Has it really only been 8 weeks?
I already feel invested in school, I live and breathe it at the moment – it’s the first and last thing I think about! It is all consuming but this investment, this emotional attachement is a driver- a driver that motivates me daily.
The last few weeks have been a whirl wind of activity and time has been filled with looking forward planning and preparing for the future.
As well as school, I have just completed assignments for my NPQH final assessment. While it has been a challenge to fit it – it has been a good reflective piece of work ! It has enabled me to reflect on the Headteacher standards, the journey I’ve travelled and that I am still travelling, and reflect what had impact before that I could use again.
I read an article about the head teachers standards in the Guardian by Roy Blatchford which made me reflect …
Similar to the teaching standards, the Headteacher standards requires a breadth of knowledge and range of skills, and highly developed interpersonal skills.
“Qualities and knowledge. There is the expectation that headteachers should lead by example “with integrity, creativity, resilience and clarity”. In the modern era where change is a constant, raising aspirations in what young people can achieve is demanded by parents, politicians and media”
Modelling what you want to see is paramount to growing, improving and creating your vision. It is surprising how quickly the culture and vision become part of school. You lead and model what you want from children, staff and the community.
We are all under pressure to produce year-on-year improvements and provide the many extras that make a child’s holistic education – we all want the very best for our children ! This brings a moral purpose for us to lead schools relentlessly in the best interests of the children by valuing both academic achievement and personal growth. Planning for the schools journey which is ever moving forwards is personal to the children, community and school. Each school journey is different, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s about responding to need – what do our children need ? What does our community need ? How can we achieve those things in school – what are our stengths and how can we utilise those to improve further? What are our weaknesses and how can we address those and turn them into strengths- what support is around that we can draw on?
Being part of a trust brings all the above at your finger tips: utitilise support around you, ask questions no matter how daft they may seem. I have asked many but grown from each one.
“Pupils and staff. Headteachers must get the best out of students and staff, with a key ambition to secure educational excellence in all the nation’s schools.” We can make a difference in closing achievement gaps, but only with inspired teaching and an innovative curriculum, which we must lead. Having a continual focus on teaching and learning in all aspects of school life helps us ensure it is always top of the agenda – part of our culture, our ethos our entirety. I have magpied so many ideas from others – Laura – tweak of the week a dedicated agenda on the staff meetings where staff can share good practice – what went well and how it was delivered. Laura – enable tables- having resources, answers , prompts, on a table in the classroom to create a culture of self help – independent learners who are self motivated and driven. Pete- shared his teaching and learning board which have focuses on areas of teaching and learning where staff are able to share practice and magpie good ideas. This creates a culture of reflective practice and a desire to grow.
We can do this through ensuring that best practice in the classroom is shared within and between schools, drawing on and conducting relevant research and robust data analysis. In addition, we are always looking to identify emerging talents in the team and coach existing and aspiring leaders Sure we are able to plan ahead for succession.
” Systems and process. No factory, hospital, department store or school can be at its best unless underpinned by “rigorous, fair and transparent” systems, effective financial planning and governance” I have spent a lot of time looking at systems and processes over the past few weeks- I’m still learning but feel we are beginning to get those processes and systems in place. I want to hit the ground running in September so everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities. Staff will know the systems and processes which will enable us to have clear direction. Monitoring and assessment time lines ensure we know what we are monitoring, the impact and the next steps we need to take to improve things further. Outcomes from monitoring are then fed back into the next round of monitoring creating a cycle we grow by. Budget setting and planning for the future is an area I am having to quickly learn; having a school business manager and the Trusts director of Finances experience is vital to me as a new head. It often not till you become a head you have fundamental dealings with a budget.
“The self-improving school system. Schools, even in rural villages, are not islands – students and staff benefit from focused opportunities to share best practice”
This statement struck a cord with me, my school is in a rural village with limited transport networks, limited mobile phone coverage which brings with it challenges. We could be very isolated … instead we are in a trust family- a family of schools each different but with same desires and beliefs. Someone always has the answer, there is always someone who has something that you need . There is no need to reinvent the wheel as someone has the wheel ready- tried and tested. Experience and support is on hand, opportunities for children to look outside their own community are available. We are outward facing and part of a family that share a wealth of experience, good practice and innovation.
It doesn’t feel like it has only been 8 weeks, it feels like I have been apart of school for much longer. Perhaps because it has been so action packed or perhaps I have just found where I want to be.
I love my job