Revisiting your school vision this autumn?

Friday, 13th July, 2012

Vision, Strategy, Plan Action Words Thinker WonderingThinking of re-connecting with or revising your school vision next term?

I realise that it’s a few weeks off as I write this, but the start of a new term is a great time to look again at your school vision.

Here are 3 key reasons why:

  1. It helps to remind staff why they are doing the job (it’s not just for OFSTED!!)
  2. It can give more clarity to everyone’s roles and responsibilities
  3. It helps to give a school its individual identity

Let’s look at these in more detail …

Re 1 – Reminding staff why they are doing the job

Whilst working with some Heads this year who’ve recently been through an Ofsted inspection, they’ve commented that staff are deflated and there’s been an anti-climax after Ofsted have left. There has been an element of “Is that what we’ve been working for? So what’s next?”

I’m not reducing the importance of Ofsted here, but surely the Ofsted process should form part of school life, not totally consume it. Before Ofsted came along (and they weren’t doing their thing when I started my teaching career!) teachers had a purpose for going to work which didn’t involve the Big ‘O’.

One Head I’ve been working with summed up her thoughts on this: “I want the school to be outstanding, not for Ofsted, but for the children.”

How can staff re-connect with the greater purpose?

This can be achieved in part by finding out what each member of staff’s own vision is for their role. Try discussing / exploring this at staff meetings, key stage meetings, INSETs or during 1-1s (e.g. performance management sessions).

Re 2 – Giving greater clarity to roles and responsibilities

Once you’ve identified your school’s vision then useful discussions can take place with staff about how their roles and responsibilities support the vision. (More on this in a forthcoming blog.) Making the link between what staff do on a daily basis and the bigger picture is often missing from professional discussions.

Do you link your vision to your School Improvement Plan?

In a survey I carried out last year on creating a school vision, only 40% of respondents said their school improvement plan reflected the school vision. Slightly more positively – 54% were clear that an effective school vision states how & why it is relevant to all stakeholders, although didn’t state that’s what they currently do.

Re 3 – Giving a school its individual identity

All schools are different, and what makes them so are a combination of factors including:

  • staffing (staff strengths, skills and resources they offer, etc)
  • leadership of the school
  • pupils (including type of catchment area)
  • general school ethos
  • school environment (internal and external)
  • how individual school issues / challenges are dealt with

The school vision should reflect, or at least take account of, all these things and more.

In the vision survey I mentioned earlier, I asked schools to share their vision strap lines. Here are a few:

  • “Your future, your dreams, our challenge”
  • “The highest expectations, inspirational teaching and a therapeutic environment”
  • “Building tomorrow’s future one day at a time”
  • “Excellence for all and from all”

Strap lines, by their nature, tend to be general statements and should summarise the essence or highlights of the vision.

Do you have a favourite from those above? 

What’s your school strap line?

I will continue this theme in next week’s blog, when I’ll look in more detail at creating a school vision, and share some of the things schools I’ve worked with have done. In the meantime, would love to hear your thoughts on the topic so far!


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.