Topic

3.2 Horizon Scanning (MARCH 22)

The final part of this section is all about looking at what other schools or organisations are doing, to try to help spark ideas about what you might do in your sphere of influence.

Horizon scanning is a real skill and it’s hard to do well, particularly when we are so immersed in the day to day running of a school. 

Why is it so important?

We want to seek out ‘best practice’ as well as ‘next practice’

‘Best practice’ because a) we don’t want to reinvent the wheel and b) because we constantly want to benchmark ourselves against the best in the world. 

We are asking ourselves questions like: in which schools anywhere in the world are children creating the most extraordinary work? What is the most impactful reading programme for dyslexic students? How does 

‘Next practice’ because we want to be inspired, challenged, stimulated by what we find across the world – in education and beyond – so that we might gain fresh insights into how to push the boundaries of our practice. Next practice after all often builds on best practice. Rarely does it come from nowhere. 

What is horizon scanning? 

It is about:

  • Lifting our sights and scouring the world for insights, case studies, 
  • Getting good at following trails – one source or website, or reference in a bibliography leading to another until you have tracked down something meaningful. 
  • Sorting the hype from the reality – what looks good but may not work, what has depth and rigour
  • Synthesising lots of material into coherent themes and avenues to explore. 

The toolkit of the horizon scanner involves a big dose of curiosity, a journalist’s eye for the real story, a tenacity particularly when you reach a dead-end or something doesn’t appear as useful as it first appears. It is about asking contacts straight up: what books, articles, schools, experiences, do you recommend and then noting them down somewhere.

It is difficult to do, especially in a busy school, but it is definitely worth it! There are almost 25,000 schools in the UK alone, so there must be some good ideas out there! If we factor in other organisations which we can learn from, as well as schools and organisations abroad, we are sure to find some great ideas!

The task:

Please do some research! Have a look online and see if you can find any school or organisation which is doing great things to help staff wellbeing. When you have found a good article, please post the link and a very short summary in the community forum: here.

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