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whole school communication / weekly briefing

Discussion in 'Primary' started by notano, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. notano

    notano New commenter

    I'll be starting a new post as DHT in a 2 form entry school from September. One of my duties will be to write the weekly briefing which is sent out to all staff on Sunday. The events come from google calendar but they still need to be fleshed out and transferred to email, and then there are things like notices etc. The head says it takes her about 90 minutes every weekend (!)

    At my last school, we used to have 10 minute morning briefings every mon,wed,fri and events were stored in outlook so there was no need for a weekly email. I've suggested this but the head doesn't want to take away prep time from teachers.

    Just wondering how other schools handle school-wide communication like this?
  2. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    First things first, this is a Friday job to be sent out Friday pm or Monday am - normalisation of weekend working needs to be challenged.

    Our DH produces a "week ahead" document and we have one morning briefing also. At my previous school it was just a Monday morning briefing and in the school before that the staff were capable of viewing the calendar themselves and had to have nothing spoon fed to them. IMO this is pure admin and not a good use of a DHT's salary - I'd be looking to make changes after a suitable period of observation.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Once you set up a spreadsheet or some such then it won't take 90 mins a week as you'll just be swapping bits about. Then just send the spreadsheet as an attachment. (I agree with @drvs that this should NOT be done at the weekend though. You shouldn't feel obliged to work and staff shouldn't be looking at emails on a Sunday.)

    Or give staff access to google calendar.

    Or just print the calendar page for the following week and put it on the noticeboard on a Friday.

    Three briefings a week is ridiculous...we have one a week and it is pointless, three is a joke.
  4. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    The calendar page for the following week is written up on a large whiteboard in the staffroom on a Friday afternoon.
    We have one morning briefing - 10-15 minutes. Updates are also given as necessary at the weekly staff meeting. It seems to work ok for us.
  5. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    Not an expert on the online calendar but is there a way to set reminders to staff based on the calendar? Say there's a meeting at 3.30pm every Monday, could you set a reminder to go out at 8am on Monday morning?
    With the weekly briefing, information seems to be duplicated. It's usually written up in the staff room anyway and how will you know that people are reading it? I stopped reading my briefing emails because most of the information was on the staffroom whiteboard. Annoyingly, half the time I didn't even know whether we had an assembly or what was going on day to day as this information was always missed off and it turned into a guessing game as to what was going on.
    I would say it's easier to have one place where everyone can find the information that is needed. Things change daily so a weekly briefing in an email on a Monday is not very worthwhile.
    Sorry, rant over.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Back when we didn't use emails, and didn't have weekly briefings, notices were just displayed on the staffroom board, and funnily enough no-one forgot anything, everyone did what they should have done, and people were less stressed...
  7. EBC

    EBC Occasional commenter

    Same as some above.

    One weekly morning briefing for 15 mins. Everyone attends and we know it so factor that in for prep time. HT gives his updates, and DH gives hers which might be about pupil info, and then reminds us everything is on the calendar, and the week's page is displayed on the board. You don't read it... Your fault. Oh and theres a minute book for anyone who misses the meeting or for other staff

    Good luck... Try and change that weekend email.
  8. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Definitely don't try to introduce more briefings. Your name will be mud before you even start. . We have one a week but most of it the Head reads what she has already put on the weekly noticeboard.
  9. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    We don't have any morning briefings or weekly emails. Things are written on the staffroom notice board and events for future weeks go in an A4 diary which is kept in the office for staff to view and add to.
    Why would you need to send this out to staff? Surely they are all capable of using the internet and can just look things up themselves.
  10. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I would refuse to read a work email on a Sunday, and I wouldn't have time to read a lengthy one before the school day starts on a Monday, so it would be a bit of a waste of time if something important was happening on the Monday morning.

    Surely it's a far better use of everyone's time if:

    - calendared, annual events planned well in advance (parents' evenings, reports in, data in, observation weeks, concerts and fetes etc), are sent out at the start of every term on a spreadsheet so people can add them to their diaries themselves
    - all staff can access a the school diary on-line whenever they want to
    - ten minutes of your weekly staff meetings are devoted to 'business' and reminders of upcoming events or deadlines
    - day to day business is written on the staff noticeboard at the start of each day/the evening before

    Also, the teachers at your school are intelligent professionals; the onus should be on them to ensure that they know what is going on, rather than be spoon-fed everything.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Reading @nick909 's post reminds me of a school I used to work in.

    Got a calendar emailed to us just before the start of term
    A hard copy was given to us on the first day of term,
    A weekly 'briefing' was sent to us each Friday afternoon. (Basically a copy and paste from the calendar)
    A hard copy was handed out at briefing on Monday morning.
    The head read through the weekly briefing notes in the briefing meeting.
    Any changes from the calendar were talked through in the staff meeting on Wednesdays.
    Each day the DH wrote up the day's events on the staffroom whiteboard.

    It was ridiculous!
  12. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    They were the days... when a meeting/briefing consisted of the white board being read to everyone!
    Now the OP can do a screen shot of the calendar and email it out so that everyone can read the information twice!

    90 minutes on a weekend... no wonder she was glad to get rid of it!! If she's a kindly soul, she might let you do a questionnaire so that you can demonstrate it's all a waste of time! Or is she likely to decide that it took her all that time so you have to suck it up too!

    Good luck
  13. nancymancey

    nancymancey New commenter

    I write the diary events in a big whiteboard on the staff room. We have a 15 minute briefing every Friday morning to go over the following week's events, notices etc. and these also get emailed out for staff that missed the briefing. Anything extra gets quickly added into staff meeting. Works for us. It literally takes me 5 minutes to write the diary events as they're all on the calendar anyway.
  14. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    we have a weekly email on FRiday, not Monday, its an admin job done by admin staff. We also have a morning breifing once a week, which we all hate and loath, don't do that
  15. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    So... if staff aren’t there and they get an email... why does anyone need to turn up??? They’ll get an email anyway!
  16. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    This is something that was implemented at my school a few years back- it works well, as it’s the opportunity for any important messages and events to be cascaded to the staff. It is usually the DHT who manages this with input from myself (HT) and the AHTs. We use to do a morning briefing on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday but we found this to be inefficient and instead this time is now allocated for teacher prep.
  17. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    The issue is how to handle the fact you've been given something that you don't want to do. You've got to build a good working relationship with your boss so mind how you go. How much do you want your own way over this. I'd go for saying you'll be very happy preparing the briefing to go out by Friday lunchtime so any queries can be followed up before end of play Friday. I'd probably only change the timing and if there is an objection from the head then dig in over that - it seems like an easy battle to fight, Friday is such a better time for it to go out and you have other commitments on Sundays. The head might be feeling touchy about working with a new broom, so maybe don't brush too briskly but choose your battles. If you arrive saying you want to introduce something quite new the head may feel undermined which will rebound on you in the long run.
    It's not what you do its the way that you do it.
  18. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Some heads don't have a clue and make you wonder if they ever taught in a classroom.

    Monday morning, weekly briefing 30 minutes before the day starts. Always over running, kids in the classroom without supervision - that would go down well in an inner city school - and you're straight into your literacy. Then, straight after school for an hour, the weekly training on some other nonsense utterly irrelevant to my classroom chosen by the head, and surely he spent most of his day in his office, making his 'funny' powerpoint.

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