When instigating change in any organisation you will invariably run up against objections, obstacles and problems. Recognise that anxiety about change is normal. It is important that you allow your staff to the opportunity to express any fears or concerns they may have about the change ahead. Give yourself every chance to anticipate what you might bump up against as you lead staff on a journey of change. Identify in advance how you will respond to objections, obstacles and problems – or to work out how you can avoid them in the first place.
To help you in this process, here is a short exercise you can complete prior to introducing staff to the EEF guidance.
Make a list of all the changes you would ideally like to see happening in your school over the next 12-18 months, based on what you have looked at in this course and on the EEF report. You could use the visioning exercise from Unit Two.
Make a second list, this time covering all the different people in school who these changes will effect.
Work through each change you listed and consider what possible objections might be raised against these by different groups of staff. Make a note of these and feel free to be as detailed as you like.
Go through each objection you have identified and note down a positive response you could offer – one which will answer the objection while quelling the concern of the objector and painting a positive view of the future.
Repeat the process for obstacles and problems. In the latter case, you will need to think about structural features of the school that might create problems as well. For example, the nature of the timetable or the structure of existing contracts.
Take a few minutes to read through everything you have produced. Rehearse your responses – either in your mind or verbally. Doing this helps to embed them in your memory.
Develop a positive narrative of change you can use when first introducing the EEF guidance to your staff. This will help you to set the scene in an upbeat manner from the very beginning.