Today’s post focuses on the role of senior leaders and the importance of strong leadership to deliver a clear vision and approach to schools’ remote education provision.

This blog has been written by Michelle Howard, a specialist in leadership and management with over 25 years of progressive experience working in education across all settings including primary, secondary, and further and higher education.

Read on to learn more.

What makes a strong leader during remote learning?

Remote education has become the norm and offers the opportunity of flexibility at these times of need. But an effective online and blended learning approach requires a strong leader with a clear vision who sets achievable goals, clear expectations, and provides appropriate resources.

A leader is keen to listen to and act on feedback from children, parents, and staff and build on their thinking, systems, and processes as a means of continual improvement. A leader is continually in anticipation of the changing needs of both children and staff. Successful remote education requires a leader who can balance expectations and need with effective delivery.

Understanding what remote learning means for your school

The vision of the school has not changed; the context in which it is operating has. As remote education may not have been on the agenda a year ago, and the move to e-learning has been generated through no means of your own, this is now the time for your staff within the school to come to a common understanding of what remote education means for your school and the children within it.

A clear vision will only be implemented using shared language, a common and shared understanding of the purpose of remote learning activity, and the goals that you wish your students to achieve. Bringing that understanding across a whole school relies upon a strong leader to engender a high level of collaboration, trust, and shared practice across departments.

Sharing your remote learning expectations

Make your expectations clear through the development of a remote learning plan and the appropriate technology to support this, linking this succinctly to your school improvement framework. Work with your senior leader in charge, your senior leadership team, and staff to develop expectations. Be strong in the knowledge that teachers always want the best for their students.

Do not be afraid to continue to teach all elements of the curriculum. Empower staff to find the most effective way to do this. Staff who have a sense of ownership will have a far greater level of commitment to the achievement of an outstanding end result. Highlight, share, and celebrate good practice, acknowledging the level of commitment which has been brought to it. It is important for leaders to recognise how effective practices such as community-building among stakeholders, preparation, and training will improve implementation.

Supporting your staff through these changes

Strong leaders will help their staff through the process of change, understanding that the role of the teacher has now changed to that of content producer, facilitator, technologist, presenter, and administrator.

Continued professional development is an important part of helping staff to overcome the challenges of change that they may be struggling with.

In using flexible professional development programmes, highlighting good practice locally and nationally, sharing expertise and providing coaching and mentoring for all staff, this will help those through possibly their most challenging time. Embrace a school culture of continuous learning.

The quality assurance process is an important part of school life. This doesn’t stop with remote education and is, as we know an expected part of the process. In making expectations clear and simple, supported through the provision of remote education handbooks, good practice briefings, shared quality resources and effective professional development, the quality assurance process becomes easier for your senior leadership team and your staff to manage.

Monitoring, evaluation, and feedback are all important parts of this process and this is where the ability to listen to feedback from children, parents and staff becomes crucial. Aim to understand the barriers that all stakeholders face in both delivering and accessing remote education. Put in place systems for checking on a daily basis whether pupils are engaging with work and work with families and staff to rapidly identify effective solutions where engagement is a concern. Support staff who are struggling with children’s non-engagement and recognise that there is nothing as demotivating as students not engaging.

There is a range of self-evaluation frameworks available to education leaders to help monitor provision and reflect upon areas for improvement. Do not be afraid to use these to support the process of continual improvement within your school.

Have you considered joining The National College?

As a member of The National College, we have a full range of webinars for the whole school developed in line with the latest government guidance, and designed by leading experts, to help support you in your commitment to providing valuable and effective remote education provision.

You will also gain full access to our entire range of Essential CPD courses and can roll-out statutory training to the entire school workforce safely. Our training is available 24/7 and can be accessed from any PC, laptop, or smart device.

In addition, our brand-new mobile app makes it ideal for fitting training in around busy schedules and learners can easily pause, resume, and revisit training at any time.

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