Walking the talk

by Pip Wells

Report overview

Pip Wells started as principal at Tasman School in the last term of 2007 after six years working as an adviser with School Support Services. She decided it was time to put the theory into practice and walk the talk and so went back to being part of a school community again.

In her project report Pip describes how she managed her key priorities as the new principal: forming positive relationships with the community, focusing on learning, and building a strong professional team.

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might guide you in your reading of this report:

Like Pip Wells many principals are new to their school. If you are in this situation do some analysis of your school before you introduce changes.

  • What are its current strengths?
  • Where do opportunities for improvement lie?
  • Who are your key allies?
  • Where do you need to build trust?
  • What are your strengths and what skills do you need to build?
  • What area will you focus on first?

Pip Wells took a particular curriculum focus to achieve broader improvements. The reasons for this were that:

  • students’ achievement levels in the area were low
  • music had been identified by parents as an area in which they wanted to see improvements
  • Pip herself had some expertise in the area.

Which area in your school provides the best focus for working on school improvement. What reasons do you have focusing on this aspect? What advantages do you have as a school to meet the challenges of improving this area?
As a result of her experience Pip suggests three questions that you could use to inquire into your focus area as you continue the cycle of review.

  • What have we learnt?
  • How do we know?
  • What do we need to do next?

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