Key principles for teachers in times of change, by @jw_teach

Challenge and change are prime opportunities to learn – embrace them.

I think we have something in common. I work with children and young people who have special needs because I can make a difference and enrich the experiences the children under my care take part in. In times of uncertainty and change in a school, there are certain principles that you cannot afford to lose sight of. This is an extract of a presentation I wrote, follow or comment if you would like to read the rest.

[pullquote]There are two types of change facing schools today. That which they can control, and that which they cannot.[/pullquote]

As a DCPC my focus is always the safety and wellbeing of the children I work with.

Key Principles

  • Child-centred – Safeguarding shouldn’t just be a policy, it should be a culture.
  • Focused on Outcomes for Children – Included, Happy, Enriched, dignity and respect
  • Involving the community – Governors, Parents, Supporters.
  • Dedication to development – CPD, Standards, innovation and sustained improvement, Curriculum.
  • Embrace the learning gained through challenges.
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  • High expectations of children and everyone working in the school.
  • That students and staff are valued and deliver a sense of purpose.
  • Enriching the learning experience, and appreciating everyone is capable of achieving their full potential.
  • That developing personal qualities – Confidence, self-esteem, boundaries and relationships are a daily focus
  • Embracing change and encourage innovation through supportive leadership.
  • Openness and honesty.

In Volatile times, the focus of leadership can shift to reactive problem-solving. Examples I have managed are poor staff morale, staff absenteeism, and poor practice. These are the times that leaders need to be visible, supportive, and display clarity of vision. I would often spend days in classes supporting the teachers when teams were disrupted and students unsettled by the imminent changes. I would lead storytelling groups and assemblies daily to model the effect positivity and visibility can have on a school.

There are two types of change facing schools today. That which they can control, and that which they cannot.

We cannot control funding pressures from inflation, pay rises, an increase in employers’ pension contributions, as well as an increase in national insurance contributions. We cannot control government policy. We cannot fully control whether our best staff decide to move on.

It is possible to control which new leaders to appoint, how curriculum change is implemented, how effectively we apply new practices such as the EHC plans and SEND. We can control how well our children are cared for and valued. Challenge and change are prime opportunities to learn – embrace them.

Joe White is a SEN teacher working with children with Autism and communication difficulties. ICT and e-safety lead. Interested in edtech and inclusion.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Joe White and published with kind permission. This article was originally published in 2015, and updated in 2019 by UKEd Editorial staff in line with website updates and guidelines.

The original post can be found here.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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