Thursday, 19 July 2018

SSIF Intervention Group

The NELI project - which is only possible due to the Strategic School Improvement Fund - is now underway in 15 schools. Pupils are getting access to five days a week of communication and language support.

The aim is to see more disadvantaged pupils managing to reach the exceeding expectations for the end of EYFS. Havering typically has very strong results with expected outcomes. However we don't see as many pupils reach the higher level - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It is already having an impact on their narrative skills. At the start the children were using less that 15 words to respond to a stimulus. They weren't confident with their connectives and the range of information contained in the talk was limited. So far we have seen improvement if 20%+.
A Pidgeon - SLE

It has also been a great vehicle for looking at the wider setting and how language can be improved in all areas.

  • Do all staff have the same expectations for an effective narrative - explanation beyond one sentence?
  • Are instructions given clearly by all staff?
  • Are pupils given thinking time to process their response?
  • Do you see adults modelling vocabulary that you want the pupils to be able to use?
  • Are verbs promoted as much as nouns are?



Tuesday, 17 July 2018

DfE Visit to SSIF

We were delighted to welcome Alex Birkhamshaw - from the Department for Education - to come and see the NELI project in action.

The children were very excited to give a demonstration of their listening skills and show how they were able to handle the vocabulary that Mrs Mackman was giving them.

Specialist Leaders are making weekly visits to the focus schools to support the Teaching Assistants in the delivery of the intervention.

The weekly support has been so helpful. My SLE has supported my reflections on what I need to tweak to make the next session more effective. 
Teaching Assistant

It has also been great to see the support from Governors, who have attended the information sessions. It has made it more likely that EYFS outcomes will be championed at a Governing Board level and that the impact of the project will be sustained beyond July 2019.



Tuesday, 3 July 2018

We're In The Paper: ITT Graduation

Engayne Primary School in Severn Drive, hosted the graduation ceremony on Friday, June 29 for 14 trainee teachers who passed the Havering Train2Teach one-year programme in partnership with the TES Institute.

Hornchurch and Upminster MP, Julia Lopez, and Steve Pinches, global director of TES, presented each graduate with a certificate at the event.

Mrs Lopez said: “The intensive support that trainees receive, in a school-led teacher training programme, is a huge factor contributing towards the 100per cent pass rate, which exceeds the national average compared to non-school led programmes.

Programmes like this are great for Havering, as they draw on the tremendous experience that our teachers have to offer and help people to become teachers in the borough.”

Trainees benefit from a mix of in-school experience, online learning, tutor support and mentor support in schools around Havering.

Jill Mackintosh, Havering Train2Teach programme director and assistant head at Engayne Primary School added: “I would like to thank our hugely talented pool of primary school teachers, from across the borough, who act as mentors and help our students achieve such great results.”

We are delighted to be able to support this programme as it provides a welcome supply line of teachers into Havering.


Monday, 2 July 2018

Big Business Mistakes - The Deadly Sins

Despite ranks of highly paid executives and advisors, big companies can take decisions that seem at best baffling and at worst self-destructive. So how do such big organisations, led by well-paid chief executives and with the money to hire the best staff and advisers, get into such trouble and what lessons could we learn that apply to the education sector?

Carillion - a huge construction company signed contracts with profit margins so fine, that delays resulted in huge losses.

Nokia, which once dominated the market for mobile phones, until it failed to recognise the challenge from the iPhone.

There are some classic traps that big firms are vulnerable to. Let's call them the "deadly sins" of the corporate world.

HUBRIS     FEAR     COMPLACENCY     GREED     SUPERFICIALITY
Hubris
In August 2008 Gary Hoffman walked into the offices of Northern Rock in Newcastle.

He had been appointed chief executive of the mortgage lender which had been taken over by the government earlier in the year after almost collapsing.

One of his first impressions was the "palatial" offices and the even more luxurious headquarters that were under construction.

"The leadership had lost connection with the real world," Mr Hoffman says.

"They were in large offices, separate from their colleagues. It was physically difficult for their colleagues to speak to them."

"Leaders had got carried away with their own personal and corporate ambitions," he says.

In Mr Hoffman's opinion: "The higher you get up your organisation, it is even more important that you ground yourself."

"And if you're not careful, people will not tell you when things are going wrong."

HOW OFTEN DOES THE SENIOR LEADERSHIP CONNECT WITH MIDDLE LEADERSHIP?
HOW OFTEN ARE LEADERS ON THE GATE, IN THE PLAYGROUND, WALKING THE CORRIDORS?
HOW CAN STAFF COMMUNICATE HOW THEY FEEL - IS THERE AN ANNUAL STAFF SURVEY?
Fear
Bill Grimsey is a veteran retailer, who has seen what a big company in trouble looks like.

In 1996 he was appointed chief executive of the DIY chain Wickes which was in danger of collapsing due to an accounting fraud. He raised fresh finance at the company and changed its culture.

One technique that he found helpful was to spend a week each year working at a different branch and finding out what problems the staff were having.

"You mustn't underestimate the influence of the leader on the business," he says.

He has come across chief executives who govern by fear, leaving their managers worried about losing their jobs and just "doing as they're told".

Under those circumstances Mr Grimsey said staff can resort to desperate measures, like faking the numbers to keep their boss happy.

IS THERE A CULTURE OF PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE RATHER THAN BLAME?
ARE THERE SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO IDENTIFY ISSUES EARLY ON SO THAT THEY CAN BE DEALT WITH... OR DO PROBLEMS SPRING UP WITHOUT WARNING?
HOW OFTEN ARE LEADERS 'IN THE TRENCHES' WITH STAFF TO SEE WHAT THE ISSUES MIGHT BE FIRST HAND?
Complacency
"Anyone can grow fast," says Mr Hoffman.

"You have to make sure than when you are growing very fast your are not taking on too much risk," he says

He points to the low-cost airline business, where customers love the cheap prices, but maybe some airlines are just not charging enough to survive.

Last year saw both Monarch Airlines and Air Berlin both fail after racking up big losses.

Chief executives need to ensure that everything they do is "anchored in the principles of profitability", which sounds obvious. But Mr Hoffman says bosses can be blinded by growth for growth's sake.

In the retail sector, it's not uncommon for retailers to forget something else obvious - the customer

Mr Grimsey says: "It's when they become complacent, they keep delivering the same things day-in and day-out and fail to recognise that consumers change in terms of their style and interests and their behaviour patterns."

DOES YOUR MAT, OR FEDERATION, HAVE THE CAPACITY TO ADD MORE SCHOOLS AND HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT?
HAVE YOU GOT A FINANCIAL PLAN TO SHOW THAT YOUR STRUCTURE IS SUSTAINABLE IN THE LONGER TERM - OR WILL YOU SUDDENLY FIND YOUR SCHOOL PLUNGING INTO DEFICIT
ARE THERE AREAS WHERE YOU CAN CUT COST WITHOUT CUTTING QUALITY
Greed
According to Mr Grimsey boards of directors spend too much time worrying about the pay and bonuses of the top executives.

"If you look at the history of the last 15 years in corporate Britain, particularly retailing, particularly public companies, these people have become greedy.

"You've got to stop being greedy at the top and start sharing. You've got to spread the rewards through out the organisation.

He points to John Lewis as a better model for paying staff. Each year shop floor workers get a share of the profits (even if, in March this year, John Lewis Partnership announced bonuses had been cut for the fifth year in a row).

ARE ALL ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL REVIEWED EQUALLY?
IS THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE SUSTAINABLE?
WHAT COULD YOU DO TO PROTECT POSTS AND RETAIN SKILLS IN A WORLD WITH SHRINKING BUDGETS
Superficiality
In some companies "there is a lot of focus placed on creating a facade that makes things looks good," says Prof Spicer.

This can include spending excessive amounts of money on branding initiatives, or introducing management fads and fashions.

Both of those could involve spending too much on consultants, which in some cases "outsources responsibility", he says. Enron is a good example of a company that built a brilliant facade that hid deep problems, says Prof Spicer.

The energy firm had been lauded in the press for disrupting the energy industry, but had been hiding billions of dollars of debts and collapsed in 2001 - at the time the biggest failure in US corporate history.

Prof Spicer warns it is "far easier" to change a company's image than make real changes.

IF YOU INTRODUCE SOMETHING NEW, DO YOU REMOVE SOMETHING ELSE?
HOW DO YOU MONITOR NEW 'IDEAS' TO CHECK THEY ARE HAVING THE IMPACT PROMISED?
ARE THERE SOME PRACTICES THAT YOU COULD STOP/STREAMLINE AS THEY DON'T HAVE SUFFICIENT IMPACT

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Leadership Challenge

Why 70% of middle managers fail to become leaders?

Harvard Business School scholar John Kotter has argued that there are three fundamentals processes for effective leadership that a lot of managers have failed to grasp.
  1. Establishing a compelling direction, a vision for the future and the strategies for how to get there. 
  2. Aligning people, communicating the direction, building share understanding, getting people to believe in the vision and then persuading and influencing people to follow that vision. 
  3. Motivating and inspiring people to enact the kind of change that you have articulated. 

Kotter further argued that finding people with leadership potential is much more difficult than finding people who are good managers. Since driving change is much more difficult than striving for efficiency and meeting near-term financial and nonfinancial targets.

"A leader is not simply someone who experiences the personal exhilaration of being in charge. A leader is someone whose actions have the most profound consequences on other people's lives, for better or for worse, sometimes forever and ever."
Warren Bennis

When you are responsible for managing and leading people, you have the opportunity to make a profound impact on your employees, but it’s up to you as the leader to recognize that your staff are your most prized asset.

Leadership is about people, it's about inspiring people to believe that the impossible is possible, it is about developing and building people to perform at heights they never imagine and it's about making a positive impact on your community, your school, your team, your staff and by extension your pupils.

Leadership is never about tearing people down and making people feel less than themselves. If you want to be a great leader you must first start with being a better human being.



Saturday, 23 June 2018

The Power of Positivity

Does your school fully grasp the impact of culture on performance? Do leaders understand their culture for what it is and are they able to identify what they want it to be while working to fiercely protect what must never change?

Not all are convinced by positive psychology and the power of positive thinking, but authentic positivity plays a vital role in aligning and strengthening a school’s culture. Schools that find ways to emphasize a positive outlook and attitude are more likely to see improved performance and motivation among staff. 

However strong leadership is more than having a charismatic head of the school. Yes, a strong leader is where it starts, but great leadership, in clarity, has the opportunity to inspire at a level that cascades across the whole school in order to embolden, motivate, and steer toward even greater success.

Is it a purposeful choice or an accidental consequence? 

Southwest Airlines and Apple have very purposeful cultures. Are there any tips on how we could try and develop that culture in our schools? Here are 10 simple ideas:

1. Give positive reinforcement
I appreciate the way you…
I’m impressed with…
I really enjoy working with you because…
Your team couldn’t be successful without your…
I admire the way you take the time to…
You’re really good at…

2. Show gratitude
Thank Someone for something they did but weren’t expecting to get thanked for – be specific about what it was and why it was helpful or important; be sure to coby their boss.
3. Spread happiness
Smile and say “Hi” to twice as many people as you normally would – but be genuine in your smile.

4. Celebrate wins
Start a meeting off by sharing something positive that is going on in your group, project, work etc. Encourage others to do the same.
5. Celebrate
Find some occasion to celebrate with others, whether it be a project milestone, birthday, new house, etc. Pass around a card for people to sign or make a sign.
6. Encourage positive thinking
Anonymously post a positive quote or picture by the copier, coffee machine or some where else that receives high foot traffic so that others can see.
7. Change the way you respond
When someone disagrees with you about something at work, think “how interesting” instead of immediately getting defensive.
8. Get moving
If you have a meeting with only one or two other people, make it a walking meeting; get outside and get your blood pumping.
9. Encourage fun
Add some light fun by picking a day for a dress-up or desk-decorating theme – ex. hat day, wild sock day, or decorating with flowers, pictures of tropical places, etc.

10. Engage in random acts of kindness
Do something kind for someone else (especially someone who wouldn’t expect it). Offer to help them with something, give them a snack or treat, or simply ask them how their evening or weekend was or about something going on in their life.


Excerpted from Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash PEOPLE, PROFIT, and PERFORMANCE (Wiley, April 3, 2018).



Thursday, 21 June 2018

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Social Media

"Embracing social media isn't just a bit of fun, it's a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business."
Richard Branson

1. To share expertise.

Albert Einstien famously said, "a life lived in the service of others is worth living." Passing on your knowledge and experience to others that otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so is a gift of service you should take seriously.

2. To be human.
When leaders are social they get the opportunity to show they are human and can connect with their people on a human level. David Rubenstein once said, "What do most people say on their deathbed? They don't say I wish I had more money or I wish I worked more. They say, I wish I would have spent more time with my family and done more for my society and community." By being social, you can do more for your society, community, and the people underneath you.
3. To connect with your people.
Social Media provides a great opportunity to connect with people if you don't get the opportunity to do it in person. You have to know how important the digital world is in many people's lives and go be active with them.
4. To communicate.
One of the hardest parts of any leader's job is consistent communication. Social media provides an unbelievable medium to communicate with people across geographies, time zones, and demographics. about knowledge, life experience, vision for the team, or individual team member achievements.

5. To recruit talent.
Approximately 2 million people are graduating from colleges and universities this year and they spend 135 minutes a day on social networking sites. Using social can attract top talent from the competition.