Every school needs to understand its culture to shape its future.
As the saying goes culture is “the way we do things around here”. No matter whether you are a high performing school or one seeking to implement improvement, understanding the culture and sub-cultures that exist is key to a successful future.
Every group, organisation and school has a culture that is both unique and evolving. It reflects the people in it, those it serves, its history and values. To what extent are the stated values and vision understood, lived and breathed by all? We all need to regularly take the temperature of our workplaces – to understand any culture gaps that may appear and find ways to make our schools those in which staff and students can flourish.
The SSAT Culture Audit enables those leading schools to reflect on and assess current school culture and consider the desired school culture. This external audit will give leaders greater understanding of how intentionally focusing on culture will support their school community in its commitment to ensuring a high-quality educational experience for every student. Insights gained and recommendations made in a summary of findings will provide leaders with areas to consider and action.
Who is the Culture Audit for?
All schools, school trusts and education organisations seeking to improve staff well-being, productivity and outcomes through a deeper understanding of the school culture.
Who will lead the audit?
The Culture Audit will be led by a SSAT senior education lead who will work with leaders in a supportive process of reflection and discovery.
The Culture Audit comprises four stages:
Stage 1: Briefing and information gathering
A SSAT Senior Education Lead will conduct an information gathering phone call with the key leader(s) of the school to get a picture of your context and aims. This will be followed by completion of a pre-audit template to summarise the culture you currently have, want to achieve and how you think the gap can be bridged.
Stage 2: All staff survey
SSAT will issue you with an online survey to be disseminated to all members of staff and completed within 2 weeks. Your Senior Education Lead will then collate the results and generate a report of the findings.
Stage 3: School immersion session
Your Senior Education Lead will conduct a half-day school immersion session to gain a deeper insight into the current school culture. The session will follow a programme put together by the school which may include:
- Meetings and discussions with key groups of staff and students
- Tour of the school
- Attendance at assembly or other activities identified by the school
The session will consider a range of factors that shape culture, including people, environment, language, rituals and structures.
Stage 4: Diagnostic report and identifying next steps
Your Senior Education Lead will collate all the information gathered during the process of the audit into a summary of findings report identifying areas for consideration or action and highlighting support available.
They will also offer a debrief phone call with key leader(s) and agreed staff for a structured discussion about implementing next steps and actions to further develop school culture.
How does it work
The audit process is usually completed in two months from the initial briefing conversation. There is some flexibility however once the process has started it has to be completed within six months. Please note no refunds will be issued.
The method used to undertake the school immersion session (stage 3) will be agreed during the initial briefing with the SSAT Senior Education Lead. Methods include phone calls or online meetings.
The audit is suitable for primary, secondary and special schools.