• Andrew Blench

I am surprised that schools and colleges dont use surveys more often. They represent a quick and relatively cheap way of getting instant (when conducted online) feedback from staff, parents, pupils and the wider school community about the work of the school.

They aren't the only way of obtaining feedback ofcourse. Methods such as focus groups can be used. But this does rely upon being able to gather a target group of people together in one place at a convenient time for both parties. If you have ever tried to do that it's a bit like 'herding cats'!! Alternatively phone interviews could be conducted, but again you run into the same difficulties of availability to talk as you would for focus groups. Unless you have a large number of staff available to conduct the interviews this is very time consuming. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of surveys:-

Keep it short - 3 minutes ideally. Longer than that and people give up. Remember to complete it yourself and see how long it takes.

Keep it Simple (Stupid) - use a maximum of 12 questions. If you are going to give multiple answer options use no more than 6. Too much choice is confusing!

Avoid Jargon - are at least if you feel you have to use it give an explanation of what it means e.g. KS4 = Key Stage 4 years 10 and 11

Online - there are various software applications which can be used for free or low cost. They offer convenience for the person completing and also for you in terms of reviewing the answers. Paper surveys can get lost in the school bag!

Give something back - in return for completion. Its nice to offer a prize, but i think people are more interested in seeing a summary of the results and knowing what will be done with them!

School Business Partner offer a survey service as well with a 40% response rate! Not bad eh? See

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  • Andrew Blench

Updated: Jan 5, 2018

New Year Resolutions – “Bah! Humbug!” May be that’s your reaction to the thought of setting some New Year Resolutions! Hardly surprising when you know that most people don’t keep them. A ComRes Poll in November 2015 indicated that at least 63% of respondents had not kept their New Year Resolution. Yet despite this statistic many people will be using the opportunity of a New Year to review their lives and make promises to themselves (or others) to be different in 2018. Many will be setting goals to lose weight, stop smoking or stop being a ‘couch potato’. These can be described as ‘move away from’ goals. Others will be making resolutions to get that promotion at work, find their perfect partner, and purchase their dream home. All ‘move towards’ goals. It all sounds really good doesn’t it!? So how can I turn a wish or dream into a reality? What will stop me being part of the 63%? Set Realistic Goals As human beings we function best when we have the appropriate level of challenge or stretch for us. Too much challenge and stretch over an extended period of time and we can ‘crash and burn’. So make those goals ambitious but not overwhelming. Sometimes this comes down to how we describe the goal to others and ourselves. To say that we are going to lose 2 lbs per week over the next 4 months seems less daunting than saying you will lose 2 stone in weight. By breaking the goal down into smaller parts we start to see the goal as possible. As someone once said ‘the best way to eat and elephant is in small bite sized chunks!’ P.S. I am not suggesting that you are an elephant or that you should eat them!! Make these Your Goals It’s easy to fall into the trap of attempting to live to the expectations others have for you or what you perceive ‘they’ want from you or for you! That’s a pretty demanding way to live and not very authentic or rewarding! A real give away in this is the language we use to describe our goals. If we use phrases such as ‘I know I ought to stop smoking…’ and ‘I really should lose weight…’ rather than ‘I wo

uld love to do this…’ or’ I want to achieve this..’ perhaps our motivation is guilt or the expectations of others. Focus on the Benefits and not just the Results of your Goals As a society we are obsessed with measuring everything and in particular the easiest things to measure! But what about the outcomes! So you saw me within 4 hours when I visited A&E, but did I get better afterwards? What was the outcome? So I have reduced the number of cigarettes I smoke from 30 a day to 5 a day, what’s the benefit? I smell better, I have more energy to play football with my grandson! Measure the benefits and celebrate them when they arrive! Get Yourself a Cheerleader! Someone who you trust to share your goals with. A person who will hold you to account when you feel like packing in. Someone who believes in you and will shout out ‘come on you can do it; I believe in you!’ Also a person who is there to celebrate your achievements with you and who won’t judge you along the way. This is why groups like Slimming World and AA are successful as they have those elements present. This is also the role of a Professional Coach who will support you on your journey of change. There is a lot more that could be said about New Year’s Resolutions and I hope that these words have given you some tips. If you would like to know more about how a professional coach could help you make those changes you want to see then visit Happy New Year! The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare For It! Best wishes Andrew Blench

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