Reflections on term 1

This feels like my first term as HOF.

Successes

1. Our students.  Every day our students.  They are brilliant.  My highlight was walking into school after two sick days and being met with a student shouting across the canteen ‘Miss, you are back – are you feeling alright?  We have missed you so much.’  I love them and will continue until we have the best for them.

2. New team members who have settled in.  Partnerships and friendships are forming.  We only have one member of the original English team so it is a new team and, therefore, watching people grow closer and closer is a joy.  Watching the team enthuse each other on a weekly basis inspires me.   I am hoping that over the course of the next year the team will stabilise and the bonds will strengthen further.

2. Teaching and Learning has improved within the faculty and is now more good than requiring improvement.   This is such a success to be celebrated.

3. We have some cracking KS3 units coming into play.  If we get it right this year, then we won’t need to make many changes next year to KS3.  This includes my unit on The Wizard of Oz which I have loved and the students have totally engaged with.

4. Collaborative planning – we now meet, on a voluntary basis, on a Monday after school to collaborative plan and it has been a roaring success.  We have a great unit, the staff engage with each other about teaching and learning and there is a lot of laughter.  A definite highlight of my week.

5. People coming into their own.  A member of my faculty has done some amazing work on spelling and he inspires and motivates me to make things better and better.  He doesn’t get paid for this extra work, he does it because he is enthusiastic and passionate about what he does – he radiates.

6. Dialogues about marking.  The marking of assessments wasn’t great when I joined the school.  NOw there are constant dialogues about assessment.

7. The faculty area.  When I joined it was white.  Now it is full of colour and an engaging area to be in (although not finished!)  Alongside this, our vision is up and we are starting to think, feel our vision.

8. There is a greater focus on literacy across the school.  Key vocabulary is on display.  Literacy mats are used.  Science are doing some brilliant work.

9. Going over to Wellington College and meeting with Tom, who I adore.

10. Going to TLT14.  I love Twitter.  Twitter motivates me and keeps me chugging along.  The network is so supportive and having the opportunity to see others from twitter is just lovely.  The ‘Don’t Change the Lightbulbs’ book launch was also fabulous.

11. My line manager.  Most of the time I keep my spirits up.  But it is hard and I have cried on him on several occasions this term.  He keeps me together and supports me endlessly.  I couldn’t do what I do, without him.

12.  Pub Friday!

Next term:

1. Nail year 11 to the cross and get that coursework in.  Have high expectations for them and strive to meet our target.

2. Support the faculty in planning good units of work.  There is much discussion about lesson by lesson schemes of work.  I believe in them when you are establishing a department from scratch and feel they are needed until the point where everyone in your team is good or outstanding.  I was so relieved to hear another HOF, in a similar situation to me, agree with me this week about that.  People are not chained to them but they are there for people to use.

3.  Introduce new marking approach to ensure all students respond to feedback in their books but that students do more of the work than teachers.

4. Continue to learn to lead.  I am learning on the job.  I get it right.  I get it wrong.  I need to trust myself more.  I need to hold others to account more.  I need to keep my head above water as we steer into interesting times once again in Jan.  I need to continue to set the foundations. I need to focus on year 11 once more.  I need to always learn and strive to get better and better.

5. Reading levels.

6. My own reading which has been pushed aside this past term.

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