I’ve taught in, managed and supported high performing, middling and schools in crisis. The difference between these categories, I always believed was the time and space they had to think their way forward.
I believe that all schools have the resources internally to be autonomously improving. However, the more under pressure they feel, the less time is given to planning and self-development. At its worst, staff tend to stop thinking and working collaboratively and focus instead on doing things that they feel will preserve their own self-interest and mental well-being.
It is at times like this that phrases like ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ come to the fore and it is symptomatic of an organisation that has lost momentum and direction. Always challenge people who use the phrase so that they are able to reflect on their standpoint and rejoin in developing an improving culture.