Maximise your teaching talent pool with systematic succession planning

Comment by DENISE INWOOD, managing director of BlueSky, creators of BlueSky Education

The current teacher shortage crisis means that it is more important than ever before that schools have the right processes in place to help them identify, retain and promote their best teachers. Education charities warned recently that England’s schools could need an extra 19,000 senior teachers by 2022 – which makes systematic succession planning absolutely vital. Succession planning supports the stability and tenure of key teachers,

allowing for their development and advancement, while also helping schools to secure their future success by making provision for the replacement of key staff in the future. Just imagine returning from the Christmas break to be faced with the news that a key member of the senior leadership team wants to leave at Easter– who would fill that gap? Succession planning is something that many schools don’t plan in a systematic way – yet if all the right policies and processes are in place it will be a huge help in creating an environment where staff are more likely to want to stay and progress. As a starting point, leaders have to be certain about which staff they need

to retain. This means having secure evidence about all staff performance and potential and being clear about the value they add to the organisation i.e. in relation to classroom performance/pedagogy; leadership; their behaviour as a role model for others and impact in their role. Succession planning involves going a stage further and ‘talent-spotting’

those staff members you want to retain in order to fill existing or planned posts or to drive particular improvement priorities. There’s a strong link between the good practices that should be in place to

support staff retention and those which will help with succession planning. In essence, both require that school leaders know the skill set they are looking for and then identify the people who show very promising signs of being able to develop and master that skill set. Implicit in this is that schools establish development programmes which

provide opportunities for aspiring middle and senior leaders to develop those skill sets. It is essential that these programmes support staff to be innovative in their practice and able to develop ‘next’ practice. These programmes also help embed the ‘management’ qualities teachers will need to be successful in their new roles. Alongside such structured programmes, it’s also important that a range of

personalised professional learning is available to support staff development – that could include coaching, bespoke continuous professional learning or best practice visits, for example. Another successful approach is to allow those teachers who you believe

show promise to lead collaborative action research projects on best/next practice in their field. This will give them a valuable opportunity to develop and demonstrate their leadership qualities. It is also helpful to remove barriers to staff development or work as far as

you can – for example, providing clarity over marking to help reduce the burden of it. And give time for development where possible…some staff may appreciate time over money! Balancing a demanding work environment with a personal life is challenging. That energetic and enthusiastic NQT you employed seven years ago may now have a house, a partner and several children of her/his own, making increasing demands on their time and energy. A small gesture such as one late-start morning or similar could make all the difference to their work/life balance and the time that they have to devote to their career. It’s not enough to recruit a good teacher and consider it job done. There’s

a continual job to do in ensuring they don’t leave for want of opportunities, feedback or reward.

December 2016

Live streaming – what are the risks?

Comment by MARK BENTLEY, London Grid for Learning

As livestreams become part of the mainstream, are we at risk of being swept away by the current? From Periscope to Facebook Live to, we can all be our own 24-hour news channel. But what are the risks attached? To many of us digital dinosaurs, the attraction of broadcasting

ourselves live on social media is difficult to grasp. However along with selfies, vlogging and chasing Pokémon around in public, live streaming is increasingly popular amongst young people. Similar to apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, live streaming allows users to share their day- to-day lives with friends and fans online, as well as like and rate the experiences of others. Live streaming apps that we should be aware of are apps such as

Facebook Live, Periscope and, released in 2016 by is a social media platform for creating, sharing and

discovering short music videos. Every day, millions of people use as an outlet to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy and lip-syncing. The risks associated are that even when pupils use the site responsibly themselves and share footage only with ‘friends’, there is still a chance of them accessing inappropriate content posted by others. contains dozens of song categories and content to choose from, not all of which are child friendly. and Facebook Live both support a live streaming function.

Users can tap “Go Live” to begin broadcasting themselves online. In your videos go directly to friends and fans who can comment and post animated stickers on broadcasts. As with the internet and other social media apps another risk associated with live streaming is the potential for young people to access inappropriate content. doesn’t support filtering or monitoring and there is always the chance of a young person seeing or hearing something unsuitable. Privacy is another important consideration. We should always

encourage pupils to be aware of what they are posting online, and broadcasting live is no different. It's important for both teachers and parents to advise children that they consider what personal information they may be sharing either in the video or their profile before sharing content publicly. For those still anxious here are some top tips you can use to help your

pupils consider the risks of live streaming: Remember, always consider who may be watching when you go live. • As with any online platform which allows users to post comments or leave likes, live streaming can be a gateway for cyber-bullying. Whilst we shouldn’t let bullies dictate our behaviour it’s important to talk to our students and create a space where they can safely share any concerns.

• Children generally broadcast from their bedrooms where it’s often easy for viewers to pick up personal information. Features such as Facebook Live have privacy settings allowing only users friends to view their content. Spend some time ensuring students know how to use these settings.

• Moreover, if a student has 1,000 friends on Facebook it’s likely these aren’t all people they actually know. Encourage them to look at who their followers actually are.

• Geo-tagging, used by both Periscope and, is another risk factor pupils often don’t consider. Help children find and learn how to disable location services for the apps in their phone settings. We mustn’t forget that there is plenty of fun to be had – and things

to be learned – from live streaming, but as so often in the world of online safety, caution and awareness are key. 17

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