2013 has been a fantastic year for me personally and for the school that I work at.
1. Deputy Headship
I’m now into my fourth term as a Deputy Headteacher. I was attracted to the post for three reasons: working for an outstanding Headteacher, the amazing students and the opportunity to rotate roles every two years. Deputy Heads appointed to the school start in Curriculum, managing all 15 Heads of Department. After two years, colleagues move to the Pupils role, and then, if they haven’t moved on to Headship, to Resources and Community role. The school celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. It was a pleasure to meet 16 former Heathland staff, who have gone on to lead their own schools. I think there’s over 30 in total!
Moving into the 6th year from our last inspection, we knew we were awaiting the phone call. Read my previous post, ‘Post–Ofsted review’, which captures my thoughts from the experience.
The relief of being judged as outstanding again was immense. The pressure during the two days’ was not something I’d want to experience anytime soon, but I’m glad it’s over. Following the inspection, I’ve started training as an Ofsted Inspector. The team during our inspection was superb. They worked with the school, kept us informed and really did capture the ethos of the school.
During the Ofsted stage 1 training, colleagues expressed their concern with the invariable quality of inspection teams, which the lead trainer accepted. Having been involved in four inspections, shadowed two inspections and now listened to colleagues who are currently inspecting, I’m of the belief that the outcome of inspection is down to the luck of the draw; the quality of the inspection team.
I would recommend colleagues to have at least a member of their staff trained as an inspector, so that they can keep one step ahead and challenge inspection teams if they fail to follow the Ofsted handbook!
3. Record results
Having celebrated the Ofsted news in June, the GCSE and GCE results in the summer were records for the school. ALPS Grade 3s for both AS and A2 and 75% of students achieved 5A*-C including English and mathematics (previous best 68%).
4. Teaching PE
Starting my DHT role in April meant I had to plug gaps in the timetable. I trained as a physical education and geography teacher, however, I last taught geography over ten years ago. Last year, I taught ICT, mathematics and geography. I am of the belief that a good teacher can teach other subjects; however, Shaun Allison @shaun_allison, sums it up for me:
here to edit.
Must admit writing this blog wasn’t an easy process, having read amazing blogs written by David Didau @learningspy , Keven Bartle @kevbartle, Tom Sherrington @headguruteacher, John Tomsett @johntomsett to name a few. Wish I had a flair to write as well as my colleagues.
6. Colleagues (current and past)
I’ve been very fortunate to have worked alongside some truly amazing practitioners. I've had the pleasure of knowing and working for four collegaues who worked at my current school, who have now gone on to lead their own schools. Can’t wait for my turn!
In my early teaching career, I would wake up and resent going into school, knowing I had to teach the dreaded 9X class. Knowing I had to survive the day with little or no support from my colleagues. I’d hope staff at my school would say the opposite. Students are simply amazing. A quote from Ofsted below:
I had the pleasure of co-hosting an event late in the summer with Ross @Teachertoolkit and Mike Rose @mikergrace. An incredibly busy term, planning, coordinating and liaising with colleagues. I thoroughly enjoyed co-hosting the event, listening to colleagues, sharing and collaborating. The power of Twitter!
These books in particular, reinforced my belief that you can master most things in life, provided that you work purposefully, have a network of outstanding support and put in the hours. I recall quite a disappointing meeting with my daughter’s teacher almost two years’ ago, when she stated my daughter was of average ability. I remained quiet and reflected on what was a poorly worded statement, which was heard by my daughter, wife and myself.
When my daughter came home, I told her I wasn’t interested in her levels or position in the class. I wanted her to enjoy school and work hard. She’s worked hard and has been supported and challenged since that time. She’s persevered despite the setbacks. Worked on learning the piano (now Grade 2) and the guitar. She’s now sitting the Level 6 paper in mathematics and English. Is she talented? I’d say no. Down to hard work and effort as a result of high expectations, high quality feedback and a caring approach, from her teachers, wife and I.
10. The boy has done well. An opportunity to pat yourself on the back.
I attended a comprehensive school in Southall. At the age off 11, my father passed away and my mother raised three boys on her own. It was an immense struggle. My mother could barely speak a word of English. At the age of 12, I knew I wanted to teach PE, having been inspired by Mr. Hughes. There’s always a teacher behind one of our dreams. With his support and guidance, I started preparations to fulfill my dream.
My secondary experience was mixed. I felt let down and was scarred by my form tutor and English teacher. My tutor carelessly announced to my class that my father had passed away in front of me, without my consent, following my first day back to school after my father’s funeral. My English teacher, who refused to mark a draft of my coursework and did not provide me with a reason, despite knowing this was the only subject in which I need to improve my grade, so that I could meet the entrance criteria to start A Levels (I did make the grade, despite the lack of support). To this day, I’m consciously aware of my actions when I’m working with students.
Despite the setbacks and challenges in life, I’ve had an amazing career. In my 15 years’ of teaching, I’ve had the privilege of holding the following positions: assistant head of year, head of year, head of department, assistant head teacher and deputy head teacher, and last year completed an MA in Leadership. Not bad for a child labeled as receiving free school meals, raised by a single parent, summer born in a deprived area. Deprivation is not an excuse for underachievement!
11. Down time
My first year as Deputy headteacher was intense. 6.30am starts and finish at 5.30pm, on a good day, and then working long into the evening and all day Sunday. Having neglected my health, I’ve now started to follow a few golden rules: not to arrive to school before 7am, not to read any emails from work once I get home or on the weekend. If, I need to send any emails to colleagues, I send them to myself and then re-send them once I’m in school.
I now make an effort to go to the gym at least twice a week and swim with the family Sunday morning. Amazing how small changes can make a difference to your work life balance.
12. My family
I’m the father of three beautiful girls. The twins are now nine and my eldest is 11. My wife and I have made so many sacrifices to ensure we’ve provided them with opportunities that we did not have. For the first time in ten years’, we left the children with the in laws and went on a break to India. It was amazing and something we need to do more of. The pressure to attend a grammar school, from my daughter’s friends is immense. She’s grounded and knows she’ll do as well as I have by attending the local comprehensive. I’m so proud of her.
I’m not the finished article, nowhere near, but I’m humbled to have served so many outstanding staff. This picture below, sums up the leadership style, I’d like to adopt if I’m appointed to lead my own school.
1. Keep improving on becoming a better teacher
2. Complete my training as an Ofsted Inspector
3. Attend more TeachMeets
4. Read more with my children
5. Read more myself
6. Spend quality time with my wife
7. Keep striving to improve
8. Get fitter
9. Blog regularly
10. Prepare for Headship
Wishing you all a happy 2014
Enjoy the video