L ike it or not, data drives much of what we do in this profession. When you become a middle leader this won’t change, as you will be expected to monitor and report on the teachers in your team. This can be nerve-racking at first, but reporting on your team will soon become second nature. Until then, here is some advice to help you on your way.
First, be clear about your subject area priorities and how they contribute to whole-school strategy. This will allow you to set appropriate milestones for focused monitoring, which will inform progress and next steps.
Once you know your priorities and have your milestones in place, share these with your team. This ensures fairness and transparency – you don’t want your team members feeling that you are there to catch them out. Sharing the schedule in advance means that you and your team can fit monitoring around teaching commitments.
But don’t be tempted to micro-manage. It is important to strike a balance between monitoring and letting your team members do their jobs. I find termly milestones useful as they give your team enough time to put new initiatives into practice but still provide you with a regular snapshot of progress.
Along with scheduled one-on-one check-ins, consider investing time in brief informal team meetings. These will give you a greater insight into how things are going and will also involve your team in identifying potential for growth as well as how you can improve as a department. Going through this process will be key when it comes to reporting to senior management.
Provide an update
Your main aim in reporting to the senior leadership team (SLT) should be to provide an update of how your department is performing against defined priorities and the overall strategy. This can be daunting, but if you have an effective monitoring process, and know your team and subject area well, you have nothing to worry about.
Be honest when meeting with the SLT and back everything up with facts and figures. This will make the process easier for all concerned. Where is your team at now? What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Refer back to your priorities and milestones. Provide context and reference conversations you have had with your team. Highlight the potential for growth, and put forward your future strategies and actions.
Remember, the purpose of reporting to the SLT is not to earn praise but to objectively identify areas where key priorities have not yet been met.
Your goal should be helping your team to make progress, which means recognising opportunities to improve.
Sonia Pereira is maths coordinator at Sydenham High School in London