Interim reports

Education Learning Log


I had the pleasure of working with Steve Hurst this week. He managed to get me reflecting without it seemed even trying. His following thoughts are always useful. I think leading is about attention to detail, solid management and empowering others.

Remember the Do+Be=Have?

Do is what you’ll actively demonstrate as a leader.

Be is the ‘state’ e.g. confident decisive calm etc and these two lead to what you’ll reap (have) as a leader.

  • What will you be doing when leading even more effectively?
  • What will people be seeing and how will they be feeling? (third party question)
  • How will you be? What will you be feeling?

The devils in the detail as well as the clarity and commitment to change.

February 15, 2009 Posted by | leadership | , | Leave a comment

This and That

I had an interesting outing with a Polish neighbour, to New Lanark at the weekend. We met out the back garden one day recently. I don’t speak Polish or Italian, she doesn’t speak French or much English yet as she’s just learning. So we did one of those pigeon Euro talk things for the day – there seemed to be smatterings of nearly everything with a bit of Latin thrown in for good measure, a notepad and drawings were involved and a Polish/English dictionary. What always amazes me in these situations is how much we can still learn about one another despite language barriers.

At work I’m starting to really enjoy my job and feel I am understanding my role better. This has been quite a difficult adjustment in some ways for me, as not only is it a completely new job but its also very different from being in one school. There’s also the question of autonomy. As HT I had a degree of autonomy within the school setting and freedom to be creative within boundaries. This role also has a degree of autonomy (I can create my own diary for instance) but strangely also less in some ways too – as the tasks I am carrying out are ringfenced and more specific perhaps than the ones I was carrying out as HT. For instance to write a pre-inspection report is something where there’s a set way of writing it, a format already set up – the autonomy comes in how I speak to people in the school, how I look for evidence etc. There is a specific deadline. As an HT something like raising attainment in reading might include a step like implementing a new reading scheme with specific teaching strategies – that can be a very creative task with lots of ways of approaching it and different answers which come out of it. It can also be a very lengthy task with changes occuring over many years and re-adjustments. So there have been lots of adjustments needed in my pace, approach and thinking about how I do things and why.

As part of this role I’m discovering the importance of getting better at asking the right questions at the right time of people, to support and challenge. I was asking the question today of some staff of just how they would measure the impact of a health week of events in a primary school. The attitude to health by the children seems perhaps easiest to look at first with possibly some form of personal learning log of the week with personal targets and comments/evaluations etc. It seemed more difficult to measure  the fitness side – you have to pin down an outcome very carefully as to what you hope the children can show as an improvement after a week. Is it possible to show an outcome after a week? Would it be better to revisit their fitness levels after a longer period of time to see if the week continued to have an impact? What measurements of fitness would it be sensible to use? And so it went on.

So I’m feeling I’m doing a lot of soul searching and personal development of my management and leadership skills.


May 6, 2008 Posted by | leadership, learning | , , | Leave a comment

Formal Coaching, donkeys and owls

Here are some photos from trip to Motherwell Heritage Centre.

Here are some photos from our Malawi/Scotland day.

Yaaasss! I’ve passed my coaching assignment so I’m ready to start formal coaching with a colleague. I’ve to keep a diary and log of this for the completion of my coaching diploma. This approach fits very much with a notion of working together with staff to steward leadership growth in a school.

My trainer is very insightful and I have learned a great deal from him and from my current reading about coaching. For anyone just about to embark on this there’s a great wee pocket book which has everything in a concise form. 

Here’s an interesting metaphor we discussed. Thinking about political awareness and values/integrity maybe we can imagine people as some of the following animals –

  • foxes have high political awareness but no values or integrity, they’re a wee bit sneaky and tend to be teflon coated
  • Lambs have low political awareness but have high integrity and values – they tend to be nice people but a bit naive, but as time moves on eg after being heidie for a while their beliefs shift a bit as they become better leaders
  • Owls have a high level of integrity and well defined values (lambs often become owls) they are very politically aware. They are wise, they fight the good fight, but if pushed they kill if neccessary…
  • Donkeys – well…..

Metaphors and stories are very powerful when having conversations with anyone about change, shifting beliefs etc. That’s one reason why I found this a useful way of thinking about leadership.

I find myself increasingly using stories and I suppose myth making when working within school. This is a real building brick for moving a school forward- telling/talking about  the best of what has gone before and building a buzz around this helps create an era of hope for improvement tomorrow.

In addition I’m overcome with excitement having sat down long enough to use properly – sitting down for a while is a good idea!

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Coaching, leadership | , , , | Leave a comment