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:
“LIMINAL LEADERSHIP” by Stephen Tierney
“Building bridges across the chaos…because we are standing on the edge.”
“External pressures and forces may restrict you but they do not define you. You are defined by your “why” and the integrity with which you pursue it.”
Stephen has 30 years of experience working in education: as a Teacher, Subject Leader, Deputy Headteacher, Headteacher and now Executive Headteacher of an all through multi-academy trust. He is Chair of the Headteachers’ RoundTable Group and is part of the SSAT’s (Schools Students and Teachers Network) Vision 2040 Group. He shares his thoughts and learning regularly via his blog (www.leadinglearner.me) and on Twitter as @LeadingLearner.
I have collated some quotes / ideas from his book to share with different groups within our own school, namely: Senior Leaders, Governors, Middle Leaders and Teachers. The content below is what I have shared with them.
All of the points below are directly from Stephen’s book. They may not fully make sense in the way I have summarise them, which is why I would highly recommend you read his book.
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!
What a fabulous evening of learning, networking, food and laughter!
When you can get people with the passion, expertise and willingness to share, like: @penfoldno1 @francescaprett2 @baggiepr @sarahmu14 @tamgoddard @taniaf77 @grahamandre @braunteaches @IRIS_Connect, all in the same room, volunteering their time to inspire other colleagues, you know you have a special event.
#New2Me Primary TeachMeet, is the first we have run @cornerstonecofe in Hampshire, but hopefully it won’t be the last. Plans are already being draw up for #New2Me2 in 2017!
Key ideas shared by the presenters included.
The power of Skype in removing barriers in the classroom, through virtual fieldtrips and conversations with guest speakers. It is relatively easy to set up and arrange links, all you need is: a Skype ID, a webcam, a microphone and a Microsoft account. Microsoft have also created a whole series of Skype lesson to help teachers and pupils uncover the power of connecting face to face online.
Fran has done some fantastic work at Cornerstone developing her and our school’s use of Learning Walls. She explained that thery are not about looking like neat displays, and they are quick and easy to put up and add to. Often it is examples of the pupils’ ideas and work that is added as a useful reference for them in their learning. Also due to this it makes the learning journey sequence visual for the pupils and the staff. Fran shared some photos of Learning Walls from her classroom.
Phil explained (remotely via YouTube) a range of his favourite coding activities using Scratch Junior. These included “Programming a Dance”, “Build your won clock” and “Can you get the Cat to count?”
All of these activities and many more can be found at Phil’s excellent website: code-it.co.uk
The link to his YouTube video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2-MvRf4gdE&feature=youtu.be&a
Sarah and her school (Crescent Primary in Eastleigh) have done a lot of development work on embedding a mastery approach to their teaching and learning. A key mantra is “Don’t assume: assess”. She explained how they have used SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of Observable Learning Outcomes) to develop a common understanding and language of learning amongst staff and pupils. She also discussed how this supported pre-assessments and the pupils’ self-assessments.
Tamara shared how she is structuring learning over a maths Unit with her Y5 pupils. She discussed how she is developing their fluency, reasoning and problem solving in a range of practical ways, with examples from the pupils books. This included a variety of activities and a range of different questions types to develop their thinking and understanding.
Graham spoke about the power of Genius Hour which offers pupils a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions. It develops key skills:
Graham shared examples of projects ranging from costume design to blogging to Minecraft, which promoted deep thinking, engaged pupils and the internal motivation and drive for more learning.
In Science we would like pupils to work as scientists as much as possible. A model of planning to investigate a question was shared which draws out variables allowing pupils to truly understand fair testing and at the same time produce a results table. This was all done via a flipchart model with audience participation. Contact @taniaf77 to find out more.
Laura discussed ideas linked to a strategy of “Maths Flash”. This included sharing a range of activities and questions she has used with her class to good effect. Enthusiasm, pace, practice & getting the children enjoying talking about maths were all key elements.
Yes me. I felt I couldn’t ask others to present without doing so myself.
I shared the work we have done on developing Learning Journey Prompts. The aim of these questions is to encourage pupils to think and about their thinking and reflect on their learning (metacognition). There are a series of questions from which teachers or pupils can choose 1 or 2 to ask at:
Copies of the questions can be downloaded for use / adaption here: learning-journey-prompts-prism
You can see the Collected Presentations from the speakers at the TeachMeet below.
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.
This book about Primary Headship by Bill Laar (2014) made a fascinating read for me at the start of my third year of headship, and still being early on in my professional learning and development journey. I found it particularly interesting to read the number of case studies of successful heads, who had thrived in their complex roles: journeys that were inspiring, strategic, driven and innovative. Whilst there were differences in context, size of school, leadership style and approaches to the schools’ development, there were also a clear number of common threads. I have summarised some of the main points / messages from the book in the sections below.
“Recent educational reforms have called for a radically different type of leadership: visionary and innovative, intellectually rigorous and enquiring, analytical and evaluative, competent in the management of the complex business of institutions, creative in the professional development of personnel, outward-looking and active in the making of professional networks”
Characteristics of exceptional Primary Leaders
Headship and Leadership
Teaching and Learning
Continuing Professional Development
Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation
Curriculum and Environment
Partnerships with parents and the community
“Primary Heads. Exceptional Leadership in the Primary School” by Bill Laar is published by Crown House Publishing Limited (2014)
In seeking a balance between quick recall and more in depth understanding we are developing a range of Maths ‘Learn Its’ posters. The aim is that each week within class one is focused on during a 5-10 minute slot or two during registration. It is also that they are shared with parents each term or half-term as ongoing practical maths Home Learning (that don’t require work coming in to teachers to be marked, but give parents guidance on how they might encourage their children to think and talk about maths in the world around them).
We are completing the ‘Learn Its’ for each term for Y1-Y4 as we go through this academic year, and are very happy for other schools to use, adapt, improve or ignore them. If any colleagues have any suggestions, improvements, or similar sheets / posters we would very much appreciate having a look at them.