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20 November 2023

The Monday Briefing: Your Honesty

The Monday Briefing: Your Honesty

Last week, I was pleased to complete appraisals for the six staff whose professional development I have responsibility for overseeing this year.

A new appraisal system has been designated as a priority for the College this year, and staff has warmed to the new process well.

The appraisal, dependent on sophisticated self-reflection and their adoption of an honest approach, takes place over three distinct stages: analysis of KPIs in 2022-23 and performance predictions for 2023-2024; staff contribution to the College for the year ahead; and individual development needs in the short and long term.

Investing in the continuing professional development and wellbeing of staff over the last four years has ensured that we’ve enjoyed very little in the way of staff turnover over this period. In fact, I can count the number of changes in the staff body during that time on one pair of hands - and it was really pleasing to be able to work towards expanding the amount of teaching staff during the summer. I’m pleased with the new teaching and non-teaching additions alike.

 

So, to drill deeper into the appraisal process, it’s important that we look at the level of detail involved in each step of the process:

I was really heartened by the level of scrutiny with which staff went into when analysing their results from the summer. Truly, no stone was left unturned.

Staff compared GCSE and A Level final grades with CAT4 data accumulated last September, as well as December and Easter Mock scores. They also scrutinised student papers, mark schemes and examiners reports in an effort to find ways to tweak their respective approaches so that students sitting exams this academic year are given every opportunity to meet their potential. Methods and techniques were questioned, with new foci identified. Honesty, realism and attention to detail are paramount in the search for answers, ideas and plans for how to achieve the best grades possible.

The second part of the appraisal requires a frank conversation which invokes the spirit of John F Kennedy, though I ask both what the College can do for staff, and what staff can do for the College.

 

The emphasis is fixed upon staff growth from the outset:

  • Where do they want to be in three years’ time?
  • How do they work towards that?
  • What do they need in order to make it a success?

 

It has been great to hear such ambition throughout these meetings, alongside the evident contentment that staff feel part of the College’s own growth and development, and are keen to remain part of it moving forward.

Being part of the Bellevue group enables a range of opportunities which can aid staff expertise and capability - we can arrange visits to other schools in the group who may specialise in a certain area, whether that is improving student attendance, compliance or teaching and learning. I am also very proud that two members of staff are enrolled on the Senior Leaders course, that we have representation on the group wide learning review group, and also presence on the drive to train staff through apprenticeships.

It was also wonderful to hear how staff intend to contribute to the drive towards moving the College forward through the priorities this year. These fall into three distinct areas, which resonate throughout the institution, making it the Empowering Inclusive Community it is, alongside the culture of continual improvement which means we must always look at the ways in which we can enhance what we do.

 

Again, I ask three key questions:

  • What can I do to improve the College, in line with the priorities for the year?
  • How will I measure success?
  • What can I do which ensures lasting change?

 

 

The Priorities for 2023-2024 are as follows:

 

Empowering:

Empowering students to perform to the best of their abilities

-Improvement of student organisation through Google Calendar and editable academic and pastoral trackers as part of our Digital Strategy

-Embed programme of student training on questioning for learning, as guided by the Learning Review in 2023

-Student training on independent study, and how to maximise progress

 

Empowering staff to become the best practitioners they can be

-Expansion of SLT team

-Delegated leadership to empower staff to grow as practitioners, shifting responsibility in the College from Senior to Middle Leaders in order to empower them further

-Embedding of new appraisal system which puts staff at forefront of own development

-Extended guidance for staff on SEN and EAL

-Improved systems to lesson double data input as part of the Digital Strategy

 

Empowering parents to support their children as best they can

-Continuation of partnership with BATH Coaching, facilitating support sessions for parents and students

-Bringing in events to nurture the growth of parent involvement in College events - awards evenings - EIC - Excellence Award (most impressive academic performance) Impact Award (student who has left greatest legacy) Community award (volunteering)

 

 

Inclusive:

Integration of systems, where necessary, to ensure that all students are included in drive to fulfil potential

-In depth analysis and review of Months Marks system, to continue, with 

-Extra school sessions where students do not meet expectations to continue

-More in-depth analysis of attendance and lateness, with confrontation where standards are not met

 

Focus on support for mental health, counselling and increased provision to tackle poor attendance for all whilst supporting student learning as best we can

-Introduction of a ‘mentoring hour’ - a timetabled slot for A Level students to support GCSE students

-Supporting attendance and punctuality proactively 


 

Community:

Improving the facilities of the College

-Successful construction of two new classrooms in order to increase College capacity

-Improvement in number and standard of toilet facilities in the College

-Extensive redecoration works

 

Building a lasting and meaningful reputation for the College through strong links with the local community

-Involvement with local businesses, institutions and partnerships with schools

-Further review of provision for external candidates at the College

-Improved links with Farlington, Webber and Surval Montreux schools

 

Staff understand that they have a part to play in making these plans a reality, and the keenness with which they have accepted their role in doing so means that I can also be honest with them  when I say that I am proud to be a part of what has been created at Ealing: I’m proud to lead them; proud to call them my colleagues; and dedicated to doing all I can to encourage their professional development here.

 

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