Okay. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I write blogposts just so that I can crowbar in some favourite choons of mine. And this one is a case in point.
I’m also writing it because, every so often, I get a DM from someone asking me, from my vantage point as a school leader, about an interview they have coming up for a leadership post. Today I’ve had another such request, from an ex-student who became a colleague at my previous school. She was looking for advice for an interview she has for her first leadership post, as a Deputy Head of Department.
Having given her some thoughts about what to expect with regard to issues such as curriculum, staff development and the inevitable accountability questions, we chatted a bit about the human side of the interview process, particularly in terms of the nerves that always accompany such an event…
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It’s important for a school to have a behaviour policy, it’s important for both the children and the staff as well as the coherent running of the school.
It’s also important that it works.
I spent today in a primary school, with two classes of 28 (Year 6) and 23 (Year 4). It felt more like being pitted against the combined armies of Genghis Khan and Stalin.
At the start of the day I was told that the school was lucky, it had some troublesome pupils in the past, but that now there were no behavioural issues at all. Previously, there were three or four exclusions a month, both internal and fixed-term external ones. Now though, there were no exclusions at all, that the behaviour never escalated to that level and the school was hoping to lose the ‘Requires Improvement‘ label. The key to this, I was told…
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I have been a teacher for 25 years, a Headteacher for 10 years and, at the age of 49, this much I know about Northern Rocks 2014.
It takes time to grow into the North. In my first term as a Headteacher, when a highly anticipated blizzard seemed to have arrived on the North Yorkshire Moors midway through period 1, I summoned the buses and sent everyone home by midday; the sun duly beat down upon a spring-like afternoon and a colleague rang me late in the evening, emboldened by a pub lunch, a long country walk and her third glass of wine, to tell me the staff thought that the southern city-boy had gone too early.
You live on the border. That’s a line from Simon Armitage’s book, All Points North. I’ve spent my life living on borders: I stood with the smokers at school but never…
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Today saw the inaugural Northern Rocks event in Leeds and although I will be the first to admit that amongst the pressures of exam season it snuck upon us out of the blue, my excitement for the event this morning was palpable.
The event kicked off with a Question Time style panel with an illustrious guest list who exchanged opinions, facts and, occasionally, blows with enthusiasm and honesty and it was an excellent opening to the day’s proceedings. Dominic Cummings was the main antagonist but he was ably engaged with by Kev Courtney (NUT) and MP Ian Mearns. The two journalists were fairly bland in their offerings and Mick Waters provided sufficient wit and wisdom that I intend on re-visiting his book in the not too distant future having been underwhelmed the first time round. The session provided food for though on the impact that PRP is having across the…
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Jonathan Simons (@PXEducation) started the day and introduced the session. When I was at the bloggers curry last weekend, we discussed how long Gove had been Secretary of State for education, remarking on how long it had been. This appears even longer, when putting it in days, as Jonathan did – Gove has been Secretary of State for education for 1488 days.
I’ve seen Gove speak before. He is an excellent politician, beginning on areas of agreement and moving seamlessly to areas of challenge.
Gove started by saying that the last couple of weeks have been fascinating. He amiably talked of an incident over the Of Mice and Men twitter furore when the foyer of Department for Education was occupied by a group reading passages from the Steinbeck novel. He then took a couple of cheap but effective shots (to laughter) at the group organising the sit in – Left…
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Stay with me … it gets ranty in the middle but comes to a pedtastic conclusion!
I’ve just returned from the fantastic Northern Rocks 2014 #NRocks conference. It was an incredible day. If you have been anywhere near twitter today you’ll know second hand the absolute hit it was with the 300 attendees. Having a room full of teachers joyously singing “Always look on the bright side of school” after a day of workshops and networking really brought home something I have been struggling with for months now. We do need to be freed from the strangle hold of accountability measures, Whitehall diktat and the toxic influence of Gove upon our profession. We need freedom from the “obscene”.
I can’t remember who posed the question from the floor which demanded we move away from the “obscene focus” on English and Maths but they are 100% correct. I’m a head of…
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Today was the “Northern Rocks: Reclaiming Pedagogy” event at Leeds Met Headingley Campus, #Nrocks.
The event was organised by Emma Ann Hardy (@emmaannhardy) and Debra Kidd (@debrakidd), and like Nten-researched-york, had a mass of fantastic speakers running workshops. So much so I had terrible trouble selecting some of the workshops, and I cannot wait to catch some of those I missed online! (I believe they were all taped and will be available).
The event started with a panel discussion, chaired by event host Debra Dimbleby. The panel was: Mick Waters, a professor and former Chief Education Officer; Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead (@IanMearnsMP); Dominic Cummings, former policy advisor for Gove; Kevin Courtney (@cyclingkev) of the NUT; Richard Gardner of the Independent and Dot Lepkowska another journalist. The discussion was at times really interesting and focused around Ofsted, Policy and…
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A couple of years ago I was bullied so badly at work that I had to take some time off. Or maybe I wasn’t bullied so badly, but reacted badly. And had to take some time off.
For all my worry about Sam, and all those worrying statistics about people with Down Syndrome being considerably, frighteningly more likely to be bullied, in the end, it happened to me. Not to my bolshie, pushy, couldn’t-care-less son.
And the worst of it is that, somewhere in that summer I lost my confidence. I have become a mouse in the workplace, jumping at imaginary cats. I don’t like it. Where did I go? Where did it go?