The first day of the school year

As thoughts of senior leaders turn to putting the finer touches to their Sept INSET day, what are the ingredients of a high impact, professional development event? My thoughts are…

1) If you are going to share the A-Level and GCSE results, keep it brief; don’t make it competitive (no-one gets inspired by being publicly shamed on day one); focus on the human stories and how their teaching/ support has changed the life chances of individual students, especially those where the odds were stacked against them. Remind everyone of their ‘Why’ on Day one.

2) Keep the main thing, the main thing and the main thing is learning! What happens in the classroom makes the biggest difference so spend the most PD time thinking, talking, planning and collaborating on it.

3) Keep it simple! There may be hundreds of things to work on but pick the one or two that will make the biggest difference this year and spend 90% of your PD time on that. This ‘Golden Thread’ will provide clarity and direction for everyone.

4) Set the environment for collaboration from Day 1. Get people sharing ideas, planning and being creative beyond their department silos.

5) Carve out enough time and space for teams to meet, plan and work out how they can support the whole school vision this year.