I took up the headship in January 1990, after a very strong “apprenticeship”.
From the outset, I took the view that the sign on the door says head teacher,
so I always took opportunities to continue my enjoyment of teaching,
through short and longer times in the classroom,
ranging from one day to whole terms, depending on the needs of the school.
In this way I was able to demonstrate my willingness
to roll up my sleeves and to do the classroom role,
but also to incorporate practice which had been developed within staff discussion.
Developing staff, through practical skill training, experiment,
enquiry and discussion, research opportunities with in-built sharing time,
peer mentoring, among many other examples, was a hallmark of the school,
creating the collegiate approach which I valued as a developing head teacher.
This quality allowed teachers to admit to both their strengths
and areas for development in a non-threatening environment.
This was the judgement of OFSTED inspections,
where all aspects of the school were judged to be good, and very good in many areas.
This approach extended to non-teaching staff,
who were encouraged to undertake their own personal development,
as well as by being a part of all staff development days.
I am proud of the number of teaching assistants who progressed
to take either degrees or teacher training courses.
The curriculum base of the school always reflected the cross-curricular approach to themes,
incorporating subjects where relevant to do so.
Therefore a class may have a science led topic for a number of weeks, which, I believe, leads to a deeper understanding than can be achieved by “drip-feed” methods.
Where mathematics and English had a natural home within the topic, this was exploited,
but both were taught separately where there was a specific skill need in either subject.
The benefits of incorporation within the topic were that the children could see language in use, through speaking and listening, reading, researching and recording appropriately
for a range of audiences.
In maths they used and applied their basic skills within contexts which showed the purposes and usefulness of mathematics.