Below are the Values that define me as a person in my role as a headteacher:
I shared more about how these have been developed over time and with colleagues in our school at Pedagoo Hamphire 16. The presentation can be viewed at:
I spent an interesting and reflective half-morning ‘Finding the lessons’ with the Real David Cameron (@realdcameron) and Tim Brighouse in the company of our expert and experienced Senior Leader Clare Ross, thank to the generosity of Hays Education. Their aim was to share some thoughts, ask some questions and engage a room of school leaders in conversation and thinking about their leadership and it’s impact. This required some well needed slowing of pace and quality time for clarity of thinking.
Inside the head of a school leader…
The key ideas that Clare and I took from the session that are pertinent within our context were:
Other points that David and Tim made that resonated were that genuine change can only come from within (whether personally or as an organisation). That as Leaders we create the climate within schools through every word, action and interaction.
That in the education system we are working in a period of constant change, with time often being taken up dealing with structural change. There has been a decentralisation of blame and an overemphasis on leadership.
“We’re caught in a trap…when you don’t believe a word I say…we can’t go on together with suspicious minds.”
What we really need in schools is energetic and enthusiastic staff, who are well supported and nurtured, and are passionate about and committed to learning and improvement.
Challenge accepted David and Tim!
Inspire, Ignite, Imagine.
Will Ryan (www.insideoutschools.co.uk) led an entertaining and enlightening session on creative teaching and learning and how leaders can inspire by daring being to be different.
“Failure is never so frightening as regret”
“Never doubt the capacity of a small group of people to change the world.”
Given a choice between changing and proving that the change is not necessary, most people get busy with the proof.
This needs a leader: someone to inspire.
Ofsted Inspector: why might “Different Dufus school” (Dr Seuss) be outstanding?
How does a leader walk?
The more they dare to be different the more moments of self-doubt a leader will have.
The 3 generational lesson: children can’t wait to tell their parents when they get home, as parents later in life they will recall the lesson with their own children.
Think of the best thing that has happened in your classroom that week before you walk out at the end of the week. Record it in a lovely book, a diary of why I am a special teacher.
Too many schools have been managed not led.
External frameworks have been forced upon schools. (Outside – in model).
Never set off on a journey without an idea of where you aim to be going.
Leaders need to take time to pause the clock and think.
Leaders cannot do it on their own: they need to deploy others.
Good leaders are almost always great simplifiers. Make every word count.
Constantly communicate what you believe. Inspiring people with your vision. (Invisible leadership).
Communicating the Dream: The Art of Invisible Leadership
Empathetic, Perceptive, Inclusive, Inspirational, Purposeful, Integrity, Forgiveness, Moral purpose.
To be clear from the outset, I don’t think as a school we have resolved all workload issues, or necessarily created original solutions, but I do think we have made progress at Cornerstone CE Primary in Hampshire.
The utopian ideal we keep striving for is to improve learning and outcomes for pupils whilst at the same time supporting staff to make their workload manageable, efficient and sustainable. Motivated, fresh staff with the energy levels to think and focus on the key element of their role (teaching and learning), are more effective, more fulfilled and have a better workload balance.
Part of our Governing Body Vision for the school is to “create a place where staff can thrive” and we as a school we aim to grow an “Inspirational Learning Community“. We define this as:
Together as partners we can encourage each other to explore and learn new ways to manage our workload effectively and ignite the pupils learning.
We are a relatively new school (we opened September 2013, and currently have 133 YR-Y4 pupils) and therefore part of our challenge is to develop our planning, curriculum, marking, feedback and use of data in manageable ways within a new context. Not straightforward.
Planning and resourcing
As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I do not think we have resolved all workload issues at Cornerstone, but the positive steps we have taken we have done so as a whole staff team together. This has supported the growth of our ‘Inspirational Learning Community’ and keeps us focusing on improving pupil learning and outcomes whilst making workload more manageable, efficient and sustainable as we move forward.
In our recent Full Governing Body meeting, the governors discussed the second section of the new version of “Keeping Children Safe in Education” which details their responsibilities re. The Management of Safeguarding.
During our most recent Ofsted (May 2015) the Inspector noted that “the school has robust and effective systems to ensure pupils are kept safe.” However we all know this is a crucial part of our role, and our governors are effective at challenging the practice and policies of the school, in a drive to keep improving our Safeguarding procedures.
As part of this we have designed a document which gives an overview of the responsibilities laid out in The Management of Safeguarding. It highlights actions and questions for the governors to undertake / ask during meetings and during visits to our school. Our aim is to have even greater robust conversations, and thorough evidence of the great work of our governors working in partnership with us for the benefit of the children.
It is attached below as a Word document. Please feel free to amend, use, ignore as you wish. If you have any suggestions for improvements, or other similar documentation we would be grateful to see a copy.
I have kindly been invited by Martyn Reah (@MartynReah) to speak at the #PedagooHampshire16 on Saturday 17 September at Eggars School in Alton. The focus for the day in on the #teacher5aday and staff wellbeing.
In this session I will be sharing how as a new and growing school we have tried to find our collective WHY, for doing what we do and our motivation for coming in every day.
We know we haven’t got everything right. We know there is plenty more to do. But we hope that with a focus on: Values, vision, ethos and wellbeing we will be able to confidently enjoy the coming terms and years of our shared journey.
The presentation that I am going to use to keep myself on subject is attached below if you would care to read it:
For information about this wonderful day, including details on other presenters, please click on the following link:
As the headteacher of a new and small school, days and weeks can fly by feeling very full and busy. However on reflection they are not always filled with a controlled focus on the key priorities. These other tasks are usually important and valuable, but they can distract my attention from the key strategic priorities which should be the centre of my focus and impact.
To try and force myself to say no more often and to make wiser in the moment decisions about how I use my time strategically, I have compiled a Top Ten Key Priority list, which I will display in my office this half-term. It is not earth shattering, or amazingly perceptive, but will it give me clearer focus? Will it make a difference?
I have split the list into two priority groups: 6 that are most crucial and 4 that are just crucial.
7. Curriculum & Assessment: what is being taught, how and how we are assessing learning effectively
8.Monitoring: lessons, pupils work, learning environments, planning, pupils’ views, staff’s views…
9. Behaviour: appropriate behaviour from pupils and adults that align with our Values and policies
10. CPD: investing in staff, to enable them to continue to grow as motivated and empowered professionals
So this half-term, anything outside of this list will be left until time is available. We’ll see how it goes…