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Department Underachievement KEYNOTE 6 th Form Conference June 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Department Underachievement KEYNOTE 6 th Form Conference June 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Department Underachievement KEYNOTE 6 th Form Conference June 2011

2 On a Post-it note, write down what you would look for to characterise a department as ‘underachieving’ Then think…As a manager, how would you become aware of these characteristics? Post-it exercise

3 Plan for this session Explore reasons why departments underachieve Look at scenarios of underachieving departments Discuss practical strategies to manage the change and lead a turn around to achievement

4 Characteristics of an ‘underachieving’ department Poor results –raw results; pass rates, high grades, success rates, retention, value added, comparison to college and national averages… Low grading in Self-assessment or internal quality review processes Poor student satisfaction surveys, learner feedback, student complaints Complaints from parents Complaints from staff within the department

5 UNDERACHIEVER! Must Try Harder

6 What is the economy of a college? IT’S THE RESULTS

7 The easiest way to turn a department around? Change the staffing… …BUT you didn’t come here today to hear that! MAGIC

8 Scenarios – What would you do? 1. New College has a brilliant Art department. The design department has very poor results and low morale amongst staff and students. 2. New College has a Media department with a variety of courses on offer. They have dedicated staff but a disinterested HOD. 3. The Arabic department has an inspirational HOD but is not getting high grade results 4. A new HOD is appointed for English in a ‘traditional’ department with average results. N.B. All Scenarios are fictional

9 Scenario 1: The Design Department There is clearly expertise within the college – utilise this Change the Design syllabus to the same specification as the Art one Ask the HOD Art to mentor HOD Design through changes to course Upward spiral… better results, increase in satisfaction, higher staff and student morale, increase in results…

10 "If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings, you almost don't have to manage them” — Jack Welch

11 Scenario 2: Media Department Look at the course offer. Rationalise and strip out the ‘dead wood’ If possible create ‘pathway leaders’ (small off-spine payment?) for AS/A2 Media, Film and BTEC Manage the HOD – competency? Action plan, attend department meetings yourself, clear focus on looking ahead – moderation, shared resources, coursework, resources

12 "I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be traced to how well the organisation brings out the energies and talents of its people" — Thomas J. Watson, Jr. A Business and its Beliefs (1963)

13 Scenario 3: Arabic department Are high grades the only issue? There is probably low value added too Look at other Arabic departments/results Internal Quality Review Inspirational in the classroom, but what is the student survey saying about other issues? ‘Scaffolding’ – benchmark assessments; joined up process of assessment and feedback

14 Scaffolding – Benchmark Assessments

15 Don't equate activity with efficiency — Harvey Mackay

16 Scenario 4: English Department New enthusiastic HOD = opportunity for change ‘Traditional’ department, wary of change Pace yourself! It won’t happen in 1 day Choose your battles Play to their strengths Evidence based approach External training… tension/change is not then coming from the HOD

17 "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig." — Paul Dickson

18 In a nutshell… 1. Change specification Existing HOD mentoring 2. Actively manage HOD Review course provision Invest in existing staff 3. Dig deeper Put scaffolding around department 4. Pace the change Evidence based External training

19 One-size does not fit all Massive amount of variables involved in why there is underachievement Dealing with people at every step Hard headed management approach Vs shepherding, guidance, encouragement Evidence based approach Need for clear actions and targets Set high expectations and use the Professional Review, Internal Quality Review and Self assessment processes at every stage

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