Resilience

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With recruitment getting harder and harder, it seems inevitable that retention of the staff that you already have becomes more important.
So how do you start a conversation about well-being and resilience when there is so little time?


This was the challenge that Values-based Education (VbE) addressed with The Resilience Survey.
We wanted to create a tool that was quick, effective and started that conversation with some summary judgements about the collective well-being of a school.
Rather than saying, ‘Are you resilient?’ (the answers being limited to, ‘yes’ or ‘no’) we have broken down the concept of Resilience into twelve finer aspects.
This allows for a much deeper discussion and acts as a more accurate and precise way to create a debate, to identify possible pinch points and to allow the staff to feel listened to and heard.
It is crucial that the survey is not an arbitrary exercise that is vacuous in its impact. We wanted the VbE Resilience Survey to really allow for the staff voice to be heard around this most important of topics and themes.

 

Let me share just three of the twelve aspects here with you.ACE Card

They spell out the word ACE as an ace in a pack of cards is sometimes the trump card, the most powerful card, and this tool is powerful.


After reading their report, a headteacher of one of our Resilience Survey schools simply said,

‘Wow, that’s my school. You’ve captured my school!’

 

We had been able to offer them a framework to explore the topic of resilience under the headings of Adaptability, Connection and Empowered (as well as the nine other aspects).

 

People say that the only guarantee in life is that there is going to be change. 
I think that in education, that change is ever-present, but that we can, sometimes inadvertently make the speed of change unsustainable and thus totally unmanageable.Like a pacemaker in a race, we need that pace to be steady rather than accelerate, break, accelerate.

 

Viv Grant, Director of Integrity Coaching, who endorsed the survey, offered us these words:
‘When we can consciously let go of the old and find ways to welcome in the new, change no longer frightens us’.

 

This means that we need to be adaptable, to ‘bend our knees’, to go with the flow.

However, this is difficult to achieve in reality within an environment of ultra-accountability and ever tighter scrutiny, isn’t it?

 

Adaptability is important.

It can be exciting to make changes and also invigorating to make changes.

However, it can also be debilitating when too many changes are made - or even soul destroying when the changes are enforced, rather than discussed.

 

How is your school in managing change?

How good are you at being adaptable to change?

 

The next aspect of our A.C.E. is Connection.

The feeling that there is someone else there to help you carry the burden.

Hopefully we all have people around us to lift us up when we are down, or to be that person to enliven the atmosphere and bring in positivity.


On different days, we play different roles. What is absolute, is that we can’t do it alone.

Resilience is not a sole pursuit. We need to actively build a team of colleagues around us to be there when we need them most.
This takes time and in schools, time is the most precious commodity of all.

 

Angela Browne, Deputy CEO of Castle School Academy offers us this piece of advice:
‘Connection to each other is the vital glue holding us together in our work’.

 

We therefore need to explore how connections are developing in school to avoid any ‘them and us’ situations, or to ensure that no-one feels isolated from being part of the team - or indeed connected to the school’s mission.

 

How connected are you to work colleagues?

Do people sit together in the staffroom at break and lunch?

 

The final letter in our A.C.E. is Empowered.

The idea that we are given some autonomy over what and how we teach.

This is vital to our motivation levels and yet, when we are compared so closely with our year group colleagues, is it all too easy to give up this empowerment and comply to being like everyone else – being one of the flock.

 

Neil Hawkes, founder of VbE offers us this advice.

‘Empowered means that we are given the power to take an action. This power is grounded in responsibility, which implies that our actions will be fair and just without harm to self or others’.



Empowerment is also built on trust and the survey looks to gauge the perception of the staff in terms of the amount of trust that they feel that they are given as a professional in the classroom.

Inadvertently, I believe that many schools are stifling the very staff that they need to perform at the highest levels.
By holding the reins too tightly, the full power of the horse is not harnessed.

 

Wouldn’t it be great to measure this, to gauge this, to have this vital information to act as prompts, cues and signals? 

Well, we believe that you can. We believe that the VbE Resilience Survey offers you a cost-effective mechanism to allow your school to ‘take its resilience pulse’.

Clean, simple-yet-powerful, this survey allows you to start the conversation, to begin talking more openly about resilience, and to have an informed debate about staff well-being.

By doing so, you may well get teachers to feel able to be more adaptable, to be more connected and to be more empowered.


If you could achieve these 3 elements (and the 9 more that are included in the survey) then your school could be a stronger, happier place, and thus a more productive environment overall.


Find out more about how your school can access the VbE Resilience Survey here.

 

David Gumbrell
Co-Creator of the VbE Resilience Survey
Author of LIFT! Going Up if teaching gets you down’.

 

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Values-based Education

Chalk Pit Nursery,
Chalk Pit Lane,
Burnham Bucks
SL1 8WD
United Kingdom  
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