Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Trenches, in and out

This evening was one of my most yearned for. It was the evening after the education audit of our school ending. Ever since my interview in January last year, the audit has loomed larger and larger in its monstrosity. I don't want to know how much sleep has been lost in the lead-in to it.

When I joined, I knew I was taking over a Category 1 school, the highest tier of schools. But immediately after joining a few things became obvious. The school had been bought and moved from the South Island with no legacy staff. There were barely any paper documents, just a memory stick of 30 files; simply put, we didn't have any real knowledge about the things which made it was a great school in the past. It was as if almost everything of value had been stripped. So the school was just made from what I knew and what I learned from others. It was largely made in my own image.

Between the start and now have been innumerable developments, setbacks, challenges and surprises but the last two weeks take the cake as "hard yakka". And it was good to be working alongside the executive team who were also putting in the painful hard yards right to the end. I could see them more as people and less like distant agents controlling my fate.

The auditors left early this afternoon but the result will still be weeks away. Before leaving they gave verbal feedback and it sounded quite positive: Many of the last things that we put time into paid dividends. Many of our choices I made early on as well as in the last two weeks were noted.

The odds are now on my chief mission, to retain our category 1 status, being achieved. It's quite a relief. I'm going to sleep well tonight.

1 comment:

James said...

This reminded me of university study involving the theory of the firm and where its boundaries are. I wonder what the people thought when they were buying the Category 1 school from the South Island. I haven't had any experience of running an education business, but I expect that much of the value is created by the teachers who work there. If they are not coming over with the business purchase, then that is a lot of value walking out of the door.

I would accept there is also value in the teaching methodologies and strategies which may be on that memory stick of 30 files. You would still need to read through that and implement it as you understood it.

It sounds like you have made choices independently of what the South Island school did before and it has turned out well. Perhaps this is evidence that you could build up a Category 1 school from scratch!