Ani Magill, Headteacher at St John the Baptist School, Woking, has compiled over 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 396-410…
396. Give the student council a reasonable budget (£1,000) to spend on improving the school environment. Get the council to take staff/NQT meetings to tell teachers what works, and what doesn’t work. We did exactly this and discovered that students hated going from lesson to lesson hearing about expectations at the beginning of September – they prefer inspiration and activities that start the year positively.
397. Train sixth-formers to act as pastoral or subject mentors. If the pairing is right it can have a huge impact on everyone involved.
398. Choose 10 students at random and give parents flip videos in year 6 to ask certain questions. Repeat with the same children every year for seven years (like the ‘7-Up’ programme) it provides great assemblies and memories.
399. Have large posters around the school produced by students that all begin with “We like it when… ” eg “We like it when teachers have a fun starter”, “We like it when teachers set homework on the right evenings”, “We like it when the teacher plays music to make us work faster” etc. Have them made professionally.
400. Attach sixth-formers to every department. They are a great help – particularly as free LSAs with weak students and dare I say it… better role models.
401. Feed staff healthy food whenever they stay for parents’ evenings etc. Not beige food like recently-defrosted sausage rolls.
402. There are some great school catering companies now, we have recently changed ours and it has made a huge difference.
403. Put water on every table for parents’ evenings and take around tea and biscuits and sweets each hour.
404. Allow the students to decide what charities to support during the year. Then, if possible, take them on a visit to the charity to see the impact for themselves.
405. Have student input into all new projects. From canteen furniture and refitting the medical room to changing sports kit, changing the rewards system etc.
406. If possible get students to do all the tours for visitors. Just work through the registers – they will do a great job for you.
407. Pair up the current year 7 with the incoming year 7 – get the current year 7s to write to each year 6 child in June and post the letters home – the year 6s love it.
408. Attach a sixth-former to a year 7 student and make sure they swap email addresses so that they can discuss any worries the younger student may have.
409. Get someone to visit every single child who is coming to the school in year 6 in their feeder schools in June or July – not just the blanket visit. This really helps those children who are coming to the school but may be the only one from their feeder schools. It also gets parents on side very early on as if you go to this much trouble they know you will care for their children in the years ahead.
410. Always have lots of milk in the staffroom – many staff bring cereal and eat breakfast at school.
And, finally my number one tip for school improvement…
SSAT’s High Performance Leadership programme (in conjunction with NASA, HSBC and Phillips) launches on 17th October.
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: