In a discussion session on our school improvement plan, several colleagues commented that they would like senior leaders to be more visible around the school. It became clear that there were some different perspectives of the role of SLT.
Our SLT has a support rota during the day so somebody is on duty during each lesson. We generally choose an area of the school to visit, popping in to classes. Part of our reward system is ‘spot awards’ – giving out awards on the spot to pupils nominated by their teachers. They get a couple of achievement points and a mention in the newsletter that week. Of course, while out and about we may encounter pupils who need some encouragement to engage/re-engage with their learning or who need to work elsewhere, so everyone else in their class can get on with their learning!
I have to say it’s something I enjoy – not dealing with naughty people so much but having the chance to visit lessons (always a privilege) and reward students who are working well. It became apparent in the discussion that a few colleagues rather saw this as a primary role of SLT members. My job does entail a bit more than that (but if anyone wants pay me a deputy head salary just to walk round and pop into lessons, please do let me know) and while colleagues wanting school leaders to visit them more is a good thing, I was concerned about a perception of lack of visibility.
Clearly we can’t be everywhere at once, but perhaps we were missing areas, or colleagues, out. I decided to introduce a simple tick sheet to check which classes we were visiting. Before the start of each weekly SLT meeting we check off where we have visited. After the first couple of weeks we could see that there were some areas missed out: we weren’t visiting each other much, or making it frequently to the top floor of one building, or to the furthest part of the campus – the sports hall. We’d also missed out a couple of other colleagues. We are now using this checklist to make sure we see everyone at least once every fortnight. Hopefully everyone will feel supported, and with a couple more extra flights of stairs to climb, I might even lose a couple of pounds.
As for all my posts, I welcome constructive comments. I’d also like to hear how SLT in other schools support colleagues throughout the teaching day.