So how does any new Headteacher get to really understand school culture? Get under the skin of the school community and really see what is going on in order to predict what is going to happen next and start to have an influence on it?
Well, in my case, I listened and strived to get to know my colleagues as individuals first, and then, slowly, and with time, I started to really understand how we were all connected, and interconnected and that really was most exciting.
But I also acted. I started to build on the strengths that were obvious within the school community, the enthusiasm, the great ideas for new units of enquiry, the hard work and commitment of the whole staff, and we started to get things done. I gave individual teachers ownership of their own performance and provided support to help them in getting better, which gave us all more energy and confidence to actively move forward with curriculum development, making decisions about new assessment systems and strategies and clarifying our main school priorities.
Then the two came together, actions and understanding. It is when the connections we have, those invisible threads of experience that hold us all together, help us move forward in one united direction, that the power of this network, or school culture, can be seen. Not only with the amount of change we have achieved in just two years, but also in the wholehearted way in which everyone responded to our recent CIS visit, resulting in full accreditation last term. A fabulous result for a huge team effort across the whole school, and one we are extremely proud of.
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