Believing in the power of education

Stephen Mitchell

Leader, Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, NED

By - Stephen Mitchell


Today, like pretty much every other school in the country, was our first day back following the Christmas break.

For our schools it was an Inset day, and our CEO and I had the pleasure of attending the Inset at one of our primary schools where we have just appointed a new Head Teacher.

You know those moments when you just smile and know that you have it right?  Well, this morning was one of those moments.  I love it when you get that moment of clarity that actually you’ve done the right thing.  There has been much debate in this school amongst the staff over the new head’s appointment leading up to today, not because of any concern over the individual concerned, but because the school has been through tough times recently and there was concern at yet another change.

The head launched into his initial presentation with staff with charisma, integrity and a genuine openness.  You could see people making the mental “getting on board” with him moment, and it was great.  The future is really bright for this school, and the children deserve it.

So often the difficult part is doing the simple things, and sticking to them without over complicating it.  The head didn’t do anything outrageously extravagant or adventurous.  He just stuck to the simple message of the awesome responsibility that primary teachers have in providing the building blocks of a child’s life path and how, as a team, it can be better than it is currently.

When asked for three phrases to sum up his mentality and approach, he used Open Communication, Transformation, and Persistence.   What a simple clear message, but oh how powerful it can be!

Get the basics right of open and honest communication with each other, carry out transformative work, and be prepared to get stuck in, right through the difficult times ahead.

This message of simplicity carried through to a later conversation when I was looking at metrics with my CEO.   As alluded to in earlier posts this year will see us launch a full Central Services function, and we are setting up how we will monitor and audit ourselves.   Reviewing the initial suggestions from staff as to what we could use to monitor ourselves I found myself asking “why”.  Why do we need to know this?  How is it going to help move us forward?  Are reviews of historical trends really going to help us move forward?    If we keep it simple, and focus on the here and now,  how are we doing Today vs where we want to be, we can cut out the clutter and focus on the simple things that helps us stay focussed on developing excellent outcomes for our children.