The School Climate is the collective perception of staff, students and parents of how well a school provides suitable conditions for learning. The climate is an indicator of the current school culture.
The School Culture is the sum total of the behaviours and interactions of students, staff, parents and the wider community, their attitudes, the behaviour norms and the extent to which the school is a safe, supportive, healthy, engaging, inspiring and challenging environment.
A positive school culture is the basis for sustainable learning. When a school is a positive place for students, staff and parents, people are happy to be there, do their best and are committed to making their best even better.
Effective school leadership is like cracking a safe with three combination locks – staff, parents and students. All three groups have an impact on the school’s culture and this is reflected in the climate.
The three groups (staff, students and parents) are interconnected. If one group is unhappy it won’t be long before the others are unhappy. If students are not ‘happy’ then it won’t be long before parents aren’t happy. This then impacts on staff happiness and morale. If staff aren’t happy then this impacts on students as the attitudes of staff are contagious and they are less likely to put in the discretionary effort we rely upon so much in schools.
Let’s have a look at ten indicators of the school climate from the staff perspective.
10 Signs Your School Culture Is Awesome From a Staff Perspective
- The staffroom is abuzz during breaks and most staff conversations are about learning and how we can make things EVEN better!
- The vast majority of staff speak proudly of their school and would have their own children enrolled (if age and geographically appropriate)
- Staff go above and beyond the call of duty without complaining, feeling resentful or keeping score
- Staff are forgiving of leaders when things don’t go perfectly
- Great staff want to stay and aren’t looking for other careers
- Leaders are highly visible, know people’s names and troubleshoot seemlessly
- Staff always feel supported and know school leaders have their backs
- Parents and visitors to the school are greeted by all staff they cross paths with
- The morning vibe is positive and energetic as opposed to cynical and apathetic
- Parental complaints are about minor irritations rather than significant issues
How many of these indicators are evident in your school?
Whilst it is impossible to please all of the people, all of the time, the greatest single factor that impacts on staff morale is leadership.
Whilst I love presenting great professional development to boost staff morale and help staff get more satisfaction from the important work we do in schools, it is vital that the leadership team are aligned, organised and supportive.