Abingdon School

Headmaster of Abingdon School, Michael Windsor commissioned Synergia to hold intensive sessions with his senior leadership team. He believes the sessions help both him and his staff to become more aware of the challenges they already knew existed and it encouraged them to tackle these areas.

He commented: “Firstly, what I liked about these sessions was, it wasn’t just about identifying issues, it also highlighted the positive points. It gave us that extra affirmation that we are doing the right thing, and it was a positive experience.”

Six people from the school benefited from the leadership development and 360 degree appraisal sessions with Clare Barnett from Synergia.

He added: “Everyone took something away from it. It reaffirmed to people things they might have already known or been aware of and it gave them time to reflect on themselves and how people view them in the organisation.

“On the one hand I received lots of positive feedback which was affirming and on the other, there are areas I could do better in and it encouraged me to focus on these more. A good example is that I didn’t always update people on how long decisions would take to be made.”

Michael now ensures he lets people know when they can expect a decision and actively thinks about it in his day-to-day work.

He selected Clare to deliver these sessions because he already had a strong relationship with her. He said: “I met Clare at various conferences a few years ago and I did some one-on-one coaching with her in between headship roles. I wanted to think about what I might do differently. She also facilitated an away day for us so she was already someone we trusted. Clare is very good at reformulating language in a useful way. So we thought she would be great for this task.

“The team here is already very well established and has been for a long time. So of course, there’s always a chance that people get stuck in their ways and don’t embrace new things. So we took on this exercise to make sure we avoid that happening and as a team we reflected on what we currently do and continually try to improve as well as set an example for all staff.

“We’re basing our appraisals on the 360 degree approach Clare did with us and I think everyone has taken something from it individually. I can sense a difference and see the tweaks people are making in reflection of the session.

“I am now working on my communication around decisions. The role of headmaster is so much around communication and it’s been useful to remind me to go back to that and to be aware of it during my day-to-day role.

“It’s also a great process to get good feedback and reaffirmation that I am doing the right thing too, it’s not all about improvement but also positive reinforcement.

“I would recommend Synergia because it was a thorough process and Clare is very discreet. She’s very sensitive to how schools work and has developed an understanding of the culture so she works really well within them.”

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