Welcome back! I hope you all had a fabulous and restful Easter break. A particularly warm welcome back to Kevin Peebles Lead Practitioner for Computing and ICT.
So, now we are straight back into the thick of it, I’m afraid. I would ask that everyone, but particularly Curriculum and Year Leaders, revisit the progress of individuals and groups of students on your Year 11 and Year Leader ‘Hit Lists’ ‘Boundary Leapers’
Please note there is a Year 11 English Revision day on Monday at The Lights in Andover and Year 10 have Prefect Training on Tuesday at Norman Court School, West Tytherley. You will also have noticed, as agreed last year, there are no after school meetings until week beginning the 15th May so we can focus just on Year 11.
A number of serving Heads I met in my early days at Harrow Way were great advocates of keeping a journal, or writing a blog, as a way of reflecting on the learning journey of headship. When I have managed very sporadically to keep a journal of reflections, it has helped me to learn from my successes and mistakes
As I approach the last term of my fifth year as Headteacher, this has really got me thinking . There has been much discussion in the twitter-sphere about a skills versus knowledge curriculum, and recent changes to exams and the national curriculum have reflected this discourse. I think this is a better-framed question for discussion: ‘How do we make sure that our students leave us with the right balance of virtues?’ CV virtues which will allow them a passport to their future: numeracy, literacy 5A*-C/4/5+? at GCSE etc. Eulogy virtues which will make them into positive, balanced and rounded individuals: grit, character, love, generosity and so on.
A good starting point to consider this balance will be to change our focus for students from “What do you want to be when you leave Harrow Way?” to “Who do you want to be when you leave Harrow Way?” We often talk at Harrow Way about providing our students with the best possible passport for their future – CV virtues.
Our challenge also for next year will be to reflect as a staff on how we get the balance right; both for ourselves and for our students. As I plan next year’s calendar with my senior team we are keeping this challenge at the forefront of our minds.
A final reflection on reflecting: it is amazing what comes out of allowing some dedicated reflection time
New 3 Year Strategic Plan
Writing a School Development Plan is a process most, if not all, schools engage in. It might be an ‘improvement’ plan. At Harrow Way I’ve been trying to develop the optimum model for our SDP so that it has maximum value in terms of helping us to take the school forward combined with a minimum of paper. There are so many things to get right in a successful school; some can be controlled much more easily than others.
The blog below is excellent. The six areas in this post are by no means the only six or necessarily the most important. They are all areas that it ought to be possible to plan for, taking account of research evidence and examples of effective practice across the system.
The process of getting things right is always an interesting interplay of culture and systems. Two schools might have the same system on paper but find that it’s pursued with much greater intensity in one place than the other. Some school leaders are much more comfortable and experienced dealing with some of these areas than others- myself included of course; they might have managed to get some of these areas right for their context, but not all.
With that preamble, I’d say that where schools are really flying, it’s when leaders and teachers seem to be getting most of these things right at the same time – or at least they are heading that way:
Department Scorecards and Improvement Plans
You should know me well enough by now that I strongly believe in an integrated coherent approach to our improvement agenda. In other words, all the key parts to our job should ‘talk to each other’: our School Improvement Plan should be reflected in our Departmental Improvement Plans, which in turn should be a response to our Self Evaluation Form.
Last year I spent some time streamlining our department SEF and department Improvement Plan documentation, so they match the format of the school priorities and new inspection framework. They are also personalised for Harrow Way. We will be issuing the department scorecard and asking you to reflect on this and your department improvement plan later in the term. We will not be asking you to complete your new improvement plan until we have agreed our new school priorities for 2017-2020.
Amjad Ali (@ASTSupportAali)
This talk explores the concept of being engaging in the classroom and whether it is necessary or not. Amjad dissects the notion of a gimmick and fad and presents how his teaching has developed over time, which has in turn inspired generations of people. The overall message is to be yourself, do your best and never stop learning.
He is a Teacher, Trainer and Senior Leader. Who has worked in a challenging, diverse schools. He is a qualified, practising SENCO, completing the National SENCO Award in 2015. Amjad is also a qualified Advanced Skills Teacher in Teaching and Learning and will be undertaking Specialist Leader in Education accreditation by September 2017.
SecEd is dedicated to supporting secondary education professionals across the UK. Launched in April 2003 by MA Education Limited, the independently owned specialist education publisher, part of the Mark Allen Group , SecEd has developed a loyal readership across its print, digital and events platforms.
SecEd itself is delivered free of charge to UK secondary schools and is the UK’s only weekly (during term-time) publication that is dedicated exclusively to secondary education. The SecEd website features all of our content including best practice and blogs, as well as additional breaking news articles.
Doing less Better!
An interesting blog, looking at leadership and the approach to everyday task management – worth a read
Monitoring and Evaluation
Below is the M&E Calendar for the summer term 2016/2017.
Just before Easter, the Department for Education released Tom Bennett’s independent review on behaviour in schools alongside the Government’s response.
The report entitled Creating a culture: How schools can optimise behaviour, emphasises the importance of a strong culture of behaviour, initiated and led by the head teacher and running through the school.
The report also highlights strategies school leaders can use to prevent classroom disruption, maintain good discipline and promote pupils’ education.