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First pd day as new head

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by sarahroberts2, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. As a new Head starting a primary post in September just wondered if any colleagues had advice for good first pd days in September?! I'm thinking team building, shared vision etc...
  2. Me too!

    Planning some team building activities, looking at the mission statement and asking staff what it means to them, but any other tips would be welcome!
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    To be honest, I would suggest that you (both) avoid CPD on team building, shared vision, mission statement, etc. It may come across as patronising and top-down. After all, your new colleagues ARE a team, but at the moment you are not part of it! They may not be a very effective team, but you will not be aware of which part(s) are ineffective on day one, and formalised team building activities will have little or no effect apart from, possibly, alienating some members of that team. Leave that that sort of thing until the January training days when you will have some knowledge on which to base team building and shared vision exercise.

    My suggestion is that you kick off on the first day with a short business meeting concentrating on administration; calendar for the year including residentials, parents' evenings, concerts, school plays, twilights, etc. Then give staff the rest of Day 1 to prepare classrooms, displays, books, etc. During that time be highly visible. Go round the school and spend at least 15 minutes with each member of the staff and get to know them as individuals. Help them put up displays, change backing paper on boards, etc. Talk to them about their holidays, families and their job in the school. In actual fact, doing this will be a far stronger team building activity than sitting round a table in the staff room doing the Belbin Inventory or whatever you were planning to do. Staff will see you being part of the team rather than outside it. Let them talk about their aspirations, frustrations etc., and you will quickly be aware of what conflicts already exist between individuals.

    On Day 2 start again with a short business meeting, this time concentrating on curriculum and pupils. What can you (or another member of staff) tell them about the new intake? Are there any SEN pupils joining? What plans do you have about implementing the new 2014 curriculum? Also, use this time to follow up any issues which arose during the day 1 staff meeting. For the rest of the day make sure that phase/Key Stage/Subject meetings take place and meet formally with your SLT.
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I have to agree with Nomad. Nothing is more likely to set staff eyes rolling than a team-building day with someone they don't know, are still rather suspicious of and who - more importantly - doesn't know them as individuals from Adam.
  5. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Common sense at last! Why does every new Head think a school needs "team building"? They are usually excruciatingly tiresome and should be avoided at all costs. As to the Mission statement, just leave it be for a while, the only mission most staff have on the INSET day is to get their classrooms sorted and books labelled!
  6. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I think this is good advice for any head regarding 'team building' and many other of the CPD day management exercises I've suffered and have been told to implement in the past.
  7. I agree with the above. A task which I've set in the past (and is very revealing) is as follows: Over the next 2-3 weeks, take 3 photographs which represent the school 'as it is or as you perceive in to be' showing what it stands for'. Then in 2-3 weeks time have a staff-meeting and ask the staff to share the photos in groups and then suggest up to 10 collectively which they feel captures the school's ethos, customs and reality. This gives you a good idea of what is valued by the staff before you start thinking about any changes. THEN, plan a visioning day for 3-6 months time. That said, although the rule is 'do nothing but watch' for the first couple of terms, in a school in real difficulty you may need to act much more quickly and sitting and watching a school in turmoil wouldn't be the best option and stronger leadership might be needed earlier than normal.
  8. bed

    bed New commenter

    I do want to do work on vision and aims during the first year and think that I want to flag that up to staff on day 1, as work to come.

    What do you think? Might it backfire?

    I know there is a lot to do already but have a feeling that there may be fundamental things that need addressing sooner rather than later. So maybe flagging it as cpd to come isn't as good an idea as I thought?

    Hmm let me know...

    My first headship, already regretting it and I'm not even there yet!
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    "Vision and aims" - they're a bit last decade, really. Most teachers have had this in one form or another at least once before. Doesn't it all tend to add up to the same thing? "We want to be the best school we can possibly be, so that the children do as well as they possibly can (and we all get to keep our jobs?)"

    All that counts these days is raising attainment and it doesn't matter what sort of 'statement' you spend hours coming up with, what will bite you all on the bottom is your results, your data dashboard and you Ofsted report.
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Why have a vision?. . . as Yogi Berra says, “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably aren’t going to get there.” Identifying where you want to go in relation to where you are is the key to identifying those areas where you need to improve.

    ... and Booboo Berra says that schools do not need vision statements and nebulous aims because these should be self-evident. It is a school, for goodness sake, not a commercial enterprise.

    Far better you set targets for the school, which are measurable and relate to what the school needs to do to improve. There is no brilliant vision statement I know which will make a poor teacher any better, nor will a bad vision statement make a good teacher any worse.

    As Middlemarch says, it is very 'last decade'. In fact, it is fast becoming 'last millennium'.

    Spend your time looking at the practical and material things which need to be addressed in order to reach an Ofsted Good or Outstanding.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    In a nutshell.
  12. Take in a variety of cakes and socialise. Get everyone together and do diary dates but most importantly book the Christmas do and take everyone's contact numbers. The second day of my headship I had to close the school due to 3 ft of snow .
  13. Just remembered this too

    Look and learn

    Lock and fire

    Rock and roll!
  14. Thanks for all this- it's really good advice- especially the cakes!!

    I like the idea of spending time with everyone on a 1:1 basis, helping out in classrooms etc. And of course, the important stuff is knowing how to be good / outstanding.

    Thanks again!
  15. weirside

    weirside New commenter

    HI good to know that I am not the only one commencing my first headship in Sept.

    I will have met teaching staff a couple of times before I start but I am planning on giving background on me, introduce myself properly - I don't think this will take too long.

    I had planned on an activity - tell me about 2 things that our school does well and 1 thing that would make a difference to the school and 1 to the each individual (I will of already made it clear that I do not have a magic wand) I anticipate that staff are likely to come up with similar issues as I have already gleaned insight.

    Had intention of doing this with ALL staff.

    Will go in weighed down with cake, smellies for the loo, hot chocolate, fruit tea etc.

    I was then planning to review the week ahead with everyone to make sure I am aware of any concerns and then allow staff to spend the rest of the day getting ready.

    I am hoping to then get around and have a quick chat with everyone.

    Would appreciate comments from anyone :0)

    Iam wondering about possibility of setting up group of September Heads??
  16. sbu


    I am also a new head from September and think the group sounds a great idea. I will look out for it.
  17. Would love to join September Heads forum as well. Great ideas for pd day on here. Going to scale down the values things and concentrate on introductions /set expectations etc
  18. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Agree about the vision and values thing. Having worked for 7 heads, I have done this 7 times and is all pretty pointless. All teachers go into teaching for the similar reasons, they don't need to spend hours discussing the exact wording for an aim that is practically the same in every school.

    Get to know your staff, help them out, do dates and give them plenty of time to set up classrooms. Do we really need to tell heads to bring in cakes etc? This was a given 10 years ago. Given the wages you will be earning compared to the rest of your staff, particularly PT teachers and TAs, the last thing you want to come across will be tight like my present head. Cakes and time in the classroom will of course be gratefully received and an instant win with the staff.[​IMG]
  19. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    double post
  20. weirside

    weirside New commenter

    September Head teachers - new in post

    Lets see how many of us there are!!

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