Posts

EducationFest… Reflections for me as a Senior Leader

As a regular attender of #EducationFest, I know that I will leave every year feeling re-energised and inspired, but more importantly, informed.As we know though, a one off conference does not lead to change in performance and so an important part of ensuring that this incredible CPD has an impact on my practice is to spend some time reflecting on my top takeaways.
This year I have decided to write 3 mini blogs rather than one big blog post, with each post focusing on a different area of my practice and this one is about my learning as a senior leader.
The first session I attended (after the brilliantly entertaining Hugh Dennis) was Daisy Christodolou who was discussing life after levels 5 years on.This was a brilliant presentation that began by questioning whether the decision to remove levels was the right one.She absolutely convinced me that it was by showing exactly how inadequate levels and associated descriptors had been at helping us to measure students progress.They failed to pro…

EducationFest… Reflections for me as subject leader

As a regular attender of #EducationFest, I know that I will leave every year feeling re-energised and inspired, but more importantly, informed.As we know though, a one off conference does not lead to change in performance and so an important part of ensuring that this incredible CPD has an impact on my practice is to spend some time reflecting on my top takeaways.
This year I have decided to write 3 mini blogs rather than one big blog post, with each post focusing on a different area of my practice and this one is about my learning as someone responsible for the curriculum and assessment practices of a department.
For reasons that are irrelevant to this blog, next year I will be deputy head and also subject leader for RE.I am pretty happy about that for two reasons.Firstly, I only spent 18 months as HoD before taking on a new role and it was one of my favourite roles.Secondly, because it is useful assenior leader to see my own leadership decisions through a slightly different lens.It wa…

EducationFest… Reflections for me as a classroom teacher

As a regular attender of #EducationFest, I know that I will leave every year feeling re-energised and inspired, but more importantly, informed.As we know though, a one off conference does not lead to change in performance and so an important part of ensuring that this incredible CPD has an impact on my practice is to spend some time reflecting on my top takeaways.
This year I have decided to write 3 mini blogs rather than one big blog post (although there may be more to come), with each post focusing on a different area of my practice and this one is about my learning as a classroom practitioner.
I am going to focus this piece exclusively on the session led by Nick Rose, a really interesting session entitled ‘what can psychology tell us about learning?'I knew a lot of what his talk contained from my degree study of psychology BUT I am not applying it in my own classroom.So here is a short summary of the key points that Rose reminded me about psychology and that I need to implement i…

Teacher Wellbeing and Implications for Leaders

For my most recent MA assignment, I chose to focus on teacher wellbeing.For the last two years I have worked with staff to raise awareness of mental health issues in the young people we teach.The further I have looked into this area, the more I have realised that student wellbeing and teacher wellbeing are two sides of the same coin (Roffey, 2012).I invited staff from one school to respond to a questionnaire that sought to identify what teacher wellbeing is, to collect a snapshot of teacher wellbeing from the school and to make recommendations of next steps for SLT. 
The first issue I encountered in the research was in establishing a working definition of teacher wellbeing.Much of the literature concluded that it was a subjective term and this almost seemed to minimise its importance and yet, as Danna and Griffith point out “an individual’s experience at work…affects the person while he or she is at work.In addition these experiences ‘spill over’ into non-work domains.Workers spend abo…

Teaching to the top... a personal reflection

I have had the enormous privilege of teaching the most amazing group of students this year.  A top set year 7 group who I have for RE one hour per week.  It has been a while since I had year 7 having done the A level/GCSE loop for the last few years and my initial thought was that this would be my weekly respite - my one hour a week where I could just teach without worrying about outcomes and targets and all that jazz.

To some extent that is exactly what it is - it is without question, the best hour of my week.  But it has also been a form of CPD for me.  I read Ron Berger's 'Ethic of Excellence' (the source of Austin's Butterfly - if this means nothing to you, please google it!) a number of years ago and had been struck by some of the important messages that the book delivers and I had (in my humble opinion) embedded them into my GCSE and A level teaching.  If you haven't read it I cannot recommend it enough - key messages for me are the importance of not underest…

CPD: Where to now?

I have spent the last few years developing a CPD programme for the staff in my school that I am really quite proud of.  It has leadership development pathways for those who wish to progress outside of the classroom, the opportunity to attend external courses for exam guidance and inspiration (or at least it has for now - Devon to anywhere else is pretty costly) and it has relevant sections for teachers at all points of their career.  It was designed to be a cradle to grave (is that an appropriate description for teaching?) system.

But it has one flaw and it is a deeply frustrating flaw because the flaw is in my favourite bit.  I have always believed in the Dyaln Wiliam approach that teachers need to get better not because they are not good enough but because we can all get better.  The building blocks of my CPD approach is formed on this basis - all teachers participate in a long term CPD project - either an inquiry group or a book club.  In the inquiry group teachers from multiple di…

Nurture 2016-17

I did surprisingly well on last year’s goals except for one.  I pledged to read 52 books and didn’t get anywhere near that goal (I shall revisit the why and what next as I look ahead).  But I also pledged to pick up my MA study, breathe new life into my CPD programme, find the love in teaching again, make Devon home and let go of a problem that had been a problem for a long time.  Well in 2016, I attended MA summer school and met a group of inspiring people who made me believe I was capable of anything – something I am incredibly grateful to them for.  In 2016, I did breathe new life into my CPD programme – the introduction of book club went really well and has planted the seed for a Book Club Teaching and Learning Conference (watch this space for more details).  In 2016 I reconnected with the people I love (family and partner) and started to stop taking them for granted, that ticked two boxes – it enabled me to let go of ‘the’ situation and resulted in the purchase of our new home i…