Maintaining a highly skilled, motivated staff is a vital aspect to any school leader’s yearly set of objectives. But how do we aim to deliver the ‘golden thread’ that helps define a strong, professional team; aspiring to deliver the highest quality practice for the pupils and families they serve?
The climate: Who gives a VUCA?
Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). It can sometimes be hard to embrace the latest ‘borrow from business’ into education term. When you learn more about global examples of VUCA the not too distant Icelandic volcano event pretty much covers it. A global event, unplanned that needed solutions. This unforeseen natural event disrupted air travel in Europe for 6 days in 2010; stranding passengers all over the world and resulted in businesses which suffered everything from mild setbacks to massive losses.
In some respects, it’s school leaders and their teams that are VUCA experts. In some of our settings an unplanned volcanic eruption, and its fallout, can occur on an almost daily basis. Perhaps VUCA offers a less emotive term than ‘British spirit’ or a more exciting term than effective leadership and management in action, and becomes more tradable as a term for people looking for new ways of describing the same thing. Continued Professional Development should look to be the lighthouse in an excited ocean of possibilities. A strong, effective tool that guides and supports our journeys to delivering our shared moral purpose: Ambitious for Children, Embracing Change.
Justine Greening positively describes how she sees her role within Continued Professional Development in a recent speech: ‘I want there to be a culture of high-quality ongoing professional development running like a golden thread through a teacher’s career, and I want this to be shaped increasingly through access to clearer career pathways for the next generation of teachers and school leaders.’
Increasingly, as budgets are stretched and the roles and responsibilities continue to extend within school, the challenge of turning straw into golden threads for our practitioners can appear an impossible task. But yet the potential shared resource, expertise and talent surrounds us. It is spread amongst all of our settings within the Kyra Alliance and wider. Surrounding us in a VUCA ocean are solutions, strategies research and support. Kyra and, more specifically, the Kyra CPD element aims to be about connecting with schools within your locality and wider when required. Perhaps, it is a challenge to excel at everything, but knowing where to turn within or outside the alliance effectively, that can have a greater impact on pupil experiences and outcomes, is a responsibility we can support each other with.
Justine Greening goes on to share a professional development route to support current and future School Leaders:
‘There will be new high-quality qualifications for middle and senior leaders, headteachers, and – for the first time – executive leaders.
…At the heart of these new NPQs will be a focus on evidence and an emphasis on the role of leaders helping their own staff to develop.’
These enhanced offers to support new and current Leaders have been devised from within the profession. Teams of School Leaders from MATS, academies and maintained settings have contributed and supported the development of these qualifications. Kyra will be looking to support new providers in bringing this to Lincolnshire, ensuring alliance members have a clear route to access and benefit from the most up to date professional development on offer.
Kyra CPD has two current challenges to address and asks for the support of the alliance in:
1) Maintaining a clear focus that it is the quality of teaching that can have the biggest impact on pupil outcomes. Look to codify best practice that exists within our alliance settings and help facilitate a clear route to developing this expertise further and then sharing this enhanced resource to support the development of our teachers.
2) Establishing a shared professional learning community (PLC) on some key priorities brought to light by schools within our alliance : initially ‘Pupil Premium’ and ‘Leadership of Pastoral Support’. What best practice already exists? What can we learn from research and from each other?
The opportunity for support and shared practice within our group is significant. As professional trust strengthens within our alliance and as we recognise the mutual benefits in sharing our strengths, and next challenges, it is us – as leaders within our schools – that begin to steer around volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous waters. We are the ones who give a VUCA challenge a subdued smile; whilst following the golden thread that runs through our alliance to share, support and improve teaching across all of our schools.
Learn more about being part of the Kyra Learning Network here
St Faith & St Martin CE Junior School
KYRA CPD Strand Lead