So we hear this phrase a lot at the moment. This is the new normal. We have to get used to the new normal. But what does this phrase mean for leadership in schools? Is the new normal, something we have thought about, reflected upon and discussed, or is it something that we have come to assume is what everyone else in education is doing.
Working with a variety of leaders across the UK I have the privilege of learning about their different approaches to monitoring and evaluation. Some people have found the last 18 months incredibly difficult as they were not able to carry out their roles in the same way as before and are craving a return to the system they had developed pre-covid. Others, however, are using the pandemic as an opportunity to overhaul their CPD and their school processes for monitoring and evaluation.
Accountability is high stakes and so it is important that we strike the right balance between outcomes and support. This week I was working alongside a variety of both primary and secondary teachers, some of whom had some horrific accounts of senior leaders and the way they 'supported' them in their teaching. I also see on social media, a lot of comments about senior leaders' expectations and engagements with colleagues that concern me. I have met so many amazing senior leaders, heads and SENDCOs who have nothing but passion and drive to ensure the best for their pupils and their staff. They go above and beyond to protect them from some of the most harrowing aspects of the job and provide limitless support to coach and develop their teachers.
So, before you have a whinge and a moan, why not engage with your leaders and find out the WHY for the monitoring programme because there is a need for accountability and for monitoring. We need to ensure that we reflect on what we are doing and ensure it is to the best of our ability. Even now, after 21 years of teaching, I would never say what I do in the classroom is the best. I can always learn from others and develop new skills and techniques. As teachers, we should be modelling learning to our pupils. Learning never stops!
SO my advice for the start of the new term is to really reflect on what had to change over the last 18 months and what you as a school and as a leader, have learnt from that experience. How have you grown? What can you take forward into this academic year? Is the 'New Normal' here to stay or will you carve out your own way?