Teaching and Learning…..

This is what our business is all about;  teaching while ensuring that the children are as inspired and engaged by learning as they can be.

Tonight I have been reviewing our Teaching and Learning policy.  At the moment it doesn’t fully reflect our practice.  I want to incorporate the things we have learnt from our Di Pardoe training – thinking about ‘purple learners’ and the ‘purple bus.’  

I want it to be a policy that needs to be read by new members of staff, supply and volunteer teachers.  It needs to be a policy that highlights how fantastic we are at teaching and learning while incorporating our marking and feedback policies within it.  

I want it to be a document that shows how ‘outstanding’ our practice is.  It should be a ‘key’ document of schools, but I truly want it to be ‘key,’  Therefore, I’m really trying to nail it.  I want to be able to present it to staff and for them to realise how powerful it can be.  It needs to be implemented and from that there needs to be a clear impact.

What is your teaching and learning policy like at your school?  Is it up to date and relevant?  Is marking and feedback incorporated in the T&L policy or is it separate?  

I want to hear others’ thoughts……

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Getting Organised…

It is so quiet at school.  No bustling of children, empty classrooms.

I’m feeling quite accomplished, however, as things are getting highly organised!  Filing away all the papers that have slowly built up over the past few months feels great….clearing things away and throwing things out helps to make way for new ideas.

I walked around the school today.  Classrooms looking so barren as displays have been pulled down and shelves looking empty waiting for new boxes and resources.

There has been alot of change over this past year, but there is more coming in September.  New teachers in different classes and a new curriculum.  It is an exciting time.

So tomorrow will be another day of clearing and compartmentalising, restoring order to my office.  I love to see the sleek look of a clean desk, free from clutter and sticky notes.  I do love my sticky notes!

But, as I said yesterday, there is always something else to do.  Next on the agenda is to go through all of the child and staff questionnaires and build them into my SEF.  

When that is done, there will be yet another task to get onto….

Your work is never finished……

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There is always work to be done….

The weekend has come and almost gone and we have enjoyed an afternoon of fun ending in the most personal and beautiful fireworks show I’ve seen in a long while.

The kids enjoyed themselves and my son, after an at least two hour game of football, was drenched. My daughter also became the resident face painter. They both had lots of fun, which was the main thing.

So, two more days of going into school. I know I’ll be in at different points over the summer but my aim for the next couple of days is to get everything wrapped up for the year and have everything ready for the next.

Two solid days to file things away and update folders for the next academic year.

Though, when you sit back and think about it, things are never done. There are always things to do…..a headteacher’s job is never really done…

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We made it!!

Well, it is the end…..I can’t believe we got here. It has been a good year with ups and downs. There have been challenges and celebrations….

I don’t like saying goodbyes….there are always those children that stay with you…..the ones who you will never forget…,I’m glad that is still the same as a headteacher.

I was taken aback when the staff called me into the hall after all the children had left to thank me for such an amazing year. They said they were all behind me and couldn’t wait for another start in September. I was so appreciative of their kind words and support for what has been a year of a great deal of change.

They are an amazing team….I am so privileged to now truly be a part if it.

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My final words….

Well today was the leaver’s service at church. The last one where our goodbyes suddenly start to feel real.

Knowing only one day is left has really put things into perspective….a whole year is coming to a close.

Last night I was trawling through things I could read at the service but nothing seemed right….so finally I decided I should just write something myself.

These are my words for the year six class….

My words of advice as you walk through a life of enchantments, challenges, excitement and adversaries….

Be brave even though your knees might tremble.

Be bold even if it makes you stand apart from the crowd.

Be honest even though the consequences terrify you.

Be patient even when it takes others a little longer to catch up.

Be proud of your mistakes even if you make the same ones, as they make you wiser and often your greatest achievements will come from them.

Be humble even if it means allowing others to go before you.

Be strong even when the winds and friends try to steer you in the wrong direction.

Be confident even when the whole world seems against you.

Be proud of who you are even when others jest at your differences.

Be thankful even when things don’t go your way.

Be a leader even in times when it seems easier to just give in….

Be yourself and others will surely follow

Be yourself and others will marvel at your ways

Be yourself and others will search for the secret of your success.

But, you will know that you are simply being you….

Who you were always meant to be….

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We are all reflecting…….

I can’t believe we are almost at the end….  I had a lovely day with year 1 this morning thinking back through their year and what their favourite parts have been.  It can often be surprising what the children say is their best memory from the year.  But they do remember it all…..Many of them talked about their favourite topics, the things that inspired them.  Many mentioned their ‘under the sea’ topic where they learnt about whales, the Titanic and different boats and ships.  They could tell me so many details about all they had learnt.

Then this afternoon I have enjoyed ‘Capture the Flag’ with the year 6 class.  We ended up having a game between the year 6 and the year 5 which we all thoroughly enjoyed!  

I wish all days could be as carefree as today…..we all reflected…..and the year 6 spoke about some of their memories from when they were in Reception.  What a real end to an era!  

An idea was given to me, a new way to get people to reflect over the year……a ‘dumping ground’ so to say.  On the staff board we have two sheets of paper with envelopes on them.  One is labelled, ‘What has gone well this year,’ and the other is, ‘What I wish had gone better.’  I’ve told people to ‘dump’ their woes for this year to enable them to start fresh in September.  We are wiping the slate clean and I will then be able to use the information to make changes in things we do in school.  This, including the staff questionnaire, will be useful to me in creating an action plan for change.  I’m always looking for ways to improve my practice and to improve the things we do in school.  

I’ve loved reading the children’s questionnaires that have been coming back to me.  Some of their comments really brighten up my day!  They are so truthful about everything and we should be taking note of their voice much more in all that we do.

How does your school use ‘voice’ to improve practice?  How do you use staff and children questionnaires?  

What activities do you use to create change for the new year?  


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Parting ways…onto new adventures.

The year six had their final end of year production tonight . You know the one…..it recaps over key events through the year and ends with the song that makes your eyes well over.

It is always a bittersweet week, excitement for the summer holidays but sadness at having to part ways.

It has been a new experience being a headteacher. I feel a different sense of pride for the year six children. Of course, it is different than actually being their classroom teacher…..but this year six class I will always remember as the first class of year six that I had as the head.

They are all ready to move on and make the transition to year seven. It is the term where you suddenly see them grow too big for the school, where they become so much taller and older.

I am so looking forward to watching the children currently in reception move through year six. I don’t want to rush it, but I know that when I see all those children grow up and move on, the impact of their primary school education will be evident.

This is why we MUST get it right….

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