Reap the rewards of networking!
In my experience building networks and collaboration as a new leader should be on your ‘to do’ list from the start.
It’s important to build networks to provide that support when you need it; ask questions of others and learn from others’ experiences, whether this is through social media or in person.
The right kind of networking and collaboration can contribute hugely to workplace practices.
When in post as a head teacher, collaboration with other schools, both locally, nationally, and more widely overseas, enabled us to view first-hand the work of other schools.
This contributed to our understanding of the issues faced by others which we may have not had experience of and encouraged us to consider different ways of working to improve our practice.
One of the best uses of an INSET day was when I sent out staff (in pairs and small groups) to visit other schools, both locally and further away.
Staff visited both state and independent schools and had a remit for visiting, for example: looking at the wider curriculum; early years provision; behaviour management; well-being practices; specific subject areas and other school priority areas, such as progress in writing or maths.
Afterwards, during the next staff meeting, findings were shared and discussed. We talked about the things we had seen that we felt could be advantageous to our school and how these could be adapted to suit our particular needs.
The CPD was free, staff enjoyed seeing other settings and built collaborations along the way, and we were able to see different ways of working previously not considered by us, enabling us to select all the best that we saw.
It also built great partnerships, visits were reciprocated and most importantly, everyone was involved.
So, remember, build networks and collaboration.
See what others are doing and share your own good practices and create, build and lead your own supportive and collaborative groups.
The best support is out there - it is each other!