Open Evenings: A chance for you to shine

Richard Endacott

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

I never understood the point of an Open Evening; I was a teacher in a Boys’ School, the only school for boys in the town.


Indeed when the old co-ed school closed down in the mid-1990s you had a simple choice, teenage girls went to the Girls School and teenage boys you went to the Boys’ School. The only competition was from the private schools and the Grammar Schools in the neighbouring town.


For years I turned up dutifully, spoke to a few parents until 8 pm then retire to the pub to dissect the complete pointlessness of the exercise with colleagues.

An exciting Open Evening can make the time go quicker, but also engender trust and confidence in you as a teacher and a school leader.

For parents, of course, it was a similar experience, they all knew which school their child was going to and so turned up out of duty but nothing else, the whole evening was rather unexciting.

However, as with most activities I had completely missed the opportunity that had presented itself to really set a standard for my department and my own career. The reason, of course, is that Open Evenings put you and your department firmly in the spotlight, an opportunity for parents to talk to the Headteacher and SLT how their darling son is looking forward to coming to the school and studying History in particular as Mr Endacott is such an inspiration.

students walking in corridor


As a new Head of Faculty faced with my first Open Evening in a new school, I have learnt my lesson, I have an opportunity in front of me to ‘razzle dazzle’, to put my Faculty at the forefront of the school and to really inspire the next generation of students.

Of course in my new school in West London, competition is fierce so the dynamic is slightly different, however talking to colleagues the approach had been traditionally very mundane with a few textbooks laid out and a video on the screen, dull, dull, dull.

The first approach was to lay down the marker, a bit of an inter-department competition within my Faculty, I had laid out my ambitions and the impact this could have on the perceptions SLT have of you. I was going for an interactive role play, welcoming the Year 6 students into my Medieval hospital for a live amputation using a real saw (not really but they believed they really were going to lose a leg or two) whilst the Geography department had used the #teachdigital approach with an interactive quiz, the parents lapped it up, SLT was impressed.

Open Evenings are not just an opportunity for parents to go shopping for schools, they also give you a chance to put yourself in the spotlight, in this marketplace perception is everything, take that opportunity.

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About our Community Expert

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Richard Endacott

Career Development Lead

Richard is a history Teacher by Training and for the last few years been head of sixth form. His specialism is leadership and career development in the classroom.

 

 

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