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Showing posts from October, 2014

The leadership adventure–an update

One of the reasons that I started blogging, apart from attempting to organise teaching resources, is for my own self reflection.  I’ve never been too bothered about what people think of me.  I revisited this post about teachers being a little like priests and thought it time to update the leadership adventure.  Last year, I came close to leaving the profession.  It’s the second time that’s happened.  I gave in my notice by October in my NQT year and had a job lined up back in Outdoor Education.  If it wasn’t for a very supportive, and understanding, NQT mentor, teaching would have ended there.  You see, I have no problem in accepting the consequences of my decisions. I’ve gotten through that now because now I understand my mission.  I now know without a doubt that I want to be a Headteacher.  I also know that leadership is very much like training for a marathon:  it’s supposed to ache all over because it’s a difficult job.  It’s easy to ignore the pain and the tiredness.  But, I’ve le…

On the Learning Walk being CPD rather than accountability.

Before you start to read this post, watch this.  It’s a classic.  What I’d like you to do is imagine that the Black Knight is Ofsted, continuity Gove, the DfE, your SLT.  That sort of thing.Now, there are all sorts of things I could say about this.  I could comment of brave leadership.  Ignoring the ‘baddies’ to continue on the important mission of improving learning whatever the distractions.  I’m not against Ofsted you understand, I’m paid from public money and there should be a level of accountability without a shadow of a doubt.  Indeed, I’ve notched up around 9 inspections and found each and every one of them positive.  Look back at previous posts, and you should find that clear message.  The problem with Ofsted is that it distracts a school from the main thing, and the main thing should be what’s going on in classrooms.  The learning.You may have noticed that I’m on a little crusade of late.  I don’t believe in any Holy Grail of teaching and never have.  However, II am just as s…

Feedback to the future–how do we make feedback better? #tlt14 musings

I’m often asked how do we make feedback better?  Frustratingly, the answer has been around for a while and it’s just logistics that are getting in the way.  Consider the ill guided Tristram Hunt:He certainly received a huge amount of feedback after his idea.  I swear I forget what it was now though……Thing is, I remember being part of the SSAT Developing Leaders cohort D, or whatever it was called, and being told by Alan November that we were failing our children, that they can receive loads of feedback online through  blogs.  John Davitt echoed this.  Frustrating because this is a long time ago, at the very early stages of my teaching career.  And yet, children still write in paper books that lock away learning.The way forward is to use technology to capture learning artefacts.  Of course, continuity Gove or someone at the ministry needs to overhaul the exam system, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait.  For example, in my own subject, Geographical Information Systems has been in the…

Feedback: it’s not marking, but expert teaching. #tlt14 session

Just on the train back from an energising #TLT14 event.  Thank you to David and Jen for putting together an event that provided me with plenty of ‘holy hand grenades.’
My session focused on feedback, and this post is an attempt to distil and communicate my thoughts on this.  It may get quite lengthy, but I’ve tried to add in some subheadings to help you navigate.  Do feel free to skip to the summing up. The slides are embedded below.  This post is a blend of my personal views and experience as a school leader.  I’ll say at the outset, that I don’t believe in the holy grail approach to school leadership.  

How do you know that feedback is taking place in your school?
I started off posing this question.  What does feedback look like?  Where does it happen?  How do we know that it’s effective? It’s worth taking a moment now to reflect upon this before continuing.

For me, it’s very difficult, but not impossible, to carve out the time to really have a proper look at your own learning envir…