Case Study: JRL Heatherlands School
A Very Forward Looking School
A Dorset based, 3 form entry maintained community primary school was not prepared to rest on their laurels. Their forward thinking Headteacher, alongside the Governing Body, recognised that staff development is essential to the process of continuing improvement.
Jenny Lamski of JRL Coaching & Consulting was referred into the School by one of the JRL Associates, Mandy Fitzmaurice from Purple HR in Nov 14.
To start the programme Jenny, the Headteacher and Deputy Head established what good performance and great performance meant to the School and its team. Jenny created a performance chart for teachers and one for the Senior Leadership Team.
Initially two teachers were selected to undertake a pilot coaching programme. Jenny met up with each coachee. Firstly, they established what they were doing well and what they wanted to achieve. Then with the Headteacher, Jenny and the coachees identified which skills each of them would benefit from developing, to further enhance their performance.
Jenny worked with the two staff members in total confidence. Targets were set, with measurable objectives, over an appropriate timeframe. Jenny coached the staff, guiding them to establish their own solutions and goals.
This proved so successful that a coaching programme was rolled out more broadly with 83% of the teaching staff going through this process. Given the broad base of experience, not all coachees had the same requirements. Areas covered included: career planning, establishing routines that work, time management, learning styles, non-verbal communication, building stronger relationships, developing professional and personal mindsets, living the school values, being more positive, conflict management, managing class behaviour, building self-esteem and confidence.
These coaching programmes made a positive contribution to the wider school with a coachee claiming that her programme was “bringing back the passion into teaching”.
The School continue to use Jenny for coaching existing staff and on-boarding new members of staff so they settle in faster.
Several staff have been internally promoted and are making a wider contribution to the school’s success. This has also helped with retention and has saved on recruitment costs. The market for good quality of teachers has become far competitive in recent years; the Headteacher believes that being able to offer appointees an independent coach makes the school stand out from the others.
In the last few months, the school has become a National Support School and the Headteacher a National Leader of Education. This means that the Headteacher and the staff within the school share their knowledge and experience with other schools.
The staff are experiencing more fulfilling careers, sharing best practice with others. Overall performance has greatly improved from good to excellent. Staff retention is a positive by product of this coaching programme.
Heatherlands is one of the highest performing schools in Poole and has topped the Key Stage 2 Performance tables on a number of measures in each of the last two years.
“Coaching & Mentoring with Jenny, has given me the confidence to achieve my goals this year, and as a result I feel ready to take on the promotion I have been offered in my job. This year I joined as a new teacher, and have now been promoted to Year Leader and Phase Leader. The sessions provided me with the opportunities to reflect on my career and helped to develop my self-belief, assertiveness and time management skills. Thank you, Jenny.” Newly qualified teacher
“I have enjoyed these sessions but more importantly found them very useful in terms of clarifying my key responsibilities and actions. I felt that the level of challenge and need for clarity was strong and elevated the coaching to something which the key themes/tools can be implemented practically. I felt Jenny was also very supportive and was able to offer a level of reassurance from an impartial viewpoint.” Established teacher
“As a result of the sessions I undertook with Jenny, I now have a greater understanding of my new role as Assistant Headteacher. I understand myself better and am more aware of the way I need to communicate with others. The tasks I was given helped me to reflect on what I could already do, but made my role clearer and more defined, whilst preparing me to transition into senior leadership.” Assistant Headteacher
As a growing school, we were keen to use the coaching model as a strategy for personal and professional growth for members of our school teaching and leadership teams.
Jenny was able to provide bespoke support for individuals which both challenged personal perceptions and provided the support to help them to reflect upon their own professional pathways.
In a short space of time Jenny has been able to have real impact which has seen positive outcomes for all those involving in her coaching programme. Some of these outcomes have included the building of self-confidence and belief and opportunities for self-evaluation and reflection. On boarding for new colleagues was particularly beneficial in terms of getting the most out of people and making them quickly feel part of the team.
Throughout this process Jenny has provided a professional outlet for effective dialogue to enable all those involved to open -up and overcome identified barriers. This approach has not only enabled professional self-improvement but has provided wider impact in terms of professional relationships and whole school practice.
Christian Malone (LLE)
Heatherlands Primary School
Library Road, Poole, BH12 2BG