The first five days of headship have flown by… it’s been a roller coaster of emotions… but I love it!
Even though I had spent a lot of time at the school, driving in to school on my first day I felt like a child starting school. The car was filled with my school life and I was ready to move in ( not had the chance to unpack yet!)
I was greeted by the schools business manager and a smile. Staff have been so welcoming as have children and parents. I feel I belong already!
Monday we interviewed for an EYFS lead and I was glad of the support from the Director of Quality Asssurance, he knows the school inside and out and the support of an expert in Early Years. We appointed and I could start to see my team developing. The rest of Monday flew by with popping into classes, quickly grabbing hellos in the corridors. School is busy all the time- each school has a different kind of busy, it is key to keep this in the for front of your mind.
Tuesday met with SLT and looked at behaviour for learning, engaging hard to reach students. )As a fresh pair of eyes you see things people that have been living the situation don’t see. ) key pupils needed a different approach, systems were not working. Time to think outside the box! One of the challenges all schools face is being creative with the stretched resources and limited funds available. I’m lucky the school has an abundance to space to be creative, turning one empty room into a nurture room enabled us to support hard to reach learners with significant needs. Lunch times were an issue and so were the afternoons – from next week a structured nurture group will run at lunch times.
At every opportunity I was visible, mornings, after schools, popping into classes, walking the corridors- getting to know the school, catching children doing the right thing, praising the children for their conduct around school. It’s amazing how quickly children have picked up on this, even before they see me coming along the corridor … they are walking calmly. This has helped develop the high expectation and culture.
Staff work incredibly hard! They are dedicated and resourceful. But at times stretched, we have had staff sickness this week which impacts on cover. Everyone has chipped in and as a team we worked through it. I have even done my first stint in EYFS!
Wednesday I actually managed to turn the laptop on at work, write two polices and answer some emails. I met with some parents and some staff. Top tip don’t beat yourself up – you are only human and there are only so many hours in a day! One step at a time is my new motto!
Thursday informal health and safety audit from my old head! I proudly showed him round school! We had an emergency with a child having a seizure and had to call an ambulance. Staff were incredible and the child was fine thank goodness – then filled in all the paperwork! ( not so keen on the paperwork)
It’s now Friday morning, and I’m waiting to see what it brings.
Everyday I have had a text or a phone call from the director of quality assurance, as a new head this has been invaluble sharing good things, discussing challenges- or just asking questions. Having support around you is key, recognising your limitations and asking advice helps clarify things in your mind!
I have taken many things on board this week and learnt daily! The week I had planned didn’t happen- the to do list hasn’t got done. But I have started to get to know the staff, children and the community.
We launched the school Facebook page and this was received well. The community communicates a lot through social media and this will enable us to enhance communication further.
The week hasn’t been without its challenges… the village is in a rural blackspot! Mobile phones don’t work inside school, wifi is hit and miss – have a meeting on Monday with the ICT providers.
Be present and visible
Use the expertise around you
Model what you want to see!
Share your practice, it is amazing how many people are in roles they haven’t had support for! Invested in putting the support in place.
Start to create the culture you wish to see from the minute you walk through the door.
Smile and be positive even when you feel like you are paddling against the tide. The staff need you!
Don’t take things personally!
Make notes as they pop into your head, start to visualise what your vision is for the children, staff and community. Then action them.
Reflection: I love being a head, I get a buzz from walking through the doors each morning. I’m grateful I work for such a forward thinking and supportive trust! I couldn’t ask for a harder working and supportive team.
It truly is a fantastic job !