CLA Advisor, Charles Newton explains ten key considerations for successful planning.
What I’m going to do now is just give you ten quick tips that I have picked up through my working with schools, and through my experience as a principal working with strategic planning. The first is, start by building a collaborative culture. Collaboration and shared leadership that is transparent to all staff and students and the community provides a powerful conduit for change.
Second, strategic planning is a team sport. It’s not about what the principal thinks, or what senior leadership thinks. This is about gathering together a group of teachers, students, senior leadership, it might be board members, and members of the community, and them working together as a collaborative team thinking about some pretty meaty issues.
Thirdly, make sure that you identify who your stakeholders are and engage all of them in this process. Two reasons for that, one, these are complex issues and you need as much advice as you can get. Not everyone is going to know the answer, you need to tap into all the people who can help you. The next reason is, by doing that, you then get buy into your final plan and your final decisions, because they have been part of it, they understand the reasons for the decisions that you are making.
Fourthly, you need a cohesive plan. Strategic planning is about a systematic process of envisaging the future that you want to achieve, and then identifying the goals and the steps you need to take to get there. This little diagram will really help you. Read down and across. For example, without a plan, there is confusion and false starts.
Fifth piece of advice. Rethink the need for an e-learning strategic plan. Now, this is all about teaching and learning. What we really need is a series of management plans across all facets of the school that are contributing to that goal. Highly effective teaching and learning, and our digital technologies management plan is just one of a number that need to work towards that goal. There are no easy answers, and there are no shortcuts. You have to do this yourself, you have to walk through the process, otherwise you aren’t going to own the result.
That said, number seven, you don’t have to do this alone. It’s really important that you tap into the wisdom of your peers across the sector. Learn from the wisdom of the crowd, bounce your ideas off other people. Twitter, conference, research, debate, make sure that you collaborate with your peers and think about working in partnership with other schools.
Number eight, it’s also really important to think about accessing some external and expert help. The reason for this is, you need people to bring in other ideas and expert knowledge. You also need them to challenge some of your thinking, some of your ideas, and give you that fresh perspective from an external point of view.
Number nine, really important. Only add something if you’re taking something away. Teachers are already heavily overloaded so make sure that whatever it is that you’re planning to introduce, either makes them more efficient in the classroom, or reduces their workload somewhere else across their teaching day.
Finally, please monitor the impact and the effectiveness of your interventions and of your broader strategy. If they’re not making a difference to students’ learning, think about whether you should be doing it. Thank you.