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Showing posts from October, 2014

Why I Blog And Tweet

As I write this I am currently engaging in a Twitter chat with educators from all over the world. The theme of the current chat is about how important is research to teachers, and whether teachers need, or should, engage with research. The hash tag for this chat is #gtcsPL so feel free to join in as this will be happening over the rest of this week, till Friday. This chat is exploring a new 'slow' format and that is why we have been encouraging people to drop in and out of the conversation over the course of five days. Being involved, the chat has felt anything but 'slow' as there has been so much interest and engagement as people have shared their views and challenged each other on many of those views.

This is a perfect example of why I love Twitter. It provides me with opportunities to discuss and converse around issues to do with my day job, Headteacher, and education, both of which I remain passionate about. There was a time when our only opportunity to collaborate…

I Am Fed Up With Awards!

I was asked this week if my schools would take part in yet another award scheme. This time it was for sports and, yes, we could gain Bronze, Silver or Gold awards simply by jumping through some simple hoops (not literally). My heart sank. I was shown the tick-list of criteria for the awards. As usual the first two, Bronze and Silver could be achieved quite easily through self-assessment, whilst the Gold award required a lot more boxes to be ticked, including the one marked 'development plan', and required external assessment. The format was pretty familiar, as this structure was the same as found in most of the award schemes we have either been involved in, or asked to be involved in.  The Green Flag Eco award scheme was much the same. One of my schools was heavily involved in this scheme before I arrived, and had already achieved Silver awards and their first Green Flag, the top award possible at that time. The school and the pupils were now fully engaged in striving for thei…

A Tribute Act Or The Real McCoy?

Last week schools were on half-term holiday across most of Scotland. I headed south to the warmer climes of Majorca and it was whilst there that I began to mull over some issues for school leaders. My thoughts were stimulated by some of the entertainment that was being provided by the hotel we were staying in. This consisted of one night with a tribute act to Rod Stewart, complete with gravelly voice and mullet wig. Another with 'Los Bitles', another tribute band, this time to The Beatles. Then finally a tribute to the Blues Brothers. All of these acts were very entertaining, though that judgement might have been influenced by the sangria, and they certainly new all the words and all the tunes. 'Los Bitles' even played all their own instruments, which also looked like the authentic equipment of the Fab Four. However, good though they were, myself and probably most of the rest of the audience of a certain age, were left still thinking a certain something was missing. Th…

Planning: What Is It Good For?

Last week we had a series of discussions in school around planning. I had conversations with other members of the SMT and with individual teachers, ahead of a full session with all teachers at the end of the week.

Planning has long been a subject of discussion and dialogue in our schools, as in most others. I see it has been the subject of a Twitter discussion last week, led by @Cherryl-kd, followed by her own post on the issue. I must say it is sometimes quite shocking to see and hear of some the practices that still prevail in other settings, and the rationale that lies behind these. But, I am a great believer that all schools and staff are unique in many respects and are all at different places in their journey of development, and this needs to be seen and recognised, before they can move on. We are certainly in a different position to where we were a few years ago, and that position keeps developing and evolving. This is why we needed the discussion.

I, and the other members of th…

Looking For Love?

I have been a Headteacher for nearly fifteen years now and I still love the job. I have been thinking about why it is I love this job so much, and why I think this is one of the best jobs you can have in education. Certainly headship has its challenges, but what job worth doing doesn't? The difference between the Headteacher role and other challenging roles is that every day you are making a difference. You make a difference for pupils, for colleagues, for parents, for the community and for the wider education system. I can honestly say that I would struggle to think of many days where I have not gone into work looking forward to what the day had in store, including all of the unplanned for surprises.

Last week I was at the Scottish Learning Festival and I heard a number of headteachers speak during presentations, and had conversations with others, about how they came to find themselves as school leaders. To a man, and woman, they all said they never started into their teaching ca…