Developing the school's vision is a task which involves several groups of people, and should involve careful planning. We spoke to experienced education consultant and former headteacher Denise Coppard about how to put workshops to good use in order to develop a vision.
Who should be involved?
Denise suggested running three 90-minute workshops. There should be a workshop for:
Staff and governors: all staff and governors should be involved, if possible, as it makes them feel part of the process and increases the likelihood of them ‘buying in’ to the vision
Parents and pupils: schools should invite a range of pupils and parents to the workshop, not just well-performing pupils and positive parents
Members of the wider community: this could include local employers and representatives from organisations that work closely with the school
Denise advised that workshops should be run by the headteacher and another member of staff.
In each workshop, the focus should be on deciding what works best for pupils and how the school’s vision can promote this. This should lead to discussions about the school's goals and what the school should look like in the future.
At each workshop, Denise recommended dividing the participants into groups of 4 to 6 people. These groups should be asked to discuss a range of basic questions about the school, such as:
- What do you want the school to look like in the future?
- What supports or helps learning?
- What works well in the school?
- What changes could the school make to improve?
- How can the curriculum and timetable be improved?
More specific questions could then be put to each group, based on what the school wants to find out from them.
At regular intervals, the hosts of the workshop should collect and note down feedback and ideas from each group.
The focus should be on deciding what works best for pupils and how the school’s vision can promote this
Following the group discussions, Denise recommended that the groups take part in an activity.
Each group should be provided with a list of space and resources currently available at the school, alongside information about how these are currently used.
The groups should consider how the school could make better use of its space and resources, in line with the ideas discussed earlier in the workshop. Each group should write a rough plan outlining how they would use the resources and space available.
The hosts of the workshop should then collect these plans.
Post-workshop: drafting a school vision document
Following the workshops, the headteacher should look for themes in all the ideas discussed and the information collected. The aim is to draft a school vision document, including a vision statement, based on the prevalent and recurring themes.
Once the document has been drafted, the headteacher should consult the senior leadership team (SLT) and send the document to the governing board for approval.
Have your own strategies for developing a school vision? Contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org.