As I reported this time last year, after 23 years there is a new regime in place at my school. Our much loved HT had resigned and handed in his keys. This wasn’t a popular decision and staff and children were upset at his leaving. He had his reasons and this isn’t the place to air them and I don’t have his permission. I will tell you, for those who don’t know that he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year. That’s a measure of how successful he was and how admired he was. So all in all a pretty hard act to follow I think you’ll agree.
Our Deputy Head was asked by the Chair of Governors to take the helm during the interim period of the duration of the Special Schools Review. She was a little daunted by this but never the less she rose to the challenge immediately. She enrolled herself on some demanding courses to enable her to deal with the finances of running a school and undertook more courses in areas where she felt she needed to sharpen her skills. Very few changes were made at first as our new HT came to grips with the task ahead. Coincidentally the DfE helpfully introduced a whole raft of changes concerning PRP and Teaching Standards. So there was a new job to contend with and new bits to go with the new job, just to complicate the issue.
Immediate changes made were the promotion of a colleague and myself to AHT. That’s it for our SLT, just the three of us. As I’ve said before we compliment each other. We know our own strengths and skills and each other’s strengths and skills and we use them appropriately. This allows the burden of management to be shared three ways but the final say, quite rightly goes to our HT. It’s a system that works well for us.
The next change was the appointment of 2 new teachers. We took a long time in deliberating over this and we have a young and enthusiastic NQT who is delivering Maths and Performing Arts across the school. She, in her turn has introduced shows. We’ve had a Christmas show and a Summer one for the end of term which was absolutely fabulous. The new PE teacher is full of energy like most PE teachers and quite literally runs everywhere. He has introduced a sports day and runs inclusive PE sessions skilfully. These 2 are a breath of fresh air for our school. Exactly what our HT wanted.
Possibly the greatest challenge our HT has had to face is collaborating on the ‘new build’ we are due to receive next September. This has been a steep learning curve for her. She has attended meetings with architects and builders and designers and had her hands smacked lightly for over stepping the mark on occasions. I can certainly report that she looks good in a hard yellow hat on site with all the builders. She is awaiting a pair of wellies for wading around on site next.
Another huge change has been the introduction of Social Media. The previous Head resisted the charms of Social Media despite being an avid Twitter user himself. He was worried that something terrible would appear on the school timeline and the parents would see it. We did eventually get a twitter account but parents weren’t really interested. Facebook was what they wanted and Facebook is what they now have. This has been the most popular change our HT has introduced. We have over 170 ‘Likes’ on our FB page in the first 6 months of using it. Suddenly those ‘hard to reach’ parents aren’t so hard to reach. They love to see their talented children on FB and the knock on effect is that they are now visiting school and engaging with us. That was an enlightened move from our new HT.
The next thing that our HT had to deal with was Ofsted. We knew they were due and it was a waiting game like it is for all schools. We were two times ‘Outstanding’ so the pressure was on to ensure standards didn’t slip under the new regime. Our HT worked tirelessly to have everything ready. Everything that should be documented and collated was documented and collated. Staff were coached, we all took part in peer mentoring to help ourselves improve and a new SDP was written to reflect our changing school. So much work was done by our HT in preparation and quite honestly she couldn’t have worked any harder. When Ofsted arrived our Head wasn’t even on the premises, couldn’t return due to family bereavement and missed the whole show. However, her organisational and leadership skills allowed myself and our other AHT to conduct Ofsted without her. The school received it’s third ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grade. Pretty good for someone new to her job!
Our Head’s philosophy is to keep the children at the heart of everything we do. I know that many schools have that as a philosophy but we go a step further. We aim for every child and every member of staff to be the best that they can be. If everyone is at the top of their game you will have a successful and harmonious school. To this end we are hoping to renew our ‘Investors in People Gold’ award this week. Our HT prioritises CPD for our staff to enable them to be the best that they can be for the children. She has invested time and energy in to the staff and I’m confident it will show during our assessment next week.
The last big change I will report for this year is that my HT has joined twitter herself. She hasn’t tweeted much yet but fledgling steps have been taken. Thank you to all the lovely Head teachers and teachers who have made her welcome on twitter. Special thanks to @Mishwood1 who has given much support to her over the new build and other HT type things that I know nothing about! Mary also visited our school and we paid a return visit. True collaboration.
My HT said today that now she’s Head teacher she never gets any feedback on how she’s doing. People hold off from telling her what they think. So I’m hoping this is feedback enough for @Rosie005 I’m here to report that she’s doing a grand job!