Skip to main content

Standard Operating Procedures versus flexibility

Headteacher's secretary door QR code

Last week I became an associate member of our school’s senior leadership team.  More on that later.  During the interview, we got talking about the idea of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).  A definition of which is:

image

The discussion started with the idea that practitioners in ‘high risk’ jobs, where deviating from the SOP may result in death, they are followed.  A good example are checklists when flying an aircraft – the checklist approach ensures that vital steps aren’t missed.

SOPs are attractive to schools.  For example, taking the register, greeting students, filling out a lesson planning preforma, dealing with positive and poor behaviour, the three part lesson, the mini plenary…... 

The problem is, where is the room for serendipity?

My view is that SOPs and a flexible approach coexist.

I’ll give an example from when I flew Bulldog aircraft with Bristol University Air Squadron.  The checklist changed and a vital step was missed from the update.  A step that would result in engine failure during aerobatics and likely end in the aircraft cashing.  The checklist was quickly updated, but what happened in the air?  As highly trained professionals, we spotted the error and adapted. 

My point?  We do need SOPs in school in order to set expectations and encourage greater consistency, however as highly trained professionals, we are able to think outside the box.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of