Two weeks have passed since the return to school for all children. One week to go for us here in Leicester and then we have a two week Easter break. Chatting to a member of staff last week, the frustration is the stop-start-stop start way of life at the moment. Children come back and after we start to get going, we stop again. On one hand I can understand the benefits of the break – bit of a circuit breaker some might say. I am also pleased to work with people that talk about working through Easter and having a break later; totally thinking of the children we serve before themselves. These type of comment show the leadership qualities and potential of such people.
Talking of leadership, in a recent review at school we asked the reviewers to focus on leadership at all levels. Since being cleverly thrown into leadership by a the wonderful, late Sue Roach, I have found leadership to be a fascinating subject. This was very much developed by the Sewell Group and the interactions, opportunities and challenges that I was able to be part of. The fundamental belief now for me is, everybody is a leader and when you lead a school (or any organisation), that very belief means you look for opportunities for colleagues to be able to lead. You let them do so, succeed and celebrate and learn from the errors. We all need to and by allowing others to do just that, the journey is a rewarding one and one where each part of the team takes everybody forward.
The report from Challenge Partners has now come back and it is very positive. To be honest, Challenge Partners is positive but the feedback in person and the written words do give that sense of pride. Through the school we have great leaders now and they have said it is down to the opportunities given; the trust and loyalty; and the belief. I do believe that everybody is a leader and with that belief, the culture can be grown and developed to become, in my opinion, sustainable and inclusive of all. I do believe that everyone is a leader, badge or not.
I was pleased last week with the young leaders that are starting to blossom at school. We have some Young Leaders that represent the who school and their various groups. Through lockdown they have continued to meet, sorted meetings and wrote letters. The letter they sent to parents last week mentioned saving the gold coins for Comic Relief. It made me smile; in fact it made me laugh. These children are leaders and they are great. By the way, they are primary aged too; and they are leading.
I think the hardest part of my job as the principal leader in the school is dealing with the not so positive influences and lack of collaboration, where it could be better. It is the all too often, processes and requirements that are not in anyway required legally, all without any discussion. We are here, in my profession, for the children. Every decision we make should be about those children and nothing else. The main thing should remain the main thing. The main thing, in education is the child. Some people may think that such a focus will not help with excellence. Concentrating on the child will hinder being outstanding. I would argue not. By concentrating on the child (the main thing), outstanding becomes your normal and collaboration becomes a very real and necessary part of it. We are not in competition, pitting what we do against other establishments that also have children; we should be working side by side to do the best for all of them – there is a little thing known as the self-improving system or system leadership that is all about this.
So two weeks back and one to go. Covid is still here so the procedures need to be followed still. I heard today that various countries are reentering lockdown. Keep being sensible and hanging in there, without breaking the rules. It has now been a year (in 3 days anyway). We are closer to the end but that end can be pushed back if needed; lets not make that happen. Like leading, it is a balancing act.
Keep looking out for people and being kind to your neighbours.