Since starting at Real Schools, the three most common questions that people ask me are;
- What do you do?
- Do you love it?
- Why did you step away from a job you loved?
The first two questions are relatively straight forward to answer, I partner with schools to bring about long term cultural change and yes, I absolutely love it!
The third question takes a little more thinking and explanation.
The main reason for joining Real Schools was belief. As the Principal of a Partner School, I believed that school improvement comes from getting the culture right, not from asking my staff to implement another program and further add to the unrealistic and stressful expectation to do ‘more’ so we would get ‘better’. My other belief was that in this role, I could walk alongside more schools and more students to help achieve the ultimate goal of improving Australia’s education system. Sound aspirational? It is, but it’s my belief.
Like anything in schools, we want to measure outcomes and until this point, my only gauge on the success of cultural improvement were pockets of goodness with results but nothing embedded and tangible. Probably the best gauge was the feeling and perception, both very positive but very intangible. I felt that our culture was improving, our relationships were stronger, our efforts were more effective and everyone was enjoying their work a little bit more.
But I wanted some more evidence.
Last week, I caught up with a few of the leaders who I worked with. Much to my satisfaction, and theirs, they gave me a quick run down of the results of the recent Attitudes to School Survey. To say I was ecstatic was an understatement. Every single indicator has improved, and in most cases it wasn’t by just a little bit. The other satisfying part was that this wasn’t the outcome of one person, this is because of the work of everyone. All staff owned it, were responsible for it and contributed to it.
This improvement wasn’t because of luck, it wasn’t because of a new program and it certainly wasn’t because the staff were working harder. In my opinion, this improvement comes down to a cultural shift.
I’d like to take this opportunity to shout out to the staff at Colac SC and congratulate them on their effort and commitment. Well done.
So, as I really get stuck into my aspirational goal of school improvement across our nation, the one thing I know for sure is that this Partnership stuff works.
I can’t wait to hear about the other great things that will no doubt will be just around the corner.