Nurture 14/15

Oh go on I might as well. I must admit that I don’t feel compelled to share with the world exactly how short I fell from achieving anything that I set out to do last year, nor do I have a burning desire to share my hopes and dreams for this year. But, well, every other blogger seems to be at it and it gives me something to do rather than shave off my holiday beard for it is only then, that the holiday is over and my brain must be taken over once again by school.

So how was last year for me I hear nobody ask? Well, based on my predictions as written in my #Nurture1314 post…

  1. The School: We got better. Of that I am of no doubt and luckily the local authority agree. Opening the ‘you are now category 2 (unless you stuff up Ofsted in which case return this letter immediately)’ letter was one of the more positive bits of post that dropped into my in-tray last year.
  2. Governors: ‘We have a new chair of governors’ I cheerily wrote this time last year. Well, we have a new chair of governors, again. And I’m just as cheery, just about. I still find governance the least enjoyable part of my job but I’m getting better. So are they – in fact we have a pretty strong set of governors and for that I’m grateful (most of the time).
  3. HMI: Well, he no longer wants to turn up does he? Says I no longer need him. I take that as a compliment, tell everyone it’s a good sign, cross my fingers and hope he’s right.
  4. Behaviour: I think this has really improved this year. During the last set of lesson observations in Term two (24 to be precise – don’t tell the unions) I was constantly amazed by the outstanding behaviour management and positive learning behaviours around the school. There was a real focussed buzz in every lesson, I think we may have cracked it.
  5. Teaching: It had improved so much by this time last year, but everything is tighter now, teachers are more confident in our systems meaning that consistency is better and as you ALL know, consistency is king.
  6. Twitter Opinions: I’m not sure I managed to convince the country that lesson observations/performance management/school leaders were brilliant – I tried. Twitter still seems rather full of people bemoaning the above – all I can say is that in my school it’s ace and any rogue teacher of mine saying otherwise on Twitter is a liar and charlatan who can not be trusted.
  7. National Curriculum: I think we got away with it.
  8. Ofsted: We literally got away with it. If you could come in the next few weeks that would be great. Preferably while the term two data is valid so you don’t ask me to run around the school trying to scrabble together middle of term three data like you did last time. Oh, and we’re not using levels so come prepared.
  9. Appointments: 2014 brought with it endless appointment issues. For a variety of reasons, ‘life’ being the main cause, but I think we managed to maintain stability for the children (and parents). I see no reason why 2015 should be any different.
  10. Professional Development: Still important for me. I thoroughly enjoyed a coaching course that I went on last year and I can honestly say that it’s made a significant impact on school – particularly when dealing with staff issues. I am also enjoying running a new head’s induction programme with another Bristol Head – he’s the brains and I’m the PowerPoint clicker, we’re playing to our strengths.
  11. Get the band back together: Hey we did it! We actually performed (badly) some songs (that few people knew) to a group of heads (most were intoxicated and wouldn’t have known if it was us or Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich playing) and were applauded (in my head). Same time next year?
  12. Job Swap: I still want to do this – my brother is a housemaster at a prep school and I would dearly like for us to swap jobs for a week. Preferably during parents week or late into the term when his school have broken up for the holidays.
  13. Family Time: Well I have certainly achieved this and feel all the better for it.
  14. True Identity: Don’t be daft.

Apparently we’re not meant to think of 15 things this year but I’ll give it a go:

  1. Ofsted: Bring it on before you change again and before you understand how life beyond levels work. That way I may just be able to pull the wool over your eyes.
  2. General Election: I’m not running or anything but I love an election year. Just think how different the education landscape could be this time next year?
  3. Education Landscape: I hope it is different next year.
  4. Workload: I am going to be thinking this year about how sustainable I think the workload is in my own school. I believe in everything we do, I don’t think we do anything superfluous or for the ‘sake’ of someone else’s agenda but there is a voice at the back of my head asking me to question if a normal hard-working human being could realistically work in my school for years and years without collapsing. If I explore this further it will mean putting in place some cuts – where I make the first incision is at this time anyone’s guess.
  5. Teaching: I’d like to properly get back into the classroom. In my head I think I’ve still got it. My judgement is pretty shrewd when it comes to observing and supporting teachers but I’d like to prove to myself that I can still cut it in the classroom. Just don’t give me French or the 24 hour clock.
  6. Governors: Will I ever love governors? I’m not sure but my personal relationship with them could do with some further analysis.
  7. Mindfulness: I’m dipping my school’s toe into this at some point in 2015. Get ready for some blogs claiming it to be brilliant or balls not.
  8. Appointments: Damn those teachers with their personal lives! Yes, some new appointments will be necessary. It could also be time to shake up the staffing structure in certain areas of the school. Let’s see if it’s a ripple or a tsunami.
  9. Subtle-ism: A movement in education that I started as a way of trying to get people to see sense in being flexible with learning styles. I would like to champion this further in 2015.
  10. Blog-splosions: Endlessly entertaining but at times unnerving. I would like Twitter to evolve from alarmist and deeply personal reactions to seemingly controversial blog posts. If someone is making a point let us discuss the point rather than a) referring back to previous tweets/blogs or b) commenting on style over substance. Or, if a blog is just silly/offensive deny it the oxygen of retweeting.
  11. Twitter: I crossed the divide and met some folks off of that Twitter this year and it was fun. More please – but I do get very anxious about walking into a room not knowing anyone so someone will have to come with me or come up with a dress code or something.
  12. Leadership: I’ve tried to delegate a lot since September rather than be a control freak and I’ve given my new Deputy some long reigns. However, in doing so I feel that I have become too controlling over what I now do on my own, set too high expectations for every poor sod in SLT, am coasting convincing myself that I will change after ofsted…why wait? I think I need to step up now.
  13. Appraisal: I really enjoyed this year’s appraisal process and many teachers are lined up for some exciting cpd opportunities. I can’t wait to see how it impacts on the school and on their careers.
  14. It’s personal: Lose weight, learn to cook a new cuisine, read more books, watch better films, see my friends and family more, get back into my music (man), write a script for something.
  15. True identity: Who am I? I am the observation you wish you could rearrange, I am the work scrutiny after your week off ill, I am the assembly that overruns, I am the arrival into your classroom at exactly the wrong time, I am the meeting with the parent you wish to avoid, I am the data deadline no matter what, I am the weekly newsletter that nobody reads, I am the master of data interpretation, I am the knower of all your free school meals, I am the last person to know why the school cook isn’t in today…


    … I am @theprimaryhead

3 thoughts on “Nurture 14/15

  1. Liz January 4, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    Enjoyed reading this, reminded me of me!

  2. Dx head January 10, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    This was really funny as it could be me writing this about my school in its current position. The only difference was for Governors read parents. My governors are extremely supportive but so much of my time is taken up by parents and their problems and the unreal image of their children and what they think are issues for their children but are not. Not all parents are like this but I would be a very rich head if I had a pound for every time the same parents utter ” you know I am fully supportive of the school and I am not one of those parents who comes into school to complain but…..” Should I take offence that they don’t trust the professionalism of the teachers in the school or should I be more tolerant? Should this be my New Years resolution? ( or revolution – as one child said to me yesterday which actually is more how I feel! ) ho hum!

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