An INSET day to get the year started

Wednesday, 29th August, 2012

My memories of the 1st day back in September …

  • A quick catch-up with colleagues; sometimes relaxed, but usually hurried … a general sense of purpose in the air
  • Whole school staff meeting; taking the form of a ‘Welcome Back’ from the Head, welcome to any new staff, and a sharing of key diary dates & time tabling information … planned to be 1 hour, but usually ended up being 2!
  • Key Stage meeting; often included sharing some last minute planning, but usually relaxed and positive
  • Individual time; prep time for all staff to put the finishing touches to their rooms / their planning / backing display boards / making resources, etc.

… Plus there’d be steam coming off the photocopier, as it would be working to capacity, and there’d usually be a queue!

In terms of a positive start, most staff would be upbeat about the term and about generally making a fresh start … “This year I’m going to do ‘X’ better!” Although, this sometimes depended on which class you had, and whether a tight budget meant that class support would be thin on the ground.

If you’re a Head / School Leader / Principal, what would make that first INSET day a really positive start for your school?

Ideally, some time spent with all staff together is a good idea. But if this needs to be kept to an hour or two, how best could you use it?

Here are some thoughts …

1. Use to re-group, share successes & identify new goals

Welcome new staff, and remind all staff of successes from last year, as well as next-step targets for this one

2. Communicate changes

… in curriculum / leadership / key stage roles – so all staff are aware of roles and responsibilities of their colleagues. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked – either as it’s not felt to be important or it’s assumed people already have this information. The clearer staff are about each other’s responsibilities – the less the opportunity for misunderstandings later in the year, along with wasted time spent sorting them out

3. Remind staff of the school vision (unless you are using this INSET time to create the vision) and provide a few minutes for discussion in pairs on how their individual roles contribute to it. It’s a great way of getting that whole staff feel of “we’re in this together” from the start of the year.

So how will you be using your INSET day this autumn?

What needs to be included to ensure it’s a positive and productive start?


debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.