Ask any communications expert worth their salt what the rules of effective communication are and they’ll respond with something along the lines of “Communicate, communicate, communicate – even when you’ve got nothing to communicate”. Interpreting this for the school environment provides the imperative to be prolific in our communication first.Read more
Articles for School Leaders
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In recent years, the term legacy has been far more prominent in leadership circles than in the past. That’s a good thing. It signifies that we’ve moved past succession planning being a focus for leaders as they move through their work to roles potentially outside of their current schools. Succession planning in isolation is assumption laden, because it supposes that there is somebody who can be groomed for the role or that any new leader in the role will want to run the same programs and operate along the same procedures using the same templates.Read more
There always seems to be an exception to every rule for successful school leadership. You’re supposed to distribute leadership – yet there is always someone on your team who makes this impossible. You’re supposed to be an instructional and practice focused leader – yet there’s the teacher who’s brilliant in the classroom but whose colleagues can’t stand her. And so the conundrum goes on.Read more
Download a printable copy of this article (PDF 702KB) Stop trying to know everything about schools. Access the untapped ideas in your leadership team. Listen to your intuition and change without recklessness. Focus more on need and purpose than obligation and compliance. Expect and embrace criticism as the price for being intuitive. Most experienced leaders areContinue reading Intuitive LeadershipRead more
When I ask school leaders about the importance of their schools’ culture, there is universal agreement that it is culture that creates learning environments that can flourish and grow. However, defining culture is much more difficult, even though it is critical to our moral and strategic purpose. We struggle to capture vague ideas such as gut feeling, atmosphere and perceived climate. Indeed, this is why many school cultures fail to thrive, and develop only through osmosis.Read more
Two alarming statistics have made their way into the national education conversation in recent years. We’ve been aware for some time that many jurisdictions are coping with 30-50% of their teachers leaving the profession permanently within the first five years of service. Alarming as this is, we’ve taken some comfort in the apparent quarantining of that problem to young or inexperienced teachers.
More recently, we’ve been made aware that 20% of ALL teachers have seriously contemplated resignation, not just from their schools, but from their teaching careers in the last term. This damning statistic is a reflection on all of us and should impel us to action rather than blame.Read more
You’ve no doubt heard observations about measurement and data such as, what matters gets measured, and what we measure is what ends up mattering. This succinct statement serves as a reminder that the most effective path to success isn’t always the easiest to quantify.
Formal assessments and evaluations such as NAPLAN data, strategic plans and staffing formulae have a significant role to play. However, we all intuitively know that it’s the informal and intangible elements such as teacher-student relationships, pedagogical method and team dynamic that will ultimately determine whether your strategic objectives are met.Read more
I speak with a lot of principals and most are immensely proud of their schools. School tours with them are always a joy. Pride in the achievements around the school exudes from both their words and their manner as they point to samples of student learning on display and introduce me to teachers described as guns and rock stars.Read more
I’ve discovered some commonalities in schools as I move around Australia visiting our Real Schools Partners. For example, there’s a moral imperative about teaching the whole student that exists in almost every Australian school. We also seem to have a genuine interest in equipping our young people for the ever changing workforce that awaits them. These are noble collective objectives and should be preserved certainly and cultivated.Read more
I remember distinctly listening to Professor Richard Smith provoke an audience of school leaders in Darwin to think a little further than our words. We had gathered together to learn about how Central Queensland University (CQU) had undertaken some pioneering work in pre-service teacher education and that this model was being adopted in the Northern Territory. It was the Teaching Schools model that has now become popular around Australia because of the quality of both the teachers provided to schools and the career pathway it presents our next generation of teachers. We were impressed.Read more