A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I’m working on a project that will be revealed soon. This project started out as a hypothetical exercise attempting to seamlessly integrate career education into the standard curriculum and became larger – much larger than that.
The main reason for that is conversations I constantly have with people in education: teachers, head teachers, school improvement officers, private providers and school improvement consultants, career guidance professionals and – yes – Ofsted.
All these conversations are outlining that schools would love to have a simple Careers Education solution. It’s on their agenda. But there are bigger, more important things for them to get done before career education and CEIAG provision is looked at. So for now, they settle for a simplistic solution that will tick the box that says “yes, we’ve done that”. If I were in their position, I would do the same.
So what does that have to do with my project? Having worked with many organisations (private and public) who faced big change, I can see the similarity between where schools are now and where these organisations were. Usually the prompts for change unearthed some shortcomings. Often, some of these needed to be dealt with quickly an efficiently. By weeding out one element, it quickly became apparent that there are reasons why this element went rogue: a bunch of other “stuff” behind are not meeting the new requirements.
Before you know it, what was a tiny fire has become a bushfire and everyone starts working in Triage — managing priorities, dealing with the most critical first and anything that isn’t critical will just have to wait. Having been in that position – I did just that.
The problem with Crisis Mode, is that getting out of it is nearly impossible. All the priorities constantly shift, and thing that were not critical last week will become critical next week. That way you are just working on critical issues on an issue-by-issue level. The added time-pressure makes it even harder to see how separate issues affect one another. (Spoken from experience, by the way).
You’re doing it already.
Get the acknowledgement.
What if I told you, school leader, that you are already doing a lot of what you are expected to do? What if I told you you are achieving a lot more of what Ofsted, students, communities, parents, local government need you achieve? What if I told you that a single bucket water can get rid of more than half of the less critical issues, meaning they won’t become next week’s critical issues?
This isn’t a sales pitch. This is reality. As someone who stands from the sidelines, I have the opportunity to pool a lot of information from a variety of sources and viewpoints. As part of this developing project I realise that the constant changing demands schools face have put so many of them in a position where they can’t afford to audit where things are going right.