Cultivating Capacity in Schools

In the previous blog, we discussed strategy in a School Improvement context and identified four key components in which schools and academies can use their MIS as part of the process. The four areas were Governance, IDSR (Inspection Data Summary Report), EIF (Education Inspection Framework) and Budget Analysis. These tools are important when strategising, but a good plan needs capacity and energy for the task to be completed and to gain the very best outcome.

school improvement plan

Sir David Carter (2020), Leading Academy Trusts, John Catt


To be able to develop school improvement there has to be a sufficient amount of capacity to supply to the strategy. The energy behind the drive for change should be carefully considered and ensure that the workload and provision has been calculated to achieve maximum performance and not drain the current resources that the school has available to them. It is about creating a sustainable change and not finding a short-term solution by reacting to a single problem.

school improvement ideas

Staff within the organisation or trust will need to be supported and developed. Leaders need to identify the cost effectiveness of the staffing, resources and time when providing capacity to set projects. The investment in people raises the standards of delivery, practice and outcomes.

The Education Endowment Fund states that ‘the quality of teaching is the single most important driver of pupil attainment and a range of other positive outcomes. Maximising the quality of teaching through the effective deployment and development of teachers and teaching assistants will therefore be at the top of any school’s priorities.’

Staff Organisation

Staffing is a challenging conundrum within schools as every individual is different and often offers something else within the role. A clear staffing structure that aligns all staff so they are aware of the different responsibilities and accountabilities, is key to gaining support quickly and efficiently. The timetabling of staff to ensure their responsibilities meet the needs set within the school improvement plan is important to gain the quality support they need to succeed. The strongest schools have a clear vision and strategy with a set organisational structure that provides clear direction to raise standards. Investing in the staff organisation will lead to the most efficient and effective practice and that ultimately leads to School Improvement.

Recruitment and Retention

Recruiting the right members of staff is important to continually develop the culture within the school or trust. Creating a balance of experienced members of staff and new members of staff is important in the development of a healthy staff morale in which the balance of expert and the novice work in tandem when explaining and developing the best pedagogical approach for the children. Retaining staff is also very important. There needs to be a clear career pathway so staff can understand the expectations involved if they were to develop beyond their current role. The accessibility to drive personal development retains staff as they are aware they can control their own pathway. This year research from Hays Education Training shows nearly two thirds (65%) of teachers have considered leaving the profession due to poor wellbeing. Providing support and structure to a very responsive environment can relieve some of the additional stress and worries found within a school or trust.

CPD & Appraisal

Teachers need to be celebrated within the organisations and highlighted for best practice. Investing in the knowledge and understanding of the teacher role, placing staff first, ultimately reaps rewards for the children. This means there is a need to identify the strengths and developments of individuals to enable their improvement. Purposeful professional development ensures that the staff are developing their skill sets to create interventions to support the delivery of their curriculum. Tom Sherrington wrote in his ‘Great CPD, Poor CPD…’ blog that ‘great CPD’ was when schools recognised that professional teachers can’t and won’t improve their practice unless they themselves are the driving process. This culture shift in ownership and participation is key to the intrinsic reward of the individual. Leaders need to facilitate the passion and drive by providing the stimulating CPD environment that will in turn develop the best teachers. Regular reflection time and peer reviews allow staff to reach out to be supported to develop their skill and practice and increase standards.. By agreeing clear targets and goals enables staff to focus on their own development from the Early Career Framework towards the Leadership Pay Spines and Upper pay scale threshold. The ultimate aim is to have an evolving workforce that wants to develop and move forwards. It does not have to be higher in a leadership scale, but all members of staff should have refined, reviewed and ultimately developed their understanding and practice of the role they have.

How Can Bromcom Support the Capacity of an Organisation?

The Bromcom MIS supports the growth, development and identification of capacity within the school organisation. In order to develop a staff workforce that meets the needs of its students, we can provide tools to help schools deliver productive lessons and ensure a high level of learning within the classroom.

To ensure a collective vision that galvanises the staff, the MIS enables users to set school wide objectives. These can be cascaded into the staff profile, allowing them to record personalised objectives that support the vision of development within the school. The CPD library and performance management suite helps leaders to keep abreast of staff engagement, professional development, and its subsequent impact within the school. A school wide analysis of professional development is important for the school to evaluate the performance and investment in resources. We are continuously developing a wide range of analytics and reporting functions to support the current appraisal offering.

The staffing structure tool is designed to develop workflows and be used as a productivity tool to ensure the task and objectives that the school has set are being met. The staffing structure provides clarity for the members of staff and allows direct reporting to another member of staff that may not necessarily be your line manager.

Human resources is another area in which Bromcom are delving into, ensuring that schools can run their own resources management. There are several developments coming in the following months such as a visual organisation chart to further clarify the responsibilities and management of staff. To support the growth of the individual, our MIS features a fully-fledged CPD recording system. This enables leaders to be able to identify and support staff to continually revise methods to ensure best practice. The development of individuals is paramount for not only the staff member to grow but also the school. The increase in skills, productivity and confidence can only serve the school well moving forwards.

Conclusion

Planning, developing and reviewing the capacity of an organisation is important as it can lead to a sustainable future. Think about how much you have and how much you need to make the additional changes to ensure the very best return for the pupils within your school. Through a variety of different features, the MIS solution is able to support school leaders in the quest to continually develop the capacity of the school so the pupils and students receive the very best education.

07 May 2021 / Scott Biggs

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