At a time when most schools are closed and teachers and other staff working remotely, we thought we would share our experiences – we’ve been working remotely for well over a month now and have been able to reflect on and learn from our experiences. Schools have been thrust into remote working and we hope that the Easter holidays will provide time for you to share and adopt some of these ideas! Our last blog looked at ideas for all those working remotely, from creating a personal workspace to socialising online. This one looks at how team leaders can hold things together remotely – a must for heads of department, pastoral leaders and SLT members! 

1. Keep in touch through regular individual video calls

While the focus for the last few weeks has been on continuing education for students, it’s important now to keep checking in with individuals. You can check on their wellbeing and arrange for support if needed, help them identify the priority areas to work on (and stop them doing anything that isn’t important!) and keep them motivated by passing on positive messages and thanks. You can also listen to their questions about the future of the school and either answer them or seeks answers from senior leaders.

And, of course, video calls are infinitely better than email for all ofall these issues.

2. Hold virtual team meetings

When in school, teachers rely on team meetings to get a sense of their overall progress and future direction, as well as changes to school policies and practice. It’s therefore especially important to keep this going while working remotely. Unlike the individual meetings and social events talked about in the previous blog, these should be done formally – with an agreed agenda circulated beforehand.

3. Be a mentor (and allow yourself to be mentored)

There’s no point in trying to do the formal performance management that many schools would routinely do, but there’s a huge need to share new experiences and learn from them. Set aside time to discuss the positive and negative aspects of remote working and identify areas that can be made easier. This is also an excellent time to share new ideas you’ve picked up – but also make sure to ask your team members what innovations they’ve heard about or tried.

4. Record departmental achievements and set goals

Detailed tracking of work is probably not the priority when working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be celebrating what you’ve done that has worked well – perhaps by creating a central file for people to record achievements in different areas. Agreeing practical and realistic goals can also motivate people while reducing the pressure to do ‘everything we used to do at school’.

5. Think about online CPD

As the remote working period lengthens, it may be that some teachers have time to look to future development. Some of this may be essential – for example to support the introduction of new courses, or because they are taking on new responsibilities in September. Work with them to identify online learning opportunities. If none are available, what about arranging remote coaching with a senior leader in your school or one of the many excellent education consultants who are offering this online?

We hope you enjoyed reading our tips to lead your team when working remotely. Remember to sign up to our newsletter to receive other content aimed at improving teaching and learning. 

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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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