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365 ways to improve your school (320-338)

header-banner-929ani-magillAni Magill, Headteacher at St John the Baptist School, Woking, has compiled almost 400 tips that could help you to improve your school. They are split into 5 groups: leadership; learning and teaching; achievement; behaviour; general.

Ani would like to remind you that you shouldn’t view the tips as a panacea for school improvement – they are simply ideas that have worked at St John the Baptist. Bearing this in mind, here are her general school improvement tips 320-338…

320. Take a photo of the year/form and put it into a key ring as a good-bye gift to each student, with a message on the other side – “You are special, we will miss you.”

321. Get rid of bells – it is really stressful going to a school that still has bells. Thankfully, it’s rarer these days.

322. If you have any dark corners or no-go areas in school, add very bright lights and artwork on the walls.

323. Get huge photos of the cool kids in perfect uniform up on display. The bigger the space, the bigger the photos. 8’x 6’ looks great in a hall!

324. Manage the site effectively – repair any damage, especially graffiti or vandalism within 24 hours. Make all the support staff accountable – not just the teachers.

325. Keep everything simple including reward systems, behaviour policy etc.

326. If parents tell you they are happy, ask them to go on the Ofsted parents’ view.

327. Have a clean desk policy starting with the leadership team. Buy everyone cupboards to store stuff in.

328. Get staff to see the best learning environments by having meetings in the best room. Give staff lots of notice of the next meeting to be hosted in their room.

329. Use a staff meeting to send teachers to the back of their room – allowing them to see what the children see every lesson. Have a week where every member of staff walks the school and goes into all the classrooms to see what others do with their displays. Or, buddy up staff to be critical friends of each other’s learning environment.

330. Get design technology A-level students to design and make useful displays for around school eg car parking signs.

331. Hire a skip at least twice a year and make people de-clutter! Those O-level papers from 1972 won’t come in handy!

332. Think HSBC. Would HSBC have this standard of cleanliness and tidiness in their branches? If the answer is no then a great school learning environment shouldn’t have it either.

333. Have a central store of eye-catching materials for displays eg bright paper, hanging hooks, plastic covering.

334. Encourage glass paints and displays on windows. They can look amazing and are really easy to do and light up when the sun shines.

335. Are you confident the girls’ toilets never run out of paper? Set up an email address so that all staff and students can let the site team know that a job needs doing.

336. Demand the same standards from your site team that you do from teachers – don’t accept poor standards in any aspect of their work and don’t use the excuse that you can’t get caretakers. Most schools have accountability for teachers but not for TAs, cleaners etc.

337. Take photos of each form group and blow them up to display in September.

338. Decide what you want on the form notice board and get a member of the support staff to set up each board so they look good and consistent round the school.


SSAT’s High Performance Leadership programme (in conjunction with NASA, HSBC and Phillips) launches on 17th October.

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365 Ways to Improve Your School

Ani Magill, Headteacher at St John the Baptist School, Woking, has compiled almost 400 tips that could help you to improve your school. They are split into 5 groups: leadership; learning and teaching; achievement; behaviour; general. Read the entire series below:

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