning expectations / systems etc.
  8. Is your school moving towards ‘no-gradings’ for lesson observations? Yes/No? What needs to happen this term? If you are keeping gradings? Has this been communicated and have staff been part of the process?
  9. What T&L/CPD evidence will be used for appraisal from September 2014? Are your policies up to date?
  10. What can you put in place to facilitate teachers having more time together, to talk about teaching?

shutterstock Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones sign with a beach on background leadership

Image: Shutterstock

Comfort Zones:

  1. Does the school make regular contact will parents?
  2. How do you know?
  3. Does the school take the views of all parents into account?
  4. If the grumpiest of parents evaluated your school, what would they say? Why?
  5. What is the word on the ground? What would parents / members of staff say about your school?
  6. Does the school make regular contact – beyond appraisal – with individual members of staff? How do you know?
  7. What do you do, to recognise the contribution of individual staff members?
  8. Are all teaching staff given the opportunity to improve?
  9. Are all teaching staff given the time to meet; to discuss; to reflect?
  10. What part do your staff play, in achieving the aims of the school?

And to make the above questions even more awkward, replace the context of each question and make them specific to your job description and whole-school responsibilities. Still feeling comfortable?

We can all improve …


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