Sunday, 27 August 2017

Lead Like a Pirate Blog Hop Week Four - Ask and Analyse

One of the most important things that we should do as leaders is challenge the status quo. What questions do you use to do this when working with your teams?

We have some wonderful opportunities at our new school. We opened in February 2016 with the exciting and somewhat daunting task of bringing two very different schools together. We have been (and still are) working to create a new St Francis culture and ethos. We are also developing our St Francis way of delivering the curriculum in our fabulous new Innovative Learning spaces.

 One of the ways we as a Senior Leadership Team have facilitated this change, has been to provide regular release time to teams. This has meant that our teams have had the head space during the school day for half a day, two out of every three weeks, to have professional discussions. These discussions are around their practice in collaboration and their practice in problem based learning. We realised early on that this thinking and discussion time needed in part to be facilitated. This is because it was hard for our new team leaders to know what their team's next steps were. The team leaders were just as new to the collaboration and PBL concepts as their teams. They didn't know what they didn't know.

We have developed a system whereby the SLT facilitates discussion;  provides readings, asks questions, seeks clarity, gives feedback and celebrates work done or new thinking shared since the last release time. This usually takes up about 45 mins of the three hour release. The teams then go ahead and act on their new thinking or critique their systems to make improvements.

"Asking, Listening, analysing, reflecting, and learning are all essential to your role as a leader." #LeadLAP. (Pg 50)

We try to be very sensitive to the work that has already been done when we have our "collaboration meetings" and always stress the fact that we are all learning together and that when we ask questions we are not criticising but working together collaboratively to make our collaboration and PBL even better.


  1. This time is invaluable to allow us as a team to make forward steps with PBL, without trying to do this at the end of a busy day of teaching when our heads are not clear. I really appreciate that this is valued and prioritised in the school culture.

  2. Thanks Jane. We have all come a long way in our collaborative practice this year. I love how our team shares knowledge, is welcoming of opinions and works so collaboratively.

  3. These meetings are invaluable I agree and the fact that we prioritise them and release staff for them is one of the key things that has made them successful I think. I love the fact that we are all learning together at the meetings. The cycle of asking questions and analysing data is more important than ever as we constantly tweak programmes that we are establishing. Great post!

  4. Prioritising time is key and standing up to time stealers (people or things) takes a strong resolve and the support and shared belief of the crew you lead with.

  5. Love the idea, and as I read I thought that facilitation would be needed and then you answered my query. I love the model you are using and can see the benefits for all. Thank Maire

  6. Maire I agree that the collaboration time is so valuable to teams. Being assigned uninterrupted time to plan together ensures deep thinking and progress of our PBL journey. We all feel confident in our direction and long term goals. When Senior Leaders spend time in our meetings and ask questions about our projects it shows interest and gives a feeling of support.