In some ways I’m annoyed that my last ever blog post relates to performance management instead of something more positive in terms of teaching and learning BUT as I think about this – it’s positive and has made a difference to the learning experience for Year 11s at our school.

In my previous post as part of my interview technique thread I talked about Anna, our Head of Science and indicators that she wasn’t coping so well with her work. I’m now going to talk about the second part of this – what to do once you know you’re trying to support somebody in managing their workload and getting back to full potential.

I’d met with Anna to discuss my concerns and explained that some parents and a few students had also talked to me. I said that whilst my colleague Julia was going to help by getting some more of the students view through a short questionnaire I’d like to concentrate on the practicalities of getting GCSE students back on track as soon as possible.

It was paramount to clarify that this was me supporting her doing her job. No way was I getting involved in actually doing anything, as you’ll have read in my previous posts I’ve already got (more than enough) to do!

Action Plan

We agreed, amongst other things, that Anna would:

  • Talk to her subject leaders (Head of Biology and Physics, Anna acts as Head of Chemistry) and create resources and lesson outlines for active revision for Year 10 and 11. I would organise cover so that the three of them could meet together as a team. This has now been done.
  • Write letters home personalised (via mail merge) to every Year 11 parent explaining which modules were yet to be taken (either for the first time or as re-sits) and which websites were useful for revision; the letter would also outline what would be happening in lessons until the exams; this would also be copied to teachers who would then be expected to follow the content in the letter. I would read the drafts of the letters and organise office admin support for the mail merge and posting. I proof read the letters on Friday afternoon and so Anna’s perfecting them in the half-term ready to pass over to the office on Monday.

Follow up and Review

It took two meetings to sort these items out. I’ve seen the resources and at the next meeting we’ll get out and about and talk to some Year 11 students to check that they’re actually getting to use them.

I’ve praised Anna (I know this sounds patronising but I really think it’s important) for getting her team to work better and with more purpose and I’ve started to feedback to the parents and students who had seen me in terms of ‘hope you can start to see some things are changing …..’.

All part of the job

I hope Anna felt nothing but a bit of support from me and she was able to acknowledge that she understands it was just me doing me job in responding to concerns. I know that I’ve modelled good practice which she’s then cascaded down to her Heads of Physics and Biology.

The next part of the plan is forward thinking to prevent our current Year 9s or 10s finding themselves in the same predicament. 

I’ve also promised to look at what’s got in the way for her (her teaching staff numbers nearly doubling without her being allocated any additional technician support is likely to be high on that list!)

That’s all folks!