Toyota helps Christleton High School to apply lean thinking

Sarah Williams, Head of Student Services at Christleton High School in England, shares the work the school is doing to improve the delivery of education to students with special needs using lean thinking.

In 2013, the school was told there would be budget cuts and they started to look into opportunities to make the Students Services department more efficient. Christleton’s Headteacher had attended a training course at Toyota’s Lean Management Centre and they started to support the school in their journey.

Getting started, they sent all the necessary documentation and measurements to Toyota, and they identified 69 areas of waste. Toyota’s advice was to pick those that would give quick wins first, and only after that move to medium-term and long-term goals.

Some examples of their quick-win improvements:

  • Teaching assistants (TAs) often struggled to find available classrooms. Now they get their own designated classrooms and they all have a set of keys. No more aimless wandering.
  • It used to take 40 hours to assess 40 children. Now they use an online product and test the same number of students in just 30 minutes, which leaves 39.5 hours for intervention.
  • When social services became involved in a case, they used to contact either the Year Head or our department. The work was disconnected, and there was no definition of who was doing what. Now clear roles and responsibilities are established, and there are only two key persons responsible for those cases.
  • Meetings have been shortened from one hour to 20-30 minutes and measure their impact afterwards.

Biggest changes they have witnessed in the Students Services department since lean was implemented:

  • Staff mentality has changed and they are aware that there is no point in being busy on a piece of work that is actually wasteful.
  • They have more open conversations about what students need and how they can deliver more value to them.
  • They all agree that the direct interaction with the child is what constitutes value.

Read the entire article at

Skip to toolbar