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365 ways to improve your school (339-357)

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 339-357…

339. Have staff photos in each department base on a welcome board – make them fun, like a magazine.

340. Employ full-time cleaners – it’s easier to find them and they have more pride as they feel they are part of the school community.

341. Put carpet in the corridors – it makes them so much quieter. Make sure you buy the stuff that you can remove chewing gum from.

342. Have the toilets checked after every break to ensure they always have soft paper, soap etc and are as well kept as yours at home.

343. Get someone to write to all the local garden centres and ask for free plants to enhance the school site.

344. First impressions are important. It’s like selling a house – people make decisions within 11 seconds. One inspector told me that he makes a judgment within a minute and is rarely wrong. What does your reception say about your school? Put one of the reception staff in charge of the reception area eg keeping TV screens updated daily etc. Is the receptionist really smart and friendly and represents your school’s values?

345. Have inspirational quotes everywhere – particularly ones by people students admire… David Beckham, Chris Froome etc.

346. Don’t make students enter the school by a back door because it looks as though you are ashamed of them. Everyone enters the ‘posh’ way.

347. Get GCSE/A-level PE students logo shirts with names on the back – the students love them! Do the same with everyone in the production crew for the play.

348. Buy sloping lockers as they can’t have stuff stored on top of them.

349. Buy a laser cutter – it helps you to easily make door signs.

350. Clear the staff room tables every Friday night. Staff soon get used to it.

351. Fill every place on the wall either with giant photos (really cheap from Prontaprint) or with artwork. If displays get vandalised, buy the lockable display cabinets.

352. If you do a great display, put it up but don’t date it so it will last. Use LSAs and support staff to help.

353. There is money out there. The Football Foundation, Sport England, Farmington Trust, Wolfson Foundation – we just never have time to look or to bid – could one of your support staff have two hours per week to investigate sources of income etc?

354. Give each KS3 student a canvas for art. Overnight you will have hundreds of displays around the school for negligible cost. Get the site manager to put them all up in the summer holidays.

355. Ensure the site team have a uniform with school logo on – the same for cleaners and canteen staff.

356. Get stuff in the newspapers. You will only have a 30% strike rate if you are lucky but it makes everyone feel proud when it happens. Get a member of the support staff to be press officer, not a teacher with 100 other things to do.

357. Raise the profile of your site team by having a display of their photos with a caption… “My name is Tony and I help students learn by keeping the school clean.” Same for catering staff etc.


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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