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Showing posts from July, 2015

How was it for you? (Your inspection, that is)

Well, the dust has settled, time has passed, the report is out and perhaps now is the time I am best able to look back and reflect on the inspection process I was involved with during the last term of the 2014-15 school session. We had returned following the Easter break, and I and a two teachers were heading off on the Tuesday for a residential with our P6s to Edinburgh, when I got the 'confidential' phone call as we waited for the bus. Not ideal, but I suspect the timings for such communication rarely are, if ever, ideal. So I had two days in Edinburgh with lots of excited P6s, trying to remain mindful and in the present, when all the time my mind was actually very much elsewhere. I received a text from school informing me on the Wednesday that 'The box has arrived. We have put it in your office and told no-one.' My DHT had recognised the contents straightaway and had been able to stop our administrator from taking it to the staffroom to ask 'Has anybody ordered …

New school year, new priorities?

In Scotland we are only some two or three weeks away from our return to a new school session. Thoughts of many Headteachers, and teachers, will already be turning to the new school year ahead. So what should our priorities be? Here's some ideas to start with.
As ever, our priority as leaders should be the people we work with, because it is they who are going to deliver the improved outcomes we all seek for our learners. There will probably be a mixture of returning staff and new staff and all will be filled with varying levels of excitement and trepidation about the year ahead. There will probably be a mix of experience levels, NQTs and more experienced colleagues. Indeed as a headteacher you may be the new person and taking up a new post. School leaders need to keep people as a priority throughout the school year. People will have ups and downs over the course of the school year and leaders need to be aware of this and deal with all staff in an emotionally intelligent and empathet…

To school or not: a few thoughts

It might be because it's holiday time, but I have been looking back over some notes I made earlier this year about a variety of different topics. One set of these was simply entitled 'A New Type of School' and consisted of a list of random suggestions around what we might look for if we were to rethink our education  systems and in particular how we deliver learning in our schools. I share these in my usual way to develop my own thinking further, to stimulate some thinking in others and perhaps begin a bit of discussion about what schools may look like if we applied what we know now about learning and the most effective ways of delivering this. The points are very broad in nature and all would require further exploration and discussion perhaps in further posts, or even a book.
The first change we might want to consider is a change of name for what we currently call schools. 'Schools' to me has too many connotations with the training and breaking of animals, like hor…

School Leadership Conference (part 2)

In my last post I wrote about my presentation to headteachers at the Incerts leadership conference in Cardiff last week. As I noted, I ran out of time towards the end of my presentation when I was going to talk to the audience about lessons we have learned, as school leaders, from the introduction and development of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in Scotland. Wales is embarking on a similar curricular restructure drawn up by Professor Graham Donaldson from Scotland and are taking a very similar approach to that we have been working on since 2002, following the National Debate on Education in Scotland. I did manage to cover the main points briefly at the end of my talk but I wanted to add a little more explanation here too.
I started with a quote from the Welsh Government's website on their vision for their new curriculum called 'Succesful Futures'. On the website they wrote in July 2014, 'Our vision is to provide a coherent and integrated curriculum and assessment fram…

How do school leaders keep their Mojo?

I have just travelled back from Cardiff having attended a leadership conference organised by @Incerts, who are a not-for-profit organisation who supply an on-line formative assessment and tracking tool to a lot of primary schools in Wales. At this conference I had the opportunity to speak to, and with, headteachers from all over Wales, a super networking and system leadership event. This conference has run for the last four years and has sold out each time, this time in less than a week. This demonstrates the demand for such high quality events and why the organisers are planning to hold two events next year, one in North Wales and another in the south, to meet demand.
I had decided to talk about how we as school leaders maintain our Mojo when faced with all the demands and challenges presented on a daily basis in our roles as school leaders. I was also asked to talk about some of the main messages we have perhaps learned in Scotland with the introduction and development of Curriculum …