Change Leadership – Critical, Tame and Wicked Problems.

Most change leadership models fall under the following ten commandments:

  1. An accepted need to change
  2. A viable vision/alternative state
  3. Change agents in place
  4. Sponsorship from above
  5. Realistic scale & pace change
  6. An integrated transition programme
  7. A symbolic end to the status quo
  8. A plan for likely resistance
  9. Constant advocacy
  10. A locally owned benefits plan

(Grint, 2008, p11).

 

There are examples and is evident in my reading and blogs, e.g. my action plan for change, and Kotter model here.

kotter

Grint, 2008, described two types of problems:

1) Tame or Critical

2) Wicked

Critical Problem, eg a ‘crisis’, is presented as self-evident in nature, as encapsulating very little time for decision- making and action, and it is often associated with authoritarianism – Command (Howieson and Kahn, 2002; Cf. Watters, 2004 in Grint 2008). These are problems that require a decision at a point of crisis.

Where Tame problems are ‘complicated but resolvable through unilinear acts’ with definite answers the uncertainty is limited and known. Wicked problems are complex; the issue can not be differentiated from the environment; the difference between tame and wicked may also be dependent on the available resources.(Grint, 2008)

Examples in Schools

Critical There is a gas leak, and the boiler is out.
Tame A timetabling issue – a member of staff has requested to part-time hours.
Wicked Staff resistance due to a move to academisation to create more leadership autonomy.

Wallace 2004 refers to management as the tasks which maintain the daily status quo and leadership as visionary strategic thinking. Wallace describes the meta task of ‘orchestration’, where leaders step into the role of management in times of crisis until systems and structures are replaced, then leaders step back into their ideological positions. The management role is the solving of Tame problems and leadership the wicked ones.

Problem Realm
Critical Command
Tame Management
Wicked Leadership

Conclusions

Critical situations need a decision, which may require an authoritarian response, I am aware of the negative connotations of such. However, as a school leader, I have encountered various examples of people who come solely to for an answer, for a decision, to be led. There is nothing inherently wrong with authoritarianism in the circumstance. 

Tame problems should be solved through management, supported through structures. Leaders may have to step into these roles, as mentioned earlier. Wicked problems require questions rather than answers; these issues cannot be solved without the environment as a whole; therefore, the environment and the people in it must be included in the solution (through the questioning).

Problems are rarely discrete. However, recognising that problems will move between the three types may be helpful in determining future actions as a leader. (Grint 2008)

‘it is often the case that the same individual or group with authority will switch between the Command, Management, and Leadership roles as they perceive – and constitute – the problem as Critical, Tame or Wicked, or even as a single problem that itself shifts across these boundaries. Indeed, this movement – often perceived as ‘inconsistency’ by the decision maker’s opponents – is crucial to success as the situation, or at least our perception of it, changes.’ (Grint, 2008, p14)

References:

https://www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/

http://leadershipforchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Keith-Grint-Wicked-Problems-handout.pdf

Wallace, M. Journal of Educational Change (2004) 5: 57. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JEDU.0000022844.50126.2f

Leadership – Raising Aspirations

This guest piece is from Executive Headteacher Stever Baker

Kilgarth and Gilbrook Schools are a hard federation of under-funded, maintained SEMH schools for children who are often coping with complex learning difficulties and distressing personal circumstances, in an area among the most deprived in the country.

In order to break the cycle of aspirational deprivation we often have to contend with, we set out on an ambitious project; we wrote to inspirational figureheads from around the globe, asking them to send us a signed photograph and some words of wisdom. We hoped to show our pupils that they do not need to face the challenges of the future alone and that they should aspire to achieve great things.  With the support of some local companies we collated the remarkable responses that we received and created a book; a copy was given to each student, with the hope that it would raise their personal aspirations.  Staff and governors were also given copies, recognising the important role that they play in developing better outcomes for our school family and wider community.  Our award-winning ‘Aspire’ project became the inspiration behind the naming of our new federation of schools.

Taking the learning from our project, my top five tips to raise aspirations, and promote well-being, amongst young people would be:

  1. Have high aspirations at the heart of your vision

We spent over 12 months developing a mission statement, vision, and values for our schools and engaged all stakeholders, including students, teachers, families, governors, psychologists, and members of the local community.  The result of our efforts can be seen in our mission statements.

1. Have high aspirations at the heart of your vision We spent over 12 months developing a mission statement, vision, and values for our schools and engaged all stakeholders, including students, teachers, families,… Click To Tweet
  1. Develop students’ resilience

Research has shown that the skills involved in resilience are almost as important as cognitive skills for achieving educational qualifications by adulthood.  To raise awareness of the importance of resilience we have a number of positive quotes adorning the walls in our school, one of which is: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  The design of the displays was produced with the help of the students so they ‘bought into’ these values.

2. Research has shown that the skills involved in resilience are almost as important as cognitive skills for achieving educational qualifications by adulthood. To raise awareness of the importance of resilience we… Click To Tweet
  1. Create a culture where young people are offered a second chance

Who are we to judge? When our students make mistakes we always allow them the opportunity to have a second chance.  When challenging behaviour is displayed we should be very careful not to label children; we should not be asking ‘what is wrong with you?’ rather we should be asking ‘what happened to you?’ and ‘how can we help you overcome these challenges?’

Create a culture where young people are offered a second chance Who are we to judge? When our students make mistakes we always allow them the opportunity to have a second chance. When challenging behaviour is… Click To Tweet
  1. Promote solution focused conversations

A recent study from the Manchester Institute of Education explored the links between academic attainment and children’s mental health.  They reviewed gender differences and their findings suggested that increased testing and academic pressure in schools are likely to have a negative impact on mental health (particularly in girls).  Their report also indicated that children’s experience of school may be critical to the onset of mental health problems.  To promote a positive outlook, staff at both schools have embraced a coaching culture. This was originally introduced to support the emotional resilience of staff working in challenging environments, but we have also researched the positive impact that coaching has had on pedagogy.  Professor Walter Mischel, creator of the famous marshmallow test, suggested that using goal oriented thoughts helps us to develop levels of self-control which also further develops our resilience.

4. Promote solution focused conversations A recent study from the Manchester Institute of Education explored the links between academic attainment and children’s mental health. They reviewed gender differences and… Click To Tweet
  1. Celebrate success and promote well-being for all

Professor Roy Baumeister researched negativity bias, i.e. the fact that we tend to remember and focus more on negative experiences.  During these times of high stakes accountability, I believe that we should focus on delivering as many positive experiences for young people as possible. The latest research into neuroplasticity shows that the brain remains plastic throughout our entire lives and that by explicitly rewarding specific, positive behaviours we want to encourage, we are able to ‘hard-wire’ them into the young people we work with. Psychologists call this ‘The Matthew effect’ and it is based on accumulated advantage, namely the happier you are, the happier you will become and that by sharing happiness, you will be able to boost others’ well-being.

5. Celebrate success and promote well-being for all Professor Roy Baumeister researched negativity bias, i.e. the fact that we tend to remember and focus more on negative experiences. During these times of high stakes… Click To Tweet

We absolutely must commit ourselves to raising children’s aspirations but should also be mindful that with a reported ‘child mental health crisis’, emotional well-being should also be at the front of our minds; it should not be an optional extra.  I will leave you with the quote from the inspirational Liverpool boxer, Natasha Jonas, who personally handed out the books to our boys, following a series of boxing masterclasses she led for them:

“You have three names in life.  One you are given, one you inherit…and the other you make for yourself.”

Leading Change: Kubler Ross Curve

Kubler Ross is commonly used to describe the five stages of grief; however, the same process is mirrored by stakeholders in most organisational changes. All reticent to change and consequent resistance is due to a fear of loss, losses of the norm and other possible options.

Elisabeth Kubler Ross describes the stages as standard defensive mechanisms that humans move through to manage change. She states that progression to the acceptance/decision is unique, is not linear in terms of time or even consequential.

Some people in your schools may spend longer than others in certain stages and even some that regress back to a phase they have already visited.  A skill of leadership is to recognise and act accordingly to where the organisation is and to where individuals lie.

DenialCreate Alignment
FrustrationMaximise Communication
DepressionMotivate
ExperimentDevelop Capacity 
DecisionShare Knowledge.

Denial: If I don’t say it out allowed, it will not happen — a completely natural phase where the vision and alignment must be set.

Frustration: I believe this is misplaced fear, a telltale sign is that the anger is typically misplaced.

Depression: This is the critical stage as followers will bounce back to frustration f they are motivated to experiment.

Experiment: This stage involves the most hand-holding. Leaders should give followers the resources and time to progress, no matter how tentatively.

Decision: Once followers have bought in, use their participation to recruit and support others on their journey.

References:

https://www.weahsn.net/toolkits-and-resources/quality-improvement-tools-2/more-quality-improvement-tools/human-dimensions-of-change/kubler-ross-change-curve/

The Truth About Funding.

No doubt I will continue to receive abuse for the above video. The content is not political, it is simply the truth.

How long so we as educators continue to feed hungry pupils and reach for our own pockets?

Pran Patel

For all of those people who disagree with my choice to speak out.

was always taught to tell the truth, to act in a just way regardless of the consequences.

Satyamev Jaitey.

Why do Change Initiatives Fail ?

In educational literature, there are numerous analyses of the reasons for failure, ‘but also no agreed basis or methodology for addressing the shortfalls’. (Higgs and Rowland, 2000)

Recently I blogged on action planning incorporating Kotter, Fullan, and Lewin here. In that blog, I identify different chronological stages for change management.

‘Some have estimated that as many as 70 percent of change initiatives fail.’ (Higgs and Rowland, 2000)

‘Some have estimated that as many as 70 percent of change initiatives fail.' (Higgs and Rowland, 2000) Click To Tweet

Successful Factors in Change Management

Let us look at the factors required for successful change. The table below seems simple once read, but leadership models usually do in hindsight.

Knoster identifies 5 essential factors of change.

  1. Visons
  2. Skills
  3. Incentives
  4. Resources
  5. Action Plan

Then evaluates the conclusion of missing components.

Vision

Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan = Success

Vision

Skills Incentives Resources =

False Starts

Vision

Skills Incentives Action Plan =

Frustration

Vision

Skills Resources Action Plan =

Resistance

Vision

Incentives Resources Action Plan =

Anxiety

Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan =

Confusion

Knoster, T., Villa R., & Thousand, J. (2000). A framework for thinking about systems change. In R. Villa & J. Thousand (Eds.), Restructuring for caring and effective education: Piecing the puzzle together (pp. 93-128). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Which Skills do Leaders need to Possess and Develop to Facilitate Sucessful Change?

Higgs and Rowlands 2001 identify the following,

  1. Change Initiation (CIN): Ability to create the case for change and secure credible sponsorship.
  2. Change Impact (CIM): Ability to scope the breadth, depth, sustainability and returns of a change strategy.
  3. Change Facilitation (CF): Ability to help others, through effective facilitation, to gain insight into the human dynamics of change and to develop the confidence to achieve the change goals.
  4. Change Leadership (CL): Ability to influence and enthuse others, through personal advocacy, vision and drive, and to access resources to build a solid platform for change.
  5. Change Learning (CLE): Ability to scan, reflect and identify learning and ensure insights are used to develop individual, group and organisational capabilities.
  6. Change Execution (CEX): Ability to formulate and guide the implementation of a credible change plan with appropriate goals, resources, metrics and review mechanisms.
  7. Change Presence (CP): Demonstrates high personal commitment to achievement of change goals through integrity and courage, while maintaining objectivity and individual resilience (‘a non-anxious presence in a sea of anxiety’).
  8. Change Technology (CT): Knowledge, generation and skilful appreciation of change theories, tools and processes.

Leaders should evaluate their weaknesses with the five factors of change or vice versa with the table below. Then look at the following skills they should personally develop to ameliorate their vulnerabilities and to bolster the chances of the successful change.

Leaders should evaluate their weaknesses with the five factors of change or vice versa with the table below. Click To Tweet

Vision Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan
Change Initiation (CIN): Ability to create the case for change and secure credible sponsorship.

X

X

X

Change Impact (CIM): Ability to scope the breadth, depth, sustainability and returns of a change strategy.

X

X

X

Change Facilitation (CF): Ability to help others, through effective facilitation, to gain insight into the human dynamics of change and to develop the confidence to achieve the change goals.

X

X

X

Change Leadership (CL): Ability to influence and enthuse others, through personal advocacy, vision and drive, and to access resources to build a solid platform for change.

X

X X

X

Change Learning (CLE): Ability to scan, reflect and identify learning and ensure insights are used to develop individual, group and organisational capabilities.

X

X

Change Execution (CEX): Ability to formulate and guide the implementation of a credible change plan with appropriate goals, resources, metrics and review mechanisms.

X

X

X

Change Presence (CP): Demonstrates high personal commitment to achievement of change goals through integrity and courage, while maintaining objectivity and individual resilience (‘a non-anxious presence in a sea of anxiety’).

X

X

Resources

Jon Griffith (2001) Why change management fails, Journal of Change Management, 2:4, 297-304, DOI: 10.1080/714042516

Malcolm Higgs & Deborah Rowland (2001) Developing change leaders: Assessing the impact of a development programme, Journal of Change Management, 2:1, 47-64, DOI: 10.1080/714042485

Public Speaking

In my experience, people generally hold irrational fears concerning public speaking; in a recent survey, I think some people feared death less than talking to their peers. As educators public speaking is part of our daily role, most teachers won’t bat an eyelid about speaking to a class of 30 or in a whole school assembly. It’s the same thing.

In my experience, people generally hold irrational fears concerning public speaking; in a recent survey, I think some people feared death less than talking to their peers. As educators public speaking is part of our daily role, most… Click To Tweet

But Pran the pupils aren’t judging you!

Er, I hate to tell you this but they are. The difference is through practice you’ve shielded yourself from their judgement.

All leadership involves interacting with followers when engaging people outward-facing leadership, that delivery and words are as crucial as the message and vision you are propagating. Remember, these followers are not part of your organisation, so, do not know your day to day, see who you are as a person or what you live and breath. 

All leadership involves interacting with followers when engaging people outward-facing leadership, that delivery and words are as crucial as the message and vision you are propagating. Remember, these followers are not part of your… Click To Tweet

I struggled with the concept of deliberately influencing, those of you who have shared my journey will know that my aim was never to climb the leadership ladder, my core purpose was solely around being the best teacher I could be. As time goes on for a multitude of reasons things change.

 Early, while in middle leadership, my line manager told me that all leaders have to be Machiavellian, that I had to work on being manipulative, that you had to get people to do what you wanted by these means. I was repulsed. I felt that my leadership style would always be around the propagation of my vision and being a person of integrity, being who I said I was and walking to the walk.

It took time to realise that this ‘vision propagation’ and the nobility around integrity were while fundamental parts of my character are were also forms of manipulation. Even typing that now it makes me shudder. The negative connations around those words still don’t sit right with me. Let me rephrase; leadership is about charm. 

To charm followers, you have to become adept at influencing. A blog on the influence framework is here.

Delivery – Reducing Anxiety.

Get your content right; Live and believe what you say. If you value what you have to say, so will the audience. I rarely write a word for word script for a keynote, workshop or a lesson, mostly because I treat each session like a huge classroom, and I feel the room, let it be organic and let yourself be yourself.

Get your content right; Live and believe what you say. If you value what you have to say, so will the audience. I rarely write a word for word script for a keynote, workshop or a lesson, mostly because I treat each session like a huge… Click To Tweet

Try and rationalise your fears; Why are you scared? What in particular? Is it that your message isn’t good enough? Or your delivery won’t be good enough? It usually is the latter, and this is just another form of imposter syndrome. Please own your message and part of the delivery should come as a consequence or the imposter will own you.

 

Improving your Practice.

‘You’re a great speaker Pran’.

My response to this statement is always a short and curt ‘thank you’; I have spent hours practising. I’m not just saying that I mean thousands of hours. Like everything in this world, nothing of value comes easy, and everything can be learned. 

Record yourself and listen to the way the words sound and flow, decide what you want your style to be.

 

I need Powerpoint Slides and Notes

Going ‘naked’, no notes, no props, and no PowerPoint slides. 

Advantages to going ‘naked’ are that it is more human, it invites people in, it allows you to interact more naturally and adapt as a result of the audience. Some of you may be cringing reading this; speaking is difficult if you see these aids as crutches, are you using them to mark your timings or place holders? There is generally no need for any props of any kind. Before using props, including PowerPoint slides, ask yourself the acid test question: does it add to the experience of the audience? If your answer is no. Drop them.

Memorising two hours plus worth of material can be daunting. Various speakers use different techniques. Split your talk into sections and instead of using slides as place holders use associations,

Memorising two hours plus worth of material can be daunting. Various speakers use different techniques. Split your talk into sections and instead of using slides as place holders use associations, Click To Tweet

Saying to teachers’ we have work to do!’ (no matter how much energy I put into those words) – It’s like asking footballers to juggle as they run. We are flat out already. I get it. The BBC have literally interviewed me about the anxiety, sleeplessness and depression that seem to come with this amazing job. Like a whole range of anti-bonuses!

To memorises the above content from my TEDx talk, my brain goes through the following processes,

  1. Teachers work hard, so lots of energy is needed.
  2. Then I picture footballers juggling on BBC’s match of the day.
  3. This takes me to my BBC appearance.
  4. Finally, footballers get massive bonuses, and teachers get anti bonuses.

Do not ever use someone else’s material, apart from the plagiarism and inauthenticity, and your brain will fight those words.

Volume, Tone, and Silence 

In the main, talk like you are talking to a standard room, a class of pupils, if you have a microphone, especially if you have a beard, hold the microphone at 45 degrees and a couple of inches away from your mouth. Sometimes the raising of voice can mean that you are pouring more energy into those words; sometimes, the lowering of volume can also feel the same. You and only you are the judge and master of the way you choose to come across.

Silence is a seldom-used tool in public speaking. In everyday interactions, silence is typically illicit people to fill the uncomfortableness with words, the social constructs around public speaking mean that instead of words people ponder and ruminate. When you want people to think, pose a point or a question and stop and wait.

Silence is a seldom-used tool in public speaking. In everyday interactions, silence is typically illicit people to fill the uncomfortableness with words, the social constructs around public speaking mean that instead of words people… Click To Tweet

Final Checklist – Work Out…

  1. What do you want to say?
  2. How do you want to be perceived while you say it?
  3. The words can be secondary to the delivery and vice versa. Listen to and be critical.
  4. Enjoy it.

 

The College Years – Race

Guest blog from @HalilMrT1

I remember that office so vividly that if I were to close my eyes I could tell you almost every detail of the room. I could tell you about the paintings on the walls, the colour of the walls, the paraphernalia on his desk, the books on the shelves and the ridiculous curtains that were still allowing (in my opinion) too much light through – what was the point of them?… I was having to shield my eyes from the sun coming through the thinly veiled window.

What was the point of the meeting? Why had I been summoned to his office? To the heads office! My college headteacher has called ME into his office!

I was outside a few minutes before just chatting with a friend – we were talking about very important issues – “man what are you going to wear to the end of year ball?” – I mean what’s more important!? Then, out of nowhere, my form tutor walks over and tells me that the head would like to see me in his office. Sandeep (the friend I was talking to) put his hand to his mouth and took a sharp intake of breath “ooooyah!” – he didn’t have to say anything else.

The head was looking directly at me, I was looking everywhere else but at him. He proceeded to speak…

“Halil we have noticed your attendance has slipped, this is unacceptable. There are other people who would love a place at this college” I knew what he was implying – my place at the college was under threat.

They knew why my attendance had slipped, but they didn’t understand. They knew my mum was unwell.

What they didn’t know or understand was what it is like to be the older (male) sibling in a Turkish Cypriot family. The expectation on my shoulders to support my father in the kebab shop that we had at the time. My Baba never asked me to help, I made the decision to. I felt I had to. My duty. I suppose it’s all linked to the stories my father used to share with me about how he used to help my Ali Dede – pronounced deh deh (grandfather)-  particularly through the spring and summer months, selling watermelons around the other villages near his own in Kıbrıs. Family first. Son helping father. Family responsibilities.

What they didn't know or understand was what it is like to be the older (male) sibling in a Turkish Cypriot family. The expectation Click To Tweet

I mean how could I watch him struggling to look after my mum who couldn’t work because of her illness (another blog for another time) and running a business that had just been set up?

“You don’t understand what it’s like for me…what family means to me. I’m not you, someone else can have my place I don’t care, you don’t understand!” my response was swift.

What I really meant was –  “you don’t understand my culture/you don’t understand what I ‘have’ to do!”

He looked at me, silent. I am sure he was not expecting the response I gave him…and I was not expecting his.

“Halil, I don’t think I do understand. Come and see me again tomorrow, we’ll work something out. Maybe we can look at adjusting start times for you for a short while – you have a bright future I don’t want it wasted”

Halil, I don't think I do understand. Come and see me again tomorrow, we'll work something out. Maybe we can look at adjusting start times for you for a short while - you have a bright future I don't want it wasted Click To Tweet
That act of understanding, kindness and compassion was so important as I know I would not be where I am now in my career if it had not been for his reaction.

I did see him the following day but I didn’t need a change of timetable as our meeting made me open up to my Baba – he sorted it. My dad had this saying “as long as Baba is here everything will be ok”. He had a way of making everything better no matter how bad things were. He’s not here anymore – and for a short time, after he was “taken” everything was bad – he wasn’t here to make it better. But I’ve come to realise that he is here (I’m holding hand to my chest) and I take great comfort in that.

It is so important to look at each situation on an individual basis. Take time to understand the whole person.

At my school the stories, backgrounds and lives that make up each child is taken into account – our children know they are cared for.

As long as we are all here for each other everything will be ok ☺️.

#belong #care #persevere #succeed

Leadership Journeys- What’s your USP?

This leadership gues piece is from Dr Jess Mahdavi-Gladwell.

So, today someone asked me a question, ‘What’s your USP?’

It stopped me in my tracks, I’ve often thought that I could be described as unique, or at least unusual but this question really made me think.

So, today someone asked me a question, ‘What’s your USP?’ It stopped me in my tracks, I’ve often thought that I could be described as unique, or at least unusual but this question really made me think. Click To Tweet

My unique selling points, perhaps there isn’t only one! I have a doctorate which predates my primary teaching career, it focussed on school bullying and also gave me cause to learn and teach (UG and PG) about typical and atypical development. My experience from the end of my degree to the start of my teacher training set me up to understand and support those children with whom I have an affinity and an ability to relate and connect. These days I read about ACEs  (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and being trauma informed and I find myself surprised at responses I read.

Today I took the space to wonder why people dismiss the idea of the effect of traumatic experiences on children, why people wonder if there is such a ‘thing’ as childhood trauma at all. Trauma Informed is something of a trending phrase, one which I’m sure some people hope will disappear along with Deep Dive, Warm Strict, Knowledge vs Skills and other things which people could describe as EduFads. I came to the conclusion that there are a couple of potential contributors.

What have I done?

If I accept the idea of Adverse Childhood Experiences having a lasting negative effect on how children present, how they relate and attach, how they learn and ultimately how they interface with the world then I have to accept that I may have done harm. I may have done harm to my own child, I may also have done harm to a child in my care who needed me to do something outside of the usual pattern (or not do something that was part of my script.) Perhaps the whole school behaviour policy wasn’t fit for purpose for this particular individual (I don’t have a specific child in mind) and I wasn’t brave enough to make that stand.

I simply can’t.

The statistics are deeply distressing. The responsibility that comes with teaching is already immense. If we add another layer of knowledge and understanding, then the weight of our potential to do harm as well as good increases. We are all people, people with homes, families, bills, responsibilities. There has to be time outside of our work to relax, to recharge, to decompress. We do this in many ways, speaking from my own experiences, some of these are more healthy than others. Some are more effective than others. What I feel confident to say is that, as we perceive our responsibility deepens we can become less able to step away, forget and be our non-teacher selves for a little while.

The statistics are deeply distressing. The responsibility that comes with teaching is already immense. If we add another layer of knowledge and understanding, then the weight of our potential to do harm as well as good increases. Click To Tweet

So because it’s challenging, some people don’t want to accept it.

I may be wrong. I am probably right for at least some of us. Some people may have entirely different reasons for disbelieving the trauma narrative (please tell me, I’m always ready to learn.)

Hear these words, what we are able to give is finite. Teachers cannot fix everything that has gone before in the lives of our children. Teachers cannot make up for the negative experiences that children have outside of our classrooms and schools and we cannot shore up those children and young people whom we teach in order to enable them to continue through life’s battlegrounds unscathed. We will try, give our best and a bit more no doubt. Lose sleep, lose peace.

To all who try, we stand together, we strive for the best for those pupils we teach. I stand on the shoulders of many as I write this. People who have believed in me, trusted me, challenged me. I hope I can play those roles for others.

To all who try, we stand together, we strive for the best for those pupils we teach. I stand on the shoulders of many as I write this. People who have believed in me, trusted me, challenged me. I hope I can play those roles for others. Click To Tweet

School Funding. Time to Act. Do Your Bit.

School funding has been neglected for too long, Now is the time to restore funding to our schools and colleges, Get a FREE SchoolCuts banner!

From recruitment and retention to Ofsted, league tables and marketisation, those of us working in education are all aware of the conditions leading to a narrowing of the curriculum and the growing crisis in student mental health.

The Government’s recent promise of £14billion in funding might sound impressive but this will not return us to 2010 spending levels. 

In reality 83% of education establishments will still be facing real terms cuts under the new funding proposals.

I have always held to the statement that “A well-informed populace can be trusted to make the right decisions, the question is, how well informed are the public? The SchoolCuts website isn’t about telling people how to vote, it’s about ensuring that votes are cast based on accurate information, and as educators, it’s our responsibility to educate.

The NEU and other unions responsible for the School Cuts website have for the past few years offered to provide schools with (FREE) banners detailing the funding data for their specific school and areas.

schoolcutswalthamforest

This is Not Political

There is nothing political about stating the facts. This is the time for parliamentary candidates of all parties to state their promises on education funding, if we dont stand now we run the  risk that budgets will continue to be squeezed. Every party has flaws in their policies, but it isn’t too late for them to reconsider and improve their offer to education due to public awareness and pressure.

I believe that regardless of your political leanings a School Cuts banner outside every school and college is to the benefit of education because it creates a space for discussion that could easily otherwise be drowned out in the noise of a general election. If we don’t make our voices heard now, then we could be facing a five-year wait before we have another opportunity to shape the debate.

Now is the time to restore funding to our schools and colleges

Headteachers and Governors

 

If you are a Head Teacher or Governor and would like a School Cuts banner, then there are several ways to proceed.

 

 

Alternatively,

  • Inform your school union representative (NEU, NAHT, ASCL, UNISON, GMB & UNITE)
  • Contact your local union District Secretary, the full list of NEU Secretaries is available at https://neu.org.uk/listings/district-contacts
  • Or failing that email myself and I will pass your request onto the relevant person bales@neu.org.uk

 

Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education

  1. Send this blog to your leadership team and raise awareness about the FREE resources available.
  2. Download the logos here, print and share them widely.
  3. Share a picture of your logo on Twitter with the hashtags #SchoolCuts #VoteEducation. You’ll be seeing mine stuck to my planner later
  4. Share the youtube link below.

Stand up for education https://youtu.be/Up5qBHFfcOM Click To Tweet

5. https://schoolcuts.org.uk/action/candidates-pledge/ follow this link and email your candidates.

The time is now.

About the Author

This is not an official message from the NEU. Karam Bales is a member of the NEU’s National Executive Committee, Chair of the New Professional and Young Workers National Council, and Youth Liaison Officer for UNIFY: Campaign for a Single Education Union. He works full time in a compressive secondary academy. (edited by Pran Patel)

 

 

 

 

Things EYFS Practitioners Want You To Know: Being Physical

This is third in a series by @Emmccatt

Part One be found here

Part Two can be found here

Physical Literacy

An important part of the EYFS is purposeful play through physical means. Children are encouraged to be physically literate and should be encouraged to access situations where they are able to manage risk via energetic play.

The International Physical Literacy Association describes Physical Literacy as:

“the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement and physical activities for life.”

Simply, instead of children recognising letters and sounds as they would in literacy terms (which ultimately leads to reading development); children instead build up a bank of movement. This starts first with learning simple actions which then progress into how those actions relate to each other leading to the creation of a vocabulary bank of movement and development of their own physicality.

This is another form of purposeful play which is explained in more detail in a previous blog. Engaging in physical activity via purposeful play provides opportunities for children to access activities that stimulate physical learning and enhances capabilities so that children become more confident movers, both gross and fine.

Engaging in physical activity via purposeful play provides opportunities for children to access activities that stimulate physical learning and enhances capabilities so that children become more confident movers, both gross and fine. Click To Tweet

Primacy of Movement

Toddlers and young children take part in all manner of physical movements as they learn to navigate the world. These movements allow them to explore both their own movement possibilities and how objects in the world respond to them. This exploration is a key aspect of their physical development. The urge to move is natural and is something EY practitioners seek to develop in children in order to encourage independence and increasing control of physical movement and navigation. It is in these initial navigations and movements that we see the roots of communication begin to take place. It is gestures and signing to convey meaning to those around you, it is the beginning of mark making, it is making sense of the world through what we touch, see and do.

Take the above image. At first glance it looks like happy babies lying on their tummies. However, there is so much physical development happening in that position! The back and neck muscles are active, both the arms and core are being strengthened, the position allows for a wider range of the visual field. This early movement is a key part of physical development and will play a part in later skills such as handwriting.

Physical Development

Physical Development is one of the Prime Areas within the EYFS (for more information see previous blog) and is used to develop and assess movement, handling and understanding of a child’s own body. It can be argued that is one of the most important aspects of the framework as it fundamentally links to all other areas of learning.

As adults, it is second nature for us to navigate busy crowds or hold multiple objects whilst doing so. These skills however, have to be learnt by little children who are constantly navigating the world and building upon essential gross motor skills such as walking, balancing and manoeuvring.

As adults, it is second nature for us to navigate busy crowds or hold multiple objects whilst doing so. These skills however, have to be learnt by little children who are constantly navigating the world and building upon essential… Click To Tweet

Throughout the EYFS they also develop their fine motor skills. Simply, this is using small muscles when moving in a coordinated way in conjunction with the eyes. It is picking up a fiddly object, playing with small items such as lego, eventually picking up a pencil or scissors.

From an early age children generally begin to feel more confident in their bodies when it comes to gross motor skills. They want to run and jump. As they develop these skills EY practitioners re also providing opportunities for them to also develop their fine motor through provision opportunities as can be seen in the images below.

It is important to see the development and learning of both fine and gross motor as sequential. Much work happens before children are able to pick up a pencil in the tripod grip and begin to form letters. Children may begin by using gross motor to create large shapes in the air with their hands. They may use their bodies to make different shapes. They could create letters using their fingers in sand or foam. Their fine motor is continuously developed through a variety of activities such as peg boards, tweezers (as in the images above), weaving, cooking skills such as chopping, using clay, cutting, tracing. All of this happens before and alongside a child physically writing and is fundamental to their development in this area! This is a quick overview however and early writing will be explored in more detail in an upcoming blog.

It is important to see the development and learning of both fine and gross motor as sequential. Much work happens before children are able to pick up a pencil in the tripod grip and begin to form letters. Click To Tweet