WHOLE SCHOOL COACHING

 

Reflections on the Coachmark Award by a recent Gold Award-winning school.

West Ewell Infant School and Nursery in Surrey achieved the Coachmark Gold Award in 2012. Deputy headteacher Mia Bennett answered our questions about the process and how it has benefitted her school.

WHAT BENEFITS HAS COACHING BROUGHT TO YOUR SCHOOL?
‘It has made us a more cohesive team. We have also been inspired to look forward to try and achieve more in our school – our expectations have become higher. We now focus on what we do well and what we need to do next to improve things further. We are always moving on; it is a great platform to have in a school.’

WHAT SORT OF IMPACT HAS COACHING HAD?
‘Relationships between staff have improved and we are more positive and forward thinking. Staff are willing to have a go at things – this is a real shift.’

HOW IS COACHING STRUCTURED IN YOUR SCHOOL?
‘It is built into our staff meeting programme for each term, with two dedicated staff meetings for coaching. We also give extensive feedback to teaching colleagues and engage in NQT mentoring. It is now part of the culture of our school.’

HOW DID YOU EMBED COACHING IN YOUR SCHOOL?
‘We made it a priority in all subject areas and all aspects of school life. We also demonstrate coaching to help staff develop their confidence in using it. We ensure that staff attend training and our senior leadership team strives to spread coaching around the school, modelling it as much as possible.’

WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR COACHMARK?
‘We wanted recognition for the progress and changes made by our school through coaching.’

WHAT WAS THE APPLICATION PROCESS LIKE?
‘It was very supportive, both in terms of the documents provided and the visits by Coachmark staff. It was also rigorous and made us reflect extensively, which was very beneficial. We had to focus on the benefits and impacts of coaching, and were well supported throughout this process.’

WHAT DID YOUR SCHOOL GAIN FROM THE PROCESS?
‘We were able to understand how well embedded coaching is in our school. It is happening everywhere, and everybody from children to teachers are engaging with it. It has also been satisfying to see how far everyone in our school has progressed with their coaching skills.’

WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?
‘We want to maintain what has been achieved and we want to develop coaching more with our children. We would also like to expand our work by working with
Parents.’

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LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEW PARLIAMENT

The next five years provide the opportunity to gain a wider range of views on where we are heading with education in this country.

The new government has set out it’s store in the recent Queen’s Speech. Education will surely be a key focus area for the next five years, as the next round of school reforms are rolled out.

Debate about education issues – and the kind of changes that governments, teachers and parents want to implement – can be very polarised. Here at Vision for Learning we hope that during the next parliament a better balance can be struck between positive and negative reporting on education issues. It’s certainly seemed very negative in the press in recent years.

You may or may not be happy with the election result. But the result is in and the focus does now seem clear.

Hope is a pretty important ingredient in any school. Leaders can implicitly communicate their inner state of hope or hopelessness through their body language, actions and overall demeanour.

Leading from an attitude of hope is arguably key to successful outcomes and to maintaining the general levels of motivation and commitment required of colleagues and children.
So at times when the political impact on schools may not be all that you desire, three questions can serve to sort the wheat from the chaff and turn fear and dejection into hope and potential.

I call these questions THE SERENITY QUESTIONS after “the serenity prayer”.
In my current working environment:

THE SERENITY QUESTIONS
What can I change?
What can I influence others to change?
What might I need to graciously accept, let go of and move on from? ( because it cannot be changed right now)
So I’ll leave you to ponder these for yourself. But who else might benefit from these questions? Maybe you can share this link and spread some more hope for a person near you.

© Will Thomas THE SERENITY QUESTIONS for coaches