We were delighted to welcome four senior leaders from schools with recent experience of our Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance scheme to talk about the impact of the virtual visits from their own perspectives.
Cam Maunder (Rong Qiao Sedbergh School in China), Barna Barath (Real School, Budapest), Simon Crane (Brighton College, Dubai) and Sarah Shuttleworth (Rugby School, Thailand) all shared their views on what was described as a “friendly and constructive process”.
We were also joined by Jennifer Bray, a COBIS Board member and experienced Lead Improvement Partner (LIP) to give her “top tips” for a successful visit (whether physical or virtual).
Unsurprisingly for a scheme which was developed after consultation with our member schools, the importance of building relationships with the LIP (and team) was highlighted time and again. The panellists encouraged schools to be prepared for hard work, but emphasised that this, combined with an honest approach, would result in huge benefits to the staff and school.
The scheme was described as a “lever for change” and certainly resulted in more credibility and focus, all participants agreed. In contrast to some inspection schemes, it brought a welcome “morale boost to staff”.
Tips on how to get the most out of the process ranged from the practical – set up an internal Google Drive, form a team to work on the evidence and plan a technical run through in advice – through to communications suggestions such as taking the time to explain what COBIS represents to the whole school community before the visit takes place.
Jennifer ended the session with some advice about the importance of preparation - and joked that anyone based in the UK needs to be ready for early starts when working with a school in Asia or the Middle East!