All pastoral leaders find out after 5 minutes into their role that the paperwork element of their job is enough to drive the average person round the bend. Assuming that this is not your chosen route to happiness, have a read of my top 10 tips for reducing paperwork…
Of course, their success depends on getting the support of your SLT, so try to persuade them that this is all about get the most bang for their buck.
- Ask a secretary or TA to do the paperwork and filing
- Go paperless: get someone to scan in all historic paperwork (I promise it won’t actually take that long) and then to immediately scan the latest forms and letters. You can protect computer ﬁles with the right software to prevent safeguarding concerns.
- Suggest that the TAs to call home with good news once a week, get admin staff to call CAMHS and outside agencies
- Ask a TA to do the bulk of any required writing and edit it afterwards
- Let a TA or secretary ﬁll in referral forms with key information and contact details, and get them to attach the student’s ‘one pager’ to the form (see page 61 of my book).
- Build a rapport with agencies, so you or your admin support can call them directly and bypass the switchboard.
- Write SMART, being specific and using bullet points, and get teachers’ feedback contains real examples – not generalities!
- Focus on the three key points in any complex case so that you can prioritise the most manageable aspects of a challenging case.
- Rethink the value of a referral, if an EHCP won’t actually help the student or the school (don’t apply this to anything medical or safeguarding-related).
- Focus on what’s useful: you need one sheet of key info at the front of the ﬁle or the top of the online ﬁling system, one doc with a timeline, and one that shows your advice to teachers and TAs. The rest is merely a legal obligation for you to collect.
It is essential, although difficult, to find ways to minimise the paperwork attached to your role. Good luck!
For more information, please refer to Chapter 3 of my new book Leading on Pastoral Care: A Guide to Improving Outcomes for Every Student.