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The impact of open communication

06 June 2018
Parents and friends of the school will know how much of a priority improved communication has been for the leadership team at Wellington this year. Regular, timely feedback and news to our community has helped to develop a stronger identity and clarified the goals for the school as we strive for all-round excellence as an institution.

Julian Jeffrey

Master

As the school year draws to a close, I wanted to share some data produced by my tireless PA, Emma Shi. She has been at the forefront of our campaign for improving communication, and as such she is well placed to offer her analysis of the measures we have taken over the past three terms.   A year in numbers: 320 events explicitly for parents, including Meet the Master / Bursar; briefings; lectures; and of course, WCA events; 180 the number of days the school is open to pupils in a year; 42 Meet the Master (MTM) and Meet the Bursar (MTB) sessions; 27 Most questions asked by parents in one MTM session (24th August 2017); 500+ questions asked this year in MTM sessions alone; 289 individual parent attendances at the MTM and MTB sessions; 37 highest number of attendees at a single MTM session (19th April 2018); 1 Full survey of parents; 7 Pupil surveys; 32 Parent briefings and lectures; 4 number of working days it takes Emma to publish the minutes of each MTM session to all parents.   The impact of this drive to improve the flow of information from school to our community is twofold. The first, the more obvious, is that parents and educators understand more about one another’s priorities and anxieties. From my own perspective, the ability to give swift, unambiguous feedback is a great way to allay the fears of our parents and pupils, and I hope that those who come to our meetings leave them feeling more informed and reassured about the school. Communicating the weekly action points and their resolution within 4 working days, when an immediate answer is not always possible, has also helped to smooth potential problems.     The second benefit, perhaps more intangible, is the positive impact such open communication has on pupils and their progress. Helping to identify issues early, through improved dialogue, speeds up the changes we can make in school to the experience of our pupils. Some measures can be put in place at once, whilst others may need a little more time, but the message is always the same: everything we do by working collaboratively is done to make the lives and academic prospects of your children better. “ I wanted to take this chance to thank all those parents who have given their time and energy this year to engaging so positively with the school. I hope you feel that the school has responded constructively, and that you and your child have seen a difference at Wellington. As political leaders around the world continue to discover, Winston Churchill’s famous line about “meeting jaw to jaw is better than war” has never seemed more appropriate: establishing a genuinely open dialogue is essential in making progress. The school leadership team and all our colleagues are committed to improving the school’s provision for its pupils and wider community, and as a part of that, exchanging open ideas and suggestions with our parents lies at the heart of our journey to excellence.” Next year, I hope to beat the numbers Emma provided above. I want us to be a school that listens, however critical or supportive the messages may be, so I will end with this plea to all our community for 2018/19. If you have any questions or concerns, or are simply curious about what is happening in school, please be proactive and open in letting us know. In this way, we all share in the ever-growing success of each and every child in our school.