Sunday, 29 April 2012

Week 18: Something you would like to learn to do

There are two things that I'd love to learn to do:

I'd love to be able to design websites. I've never got around to learning how.

Also, I'd love to be able to DIY. I hate the fact that I'm hopeless with even the simplest home improvement task.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Heads Together: Building a Vision

A few things I learned about building a vision on my Heads Together course.

A School Development Plan (SDP) should be based on:

  • School Self-Evaluation (SEF)
  • Your vision
  • Continuous reflection
  • Ofsted
  • Local and national development
The vision for your school should be a statement. There should be a tag line which sums up your values succinctly. Everyone should know this tag line.

Every September, talk about the vision. Is everything still on track? What are the non-negotiables? What will be seen in every classroom?

When planning your SDP, write the success criteria. This should be time specific. Write the operations and actions that need to happen.

Share the successes with all stakeholders.

When do you set your SDP? Schools set theirs at different times. It's good practice to set the plan in September, but review it when the RaiseOnline report for the school comes out.

Three year plans are good for financial planning, but are not always good for curriculum targets. So choose time scales carefully.

Choose a small number of developments (around 5) but do they very well.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Week 17: Your career plan

I've always wanted to be a teacher - even before I went to school apparently I used to teach things to my little brothers. My work experiences and education experiences have always been geared towards becoming a teacher. It is actually a slight regret of mine that I didn't try something else first. Just to try it!

I graduated as a teacher in 2001. In 2006 I was given the position of Acting Deputy Head Teacher during the final year before our school amalgamated with another school. Once our schools amalgamated in 2007 I was given the job of Deputy Head Teacher and that's where I've been ever since.

I completed my Leadership Pathways in 2010 and intend to apply for the NPQH later this year.

I would love to be a Head Teacher and I feel that next year might be the year to start looking.

Watch this space!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Types of Sentences

Sunday, 15 April 2012

My Fitness Goal

I've been recovering from a knee injury for the last year. The most frustrating thing is that I've not felt up to doing much exercise since then. I'm left with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and feeling very out of shape.

I've used Runkeeper to record my walking over the last year. But now I'm using it to set myself a target of running 100 miles by the end of October. I've run my first mile today. I'm going to push myself to improve my fitness.

Week 16: 5 inspiring people that you follow on Twitter

1: Mark Warner @markw29
Mark runs various websites and you can find them all at He regularly shares ideas and helps give Twitter a feeling of community by encouraging others.
2: Simon Haughton @simonhaughton
Simon's excellent blog can be found at He regularly shares ideas and resources.
3: Andy Ross @andyross75
A keen runner, Andy is the Head Teacher of a school not too far away from where I teach. He tweets interesting things and is good for Twitter conversations! His running blog can be found at
4: Tim Handley @tomhenzley
The writer of PGCE Guide, Tim always offers ideas. It's hard to believe he's only been teaching for a few years. His blog can be found at
5: Ian Addison @ianaddison
He seems like a nice bloke when he shares ideas and thoughts on ICT. His blog can be found at

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Leaders' Attributes

I found this somewhere a while back but can't remember where I found it so can't add its source.

Here are 37 leadership attributes that leaders should display:

1. Energetic with stamina - Approaches tasks with great energy and works long hours when necessary.

2. Insightful - Reflects on the relationships among events and grasps the meaning of complex issues quickly.

3. Adaptable, open to change - Encourages and accepts suggestions and constructive criticism from co-workers, and is willing to consider modifying plans.

4. Visionary - Looks to the future and creates new ways in which the organization can prosper.

5. Tolerant of ambiguity and complexity - Comfortably handles vague and difficult situations where there is no simple answer or no prescribed method of proceeding.

6. Achievement-oriented - Shows commitment to achieving goals and strives to keep improving performance.

7. Accountable - Holds self-answerable for work and willingly admits mistakes.

8. Initiating - Frequently introduces new ideas.

9. Confident, accepting of self - Appears secure about abilities and recognizes personal shortcomings.

10. Willing to accept responsibility - Willingly assumes higher level duties and functions within the organization.

11. Persistent - Continues to act on beliefs despite unexpected difficulties.

12. Enthusiastic, optimistic - Thinks positively, approaches new tasks with excitement, and deals with challenges as opportunities.

13. Tolerant of frustration - Acts calmly and patiently even when things don't go as planned.

14. Dependable, reliable - Can be counted on to follow through to get the job done.

15. Courageous, risk-taker - Willingly tries out new ideas in spite of possible loss or failure.

16. Even disposition - Displays a sense of humor and a stable temperament even in stressful situations.

17. Committed to the common good - Works to benefit the entire organization, not just self.

18. Personal integrity - Speaks frankly and honestly and practices espoused values.

19. Intelligent with practical judgment - Learns quickly, and knows how and when to apply knowledge.

20. Ethical - Acts consistently with principles of fairness and right or good conduct that can stand the test of close public scrutiny.

21. Communication (listening, oral, written) - Listens closely to people at work, and organizes and clearly presents information both orally and in writing.

22. Sensitivity, respect - Shows genuine concern for the feelings of others and regard for them as individuals.

23. Motivating others - Creates an environment in which people want to do their best.

24. Networking - Develops cooperative relationships within and outside of the organization.

25. Planning - In collaboration with others, develops tactics and strategies for achieving organizational objectives.

26. Delegating - Appropriately and effectively assigns responsibility and authority.

27. Organizing - Establishes effective and efficient procedures for getting work done in an orderly manner.

28. Team building - Facilitates the development of cohesiveness and cooperation among the people at work.

29. Coaching - Helps people develop knowledge and skills for their work assignments.

30. Conflict management - Brings conflict into the open and uses it to arrive at constructive solutions.

31. Time management - Schedules own work activities so that deadlines are met and work goals are accomplished in a timely manner.

32. Stress management - Effectively deals with the tension of high pressure work situations.

33. Appropriate use of leadership styles - Uses a variety of approaches to influence and lead others.

34. Ideological beliefs are appropriate to the group - Models and demonstrates belief in the basic values of the organization.

35. Decision-making - Makes timely decisions that are in the best interest of the organization by analyzing all available information, distilling key points, and drawing relevant conclusions.

36. Problem-solving - Effectively identifies, analyzes, and resolves difficulties and uncertainties at work.

37. Information management - Identifies, collects, organizes, and analyzes the essential information needed by the organization

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Week 15: Your Favourite Food


Saturday, 7 April 2012

I've switched unions

After some consideration I've decided to change my teaching union. The union I was previously a member of was serving me well, however, I was continually being asked to strike. This is not something I'm comfortable with. I completely understand why members of the teaching profession strike. Their reasons are completely valid. I'm most definitely not casting judgement on anyone. However, it's just not for me personally.

I was pleased to discover, via Twitter, another union whose values I really like: Voice. Their core values are:

  • The strength of negotiation
"At Voice, we believe in the power of negotiation to protect the interests of our members - who never resort to industrial action."
  • Truly independent union
"Our independence from the S/TUC and non-affiliation to any political party means our thoughts and actions are dedicated to our members."
  • Supporting children. Protecting ourselves
"We're responsible for the children we educate and care for, and it's essential that we support them alongside protecting ourselves."
  • Every member is unique
"All of our members are professionals fulfilling an important role in education, early years and childcare, so it's important that we provide a dedicated and personal service, and strive for quality in everything we do."

If anyone decides to join Voice after reading this, please get in touch, and use my membership number as the person who has recommended you.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Monthly Review: March 2012

I'm pretty glad to see the back of March. It's not been the nicest of months...

Visiting my dad in hospital
My dad has been losing mobility and movement for a number of months. Last month was dreadful and it was a relief when he was taken into hospital to be looked after. He stayed in Salford Royal where I thought they seemed to take good care of him. He had an operation in his back which seemed to go ok. Time will tell if it works. He was moved to Leighton after a couple of months. This is not the right place to air my views about the hospital. I hope he can recover as much as possible over the next few weeks.

Selling LEGO
I have a huge collection of Star Wars LEGO minifigs which I have amassed over the years. But due to a lack of space they've been stored in the loft for ages. Now's the time to sell them and see how much I can get for them. It takes a bit of time to prepare and list items for sale and then pack them to post which has taken a bit of time. You can view any items I have for sale here.

Thinking about Learning Platforms
I will write a blog post in more detail about my decision to abandon our current learning platform and move to Google Apps for Education. I met @andyross75 who demonstrated how they use this in their school and it mad up my mind.

Residential in Burwardsley
We had our residential visit to Burwardsley where we learned about the local village, walked up Willow Hill, learned about the Celts, did some orienteering, weaved willow, did a night walk and had a bonfire. The children loved it. I however felt ill the entire time! I'm hoping to change our residential to York in time for next year.

Reading applications for teaching jobs
We have a few vacancies for teachers and so much of my time has included giving tours of the school and reading over 100 application forms. I think many applicants forget about the importance of creating an impression during a tour of the school. You must go if you possibly can! I've read some amazing application letters and some not so good ones. For advice about applying for jobs read my post here.

Not exactly a great time for our family
Our baby girl was poorly for about four weeks at the end of February and the beginning of this month. She had cold, after cold, bug after bug, chest infection after chest infection. She really wasn't herself. She lost quite a bit of weight which was a bit concerning. The doctor moved her on to soya milk which seemed to help her tummy recover. I'm pleased to say that she's back on top form now. I've been poorly too during March. My wife was in a car accident and so she's not been feeling her best either.

Lead Meet
I've been involved in the organisation of a Lead Meet which was designed to give free training to senior leaders in the Local Authority. We offered five courses and people could attend two of them. They were very well attended and feedback was very positive.

Being out of the classroom
For once reason or another I've been out of the classroom for quite a bit this month.

Deciding to apply for the NPQH
I've decided that I'm going to go for it!!

Week 14: A letter to your MP about education

My MP is Stephen O'Brien. Who? I hear you ask? To be honest, I don't know. I can't honestly say that he's ever shared an opinion that I have heard about. Here's a quick open letter to him.

Dear Mr O'Brien MP,
As MP for Eddisbury I would like you to speak to the teachers in your constituency to learn their views about the profession.

My own view is that the government is letting our profession down. I believe much of this is down to the ways that MPs have spoken about the professionals that work in our schools. The government have failed to announce any new policies that will constructively benefit standards. All I have heard is about teachers being expected to be better teachers (without any training),   teachers being expected to work harder for less money (showing a callous disrespect for professionals) and praise for educational values that were used in society before I was even born.

I'd love to hear someone in the government actually saying something positive about the people who work incredibly hard to ensure our children can do their best in the future.