The #5MinStaffBriefingPlan by @TeacherToolkit and @LeadingLearner

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a resource, designed mainly for school leaders who lead staff briefings in schools, colleges and universities; and features yet another 5-Minute Plan by @TeacherToolkit and @LeadingLearner.

For the past academic year, in my new role as deputy headteacher, I have been leading all-staff morning briefings. They are great fun to do, but the morning rush of information and events can sometimes create unwanted anxiety. I have designed this for me and uploading it here for other school leaders. It has been created in association with @LeadingLearner.

8.30am:

Staff Briefing is now an everyday ritual in schools up and down the country. These 5-10 minutes, in a morning, are a great way to share key messages with staff, give reminders, say hello and goodbye, celebrate and say thank you and build the school’s ethos.

The #5MinStaffBriefingPlan by @TeacherToolkit and @LeadingLearner

The #5MinStaffBriefingPlan aims to help you maximise the time available. The plan might also be useful for team (department or phase) meetings as a way of efficiently delivering information to colleagues either verbally or by sharing a hard/electronic copy.

Day/Date & Timing:

Starting with the simple stuff, record the day and date of the briefing and the time it will be given. In many schools the briefing notes are pinned up on a noticeboard for staff to refer to during the day, so it is important they are looking at the correct day’s briefing. Some schools create electronic copies which are shared with all staff, those on duty or colleagues who may be absent. It’s a great way of keeping them in touch with what is happening at school.

Key Messages:

We tend to remember better the first things and last things we hear in a briefing. If there are some key notices or information make sure they are recorded concisely on the #5MinStaffBriefingPlanand delivered clearly at the start of the briefing. These can be restated in “This Today” section.

Reminders and General Announcements:

All briefings contain a few reminders about the events of the day. These may well be taken from the school’s calendar or the weekly briefing notes. Events going on in school, trips out or visitors coming in may all be included in this section. Giving people the “heads up” about forthcoming events in the week or weeks ahead can help them massively. Whether it’s reminding staff about planning for a future event, pulling together assessment data or getting reports ready a bit of advance notice, including an additional reminder, is greatly appreciated by busy colleagues.

It will also help with the meeting of deadlines – no-one can say “but I didn’t know!”

The General Announcement section is a bit of a catch-up. It could include sports results/music events/drama productions, staff professional development opportunities, recent press coverage and events within the community or at other local schools.

shutterstock_157601444 Appetizing sausage bread and cup of coffee isolated on a white background

Image: Shutterstock

Well-Being Tip-Off and Thank You:

Staff Briefing is a great opportunity to facilitate and encourage staff wellbeing. The only word of warning is that this must be lived out through the rest of the day, the rest of the week and the rest of the year. It needs to be part of the school’s culture not just the briefing.

People like good news so announce and celebrate new births, engagements, weddings or significant achievements by a member of staff or a student. Announcements may include: cakes at break time for staff; drinks at the end of the week, a night out or the end of term do. Some schools may want to reinforce their wellbeing strategies for staff whether it is “everyone out by 6:00 p.m. at the latest” or “one night off during the week to make sure you’re fresh in the classroom.”

Just a general note about sharing personal matters; make sure you have the person’s permission in advance. It is their news and should only be made public if they are happy for you to do so.

Saying thank you is a great way to lift people’s spirits and acknowledge those who have gone the extra mile. These need to be handled carefully. Saying thank you to one person can leave another person wondering why they weren’t acknowledged. Giving a general thank you to all or a group of staff is one way around this but it can also lack the personal touch. In the end it is for the school or person taking the briefing to decide. A public general thank you for some really great work with individual notes or chat might be a good solution.

Hellos and Goodbyes:

Welcoming new people at the beginning of a term and saying goodbye to staff at the end of a year is part of the rhythm of school life. In addition, staff briefing is a great place to welcome more transitory visitors like trainee teachers on placement or supply teachers. Don’t forget staff returning after maternity/paternity leave or following an extended illness. They are likely to be feeling a bit anxious after some time away from school. A thoughtful welcome and smiling face may just set them at ease for their first day back.

shutterstock_243914125 young cool black man confidence shake hands

Image: Shutterstock

As trainee and supply teachers come into the school so they must surely go. Don’t forget to thank them and wish them well. There’s a special space for a leaving message for anyone who has given slightly longer service including teachers or support staff who may be leaving part way through the term or year.

This Today:

This is a final chance to reinforce any key messages you want staff to particularly focus on today.  Make sure you don’t have too many as it will overwhelm staff rather than help them focus.

Thought for Today:

Thought for the day sits well at the end of a briefing. It is the last thing staff will hear before they rush off for the busy day ahead. This may be a prayer, reflection, link to an important part of the school’s ethos or simply a silent moment. Don’t underestimate the power of silence at the start of a hectic day. Staff may really appreciate it.

We hope the #5MinStaffBriefingPlan will help you scribble your way to a well-organised and meaningful staff briefing. Remember you don’t need to write something in every box, every day.  The headings are a series of prompts to make sure you don’t miss any key information.

Example:

Click to open the example.

The #5MinStaffBriefingPlan by @TeacherToolkit and @LeadingLearner example

Download:

You can download copies of the plan below

  1. The 5-Minute Staff Briefing Plan by @TeacherToolkit and LeadingLearner – Word document
  2. The 5-Minute Staff Briefing Plan by @TeacherToolkit and LeadingLearner – PDF document

@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

2 thoughts on “The #5MinStaffBriefingPlan by @TeacherToolkit and @LeadingLearner

  • 27th October 2015 at 9:39 pm
    Permalink

    Stressed already, parents popping in prior to school day, teachers don’t need time taken off their lesson/preparation. Has it ever crossed your mind that teachers also have to get their own children to school prior to a school day? Unnecessary- I’d rather be ensuring classroom was AOK / setting up supply teachers with computers, talking to year group team and having time to breath with management that trust my judgement.

    Reply
    • 28th October 2015 at 5:42 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Katy, yes! I have kids. I love briefing, but far too often there are too many and too long. It would be useful to gather staff at the end of the day for 5-10 minutes, rather than 3 or 4 times a week for 15-30 minutes don’t you think? It’s important that staff come together.

      Reply

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