Wendy Hick: “Our main focus was not to look at what was going wrong, but first to look at what was going right.” Photo: Stefano Cagnoni
Wendy Hick, head teacher at Cranmer Primary School in Mitcham, south London, gave an inspiring talk to delegates about how real staff engagement and a positive, reflective approach can turn struggling organisations around surprisingly quickly.
Hick helped her previous school, Manorfield Primary in Tower Hamlets, escape from special measures and achieve an “outstanding” rating from Ofsted in less than eighteen months.
“Normally, people go in and take a troubleshooting approach, they look to get a quick fix,” Hick told delegates. “I took a very different and more considered approach. I thought what am I going to do to raise the morale of the staff at this school?”
“Our main focus was not to look at what was going wrong, but first to look at what was going right,” she explained. “I think that was the crux that really changed their perception of me as a leader, and of the approach that I was going to take. I could immediately see it from their body language.
“It’s fair to say Ofsted and the local authority were surprised by my approach,” she recalled. “But when they started to see the impact it was having – and quite quickly – they turned their views around. And they’re now starting to use that approach in a lot of other schools.”