Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Back to School We Go

This week brings the return to school for lots of us. I’m sure, like me, most people are experiencing the the mix of positivity about getting, lamentation for the end of the holiday and nerves over Covid and what the future will bring. There are people who want to get back to normal, people who …

An Apology to School Staff

I am sorry to have to interrupt your school holidays, but thought it important I write to you.  I am sure you have seen and read the recent IfG, University of Cambridge and University of London research and reports. They were damning of the Department pointing out numerous failures and areas where we could, and …

You did good

The summer can often be a time for reflection. This might not be a year to want to reflect on. It’s been very, very hard. It seems to have rolled on from the last academic year without much of a break, certainly mentally, anyway. I think it is really important that we do reflect though, …

A Guide to Securing a Job

So, while many people may have secured a job for next year, I am well aware there are people still looking and getting worried about finding a post for next year. Here is my short guide to maximising your chances at suceeding in getting a post, from the start to the end of the process. …

A little Maths I learned…

I spent a good chunk of my time teaching maths at primary level, and although, admittedly, mainly at Key Stage 2 level, I like to think I was reasonably successful at it. I love teaching Maths, and I think it can be beautiful in its simplicity, and the patterns that can be found and the …

Ignore the Voice That Screams

Ignore the voice that niggles inside your head. The one that tells you to give it up, the one that tells you you’re fooling no-one. The one that screams ‘imposter’. We all have one. Because no matter how confident we might seem, it is in all of us. That nagging doubt, that tiny voice that …

Treat the Grown Ups Like Grown Ups

Yesterday I put out a tweet about why people fall out of love with teaching being nothing to do with the actual teaching part of the job. It seems to have struck a nerve in what became a quite disheartening thread about the reasons people have left teaching. It filled with stories of how they …

Teaching is easy, the layman opined…

‘Teaching is easy,’ the layman opined, with a poorly disguised chuckle and a glint in their eye. ‘I don’t get the fuss, or endless tales filled with woe or the mess or stress, but I have to confess that I’d happily give long breaks a go.’ You nod and you smile as you look down …

Leadership, A Little Less Distilled

Following this tweet https://twitter.com/secretHT1/status/1352892060798513154 I’ve fleshed out some of my thoughts on the most important aspects of leadership. 1) Put Your Ego to One Side Yes, we’re in charge of something. Yes, we’ve been given a place of responsibility, but don’t let it get to ours head. There’s still a lot we don’t know about …

You Do Not Go Unseen

What you do does not go unseen. Even if it feels like it, it doesn’t go unseen and you don’t go unseen. The prep, the work, the delivery, the videos, the uploading, the feedback, the video calls, the live lessons, the late nights, the early starts. None of it goes unseen.  The children don’t know …

New Year, Old You

As we start a new year we hear so much about resolutions, life changes, altering things about ourselves in the pursuit of better, different, more affirming, more efficient, more effective. Yes, these are all worthwhile goals and, yes, can make huge impacts on your work/life/attitude. Sometimes though, all of it can be a bit much …

Dear Mr Williamson, further to my previous letter.

Dear Mr Williamson, It has been a while since I last wrote to you. In a number of ways many things have changed. We have welcomed back almost all pupils and greeted them with smiles, warm hearts, cheeriness and sensitivity as they have returned to school this term, no doubt anxious about what it would …

No – It’s Not Just You

This half term has been tough. The swing of moods from the highs of having the children back to the energy sapping routines. The mental drain of having to overthink everything. Be in no doubt, this has been the hardest half term of my career. My energy levels have been so low and I’ve found …

Governance – the best CPD you can get

Governors – the unseen being that hovers over a school setting. The mystical people that come in after hours and make decisions that affect teachers day to day workload. That group that gets the reports and sits and takes everyone to task. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my experience anyway. Meetings are …

Making the Most of Your Teaching Practice

Soon, trainees everywhere will be making their steps into new schools for new placements. It can be daunting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. All of mine were so different in terms of scope, demographic and age group and they were all excellent learning experiences. These are my top tips for making the …

Dear Mr Williamson

Let me begin by saying that the last 6 months has been an undoubtedly difficult time. What has occurred has not been seen in 100 years and difficult decisions have had to be made – life changing decisions, unenviable decisions and often impossible decisions. I understand that and very few people would want to be …

Why Do I Trust?

We see a lot of values in schools now. This will always be high on my personal list. It is so powerful and can be an absolute game-changer in so many ways. I’ve already written a blog on how to build trust as a leader, but this will dig a little deeper into why it …

Why Do I Rest?

This one is all about why I feel the need to strike the right work life balance. I am no good to anyone if I’m burned out, exhausted and stressed out. I’m ratty, shorter with people and my family end up bearing the brunt of it. This is the one I particularly feel guilty about. …

Thriving September

For some, September will feel like it is crashing towards them and with it will come a wave of excitement and nerves. Planning for your first class and first term can be a mix of eagerness and dread – you want the day to come, but perhaps are feeling that imposter syndrome creeping on. Maybe …

Catch Up, Not Patch Up

So much out there about catch up at the moment, and rightly so. Some children have missed everything, some have missed a lot and some have missed most of what they should have covered over the second half of this year. We’ve been asked to prioritise catch up in Reading and Maths and Phonics and …

Teaching Year 6? Congratulations!

For me, Year 6 is the best year to teach in Key Stage 2. I taught for 6 very happy years in Year 6, across 2 schools. I loved every minute of it, and I think it is a unique experience when it comes to teaching at primary. Can you always but your finger on …

Leadership in Lockdown

So, the confirmation that the government intend for schools to re-open to more pupils on Monday seemed like an apt time to write this blog. I’ve been reflecting a lot recently about life during lockdown, and how so many of things I have done have been completely alien. The old saying ‘you couldn’t make it …

Guidance On Schools Opening on 1st June

Last updated 25 May 2020 Information for Schools We are asking schools to re-open their doors and welcome back children in nursery, Year R, 1 and 6 from the 1st June 2020. Before moving onto practicalities, let us first thank each and everyone of you for all you have done so far. By making provision …

Leading From the Back

Lead by example! Show the way! Be the figurehead! All very plausible and worthwhile I’m sure but is it always the best way forward? There are times when, as a leader, you need to be front and centre and be making the critical decisions but equally, and maybe more often, front and centre is precisely …

Ask a Headteacher Anything – Part 2

Twitter could ask me anything – and they did! Here are all of the questions I was asked, and my answers. Who do you turn to when you don’t know what to do? I’m fortunate, I have a supportive wife, a great deputy, a cluster group and great governors, so I go to them. Perspective …

Don’t Stress About the Home Schooling

I’ve seen so many different views on this. Daily work, weekly work, home work packs, must log on, don’t have to log on, remote lessons, live lessons, pre recorded lessons, phone calls home, threatening letters to parents, too high expectations, too low expectations, have to do it, don’t have to do it. I’ve seen it …

When the going gets tough, the tough…feel pretty awful.

This week was a tough week. Nothing major, and people, I’m sure, are dealing with much worse. Just a multitude of little things all piling up at once…governor meetings to prep for, lots of staff absence, few niggles here and there, safeguarding and social care issues, a high level of cover needed from me. Coupled …

An Open Letter To Teachers Everywhere

Every day you do something amazing. You might not think it, you might not feel it, but you do. Every day you get up, go in and work your hardest for those kids you are giving them something special, something they might not be getting anywhere else. You give them trust, honesty, challenge, confidence, fun …

What is Great Teaching?

In a world of Ofsted, Learning Walks, Observations, drop-ins (formal or informal), judgement, accountability and everything else teachers have to contend with it is easy to lose what great teaching is. We can fall into the trap of jumping through the hoops and working to what we think people expect to see of great teaching, …

Just What Do You Do All Day?

After being posed the question ‘Some headteachers just sit in their office all day, don’t teach and never come out, what do you do all day?’ I thought I’d walk you through my day, just to give a little glimpse of life as headteacher. Arrived at school at 8am. Caught up with the teacher I …