Why is it crucial to have a vision? Well quite simply, it is the key in creating a united team that pulls together in the same direction. Peter Sange wrote, “You can not have a learning organisation without a shared vision.”
This is very true and quite simply when the going gets rough it is the shared vision that will keep a school on track. In many ways it is the Headteacher that begins the process of creating an ethos that inspires all! Very often my vision involves a number of key aspects,
1) A kind and caring community If we really are developing citizens for the future, then it is essential that we do so with the right values.
2) To be fair and to treat everyone equally A key aspect of all visions for a school.
3) To set a challenge to all pupils within a safe environment In order for a challenge to be set, the pupils need to geel safe. They need to feel secure in the knowledge that support is available to them.
4) To encourage pupils to try even if they make mistakes In any school that has an effective assessment for learning policy, the key is to support pupils on the journey of discovery. Mistakes should and will be made, as they are in life. We all learn from our mistakes.
5) To discover potential in others Many books on teaching dicuss ‘full potential’. I read this time and again and often wonder where can pupils go next if we have discovered their full potential in a Primary setting? What happens at KS3 and 4?
6) To make the Welsh language a key element of the vision I work in a Welsh Medium establishment where it is key to make Welsh a vibrant and exciting part of School life. Parents have chosen to send their children to the school and thus have already made the language a key feature of their choice.
In our line of work, it is too easy to keep changing our train of thought in line with new external pressures however I would like people to consider this Chinese proverb,
“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are heading”
Therefore believe in your own vision! Through your belief, others will gain strength! Hadley Beare wrote that a belief is not a belief unless you can visualise it. This is the next step, to put the vision in action and to show them exactly what it looks like! An effective vision is key to future success. When I was appointed as an Acting Headteacher with the responsibility for opening a new school it was essential that I created a vision that could be shared with all the stakeholders. I realised that the vision needed to provide a strategic direction for the pupils and staff and also required an aspiration for high attainment. However I was inspired on a course led by Dr Neil Hawkes, to make values education the rock on which the vision would be built. After meeting with parents, discussions with staff and listening to the views of pupils we created a set of values that are taught every month, these include honesty, sharing, caring, love, self discipline, responsibility and many others. The crucial factor was the contribution made by all the stakeholders.
When Estyn inspected the school they made two key observations that acknowledged the success of the vision, ‘An outstanding feature is the school values scheme which promotes personal and social skills particularly effectively.’ ‘….has developed quickly into a very successful school, and a community that has rich values and high expectations.’
It is my firm belief that a successful school has a clear vision shared by all the stakeholders. In my new School, I have followed a similar process and through encouragement, confidence and communication, the school has moved from strength to strength. Pupils have taken ownership of the vision, not only through the School Council but in their actions everyday. It is reflected in their behaviour, in their response to each other and how they work towards the same goal. Perhaps the key to a successful vision is to give people the confidence and the strength to believe in themselves!
But the true success of any vision is when we all pull together in the same direction!
- What’s your vision for technology-enriched learning and teaching? [VIDEO] (dangerouslyirrelevant.org)