Building Vision in Schools

What is a vision?

Usually, when we think of a vision, we think of strategic plans and documents that outline the purpose and priorities for different organisations. In simple terms, a vision is the ultimate goal – where do you hope to be in the future?

For a school, or an educational setting, the vision is something that should be reflected within the values and school improvement objectives. So, if a school is looking to become more digitally focussed and is wanting to place an emphasis on personalised learning, this should be outlined accordingly in the school improvement plan with a clear pathway of how they aim to get there. By outlining what the school is trying to achieve, all of the stakeholders – teachers, students and the wider community can work together towards a common goal.

The vision should act as a natural checkpoint and should clearly provide the rationale every step of the way as the school grows and evolves towards a better future. A well written vision statement will guide schools through tough decision-making processes as it will have direct impact and influence on the policies and resources that are put in place.

Who should be involved in creating a school’s vision and how can it be supported?

When building a school vision, or trying to support a school in their journey towards a vision, it’s vitally important to get involved as early as you can in the process! Get involved and start to listen to all of the key stakeholders and begin to understand views from different people’s perspectives. That’s not just the leaders, but the school business managers, IT manager, teaching and support staff, the students, governors, trustees, the board, whoever it is in that community that needs to have a voice.

Don’t underestimate how important it is to build relationships and make everyone feel a part of the process! Teaching staff and support staff are a vital part of the jigsaw. Making sure they have a voice will ensure they are a part of the journey from the start and will ensure ‘buy in’ as opposed to them feeling like they are having something done to them at a later point of the process. This can only help to harness and improve the culture within the organisation and can really build a shared understanding which will shine through all aspects of school life.

For me, the vision and focus should be around teaching and learning – how can we improve and raise standards, how can we make learning more personalised for our students and how do we make our students love and want to learn?

Once you’ve listened to others’ thoughts – do not be afraid to ask tricky questions! Being a critical friend and asking questions will help to strengthen that understanding and will allow you to focus on the important things that really matter.