While teams in each of these areas share a collective goal that unites these teams, they each face unique pain points, challenges and priorities. Often this risks pulling them in conflicting, and even opposing directions.
We saw this in the Education Horizons Group’s 2021 annual survey of teachers, school leaders and administrators, compiled from over 1,000 respondents from more than 590 schools (56% independent) from every state and territory in Australia.
Teachers and school leaders
The top priority for teachers (57%) and school leaders (54%) was ‘consistently embedding best-practice pedagogy across the school’ (57%) and ‘improving workflow to reduce workload’ (42%).
School management and administration
School Management and administration staff, however, identified ‘Improving school facilities and asset management’ (46%) and ‘streamlining administrative tasks’ (62%) as their greatest priorities.
While it seems only natural that different school areas will have different areas of concern, it does illustrate that schools battle with competing goals, and to use the metaphor of a machine, hints that not all parts are working together to function like a well-oiled machine.
Recently we asked schools about their ideal school system. Most schools want to have a single integrated system that acts as the single source of truth for all their data. Interestingly, this research showed that schools are instead implementing additional systems with functionality that overlaps that of their existing systems – or in other words – doing the exact opposite of what they aspire to do. The average number of integrated systems a school uses increases as its student numbers increase, often causing friction for others and creating more overlaps, more double-handling and ironically, more time wasted. For example, a school with 1,200 students can have as many as 12 or more different software systems in place to address the various role needs and requirements. The graph below highlights the issue.