How to build a positive school culture
There may be a teacher shortage at the moment, but a school shortage there is not. The ratio is far from balanced, meaning that, for every highly-skilled teacher, there’s a whole heap of schools trying to get their attention.
The task every school is faced with is identifying the positive factors that differentiate it from others – its USPs, essentially – and shouting about them from the rooftops. And there’s one thing you can guarantee will set your school apart from the rest: your culture.
Crafting, building and maintaining an outstanding school culture will help you to attract candidates, keep staff and pupils motivated, and retain top talent. So, if you feel your school culture is somewhat lacking, here are some tips to pick it up:
Foster positive relationships
Respect earns respect, trust earns trust – we could go on. The point we’re trying to make is that if staff strive to build quality relationships with pupils, those pupils will feel valued, work harder and behave better towards staff. Create a culture with care and kindness at its core, and your school will be a positive, welcoming and rewarding place in which to work and study.
Make your school’s culture visible
Does your school visibly embody and promote your culture? If someone were to visit would they see and feel your culture the moment they set foot in the door? Some ideas for how culture can be visually represented include:
- Displaying photos of staff and pupils on walls – for instance, from recent school trips or events like sports days
- Showcasing the work of students, including individual and group projects and work that’s achieved external recognition
- Sharing your school’s mission statement/core values, supported with quotes from leading members of staff. Displaying this publicly will reinforce the message among staff and pupils, too
In this digital age, building your school’s brand online is just as important. For instance, with our School Recruiter software you can customise your career site so that it conveys your school’s unique culture, values and key benefits.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
We all like to be kept in-the-loop. If there’s a breakdown in communication between you and your ‘community’ (your staff, students and parents), this can breed distrust and uncertainty, which will hamper your culture. This is why communicating well, and often, is key.
From meetings and assemblies, to newsletters and social media, there’s a plethora of methods and channels you can utilise to ensure your community is kept well-informed. As well as sharing news and developments about your school, seek your community’s opinions on key decisions and share their news. It’s actions like these that will allow you to build a culture of transparency and inclusivity – and a community people yearn to be part of.
Recognise and celebrate
Let’s be honest: we all want to be appreciated and recognised for the hard work we do. You should strive to make your culture one that celebrates the success of your school, your staff and all of your pupils.
From mini goals to major milestones, think of ways you can recognise and celebrate the people making your school what it is today. This might involve an assembly mention or phone call home if a student excels at their work, or a written acknowledgement in the newsletter or Facebook post if a teacher has really made a difference.
No positive word or action will go unnoticed. Celebrate brilliant people doing great things, and you’ll inspire good behaviour among pupils, motivate teachers, and demonstrate that you’re a school that puts its people first.
Workplace culture is becoming an increasingly important consideration for candidates across all industries, and the education sector is no different. Build a brilliant culture, and work hard to maintain it, and your school is guaranteed to excel.