To make the most of stretched budgets, schools need all the ideas they can get! In the latest Innovate My School Guide, two school leaders and one veteran consultant weigh in on this very issue. Here’s a sneak peak...
Until recently, ‘That Boy Can Teach’ was a whisper on the wind of education. Writing under a pseudonym, he quickly became a trusted, popular name in helping teachers and school leaders to reach their full potential (while being humble enough to balk at such a description). Now, however, Iron Man’s helmet has been removed, and Tony Stark - or rather, school leader Aidan Severs - has been revealed to the world.
Schools throughout the world are beginning to plan for the upcoming academic year. The underlining aspect of the improvement process is how it can be achieved on a budget. For instance, if teachers want smaller class sizes, that will come at an increased cost to the district / local authority. If staff want to redesign the front entrance to the school, is it affordable? If the staff identifies curriculum as an issue, can the necessary materials be afforded? These are the tough questions faced in the budgeting season.
‘Being at the forefront of educational innovation' and 'never standing still' are two phrases that describe my faculty and school well. After we moved from Requires Improvement to Outstanding after our 2015 Ofsted inspection, the very next day our headteacher began to use the phrase “beyond outstanding”.
Managing the school’s budget is arguably one of the hardest tasks a headteacher has to get to grips with. Children’s education is on the line, and more than that, people’s livelihood is also at risk if the head cannot manage their budget successfully. With ever decreasing funding available to schools, headteachers have had to become increasingly creative in order to fill the gaps in their budget.
We live in age where there is unprecedented pressure on schools and school leaders. The pressure of a challenging and ever-changing Ofsted framework, budgets which are paper-thin, progress measures which force us to compare our pupils with other children nationally, and some of the most academically-stretching testing expectations ever. It’s enough to make the most experienced of school leaders crumble. Set against this context, it is easy to see why many school leaders are turning to formulaic and rigid schemes of work, as well as practises that promise to drive up pupil outcomes and produce the goods in terms of pupil attainment.
To discuss how school leaders can make the most of their roles, we sat down with Eric Sheninger; best-selling author, international keynote speaker and International Center for Leadership in Education senior fellow. Eric is based in Cypress, Texas, and was the award-winning principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey.
‘Powerful professional learning helps children succeed and teachers thrive’ is the first message on the front page of the Teacher Development Trust website. Yet when we look at other countries that are seen as successful at education, commentators often focus on issues such as their culture (Finland or Estonia), teaching methods (‘Chinese Maths’ in Shanghai) or use of external tutoring (Japan or South Korea).
Around this time of year, my commitment to my professional resolutions begin to wane. Deadlines, demands and life in general clouds my path to the professional improvement I seek. While my desire and intent are strong, my actions (or behaviors) often fall short or don’t even get off the ground. I find this is most often the case when try to do it all by ourselves, which is the case for many educators. Some colleagues have described it as feeling like they are working in a “silo” - ISOLATED!