These extraordinary times call for swift adaptation of standard processes, all the more difficult in a disjointed environment when colleagues and students are often physically miles apart. However, the path to change is as easy as taking the first step, and it is helped by adopting a procedure.
‘When do you think you (and your team) will be ready to move on?’
Just before the Easter break, Richard Lockyer, the CEO of OLEVI, held a webinar with leaders from the OLEVI DOCs to consider the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on school practices. As many of you are now thinking about what you have learnt from home-learning and its implications on your students’ future education, we felt his approach could serve as a framework for your discussions.
Opening general reflections
- The session started with general reflections among attendees, who then developed these thoughts using a three-phased model to frame the discussion. Initial general reflections from the webinar were:
- Leaders were concerned that during the lockdown their leadership in schools might lose coherence and that values might change. They felt under extreme pressure and responsibility to get ‘it’ right. On a personal note they needed to be mindful to reflect and not ruminate when in isolation.
- During the home learning phase, blogs and thought leadership were very important.
- Students and staff need simple structures to work within. This requires reducing the models being used to what is actually important. Methods of assessment might also have to evolve. This was an opportunity to consider other approaches to learning.
When some normality returned it was felt there was a need to bring the situation back under their control. All staff needed to be united and leaders of learning. This will not be easy.
The discussion process
Richard based the discussion process around the emotional model of change illustrated below.
From this he introduced the OLEVI model, The 3Rs, firstly asking whether people recognised and could describe each part of the model, and secondly asking, where were they and their organisation now? This opened up a wealth of discussion.
Using this he set them the following challenges, the key challenge being, ‘When do you think you (and your team) will be ready to move on?’
The discussions around the 3Rs, React, Recover and Renew had brought about many reflections and prompted actions from the group. Here are some:
- No time to think. Very operational. Teams pull together.
- Leading within uncertainty. You must lead. You must communicate.
- Some people due an Ofsted feel robbed as they have worked hard for years.
- Leaders need empathy.
- Time to think and reflect.
- Embracing the change that’s coming our way.
- What does the new normal look like?
- What are we moving to?
- What do we keep and what do we let go?
- What does the real impact of learning look like now?
To conclude the session, Richard discussed the role that OLEVI and the OLEVI Alliance could play in supporting attendees through the process in their own school and in the future.
We hope you find this simple process useful. As with many of these events, it is the taking part in the dialogue which is often of most value. Feeling that your voice is being heard at any time and even more so in times like these. As usual, we are always interested in your take on this.
Please let us know.
George & Richard