Trafalgar Primary School Principal Viki Miles insight into working with Leading Teams.
Trafalgar Primary School has always enjoyed an excellent reputation within the community and deservedly so, as staff have work hard to provide an educational environment that promotes a wide range of experiences for our children. Our Performing Arts program sees more than 200 of our students engaged in private music/dance or drama lessons. Our extra curricula offerings are extensive and greatly appreciated by our community.
However in 2005 it became clear that while public perception of our school was very high, staff morale was extremely low, our academic results were slipping and there was little direction or vision for our future. With a new principal in place we set about trying to address some of the issues that had arisen through our staff survey. Unfortunately, after 8 months we were faced with a second staff opinion survey that supported the view that staff were still not happy in the work place, and that attempts to change the consultative practices throughout the school were still not perceived as transparent or desirable. In fact our staff survey results had worsened!
Unable to implement the desired change by ourselves, we engaged Leading Teams to work with us. We chose Leading Teams for two major reasons, firstly their vision to improve the capacity of the team as the focus of organisational improvement. Secondly, Leading Teams, while having an understanding of schools and the educational system, offered a completely different approach to anything we had tried previously.
With the support and encouragement of Leading Teams, Trafalgar Primary School began a difficult journey, one that exposed our weaknesses as an educational organisation and challenged us with realities about our own personal contributions towards them.
The simple Team Trademark Framework developed in conjunction with Leading Teams, gave us a tool to begin open discussion about our behaviours, as well as a vehicle to provide feedback about our performance in relation to our team objectives. This feedback process is now ongoing and used both formally and informally at our school.
Leading Teams helped us understand that each individual is accountable to the school as an organisation and to each other as members of team. We now understand how powerful the collective capacity of the team is to improved outcomes for us all.
Though not an easy reality to neither confront nor write about, our work with Leading Teams and our own commitment to the journey it is one that has led us forward, one that has established us as a successful team. Now in our third year of working with Leading Teams, we have Naplan results that see our students above the State mean for all tested areas of the curriculum in both Year 3 and 5, a Parent opinion survey that has improved in almost every element and most staff survey that has improved dramatically in every element.