Sunday, 25 March 2012

Week 13: A photo of your classroom

I'm fortunate to work in a lovely school which is very well maintained. The desks in the picture were bought in December after my class wrote to the Head teacher to request new desks as the previous ones were very old (older than me!) I've only been in the classroom since September and there are many things I'd like to add to the wall, but, to be honest, I've found the move quite tough and I've not got into a routine yet.
You can see sunflowers displays on the wall from the art teacher in Year Four. There's a display of newspaper report writing too. The other two displays are of our Behaviour Lights behaviour management system and our class targets.

In this picture you can see my Smart Board (which I love) and my whiteboard (which I love even more!) There's a VCOP wall which has been quite helpful this year.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Week 12: How are your New Year's Resolutions going?

I wrote about my targets for 2012 here.
I'm going to evaluate my progress with a simple 'Yep' or 'Nope'.

Be a good dad and husband. *Yep*
Keep the house tidier. *Yep*
Go to church more regularly.
Spend less. *Yep*
Decorate the hall, bathroom and bedroom. *Nope*
Landscape the front garden. *Nope*
Keep a photo every day. *Yep*
Get my knee sorted. *Nope*
Swim once a month. *Nope*
Start running again. *Nope*
By the end of the year I want to be able to play football more. *Nope*
Go to bed no later than 11.30pm each night. *Nope*
Read a newspaper each day. *Nope*

Enjoy teaching Year Four. *Yep*
Get my classroom (and storeroom) looking like I want it! *Yep*
Develop our class blog more. *Nope*
Use resources like Purplemash more. *Yep*
Redesign the Year Four website.  *Nope*

ICT Co-ordinator
Establish our new ICT scheme of work. *Nope*
Update the ICT inventory. *Nope*
Improve the resources available on our school website for the children and teachers. *Yep*
Promote the use of email within school. *Nope*

Deputy Head
Successfully apply for the Investors In Pupils award. *Nope*
Continue to develop our performance management process. *Nope*
Develop my understanding of using data to monitor progress in KS2. *Nope*

Involve myself in Twitter more. *Yep*
Write more! (My use of Twitter and Blogger has dropped over the last few months). *Nope*

So it looks like there's plenty to do!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Applying for Headship

Today I attended a short course on Preparing for Headship. Here is what I learned:


  • You can never get above the fourth point in the range advertised.
  • Don't ask about the salary in the interview.
  • Use the person specification as a starting point, but you'll need more practical examples.
  • Never write more than three sides of A4, no bigger than font 12. Look at the guidance given.
  • Talk about the school. Talk about the children. Talk about relationships with governors and parents.
Choosing which jobs to apply for
  • Only go for the school you want - the one where you could make a difference.
  • Visit the school.
Looking for jobs
  • Visit the TES website
The interview
  • Mostly it's about what you will bring to the school. Refer to data and Ofsted.
  • Answer questions fully - ask for a repeat of the question if you aren't sure.
  • There are likely to be seven or eight questions, plus a presentation.
  • It might be worth asking a question at the end. But if you are happy - just get out!!
  • It would be worth putting together a portfolio of your career - teaching and learning standards, work with parents, your teaching philosophy.
Building experience
  • Spend time with the SIP
  • Familiarise yourself with RaiseOnline, FFT and Ofsted reports.
  • Work closely with governors.
  • Understand the process of writing action plans.
  • Understand the role of the SENCO.
  • Build up cross-phase awareness
  • Be familiar with Early Years practice.
  • Be familiar with the school budget processes.

Monday, 12 March 2012

GROW model of coaching

Today I learned about the GROW model of coaching.

Coaching is a style of CPD which I'm not sure about. Perhaps I haven't been coached 'properly'. But the principles of GROW seem to make sense to me.

Set a goal. Write down what it will look like when you are successful.

Consider the current situation. Self-assess the way things are now.

Draw out the range of options available in order to work towards that goal.

Way forward
End by considering the next steps. What actions should be taken next?

You can learn more here:

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Week 11: List some of your favourite bloggers

I have around forty blogs that I read regularly. These are my three favourite bloggers:

Chris Leach
I love Chris' passion for ICT and for making it exciting for every child. He shares ideas and organises some really innovative projects like #RethinkingICT and Boo Humbug. His blog is always worth reading and I've borrowed a few of his ideas to use with my own class.

Ian Addison
Ian shares many of his ideas about ICT and I particularly like the way his blog is geared towards ICT subject leadership. After reading about his experiences with Google Apps for Education it got me thinking about exploring the possibility about introducing this in my own school. Definitely worth a read if you are an ICT subject leader.

Simon Haughton
How I would love to be a pupil in Simon's ICT classroom! He regularly shares thoughts, ideas and resources all of which could easily be adopted and used in any primary classroom. He is an inspiration to anyone who teaches ICT! Check out the resources he has shared at his site.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Disengaging staff members

There was another great post on the Leadership Daily blog. It's all about engaging staff on a daily basis.

In order to prove how spot on the advice is, I wanted to consider how staff can become disengaged:

  • Facilitate progress. Staff members feel engaged when they make headway toward objectives. Provide clear goals and resources to support their progress.
When staff aren't given clear objectives they can quickly become demotivated. Without objectives their impact isn't measurable. How can they show their worth? They could start to drift and lose interest in their job. Without goals, and the little milestones achieved each day, it's hard to find success. Without clear goals, resources will not be provided meaning that processes can become stilted.

  • Make work meaningful. Your school/organization doesn't need a lofty mission to make employees care. They simply need to see how their actions contribute to the value provided by the work of the school/organization.
'Singing from the same hymn sheet' is a phrase that is often used in schools. We want all staff understand the importance of their work, and how every thing they do contributes to the success. If they don't they begin to steer away from the school's agenda and do their own thing.

  • Reward and recognize. Don't wait for milestones. Show appreciation every day for the work your staff members do.
This couldn't be truer. Without acknowledgement, without recognition, without appreciation, morale falls, staff members no longer feel valued and de-motivation sets in. They will often want to move on to find rewards and recognition from somewhere else.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Future of ICT

I was observing an ICT lesson in Year Two just the other day. The children were creating amazing presentations, sharing facts, adding pictures and animations. It occurred to me that such projects were once typical in Years Five and Six. The 6-7 year olds were using skills that were once considered appropriate for 9-11 year olds. Of course, the expectation of communication skills would be different for older pupils, but the point is that the children are naturally more able with ICT now than they were just a few years ago. Technology is all around us. Toddlers are given iPads. Babies love to hold a phone and say, 'Hello'. Many children are coming to school with a firm grasp of technology because they pick up a piece of equipment and have a go. They work things out for themselves. We need to foster this approach to learning. Let children have a go!

Whilst the pedagogy and content of most subjects in school remains similar from year to year, the ICT curriculum continues to evolve at a frightening rate. As technology pervades more and more aspects of our lives schools have a responsibility to be at the cutting edge.

In order to deliver an outstanding curriculum, private enterprises must work with schools to tell us what skills and understanding employees need to have. There's a real opportunity here, with the scrapping of the programmes of study for the ICT curriculum, for industry to get really involved in education and what is taught in schools. How could they best support schools to ensure that their employees will work efficiently in a global economy?

ICT skills must become part of the core curriculum as the skills are equally as important as those in English, Maths and Science. The spectrum must widen to include computer science and programming as key skills. Exploration, innovation and creativity must be nurtured and encouraged.

Schools and head teachers should have a clear understanding of the need for up-to-date equipment. They must commit to invest appropriately each year, having a complete understanding of what will offer the best value when it comes to making purchasing equipment.

The changes to the subject that the government are proposing could present a real problem to schools. I also think that it opens a huge door of opportunity for developing the subject and producing some top class technological innovators.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Week 10: Your Favourite Song

I have so many favourite songs. But my favourite is probably Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You. It brings back so many memories of brilliant times with my friends.
Here's the video:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Monthly Review: February 2012

February has been incredibly busy - not even a week's half-term helped to slow things down!

Observing lessons
I've continued with a round of lesson observations in school. I've been brushing up on what the new Ofsted inspections will involve.

Heads Together
I am taking part in a course called Heads Together which is designed to encourage deputy head teachers towards applying for headship. I've spent time in two local schools during this month and have loved learning from different head teachers. There has also been a course which taught me more about applying for head teacher roles and also about interviewing for class teachers.

Attending meetings
I've been to a lot of meetings of one nature or another.

I went paintballing for the first time in about three or four years and really enjoyed it!