During the summer I try to organise my diary for the coming year. I’ve been putting in two half day visits to schools each week where I’ll spend some time with the headteacher in a pastoral/support capacity, before visiting teachers to explore how Curriculum for Excellence is being taken forwards in the school.
Last session I ran a series of Leaders of Learning meetings in each of the clusters. These meetings with teachers really helped to provide me with a grounded perspective of the issues facing teachers and schools. In my new role I would like to extend such opportunities to meet colleagues from throughout our service and that’s why I’m considering holding a weekly “Listen and Learn” meeting.
The “Listen and Learn” meeting would involve me inviting six members of staff from a variety of education and children’s services establishments to meet with me from 4.15 – 5.15 for cup of coffeee and a blether – this would be repeated with different people on a weekly basis. Over the course of the session I could possibly meet 180 staff in this way. I’d also intend to hold similar “Listen and Learn” meetings for staff at John Muir House but they could take place during the day.
Individuals would be invited at random from staff lists and would receive a personal letter of invitation. At first I thought I would invite a group of people representing a variety of levels and specialisms to each meeting but there might be more to be gained from having some kind of focus at each meeting – e.g. inviting six P1 teachers into the office to talk about the challenge of transition from nursery classes; or six maths teachers to talk about how they cope with large class sizes in S3; or six social workers to talk about how they manage their workload?
The purpose of the meeting would be very much in line with “what it says on tin” i.e. listen and learn – with me doing the listening and learning – although I would be more than happy to try to respond to people’s questions and concerns. My hope would be that such regular meetings with staff could influence policy and ensure that our practice stays in touch with the needs of those who deliver the service.
I’d welcome feedback about this idea but in the meantime the dates and times are in my diary!