Why I’m bothering….

I’m not afraid to say it….one of the most enjoyable bits of my job is at Friday at the end of school when all the students have left the site and I have that feeling that everything has worked in sweet harmony and that our team has got it right. That lovely moment that hits you as you walk to the car park where you feel a little satisfaction that the team that you lead has really made a difference. Hopefully you know what I mean!

No one has been excluded, the ‘at risk’ students have attended with no serious incidents – a great week. Or is it?

One of the problems with any pastoral system is that too much time can often be taken by the most vulnerable. How can we be sure that the other students, those who go quietly about their business each day, are thriving, getting the most of what is available, learning deeply and genuinely operating somewhere near their best.

I believe that there are several factors that contribute to a school where this happens each day. I believe that it comes down to excellent, well thought out systems. Creating conditions for outstanding learning – that’s what it’s all about – that’s where the real enjoyment lies. The truth is however…I rarely experience the “Friday Car Park” feeling and always know there is so much that can be improved on Monday.

I try to read widely, research and uncover new ideas that will impact positively back at the ranch. I’m going to write about some of the systems that have worked in my various schools and, if anyone else is interested, perhaps we can debate a little….

To offer some context my school is high attaining, VA 1000, attendance rate of 96% currently with low rates of exclusion, fixed and permanent. Most students are white British and we have around 1350 students aged 11-18 on roll. The last time Mr Wilshaw’s troops paid a visit the grade was ‘1’ overall with a ‘1’ for ‘care, guidance and support’ also. T&L was graded 2 at the last inspection which isn’t good enough.

I love what I do and the people I work with. I have nothing but respect for staff who work in schools and give it their best shot each day.

This blog will be dedicated to those school staff who wake at 4am worrying about whether a student will improve tomorrow and wondering what else you can do that will make a positive difference. I also hope that we can all develop the ability to get back off to sleep for another couple of blissful hours. Perhaps we can communally look for a cure for this feature of term-time teacher sleep. I also know that this is not just reserved for teachers but I quite liked that little bit of alliteration – indulge me a little – I’m a PE teacher by trade!

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