The People Management Business

The independent HR and Coaching consultancy enabling excellence in leadership, management and development of people across schools, academies, colleges and the wider public sector

“So long as the roots are not severed then all is well in the garden”

Peter Sellers (Chance) in Being There

This time in the calendar is typically the opportunity to look back over the past year, to reflect and learn, then look forward to assess how best to tackle the challenges in the year ahead. The ancient Romans took inspiration from Janus, their god of; beginnings, gates, transitions, doorways and endings which is a neat metaphor for this season, the bridge between the old and new.

With the start of Spring just around the corner, the annual seasons add another opportunity for a great metaphor. There is an endless encyclopaedia of poetry on the theme of Spring, describing the uplifting experience - the air seemingly fresher, the evenings appreciably lighter and the joy of seeing flora beginning to sprout. Hence our use of the quote from the brilliant film Being There with Peter Sellers as the ‘wise’ but simple gardener, Chance, sagely advising the USA President that “so long as the roots are not severed then all is well in the garden”, referring to the work to clear the ground and check the plants that have survived the winter. This was interpreted by the White House as an insightful analogy for a successful economic strategy (See it here on YouTube)

And that is exactly where good schools and academies will be at this point, looking back and identifying what is working well and holding onto that but being honest in their assessment of what is needed to ensure, using Chance’s words that “the roots are not severed” and that the organisation is prepared for future growth and achievement.

Part of this review will be the mid-year opportunity to assess individual progress towards their appraisal objectives. To help schools ensure this is a successful process for both Appraisee and Appraiser we have produced a simple, one page guidance: Appraisees – Preparing for YOUR Mid-year Review (Appraisal pack). Please download it, use it with your staff and let us know what you think.

At a strategic level, schools and academies will be assessing in-year progress towards larger scale projects and goals so we have provided a very easy to use but very effective SWOT analysis tool with guidance on how and when to use (Managing Change Pack). This tool works especially well when undertaken as part of a team review, possibly the SLT or with your Governors or Trustees and it complements the Force Field Analysis tool we issued previously which you can find with all other resources here (all free to download)

We hope you will find these resources useful and if you would like any in a Word format so that you can adapt for your individual school then please send your request in an email to

And we have two new products to promote that we hope you will be interested in.

The first is a bespoke framework for school/academy-based Performance related Pay progression criteria for support staff [TCP for Kent schools]. You can find our outline document here (Pay and Reward pack) which we use as a basis for developing a framework specific to each individual school/academy. The schools/academies that have used this approach really like the way the way that the framework reflects their individual vision, values and strategic priorities with such a clear emphasis on how everyone has an impact on pupil progress. If you would further information about how to take this forward then please email contact

The second, is our Safer Recruitment Training, which is proving a very popular, cost-effective way of ensuring schools have sufficient people with this all important certificated requirement. Our training is a three hour session delivered on-site at a time of the day to suit delegates and schools are encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum cost effectiveness [it can be less than £35 pp] as well as a more enjoyable, shared learning experience. Feedback from delegates has been excellent. Further details are here.

We also have three new articles and an absolutely brilliant school video to promote. The first article is a really interesting account of how Herne Bay Infant School have developed Growth Mindset through the support of Tailored Practice, a company we are looking to collaborate with in the future as there are such strong links with their work and our Coaching into Appraisal programme.

Staying with theme of coaching, our second article is from Graham Chisnall, Executive Headteacher at Veritas Academy which sets out a coaching/mentoring approach to Lesson Observation and feedback. Our third article is the latest in the series, In a Nutshell with a review of the big selling book, ‘Winners and How They Succeed’ by Alastair Campbell.

But we really would like you to check out the school video from Bishops Down here. At the launch of our website we were delighted to promote the fantastic school video from Fallibroome Academy, with the headline challenge of ‘probably the best school video, ever.’ Well Bishops Down Primary School in Tunbridge Wells were inspired and certainly took up the challenge. Clare Owen, the Headteacher said there wasn’t a dry eye in the hall at their launch and we can easily believe it. But if any other school/academy wants to take this challenge further or would like to contact Clare for some advice and tips then please let us know.

And finally we are really excited about how well our Coaching into Appraisal programme is taking off. We now have well over 40 schools/academies in our ‘family’ and it is growing all the time. Recently we held our first and highly successful network forum for our Coaching Champions from each school. This simply reinforced our view that coaching is the way forward to enable and empower people in schools, academies and colleges to grow and develop to meet the challenges of an increasingly uncertain and fast-changing world and the feedback is very encouraging. If you would like to know more then please contact us at

“The best motivation comes from within”

Michael Johnson

To find out more details about how The People Management Business can help you to lead others to achieve their potential please contact Gary Edwards, Consultant-Director on 07933 220 183

Email: or use this contact form.

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