Get into mood swing of reform

18th February 2005 at 00:00
Schools need to prepare their staff for an emotional roller-coaster as they embark on "historic" changes to teachers' working patterns, the group overseeing the reform has said.

Just in case anyone is in any doubt about what form this odyssey might take, the team has produced a diagram, in which the emotional states of staff are plotted on a graph.

In the early days, morale is seen to rise, as reform is welcomed by teachers. But then the graph plummets, as staff find difficulties with the proposals.

Eventually, though, the path of emotional progress tilts upwards again as the reforms bed down and schools can look forward to the future with confidence.

This, at least, is the team's version of successful change, as showcased to teacher trainers at a series of meetings recently.

A 23-page presentation, prepared by the National Remodelling Team jointly with the National College for School Leadership, says that reform in schools should go through six stages: "mobilise, discover, deepen, develop, deliver ... and sustain".

This, though, is only the ideal. Schools failing to look beyond the "rational" case for reform and neglecting the likely emotional reactions of staff to change could be in for a shock, the teacher trainers were told.

"If organisations don't engage with the emotional and political dimensions (of change), then they won't deepen successfully and change initiatives may not have the impact on standards and workload that they may wish for," said the presentation.

It advocates involving all members of staff in the change process if it is to succeed.

The presentation also said that the Government's move to take a more strategic approach to change meant teachers were in a period of transition "from national prescription to a new world where schools are leading reform".

Someone who was present at the meeting said: "I'm not sure if the NRT's view is entirely in line with what is happening in schools."

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