How Can Schools Make Meetings Productive?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

What workload issues are driving teachers crazy and how can we fix it?

When the Department for Education started to publish their workload findings, I started to take this issue seriously as a school leader. In the report findings and on the summary graphic below, you will notice that meetings featured in 26% of 44,000 respondents.

How many hours do you spend in meetings?

As a deputy head teacher, I was spending 15 hours per week in meetings, whether line management and collective team meetings, being a participant or the person leading from the front. Not every meeting was a good use of everyone’s time.

Department for Education Workload Challenge

How can we adopt smarter ways of working?

In my teacher training sessions, as part of my introduction to Mark Plan Teach, I offer some simple solutions explaining how all leaders in schools can tackle the meeting culture in our schools; to reduce workload and make them more meaningful. The tips that I recommend are:

  • stand-up meetings will go quicker, particularly those difficult conversations.
  • turn them into professional development sessions
  • walk-about meetings are good for your mental health
  • change the venue or rotate the chair
  • bring people together for 30 minutes, with 30 minutes remaining to go and do ‘your thing’.

I found this very interesting video by Professor Todd Dewett on Linkedin, author and speaker. He offers some very useful tips.

Meeting Survival Tips by Todd Dewett

Think about it for a moment. Imagine if one timetabled period for a teacher is worth approximately £2k per year, per teacher for an academic year (of a teacher’s salary). How much impact versus actual value do your staff meetings have? It’s only then you should consider if your meeting is a good use of everyone’s time …

Other tips …

For other tips on managing meetings, try:

  1. Making The Most of Staff Meetings (1-minute read)
  2. How To Improve Meetings (3-minute read)
  3. I Love Staff Meetings (4-minute read)
  4. 15 Workload Tips for Schools (2-minute read)

@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...

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