Improving performance and school improvement

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The above diagram has been produced by the National College for its short course, Managing and Improving Performance.  The following is a copy of a blog post I placed on the National College’s website.

The elements in this diagram will no doubt support school improvement; it links Performance Management (PM), Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the Professional Standards (PS) with school improvement feeding into each of the areas.  Having school improvement at the heart of the diagram leaves no ambiguity as to the rationale for PM taking place; it is the vehicle by which staff contribute to improvement of the whole school.  I also like the relationship between PM, CPD and PS as these three elements will assist individual staff improvement.

My concern is that there could be a degree of disconnect between colleagues and school improvement.  Whilst it is important for all staff to have a full understanding of the goals for whole school improvement it is far more likely they will be able to connect better with areas directly associated with their day to day role.

This has prompted me to think about the relationship between school improvement and PM in my own school, DHSB.  Having just completed a PM cycle, this is an opportune moment to evaluate the process.

In a post-SEF era we looked to our whole staff (teaching and support) to evaluate the present position to enable us to identify our developmental needs.  Staff worked in groups to identify tasks that different groups would need to undertake throughout the year to achieve whole school improvement in a number of different key areas.  Below is a summary of comments of the first term under the theme of Learning Relationships (LG – Leadership Group).

Brown paper planning

This then enabled LG and our ASTs who ran the session to come up with a summary of our development priorities for the school using the words of the collective staff; our SDP is shown below.

SDP

Departments then worked on their Department SEFs (DSEF) and were able to draw up their own Department Development Plans (DDP); these would be underpinned by the SDP.

PM conversations could then take place with staff entirely connected to the SDP as well as their own DSEF and DDP to set objectives that would support school improvement.  PM objectives for all staff could then be checked with the SDP in mind; this led to a few objectives being tweaked to ensure the drive was towards our agreed goals for the year.

To return to the original National College diagram: I like the acknowledgement that PM, CPD and PS are all intertwined and an essential part of school improvement, but I believe there should be a greater emphasis on the SDP and, in my school’s case, the DDP and DSEF.  I have tried to reflect this in the diagram below.

PM cycle

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