‘The force or energy with which a body moves’
‘Something that makes a process or activity happen, or happen more quickly’
In leadership, when we know that change is needed, sometimes we have to create an impetus for change. That might be one reason why some schools still buy-in to mocksteds, because they know that it will invigorate the change they are trying to make. A significant change that lets everyone in the building feel the difference is sometimes the best thing you can do as a leader to drive improvement, and sometimes we have to create a sense of urgency that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
In a challenging school, this is often even more important. Taking over a school in measures, we knew that change was essential for survival, and getting everyone on board was challenging. So at the end of my first year, we created an impetus for change.
There were several options in my tool box: mocksted/heavy teaching and learning review, changing the school day, total rebrand, etc. We chose to tackle the issue of low expectation at its root, moving to a knowledge-based curriculum. I am very aware of the debate around DI and the knowledge based versus skills based argument, but it was more than just the fact that we felt our students would respond best to DI and that this would fill gaps in knowledge that they have, it was the impetus for change that we needed so badly. We needed to do something so radical that it would change the practice of everyone in the building, towards a common goal.
I’ve been lucky. The staff are behind the strategy, they have understood the philosophy and this has provided a common vision for us all to get behind. Some staff are nervous and some are delighted, but I know that this will improve collaboration between and within departments, allow anyone to ask for help if they need it, provide the structure for those staff who need the finer detail before they can get behind a concept and finally, it means that staff can provide some consistency in their approach.
Throwing everyone into a change situation means that you develop that camaraderie and collective support which is needed to drive progress. I’m not saying that it will all go smoothly, I’m sure that there will be hiccups, but I feel an energy in school which has lifted us all. I actually cannot wait for September to see the change happen on the ground, I know that it will make a huge difference for our young people. For the first time in a long time, we will be solid and united in our determination that they will achieve, that we are the experts and that we know what is best. We teach. They learn. Full stop.