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5 ways to make your staff induction processes more effective

  • 5 ways to make your staff induction processes more effective

BlueSky’s Denise Inwood highlights the steps schools can take to ensure that new staff are able to hit the ground running…

The most valuable asset of a school is its staff. Getting inductions right will ensure that staff are confident in their practice, effective in their performance and impact on learners as rapidly and positively as possible.

Most schools will have a documented staff induction process, but managing and quality assuring this can be challenging, and will often involve co-ordinating many contributors. A clear programme and method of documenting the process will help to establish consistency in the quality of experience, and aid the transition from induction to regular management of staff performance.

1 Introducing the organisation or role
It is easy to overwhelm new staff with a mass of information covering general school information, policies, procedures and expectations. A staff handbook can be helpful, but it’s important that individuals can digest and understand this information in the context of their role – something that can be made easier through a staged approach to induction.

This involves personalising and introducing information that’s sorted in a priority order depending on the role, or signposted in relation to the core expectations of that role. Reviewing this in group sessions or progress meetings will provide assurance that any critical information has been understood.

2 Mentoring and coaching
The induction mentor’s role is critical. Appointing a nominated colleague with whom regular contact is possible will mean that any questions and issues can be addressed quickly and without fear of judgement. Establishing a clear expectation of this role and providing necessary training will ensure consistency, and mean that any concerns can be addressed as soon as they arise.

3 Agreeing performance targets and identifying learning needs
With this support and a baseline review in place, you will be able to agree appropriate professional objectives or targets and identify any immediate professional learning needs for new staff.

Whether the completion of these objectives is within a defined induction period or over a year, the success criteria should be precisely identified and documented to allow rigorous monitoring through an agreed evaluation process.

4 Personalised professional learning
A structured induction programme that includes regular reviews with the mentor or coach will provide opportunities to review the impact of initial professional learning and plan further personalised CPD activities to meet the new colleague’s needs.

This approach will also ensure effective induction into the school’s professional learning programme and philosophy, and communicate expectations about measuring the impact of CPD on practice and outcomes.

5 Monitoring of performance
The monitoring of individual staff performance should follow the school’s usual procedures for performance management, with the additional support of the induction mentor or coach. Together, these processes should ensure that any concerns are identified and addressed early on, and that strengths are recognised and maximised.

It is important to have a systematic quality assurance process in place to track the impact of the induction process. This self-evaluation is usually overseen by a senior leader and will involve staff who mentor, coach and line manage new staff, as well as the staff members themselves.

Denise Inwood is a former assistant head teacher and managing director of BlueSky, creator of the BlueSky Education performance management, professional learning and self-evaluation solution for schools. For more details, contact 01483 880 004 or visit blueskyeducation.co.uk

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