Heads Up

There are 5 difficult conversations I come across ALL the time in schools.

They are relatively simple to resolve.

But most have been going on for a long time:

  1. Lateness.
  2. Not marking books to the minimum standard.
  3. Caretakers not doing everything they need to, as quickly as they need to.
  4. Unwelcoming receptionist.
  5. The teacher who wears their ‘special face’ in staff meeting.

And all 5 converge to ruin every day for your children.

Let me show you how…

Mohammed (Mo to his friends) is a Y6 student with English as an additional language and he’s eligible for free school meals. He’s keen to learn and his parents want him to do well at school.

Every morning he comes to school, eager to learn, and ready for his reading intervention with Mrs Tardy, the teaching assistant. But she’s often late, so sometimes the session is only twenty minutes, and often it’s just ten.

When he goes back to class, it’s time for Literacy. He looks in his book to see how he can improve his work. Mr My-way hasn’t written much about Mo’s work. He must have got it all right then.

Break time. Mo can’t wait to play with his friends James and Frankie on their favourite playground apparatus. They rush out to it, but it’s still cordoned off. Mo guesses Mr Manyana hasn’t been able to fix it yet.

Mo’s parents want Mo to do well at school and are aware their lack of English might hinder him, so they come into school to find out how they could support their son best. They politely wait at reception (Ms What seems very busy at her computer), and when they are noticed they are abruptly asked ‘Yes, what do you want?’. They feel like they shouldn’t have come in, perhaps they should have called first. Embarrassed and unsure they ask about a club for Mo, make their excuses and leave.

The afternoon comes, and around the school there is a creative buzz as children are immersed in their topic work. This term, Mo has noticed models, paintings, and excitement emerging from other classes in the afternoon’s lesson. But they don’t seem to be doing the same as the others in his class. Oh well, maybe they will next week.

What Mo doesn’t know is that when Mrs Honey shared the new topic-based curriculum and discussed it with staff, his teacher, Mr My-way, didn’t think it was a good idea; the way he was doing things was just fine. He sat with a face that said: ‘I’ve heard it all before, it won’t work, I’m not doing it’. He glanced at Mrs Dementor, who had a similar expression, and they rolled their eyes. I guess the children in their classes won’t be getting the same topic-based learning.

Mo enjoys his days at school. He doesn’t know that those days could be better. But you do. And this is not what you want your children to experience.

Mo is going to secondary school next year, hopefully the gaps in his learning won’t hold him back, because, let’s face it, secondary school is another steep learning curve. Hopefully they can close the gaps in Mo’s learning and they don’t have these kinds of issues which stop Mo from getting the education he deserves. If they don’t, what does the future hold for Mo when he’s a young man?

And it’s not just Mo, is it? It’s James, Frankie, Shamil, and all the other children in his class. And others across the school.

Five unrelated issues…

…that all impact the education your children receive.

Isn’t it time you learnt how to solve those difficult conversations? Come to my ‘successful difficult conversations’ training day and learn:

  • How to make sure your message is heard
    (you know what it’s like when someone walks away having ‘heard’ something else!)
  • Avoiding the biggest mistake that we see at least 50% of school leaders make
    (and we’re being kind when we say 50% :/ )
  • How to keep your conversation on track
    (and not let those ‘diversion demons’ get the better of you)
  • How to get the party started
    (with confidence and kindness)

Visit: https://ukheadsup.com/events/successful-difficult-conversations-training-day/ For information including next available dates.