Getting any new whole school initiative off the ground takes careful consideration and planning. At Crigglestone St James, the Headteacher and her senior team developed an approach that works well and has, at its heart, the process of wide consultation.
In any one week, despite moves to reduce it, a vast amount of paper will cross the desks of most Headteachers:
“Lots of good things end up in the bin because you know the timing isn’t right and you just can’t ask the staff to pick up something else. However, sometimes you see something and you know you just have to follow it through.” – Colleen Gibson
When Colleen read about Open Futures, she felt, instinctively, that the programme would be right for the school. However, if the school were to embark on something like Open Futures, there would need to be full commitment from all of the school community.
She began by discussing it informally with her senior team, who also responded positively. Next, she sounded out her Chair of Governors and other members of the Governing Body:
“It was important that they fully supported the school’s involvement and the channeling of resources. Like the senior team, they could see the synergy between Open Futures and the school’s aims and values.”
Having secured this support, the next step was to talk with the school’s staff. For some, involvement in Open Futures would result in significant changes to teaching and learning in their classrooms. Following some critical debate, general approval was agreed. Pupils had already offered helpful insights as part of a curriculum review and were equally enthusiastic about the potential of the Open Futures programme. Parents too liked what they heard and came on board.
“Going through this kind of process does take time, but when we came to make the formal application to be an Open Futures school, we knew that we had everyone behind us, aware of the challenges, but willing to give it their best shot. It was certainly time well spent.”
Crigglestone St James CE (VC) Junior and Infant School
Wakefield, West Yorkshire