Issue 40 November/December 2009
THE BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ALL SCHOOL LEADERS
PLUS ASSESSMENT CAMPAIGN PRIMARY REVIEW EMPLOYING REFUGEES
CCTV SPELLS CONTROVERSY THE USE OF CAMERAS IN SCHOOLS IS A CONTENTIOUS ISSUE. HOW TO MAKE IT WORK?
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Steve Smethurst Editorial
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id it bother you when Sir Terry Leahy, the big cheese at Tesco, and a member of the National Council for Educational Excellence, said that standards are “woefully low in too many schools” and employers are left to “pick up the pieces”? Tempting as it is to dismiss the comments out of hand, Tesco is the country’s largest private employer. With 280,000 staff, Sir Terry has a reasonable population to base his findings on. He also pointed out that there are “too many agencies and bodies, often issuing reams of instructions to teachers, who then get distracted from the task at hand – teaching children.” So, clearly, he does have some awareness. But is he right about standards? With all due respect, a supermarket is never going to be where the brightest and the best seek employment. And, as some politicians have failed to grasp, With not everyone can be above average.There will always be all due some who are ‘hard to reach’ and even harder to teach. respect, a For a more balanced view, check out the Cambridge Primary Review (page 18). Three years of hard work supermarket is involving a team of 14 authors and 66 research never going to consultants have gone into the production of a report be where the that makes it clear that schools are doing a good job. Mick Brookes, the NAHT General Secretary, (page 13), brightest seek notes that the report states, very clearly, that: “schools do employment not neglect, and never have neglected, the 3Rs, and those at Westminster and in the media who regularly make this claim are either careless with the facts or are knowingly fostering a calumny.” More evidence of the excellent work that schools are doing, across all ages, comes with a celebration of the first year of the Diploma qualification (page 38). “If we can give young people a qualification that engages them, as well as giving them the skills for work and university, they are more likely to succeed,” says Oldham headteacher Rachel Quesnel. Perhaps Sir Terry needs to give the Diploma a chance to bed in so we can see if Rachel is correct. Perhaps, too, he needs to take account of the fact that parents are leaving schools to ‘pick up the pieces’ when it comes to the basics of social behaviour. Our interviews with the leadership team at a Sure Start Children’s Centre in Middlesbrough (page 42) make it clear that they work they do in personal, social and emotional development is vital. Local primary headteacher Andrea Williams states: “My nursery staff will tell you that the children’s centre does make a difference. They tackle things like toilet training and behavioural issues that would otherwise impede their learning when they first come in.” Being a school leader can often be a thankless task, so embrace the Cambridge Review and, maybe, shop in Asda, or Waitrose, or Morrisons... Steve Smethurst Managing editor
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS
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34 NEWS FOCUS 6 PLAYING BY THE RULES Ofsted guidance means that inspection teams are more focused than ever before on facts and figures.
7 IT’S STILL EARLY DAYS NAHT urges the Government to allow extra time for Local Authorities to adjust to the single funding formula.
9 NOT COVERING ALL BASES The ‘rarely cover’ rule was supposed to free up teacher’s time, instead it’s leaving staff in short supply.
10 TIME FOR ACTION?
The Government is yet to decide on the future of Sats. Here’s how NAHT members can get their voices heard.
4 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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LeadershipFOCUS FEATURES 18 HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL Four thousand sources, 66 research consultants and 14 authors have combined to bring the Cambridge Primary Review to our attention. The good news is that schools are doing a good job and school leaders have the chance to seize the initiative.
22 LOSING YOUR INDEPENDENCE Since 2001, seven secondary and six primary schools have made the journey from the independent sector into state hands. Three school leaders tell LF about the journey.
28 I SPY, SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH CCTV Cameras in the classroom have distinctly Orwellian overtones, but since there’s a dozen cameras on every high street, can we really expect schools to be camera-free zones?
34 SCHOOLS AS A REFUGE Employing refugees may not be the easiest task in the world, but many have teaching qualifications and can be valuable additions to your team as well as helping community cohesion.
38 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY A year after the Diploma was introduced, the headteacher at a school in Oldham tells LF why she feels it is a ‘strong and relevant qualification’ that will go from strength to strength.
42 EARLY RISERS The leadership team at a Sure Start Children’s Centre in Middlesbrough is helping youngsters and their families to make a flying start when it comes to education.
REGULARS 3 EDITORIAL
By Steve Smethurst.
13 THE MICK BROOKES COLUMN
The General Secretary on the Cambridge Primary Review.
15 THE STEVE MUNBY COLUMN The NCSL aims for victory at the generation game.
16 SOUNDBITES Andrew Squire of St John’s Primary in Totnes, Devon.
48 WHAT’S NEW?
The latest products and resources.
50 AND FINALLY…
Susan Young muses on what you won’t hear at a parents’ evening this autumn. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 5
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New Ofsted guidelines mean that yet more headteachers will face inspection teams who favour paperwork over performance
Playing by the rules
he revised guidelines that were issued to Ofsted inspectors in September are causing problems for schools. The problems exacerbate the existing issues with inspection teams, and the chances of being visited by ‘number crunchers’ with little understanding of the realities of school leadership are rising. Tony Roberts, who acts as secretary for the NAHT in Lancashire, says that inspection teams are being told to judge on raw data: “For example, with Sats scores, they are told to take them at face value. It’s upsetting and a lot of headteachers are very angry. We think the reason a lot of the KS2 writing scores are down is because of the quality of the marking,” he said. Headteachers are also getting seriously concerned about safeguarding. “Looking after children in our care is the most important thing we do, but the whole issue is starting to border on the hysterical,” said Tony, who added that even the education secretary, Ed Balls, has conceded that the costs involved with CRB checking parents who escort children to football matches is over the top. Recent problems have come with inspection teams who take the fact that the paperwork isn’t absolutely spot on as evidence that checks haven’t been done. A school might have done the CRB checks and have systems in place, but if the inspector deems the paperwork to be unacceptable a school is put into a category. At one school, said Tony, not all the paperwork regarding CRB checks was in a single folder. “It was actually in two folders, and so the head was taken to task. It’s this kind of over-reaction that can lead good schools to be placed into categories. “Really, it’s an extension of an old problem. If you get a good inspection team, you’re fine and you can have a professional dialogue with them. When these cases have been brought to our attention, we’ve been
2000km across rough African terrain while sat on a plank? Well, it is for charity
MICK BROOKES TO GET ON HIS BIKE FOR AFRICA In July 2005, the NAHT’s General Secretary was invited to address the International Confederation of Principals in Cape Town. During the trip, he visited the Langar Township, and what he saw there made him determined to do his utmost to support children in extremely challenged circumstances. NAHT is working closely with Unicef, and it was at a Unicef event that he decided to apply for Enduro Africa 2010, a motorbike rally that crosses 2,000km between Durban and Port Elizabeth on an Enduro bike. Mick Brookes said: “The seat is rather like a plank of wood, although I am told that you don’t spend much time on it. I will be in a group of about 15 other riders and I know that the challenge will be tough. What I hope won’t be tough is to persuade you to support me.” Mick is looking for 100 schools to donate £100 to reach his target, which is to raise £10,000 from sponsorship that will be shared by Unicef and Sentabale (an organisation that builds and maintains schools in South Africa). If you would like to support Mick, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org able to negotiate a 48-hour extension to correct any administrative errors. “The problems come with the increasing number of inspection teams that are out of touch with the realities of school leadership. They are number crunchers who can’t see beyond the raw data and won’t take into account any other factors.” Lesley Gannon, Assistant Secretary, policy, at the NAHT confirmed the Association’s fears. “There have always been concerns that inspection teams don’t have a brilliant understanding of the way schools work.
Although, we understand the guidelines are being revised as it’s clearly not the best way to proceed when administrative or clerical errors – in some cases a simple formatting error in a document – lead to a very good school being placed into a category. “No-one is suggesting that a school that has failed in its safeguarding duties should go unpunished, but this is ridiculously harsh. Inspectors are being asked to judge things as they find them, at first-sight, not taking into account that there may have been an administrative error.”
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Guidance on single funding for Early Years providers is being rolled out, but NAHT insists that local authorities need extra time
It’s still early days
he DCSF guidance on the single-funding formula has now been sent out and Local Authorities (LAs) are in the process of putting together their funding for all Early Years’ providers. The guidance is specific and designed to lead LAs through the process. But it seems it isn’t going quite to plan. Reports are emerging of potential halving of budgets; threats of closure for maintained nurseries and Children’s Centres; simplistic formulae taking no account of cost differences; and issues over collection of cost information from private providers. These should not be happening, yet clearly they are. The essence of the guidance is that funding for the free entitlement for three and four year olds should be delivered, whatever the provider, via a formula built on core principles, which should: • Preserve diversity/choice in the market; • Incentivise improvements in the quality of provision and recognise the ongoing costs associated with quality; • Be clear and transparent. This is fine in theory, but the reality differs. Within the guidance there is also a requirement for LAs to base their formulae on the outcomes of a full cost analysis. Sadly, in some cases, private providers are reluctant to give full details of their cost models, labelling them as commercially sensitive. This hinders LAs when they attempt to get an accurate picture of the costs of early years’ provision and from this develop a fair funding formula. It has to be accepted that maintained provision, particularly nursery schools, is an ‘expensive’ form of provision. However, it is recognised that this provision is, in the main, outstanding and delivers excellent value for money. There are unavoidable costs that nursery schools must meet that are not relevant for other providers. The guidance makes provision for authorities
It is essential that the funding formula is arrived at after adequate consultation, modelling and refining to iron out extreme anomalies
to take these legitimate costs into account. Building this into a formula can be complex, but that does not mean it should not happen. Differing levels of funding to take account of different cost elements are specifically referred to in the guidance but some LAs are unable/unwilling to do this. Full-time, funded provision also seems likely to fall by the wayside – something that could hit those most in need. Where authorities decide not to fund for quality, the outstanding provision will suffer and there is the risk of ‘funding mediocrity’. Although there is a presumption against closure of maintained nursery schools, this will happen because little account is taken of their legitimate additional costs.
The NAHT has been raising this issue for some time with ministers and senior civil servants, and there appear to be some ways forward. It is clear that the Government is committed to funding Early Years provision via a single funding formula, whether via maintained or private providers. As such, it is essential that the funding formula is arrived at after adequate consultation, modelling and refining of the formula to iron out extreme anomalies. Kathy James, Senior Assistant Secretary, policy, politics, education, at the NAHT has stressed that this can’t be done quickly and said that the NAHT is pressing the Government to allow extra time for authorities to implement the formula. She said: “We are concerned that full, detailed support should be available to LAs that are struggling with this process. It would be more helpful to have actual involvement of the DCSF in reviewing potential formulae and, where these were deemed unsatisfactory, to require the authority concerned to rework the formula, in consultation with stakeholders. “Come on, Secretary of State,” she said. “We have accepted that the single funding formula model is one that you want to put in place. But isn’t it time that you accepted that rushing into this can do nothing but harm and an extra period of time will enable us to get it right?”
JEAN CARTER IS THE NEW PPC GENERAL SECRETARY Jean Carter has taken over as General Secretary of the Principals’ Professional Council (PPC). Jean taught in primary schools before qualifying for teaching in secondary and further education. After lecturing in two colleges, initially in business studies, she became a senior lecturer in higher education in social policy and administration. However, her commitment to vocational and lifelong education attracted her back into further education as head of department in colleges in London and Hampshire. After a brief period as senior inspector for post-16 education and training in a London borough, she was appointed as the academic director of Canterbury College. Her most recent post was principal and chief executive of Enfield College. As General Secretary of the PPC, she is committed to supporting the membership and the sector as a whole, as well as enhancing links and partnerships with other educational organisations.
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The ‘rarely cover’ ruling may protect planning and preparation time for teachers, but does it do schools more harm than good?
Not covering all bases
he new ‘rarely cover’ rule is ‘inflexible’ and does not allow schools to use their initiative when arranging classroom cover. Teachers cannot now cover fellow colleagues for lessons. Instead, cover supervisors must be employed, with the aim of increasing planning, preparation and assessment time for teachers. General Secretary Mick Brookes, who recently wrote to Education Secretary Ed Balls outlining the NAHT’s problems with the new policy, said that special schools were the most likely to be hit by the new rules. He argued that children with behavioural difficulties would not find it easy to adjust to a new, and possibly inexperienced, cover. “It is nonsense to bring a stranger into a class of children with complex needs, particularly those at the far end of the autistic spectrum,” Mick told LF. “Unfortunately, the inflexibility of the system means that the buddying that happens is now against regulations. We need to do something about it and are very concerned. “It’s yet another example of negative policy making, where a few break the rules and everyone is caught with compliance, regulation and legislation – all of which undermines your ability to lead and manage your schools,” he said. “That’s the scenario that the NAHT is facing and we’re doing our best to not allow this to undermine people’s ability to lead and manage their schools.” According to Mick, problems have not just been reported by school leaders, but by teachers too, He said that teaching unions had been in touch with the NAHT and said that the policy did not cover every occasion that might require cover. For example, a teacher’s child playing in a football match, or appearing in a nativity play.
He also voiced concerns about the added cost, which he estimated could run into tens of thousands. “Some of our secondary colleagues estimate the cost at up to £100,000 a year, which will have to be found from somewhere. On the back of threatened budgets, this isn’t good news at all.” His comments were echoed by Magnus Gorham, Assistant Secretary, salaries, pensions and conditions, at the NAHT, who said that the organisation had received a number of complaints about the scheme since its launch in September. “We’ve had lots of people ring up and tell us they’re finding it difficult to see their way through it. Special schools are a particular issue, as given the difficulties
disability needs afford, you can’t just bring in a supply teacher from outside,” he said. “Most schools already have their own version of ‘rarely cover’ which works for them,” he added, a point that is supported by Mike Stewart, headteacher at Westlands Foundation School, in Torquay. He said that the policy was a ‘retrograde’ move that would that upset a school’s previous provisions for cover. “At my school, we’ve got eight cover supervisors who can’t possibly cover all the eventualities. “It makes it much harder for teachers to go on trips, and it is hugely expensive,” he said. “It’s sad and it really is a backward step for schools.”
The BT Convention Centre in Liverpool will host the 2010 Annual Conference for NAHT members
ANNUAL CONFERENCE – 30 APRIL-2 MAY, 2010 The NAHT Annual Conference in 2010 will be held at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool, overlooking the Mersey. The conference opens on the Friday evening with a reception and buffet followed by a fundraising event in support of Unicef and the Desai Primary School, Nairobi. On the Saturday, the keynote speaker will be Professor Andy Hargreaves, who has written many books on culture, change and leadership in education. Saturday will also see the AGM, the opening ceremony, debates and regional dinners. Sunday will commence with the conference service, followed by more debate and policy making before the General Secretary’s address. The annual gala dinner will close the event, with dancing to the Bogus Brothers. Look out for further details and booking information at www.naht.org.uk
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 9
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Time for action? The consultation form has gone out and now it’s up to you on KS2 assessment, says Hashi Syedain
onsultation forms on KS2 assessment should be landing on members’ doormats about the same time as this issue of Leadership Focus. In this, the latest stage of the assessment campaign, the NAHT is asking members’ views on whether the current assessment system should change; whether you would be prepared to take action to effect a change; and if you would support a phased withdrawal from the current system. As LF went to press, the Government had still not signed a contract for the administration of the 2010 tests, which is a hopeful sign, according to General Secretary Mick Brookes. The Association is still willing to call off the timetable to action – if the Government demonstrates a real commitment to change, he said. “We are in a process of irretrievable change. But it’s a question of timing – of what the Government can do to defuse testing in 2010 that will achieve the two principal aims of ensuring Year Six children enjoy a broad and varied curriculum and that parents receive an accurate picture of their child’s attainment.” One possible solution, said Mick, is that next year’s Sats could be delivered nationally
– but administered and marked locally – and not turned into league tables. A survey of members’ opinions earlier this year revealed overwhelming opposition to Sats. More than 90 per cent of the 135 respondents gave negative answers to the question: ‘What do Sats mean to you?’ Stressed children and teachers, a temptation to distort the curriculum by ‘teaching to the tests’ and the tests’ unfairness as a method of ranking schools, were the most common answers. One respondent pointed out that in their school, which has just 84 pupils, each Year Six child represented nine per cent in the league tables. Only eight respondents from 135 spoke positively about the effect the tests had in raising standards in their schools, although several added that Sats should not be used as the basis for league tables. The NAHT, which has been working with leading educationalists Andrew Hargreaves
and Dylan William, will publish details of its proposals to replace the Sats regime later this month.The proposals include a much greater emphasis on teacher assessment – properly moderated to ensure its robustness. Teacher assessment has become increasingly professional over recent years. The Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors says it will have accredited 3,000 Chartered Educational Assessors by 2011, who can help schools implement reliable teacher-assessment methods that are robust, empowering and realistic to establish. It is important to stress that this assessment will sometimes involve testing. Mick has constantly stressed that the NAHT is not against testing per se, but against the highstakes nature of the current Sats regime. The Association is also broadly supportive of the School Report Card proposal of evaluating schools across a range of criteria, including academic achievement, that is
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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The case AGAINST Sats
currently being piloted across 600 primary and 500 secondary schools in England. Furthermore, the NAHT has been looking at the experience of Scotland and Wales to see what can be learned. In Scotland, explained NAHT’s Ian Foster, there is a combination of teacher assessment and local testing, supplemented by a national sampling of results in English and maths across a range of schools each year. “School leaders and teachers are happy with that,” he said. The feedback from schools about 2009 Sats has emphasised the need for reform. Although all tests were marked on time this year, more schools than ever complained about sub-standard marking, particularly in the English writing exams. “The ball is in the Government’s court,” said Mick. “If the Sats contract is agreed for the same system next year, we’ll inevitably be going to ballot on action.”
Sats: time to explore the alternatives in assessment at KS2
Stephen Wigley’s long-standing opposition to Sats was only compounded by this year’s results. As head at Bellefield Primary and Nursery in Trowbridge,Wiltshire, his school did better than ever in maths and science at 80 per cent each, but poorly in English at just 45 per cent.With a cohort of just 20, each child’s result was worth five per cent. In the English writing tests, four boys, who he knows to be comfortable level 4s, scored only level 3, because they were distracted by a question. “They were asked to write about a crowd scene, and the example given was of a football match. So four of our boys wrote about the match, instead of the crowd,” he explained. Stephen also believes that schools sometimes manipulate the baseline scores in order to improve their value added scores. “We had a distinctly average bunch of kids, but were put at above average in Wiltshire,” he said. “The pressure put on schools to perform encourages them to skew the data.” Whatever replaces Sats needs to be rigorous, however. “Before tests were introduced, too many children were slipping through the net. But now the Government has become so fixated with statistics that they’ve lost the child.”
The case FOR Sats Sats give children something to aim for and they rise to the challenge in Year Six, says Ursula Ovenden, headteacher at Archbishop Sumner primary school in Lambeth. “I don’t agree that children get stressed by them. I was at a Local Authority meeting with heads last week and only two people talked about Sats. It’s wrong to represent all schools as not wanting them,” she says. “Our children get a balanced curriculum in Year Six. We do give them practice tests in the spring term, but we have a very varied programme in the summer.” Ursula believes that the introduction of Sats has improved achievement in Lambeth schools and that standards will fall if they are dropped. “It was wrong to get rid of tests in science. There could be a problem of lower-achieving schools concentrating just on maths and English,” she said. Ursula intends to give her Year Six children a science test as before, using past papers and marking internally. Although generally a Sats supporter, Ursula does have two reservations. There’s no need to make results public in league tables, she said, and teacher assessment may be better for English writing. “I’m not sure if all the effort you put into writing is reflected in those two examples you do in the tests,” she said.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 11
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LEADERSHIP FOCUS â—? NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
General Secretary Mick Brookes
Why the Cambridge Review is required reading for all schools
The truth is out there
he Cambridge Primary Review (see page 18) makes well referenced and topical comment about the state of primary education. But much of the report is pertinent to all schools, particularly in the state sector. It claims that: “primary schools appear to be under intense pressure but in good heart.” This statement rings true for all schools. Yet in the Isle of Man, the culture of governance surrounding education is very different. On that jewel of an island, there is still pressure, but colleagues are working within a framework (‘Freedom to Flourish’) that is supportive and permissive. The same is true in Wales. Greater intensity comes from an environment where the public is told that the education service is in terminal decline and that only those outside the professional arena have the power and will to put it right. That place is England. The report goes on to say that: “schools [in England] are highly valued by children and parents and, in general, are doing a good job. They do not neglect and never have neglected the 3Rs, and those at Westminster and in the media who regularly make this claim are either careless with the facts or are knowingly fostering a calumny.” This belief in the system was further strengthened by the deeply evidenced statement that, “schools may be the one point of stability and positive values in a world where everything else is changing and uncertain. For many, schools are the centre that holds when things fall apart.” In an environment where many of you have been deeply angered when you read or heard the defamation contained in the statements from the substantive and shadow secretaries of state, this is a shot in the arm (rather than in the back) by the Cambridge Review. It comes as a timely
reminder of the amazing job done by the school workforce, despite constant political meddling. Not so much ‘lions led by donkeys’ but more like an orchestra led by a plethora of conductors who want to play the music too fast, have no sense of rhythm and no ear for harmony.
Stop this meddling So, what is the state we are in? One thing is clear from the speeches of all three political parties; the time has come for political meddling in the day-to-day management of schools to cease. This is not to say that Government with a capital ‘G’ does not have the right to govern, but it should set out the broad parameters of what is required and what they were elected to achieve: • Schools should play a central role in the community, working out for themselves what that means, offering child care where it doesn’t exist or signposting where it does. The meddlesome advice for Governors issued in 2006 caused one senior member of the National Governors Association to comment: “We were thinking of extending our school, I don’t think we will now.” • Schools should improve the outcomes for children from disadvantaged
We have an opportunity to take back the agenda and cease to tolerate the antics of inspection teams on a witch hunt
backgrounds. However, demeaning schools in the toughest communities is no way to raise morale and it will take longer to overturn centuries of educational poverty. • Schools should avoid using teachers to cover for absent colleagues (see page 9). Systems should be set up that avoid disrupting PPA time, but at the same time these systems should support a culture of flexibility and collaborative working with no undermining of leadership and management. Instead, we have targets that are irrelevant to many schools, resulting in the demoralisation of schools with hard to teach children/hard to reach parents, and heavy handed regulation. Therefore, over the next few months we really do have an opportunity to take back the agenda, push back on burdensome bureaucracy and cease to tolerate the antics of inspection teams that appear to be on a witch hunt. This reclaiming of your schools is not a choice. If the education service is to cease being the plaything of politicians, we have to stand together as potentially the most powerful leadership community. The imperative for doing this is not just for our own schools and our own country but for colleagues in other countries too. The ‘bean-counting’ ideology is being exported to other parts of the world. In New Zealand, with its small population and massive cultural and sporting heritage, its Government is seeking to bring in pernicious targets, testing and tables systems which will have the same negative effect on education there as it has here. Now is the time to act with integrity, speak with confidence, and to lead our schools with energy. In order to do this we will have too look to ourselves because, and I’ll say it again, ‘together we are unstoppable’. Mick Brookes is NAHT General Secretary
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 13
13 MickB column.indd 13
Whatever stage your self-evaluation is at...
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LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
Columnist Steve Munby
Baby boomers are being encouraged to pass on their knowledge
The generation game
hen the baby boomers were teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s, the cultural gulf between them and older generations was popularly known as ‘the generation gap’. Now the boomers themselves are the older generation – and are retiring or fast approaching that life-transforming move. But will their departure create a new kind of generation gap, this time consisting of the leadership knowledge and experience that they will take out of the profession? Like many other professions and industries across the world, school leadership is being affected by the retirement of many experienced leaders. Around 64 per cent of headteachers are over 50 years old, and 33 per cent are over 55. Even with all the talk of hikes in the retirement age, the danger is that an experienced generation of leaders will leave the profession over a relatively short period of time, taking with them the support and expertise that could be so helpful in supporting the generation of new heads coming in.
New headteachers have made it clear to us that they want to spend as little time away from school as possible. That’s understandable. New heads have a lot to do. They have a new team, and a burning desire to comprehend and tackle the challenge of a demanding new role. One thing we know is that new heads, who are coming to terms with the demands of their new role and establishing themselves in their new school, often do not have the time or desire to spend time on an external course. The most effective approach, therefore, is support that takes place ‘in situ’, and which helps them to negotiate the day-today reality of the job and gives coaching and mentoring that is tailored to their particular school context. There is also new online support for NPQH participants in the graduation phase that focuses on getting a headship, which will soon offer insights into headships in different contexts. Once NPQH graduates have accepted their first headship, they should be entitled to support from an experienced current head – accredited by the National College – who will act as a ‘professional partner’ to them. That could be the head of the school they worked with during
Key challenges One of the challenges for the National College, both now and in the coming years, will be to unify the two generations to the benefit of our schools. It’s not just about bridging, it’s also about closing the gap. We need to bring the two sides together so that experienced leaders can easily pass on the baton of leadership. But how will we do this? First, we need to close the gap between the NPQH and early headship in order to make sure that new heads benefit from continued support following their graduation and well into what is a critical time for them and their schools.
New headteachers have made it clear to us that they want to spend as little time as possible away from the school
NPQH or it could be another experienced headteacher. This support should be available during their first few years in post.
Professional partner Many local authorities are already doing something along similar lines – and successfully – and we want to work with them to learn from their best practice and support what they do. The professional partner will provide new headteachers with continuing practical support, at school, giving the new head the opportunity to apply their learning in context, with the benefit of their partners’ insight and experience. The support will be linked closely to their strengths and development areas as identified during the NPQH, and focused on real issues. All this will be supported by high-quality materials and networking opportunities provided by the National College. The wider leadership team is crucial too, and we will provide new heads with materials and techniques that they can use to develop how their team members work together to ensure success for their school. Successful schools depend upon great leadership – studies from bodies such as the National College and Ofsted prove this. By creating an approach that allows the older generation to use its knowledge and experience to support the new generation of school leaders, we can avoid the system losing all of this leadership knowledge and experience and help to guarantee excellent leadership of our schools well into the future. Clearly, it has never been more important to ‘mind the gap’. Steve Munby is chief executive of the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services
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Andrew Squire We have 200 children here, in the middle of a 1950s housing estate fairly close to Totnes town centre, in lovely south Devon. We have fantastic grounds with loads of green space and nature areas. We even have a stream and a lot of thick, oozy mud, which is just wonderful. I have been here for two years. Before that I was a deputy in a big primary school in Torquay and before that I taught in a big multicultural urban school in Reading, which was quite different. Having so much space is great because it means that we can extend the school outside a lot. We can walk down to the River Dart, we can get to the seaside easily and there’s a castle in Totnes. It’s a wonderful opportunity because getting out with the children really brings learning to life. It gives pupils a context to take back to the classroom and extend their learning in more formal lessons. The more you can do it the richer the curriculum becomes. We allow Year Six pupils to climb trees in our little wooded area. It’s always closely supervised, but we let them do it. I’d say we have a healthy attitude to health and safety. Children need to be taught how to be safe and the only way to do that is with managed risk. For example, we got Year Six pupils to write their own risk assessments on climbing the trees. We do our checks and assess things, but we don’t shy away from these situations. If you don’t expose children to things, they will never learn how to judge for themselves.
INTERVIEW BY CARLY CHYNOWETH
The headteacher at St John’s Primary School in Totnes, Devon, shares ideas on using the outdoors to develop his pupils’ responsibility
Our rules are designed to make children think about their behaviour and the effect it has
Our rules are designed to make children think about their behaviour and the effect it has on other people. It’s not about them blindly doing what they are told to. Parents realise what a difficult job we have in making things safe and, as long as you are thinking about it, they are very supportive and not at all critical. Being headteacher is very much about having the confidence of the people around you so that they trust you to make the right decisions. We let parents and children use the school grounds and our play equipment after school finishes. We encourage parents to do this because we trust them to do the right thing. There have been issues occasionally – we have to make sure that they are keeping an eye on their children and that the children have not gone off. Usually, families stay for about an hour after school, depending on the weather. It also gives parents and teachers
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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a chance to talk informally, and from my point of view it’s a great opportunity to find out more about what’s happening in the school community. The community aspect of any school is really important. As part of our enterprise-education work we have been developing a vegetable plot and trying to involve the community more broadly to make it work. We have had great support from local businesses, while over the summer holidays we have had people come in to help out with a bit of weeding and watering and to make sure that nothing has been damaged. Our first harvest was very successful – broad beans, potatoes, runner beans, courgettes – and we only started in spring. The Year Three children took a real interest in planting and watering and in selling some of the produce to parents in the playground after school. And when we realised that we had too
many tomato plants they sold some of them off in pots. This year we are taking it a step further by getting the children to start their own little company. They will even develop their own brand for it. All the money that they raise goes back into buying things that will develop the area – one of the purchases so far has been a water butt, for example. Some of the children found that the business side of the garden came really naturally to them. They are quite enterprising. It wasn’t exactly a hard sell in the playground though – their parents were very keen to encourage and support them. Admittedly some of the Year Threes, who are now in Year Four, were enjoying it so much they didn’t want to stop the project at the start of this year, so I think that there might be an issue there. Fortunately one of our volunteers is helping us to start a gardening club.
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One of the review’s recommendations is that assessment for learning is separated from assessment for accountability
England’s primary education has been scrutinised by the Cambridge Review, but will its findings improve the lot of school leaders? Rebecca Grant reports 18
Hope springs eternal
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY REVIEW
t took three years of intense work, during which a team of 14 authors and 66 research consultants carried out numerous surveys, sifted 4,000-plus sources, and met with countless school leaders, but the Cambridge Primary Review was finally published this October. The review, which is 608 pages long and draws 78 formal conclusions, was put together under the editorship of leading education academic Robin Alexander. “We knew it would be a big project, but it turned out to be a considerably heavier workload than we anticipated,” he says. LF caught up with Professor Alexander just before the review’s official launch to discover how the review will affect NAHT members. According to Prof Alexander, the bottom line of the review’s findings is that England’s primary schools are under intense pressure but, in general, are doing a good job. It was discovered that common perceptions about schools – that they are in constant danger of subversion and that the 3Rs are being neglected – are unfounded. However, the review outlines several areas where improvements can be made. Since 1997, there has been a dramatic rise in investment in primary education, and although many new policies have had a positive impact, they have greatly increased the workload for headteachers. “We met head after head who said to us: ‘I have to keep so many plates spinning in the air now,’ ” Prof Alexander says. “With the large schools, there’s the sheer managerial complexity of running all these different activities simultaneously with a large staff, because nowadays there’s so many teaching assistants and support staff. On the other hand, the heads of small, rural schools tell us there’s no-one they can delegate to.” He adds: “Clearly, heads are under stress and we know there are worrying trends, in terms of problems with recruitment and heads leaving early, and something needs to be done about it, so we do argue very strongly about shedding some of this workload and giving heads more support.”
introduced practice managers several years ago; schools would benefit from a similar type of manager who handles the administration work, leaving the headteacher free to oversee education. This is a model that many secondary schools have embraced with School Business Managers and even School Business Directors, but it could be extended further into primary education. However, the review goes much further than this suggestion. It outlines not only 78 formal conclusions but almost as many recommendations. But Prof Alexander is quick to emphasise that these should not be accepted at face value. “The problem with reports is everyone looks at the recommendations, but this is actually a study of primary education to think about over the longer term. We would not want people just to fixate on the recommendations. “We don’t assume that we are absolutely right on everything. The idea is to get the debate going. For example, the report recommends that primary education be restructured – we drop the KS1 and KS2 distinction and just have a key primary stage. There are a lot of recommendations of that kind where we want to see further debate.” Over the next few months, a series of 14 regional conferences are due to take place, which are aimed specifically at leadership
staff from schools, local authorities and teacher education. Prof Alexander says he also expects NAHT members to attend. Each conference will be able to accommodate a maximum of 200 people, but only the first 13 conferences will be open to everyone. The final conference in the series will be an invitation-only event, which will review everything that has been discussed at all the previous conferences. This conference will be aimed at various professional associations, the Government and national agencies. Following the conclusions drawn at the final conference, a manifesto for primary education will be produced in time for next summer’s general election, and presented to each of the main political parties. Prof Alexander says that he wants the Government to consider all of the review’s recommendations. “We’re not going to prioritise points as they will all be important,” he says. “In our judgement, if the Government is willing to take all this seriously, and to join in the debate before the election, then that’s a good start.” However, he stresses that the review was not just aimed at the Government. “It’s for everyone who is involved in primary CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 ➧
The review argues that the workload of school leaders has to be reduced
What needs to be done?
To solve the issue of overworked school leaders, the review recommends creating an alternative support network for them, which will allow them to concentrate on the job they were originally intended for: leading learning in schools. It suggests looking to the model of GPs’ surgeries, which successfully
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CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY REVIEW
education, and that includes children, parents and teachers. There is action on organising the curriculum on teaching, for example. “There is the assumption that the Government is the only body that can make changes. It’s not. Schools can make changes independently of Government, and this review is all about re-empowering the profession, re-empowering heads, re-empowering teachers, and encouraging them to take back control of the educational debate and the key educational issues. If schools or heads are saying: ‘Well, what’s the Government going to do about it?’ that’s missing the point. The question is: ‘What are heads going to do about it?’”
How can you get involved? Just after the review was launched in October, all headteachers in the UK were sent a promotional pack, which contained a reader-friendly booklet for those who are still unfamiliar with the Cambridge Review, which details the basic information and encourages them to send off for a copy of the review. The pack also provides information about the conference programme. But what immediate action can school leaders take? Prof Alexander emphasises that, even though the debate is ongoing, there’s plenty in the review that headteachers can implement straight away. For example, they can look to generate internal debate about their school’s priorities, aims and values. They can also look at what the review says about the relationship between schools and communities, and discuss ways to strengthen those links. He concludes: “This review is all about leadership, but it is also about a kind of leadership that encourages independent thinking. It doesn’t accept that the only way to think or act is the way defined by national strategies, or national initiatives. It’s about senior professionals taking that kind of leadership to the debate.” The NAHT has welcomed the review, particularly its findings about the current pressures primary heads face. General Secretary Mick Brookes has made a call for action, based on the review’s conclusions. “This comprehensive study of primary education must be taken seriously by Government,” he says. “The fact the work in progress has been completely ignored is a sign of weakness. This report is independent, unlike work commissioned and controlled by the DCSF. There are recommendations in this report that could transform the primary ethos and turn pessimism into hope.” www.primaryreview.org.uk
In brief: what the review is recommending Professor Alexander provides a glimpse of some of the Cambridge Primary Review’s specific recommendations. All these recommendations appear in more detail in chapter 24 of the review. ■ Introduce
new structures. Strengthen Early Years provision by extending foundation stage to age six and replace KS1 and KS2 with a single primary phase, and examine the feasibility of raising school starting age to six, in line with these changes and international research and practice.
include specialists and semi-specialists as well as generalist class teachers, especially for older children. ■ Reform
initial teacher training. Diversify initial teacher training routes in line with the staffing review and new teaching roles. Replace training for compliance by evidence-based teaching skills, curriculum expertise and proper analysis of educational issues. Promote a more informed discourse on subjects, knowledge and skills.
■ Replace ■ Narrow
the gaps. Continue to give priority to narrowing the gap between vulnerable children and the rest, and to reducing England’s long tail of underachievement.
a full review of special educational needs, covering definitions, procedures and provision.
standards as excellence in all aspects of the curriculum to which children are entitled, not just the 3Rs. This definition should inform curriculum, assessment, teaching, inspection and accountability.
current TDA professional standards by a framework that is properly validated by research on expertise, professional development and pupil learning. Reform CPD so that it balances support for less secure teachers with freedom for the experienced and talented.
school and professional partnership. Strengthen both curriculum provision and community engagement through school clustering, federation, all-through schools and the exchange of expertise.
■ Protect ■ Tackle
unfinished curriculum business. The Government should hold off implementing the Rose Review until the Cambridge Review’s analysis and proposals can be considered.
rural schools and middle schools against cost-cutting closure. Achieve a better fit between school design and function, with more specialist and outdoor space.
■ Protect ■ Retain
formal assessment at the end of primary, but stop current Sats, separate assessment for learning from assessment for accountability and broaden the scope and methods of both.
■ End the ‘state theory of learning’ embodied in post-1997 strategies and policies. Support teaching grounded in repertoire, evidence and principle rather than recipe. Strengthen what separates expert teachers from the rest: their depth of engagement with what is to be taught, quality of classroom interaction and skill in assessing and providing feedback on pupils’ learning. ■ Undertake
a full review of primary school staffing to ensure that every school has access to the expertise that modern primary education requires, and can deliver both the review’s broader account of educational entitlement and its more rigorous concept of standards. Extend teaching roles to
and expand school libraries. Books remain fundamental to children’s lives and education, and ICT should be used alongside them in education, not as an alternative.
■ Reverse the tide of centralisation. Radically re-balance responsibilities of DCSF, nondepartmental public bodies, LAs and schools. ■ Redirect
funds from national bodies to schools. Set increased costs of school staffing reforms against big savings from ending the national strategies and reducing national infrastructure.
towards a new discourse. There is a need for a more mature and informed way of talking about primary education, free from the polarisation, myth-making and mud-slinging of recent years. The debate should exemplify, not negate, what education is about. As the country approaches a general election, this is a particular challenge for political leaders.
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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independence Private schools have found their finances severely restricted in recent years and many are closing. Turning to the state has become a viable option. Carly Chynoweth looks at how some headteachers have managed the process 22
LEADERSHIP FOCUS â—? NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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Public interest: Bristol Cathedral School and its headteacher, Hugh Monro
hink of independent schools and it’s easy to find yourself imagining how the other half live: beautiful buildings, impressive sporting facilities and better teaching equipment than half of the country’s universities. The reality, however, can be very different. Some are in entirely unsuitable accommodation (see panel on Iqra primary, page 26) while others are struggling financially as the recession forces parents to pay fees later or even to withdraw their children entirely. Some respond by closing down – earlier this year, figures suggested that an independent school was shutting every two weeks – while others try to find merger partners. Some, however, are turning to the state sector for help. Since 2001, 13 schools (seven secondary and six primary) have received approval to transform into state schools; six of these
approvals have come in the past three years. Of the secondary schools, five have already become academies. Independent schools that want to become academies go through the same process as any other would-be academy, a spokeswoman for the DCSF says. “This includes support from education advisers and the same financial set-up costs that any school becoming an academy would get,” she says. “Any request for an independent school to become an academy is considered on a case-by-case basis. The request is unlikely to be successful if the school was not viable or the extra places were not needed.” When Hugh Monro joined Bristol Cathedral School (BCS) in 2007 after 20 years of headship in the independent sector, he knew that it faced challenges. One of the biggest problems for the 700-year-old choir school was recruiting pupils; it was about 50 per cent below capacity in Year Seven.
“It was becoming harder to find enough boy choristers to fill the choir, particularly as boys’ voices are breaking earlier now,” Hugh says. After considering a number of options, including reducing the size of the school, BCS’s leadership decided to become a state academy. It wasn’t the first time that it had operated in the state sector – it was a direct grant school between 1950 and 1972 – but there were a significant number of complex legal issues to resolve alongside the standard paperwork. “For example, the school was housed in historic buildings owned by the cathedral, which wanted to retain control of the land,” Hugh says. “The financial arrangements were complex too. There was a new building being built by the school at the time of the change, so there were questions about how that was to be valued.” The process was made more difficult when news about the school’s plans was leaked to the press. Hugh and his team had planned a carefully-managed announcement to parents about the proposed changes but when banner headlines announced the story in local newspapers he was forced to bring both the announcement and the changeover CONTINUED ON PAGE 25 ➧
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in your classrooms
If you’ve heard of the Teacher Learning Academy, you’ll know it’s making a big impact on schools across the country. And it’s easy for your school to be part of it too. You don’t need to rewrite your professional development programme. Start by enrolling a few teachers and see the impact it has in their classrooms, on their pupils and on their own conﬁdence and motivation – especially when they earn professional recognition, including Masters points from the College of Teachers.
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LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
“No one wants to join an independent school when there is uncertainty about its future” itself forwards. “We had planned to do it in a controlled fashion but it was leaked, so we had to have meetings with parents earlier,” he says. “They needed some convincing that the ethos would remain the same.” He also found himself with almost a year less than he’d planned to make the transition, as the leak forced them to accelerate the academy process. “No one wants to join an independent school when there’s uncertainty about its future, and we needed to get the choirs full… If the news hadn’t leaked it would have been easier.” Despite the hitch, no pupils or staff members left during the transition. “One of the lessons I learned was that keeping the school running while all this was happening was more difficult than I expected,” Hugh says. “I delegated the everyday running, which was absolutely key to making it work. You really do need a deputy who is up to running it as an acting head.” That left him free to deal with everything from staff training – teachers needed to be introduced to the state sector’s data structures and processes after being used to a more informal world – to finding an admission test that met academy fairness standards while being appropriate for choristers. This took longer than expected; Hugh recommends allowing plenty of time to get this right, as
the appeals process is harrowing and draining for everyone involved. “You also have to think about the children who are in the school right at that moment, not just those who will be coming in the future. It is the only year that they will have to do their GCSEs or whatever it may be. The temptation is always to focus more on the future than the present, but you cannot afford to do that.” Part of Hugh’s remit was to find his replacement; he only intended to stay long enough to manage the changeover, not to run the new academy, now known as Bristol Cathedral Choir School (BCCS) However, even when the formal transition has been
By the numbers Since 2001: Seven independent secondary schools have received approval to enter the state sector; six were approved by the relevant school organisation committee (SOC) and one by appeal to the schools adjudicator. One of the schools later decided not to go ahead. Five have already become academies.
■ Six independent primary schools have received approval to enter the state sector; five were approved by the SOC and one by the schools adjudicator. ■ One primary school had its bid rejected by the SOC and did not appeal and another withdrew its proposals before the statutory process was completed.
completed the new head or principal will still have to manage the ongoing change.
National media attention Peter Mulholland has spent the past year doing just that at William Hulme’s Grammar School in Manchester, which had only been an academy for a year when he took over. “I knew of the school when it was an independent as I live quite nearby,” he says. “I was intrigued to see how we could take the best of the independent ethos and merge it with the state sector.” After a high-profile changeover that attracted national media attention, Peter saw it as his job to continue to build on the best of both traditions. “My biggest challenge has been to become a credible principal to parents,” he says. “We have new academy parents and independent parents, and I have to make sure that the ethos of the school is maintained while we adapt and move with the times as well.” He has continued its strong involvement with extracurricular activities, including Saturday sporting fixtures and the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards, while abiding by statesector entry requirements. “If we look at the intakes, all the lower years are academy but some of our older years are a mixture of those who joined when it was independent and those who came later,” he says. “But they all work so well together that there is no demarcation between the two groups.” He has also worked hard to gain the support of all groups involved. “You have to have the vision but you also need to gain the trust and support of parents, staff and students,” he says.
Source: DCSF CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 ➧
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Pupils at William Hulme’s Grammar School are a mixture of independent and academy.
“I have made sure that I am very hands-on. I go around the school regularly and drop in to every class. It’s important to be involved that way so that I can see areas where we can improve or build on achievements.” Both Peter and Hugh have been pleased by the support of other state schools – although it wasn’t an instant arrival in Bristol. “When local schools established what we were, that we would not be cherry-picking, they were very supportive of us and willing to help,” Hugh says. Peter also praised the support offered by local headteacher networks and his mentor from the Specialist Schools and Academy Trust. It’s also critical to get the chair of governors on side, Hugh adds. BCCS’s chair of governors, Stephen Parsons, estimates that, for 18 months, he spent three days a week working on the changeover. “I run my own business, which did suffer, but if I hadn’t done that the school would have had to bring in a consultant,” he says. That would have added a significant extra cost that may, in turn, have made the transition less attractive. Having a big name supporting the move can also be extremely valuable, Stephen says. In BCCS’s case it was the MP, Frank Field. “At times in the process there were choke points, things that had been promised but did not happen and calls that were not returned, but I had an arrangement where I could ping Frank an email saying ‘we need to talk’ and he would get back to me saying ‘don’t worry, it’s internal’ or ‘you need to talk to someone to unstick something’,” he says. It wasn’t a matter of backroom machinations, just insight; knowing whether or not he had to worry about any particular hold-up meant that he was able to focus his attention where it was most needed. Heads also have to focus and prioritise,
Hugh adds. “You need to keep a very close eye on how you manage your time,” he says. His advice: “be firm with officials from the LA and DCSF when they try to arrange interminable meetings. They need to understand that meetings cost a lot of money, that no meeting needs to last for longer than two hours and that to have 22 people in one meeting is not how you do it. Agree as much as possible in advance and only leave room on the agenda to discuss items that absolutely must be talked over; if you don’t need a meeting, don’t have it.” And don’t get caught in the branding trap. “The obsession with straplines and mission statements was ridiculous. Future generations will regard that as a complete waste of time.”
Keeping it in the federation: Iqra primary school Iqra school in Brixton was established in 1994 as a fee-paying Islamic school. After operating as an independent school for more than 10 years, it joined the state sector in September 2008. Rather than make the change to voluntary-aided status alone, it has joined a federation of local primary schools lead by executive headteacher Richard Thornhill. “The school had some financial difficulties, as small fee-paying schools often do,” Richard says. “And it was housed in a domestic dwelling – literally just a townhouse. When it first joined us, our first priority was to make the building safe and compliant with health and safety regulations.” During the first year, some of the pupils were educated at Loughborough primary, one of the federation’s other schools, to reduce numbers in the building and to allow them access to a broader range of resources. The entire school has now been moved to a new site that used to be the second site of another school in the federation. “Because I lead all three schools I was able to achieve that move in a very quick time,” Richard says. “All the governing bodies knew me and we all worked very closely with the local authority. It was essential to do it because it would have failed an Ofsted inspection otherwise – largely because the teachers were trying to teach 15-20 children in what was just a living room or a dining room.” He is confident that it can ultimately become an outstanding school. “Before, it was so constrained by its physical environment that it simply would not have been possible,” he says.
The other major challenge was supporting its teachers – many of whom were very inexperienced – and preparing them for their responsibilities under the national curriculum. Fortunately they were very keen to make the move: “When they were working in the independent sector they were sometimes paid, sometimes not. They didn’t have any PPA time or any of the normal experiences, so it was not hard to persuade them to stay.” Iqra’s graduate teaching programme students now spend their first year at Loughborough with one of its good or outstanding teachers. Once qualified, they return to Iqra, but a buddy system means that they can look to a counterpart at Loughborough for support, and work with them on lesson preparation and other planning. Being the head of a federation rather than one school made the whole transfer process much more straightforward, Richard says. For example, it gave him access to resources that he could use to support Iqra without calling too heavily on any one school. However, he was glad that he had established the federation between two state schools before bringing Iqra into the fold. “Don’t try to do it all at once. Do it in a staged way – it takes a little while to get used to it and adjust all your systems,” he says. “And make sure that you are genuinely an executive head. You cannot be a traditional headteacher of all three schools. You need a system of delegated authority, someone who can step into the head of school role at each school.” www.iqraschool.co.uk www.loughborough.lambeth.lgfl.net
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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 â—? LEADERSHIP FOCUS 27
HEAD 2 HEAD
I spy, something beginning with cctv
ILLUSTRATION: RICHARD HANSON
CCTV may provide protection against crime and be an aid to discipline, but it should be used carefully, reports Mark Hunter
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ILLUSTRATION: ROBERT HANSON
ver get the feeling there’s someone watching you? Well, there is. The UK is the most under-surveillance society in the world. Three years ago, the Information Commissioner estimated there were 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the country, one for every 14 people. Latest figures show that London alone has over 10,000 crime-fighting CCTV cameras, installed at a cost of £200 million. Walk around the average city centre and your image is likely to be captured on more than 300 cameras each day. CCTV is everywhere. On the street, in shopping centres, throughout our transport network and, increasingly, in our schools. The security cameras that first began appearing around the perimeters of troubled schools 15 to 20 years ago are now ubiquitous. According to a survey last year by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, 85 per cent of teachers have CCTV in their schools. Moreover, the cameras are getting closer. Slowly they have encroached from the perimeter fences, into the playgrounds, the corridors and finally the classrooms. This is the ‘function creep’ that so concerned the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas in his 2006 report The Surveillance Society. Camera systems initially set up to guard against intruders are now being used to protect people and property, to discipline pupils, to train and monitor teachers and, in some schools, to help deliver lessons. But does this really matter? After all, safeguarding, discipline, monitoring and teaching are hardly inappropriate activities for a school. Nor do teachers appear to be unduly concerned about the growing presence of TV surveillance. Most of the teachers questioned in the ATL survey said
that CCTV made them feel safer in the school environment. According to Sion Humphreys, the NAHT’s Assistant Secretary, secondary schools, CCTV can be extremely useful in a school as long as its use is kept within strict boundaries. “I think there are three areas where it has a definite place – the safeguarding of the children, for the protection of property and high-value equipment and to maintain discipline with an effective use of staff. There may also be a role in performance management, but I think you have to be extremely careful there and only use it within very strict protocols.” Sion’s own involvement with introducing CCTV came in the mid-1990s when he was assaulted in his school by outside intruders. “This was just after headteacher Philip Lawrence had been murdered outside his school in Maida Vale, so it was a time when security concerns were at a peak. The leadership team decided to bring in CCTV as added protection. It was quite a complicated process, dealing with all the data-protection issues and so forth. Now, with the Building Schools for the Future programme, a lot of schools are using the opportunity to build CCTV into the school’s security from the outset rather than as an add-on.” Sion makes the point that the prevalence of CCTV within society at large makes it almost inevitable that schools will follow suit. “Why should schools be any different?”
duties. Combined with the use of walkie talkies, CCTV can mean a much more effective use of staff.” Moreover, effective CCTV surveillance can quickly pay for itself through the prevention of theft and damage to property – Wilson’s School in Wallington, Surrey claims it has saved £2,000 a year in damage to lockers since installing its CCTV system. Jane Florey, headteacher of Broadwater Down Primary School in Kent, claims that installing CCTV has helped her school avoid the ‘Colditz effect’ of other security measures. In contrast, Clerkhill Primary in Peterhead is using CCTV to scare the wits out of potential intruders. Badly damaged in an arson attack two years ago, the school has now combined its cameras with loudspeakers. On spotting an intruder, security guards manning the monitors can send them packing with a disembodied voice that booms out through the darkness. The use of CCTV in the grounds and communal areas of schools is now commonplace. But the more recent introduction of surveillance systems into classrooms has proved more controversial. Several schools have recently introduced interactive TV monitoring as part of their teacher training and development. At Harrop Fold school in Salford, for instance, teachers can receive live feedback through a concealed earpiece from a supervisor viewing the class on a monitor outside the classroom. Unfortunately, the introduction of a similar
“Why should schools be any different? With the increasing community use of many schools it would be strange if the school was the one place not covered” he asks. “Indeed, with the increasing community use of many schools it would be quite strange if the school was the one place that wasn’t covered.” Sion also stresses that while the mere presence of CCTV can act as a ‘good deterrent’ to potential vandals and intruders, schools should think carefully about their positioning to ensure they are used most effectively. “The obvious places are the nooks and crannies that you need to patrol during break
system at Davenant Foundation School in Essex had unforeseen consequences. Pupils in a politics class spotted the newly installed cameras and promptly walked out. They then launched a petition, complained to the Information Commissioner and were soon all over the local and national media complaining that ‘George Orwell was right.’ Another incident to make the national press occurred at Lynch Hill Primary CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 ➧
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LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
he says. “With IP you can access it from anywhere. Most schools are interested in retrospective viewing. There will be an incident of some kind and they want to be able to identify who was involved. Obviously if you can’t do that because of the image quality, or the way that the data is compressed or recorded, then your system isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do.” As more schools add to the extent of their CCTV coverage, the growing number of cameras has attracted the attentions of both the media (see In the News, page 32) and a number of human right groups. Liberty describes the rush to surveillance as ‘yet another example of using technology just for the sake of it.’ “The use of these hi-tech cameras inside schools demonstrates the need for proper regulation of CCTV,” says a spokesperson. “What message does this surveillance send our children about respect for privacy? CCTV has its place but that shouldn’t be in the classroom.” The pressure group NO CCTV sees no place for CCTV and claims that the surveillance systems simply don’t work. Spokesperson Charles Farrier cites figures from the Home Office, which show that despite the £500 million of public money spent on CCTV infrastructure over the
Vandalism has been prevented, but some pupils have taken exception to being filmed
School in Slough, Berkshire, where in-class cameras were used to identify an eight-yearold girl who had hidden her friend’s shoes during a lesson. This incident led to urgent talks between the Information Commissioner and Classwatch, the firm that had installed the camera systems. Following these talks a number of guidelines were produced to advise schools on how to prepare a CCTV policy (see box, page 32). The need for such guidance was further emphasised by Camera Watch, a not-forprofit CCTV advisory body, which claims that schools commonly flout the Data Protection Act and other laws governing CCTV use. Aaron Kernaghan, the managing director of ECL-IPS, a company which provides internet-based security systems, acknowledges that ‘people tend to fall into one of two camps’ when considering the use of cameras within classrooms. However, he claims the cameras need not be intrusive or threatening. In fact, he says, they are increasingly being used to help deliver the lessons.
“I think there are three areas where it has a definite place – the safeguarding of the children, for the protection of property and high-value equipment” “If you’ve got a system set up in a classroom then that can be used to offer a more interactive learning experience,” he says. “For instance, say you’re teaching a cookery class, rather than having the whole class crowding around the chopping board, you can film what is going on and show it to the whole class on screens.” Most of ECL-IPS’s school clients, however, are more concerned with updating their security than with improving the performance of their teaching staff. In choosing an appropriate system, Aaron draws the distinction between internet protocol (IP) systems and CCTV, which he considers outdated. “CCTV is, by definition, a closed system so you’ve got to be on-site to access it,”
past decade, there is little evidence of any significant effect on levels of crime. “The police know it doesn’t work and the industry knows it doesn’t work,” says Charles. “But they are using the fact that it doesn’t work to increase coverage. They just say if it doesn’t work at this level then at the next level it will, and the result is a constant removal of freedom. He says it is ‘simply laughable’ to suggest that a system that is not monitored 24 hours a day can prevent theft. “In fact, it’s not uncommon for the highvalue equipment you need to run modern CCTV to end up getting stolen itself.” He foresees a relentless expansion of CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 ➧
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SURVEILLANCE USE Information Commissioner’s Office advice for schools computerised surveillance, eventually incorporating facial and behavioural recognition, and in which the instinctive and intuitive skills of teaching are gradually abandoned. “It’s a soulless way of working,” he says. “If all of this is being done by computer then it leads to a loss of the soft policing that comes from personal interaction. It also leads to the normalisation of being constantly under scrutiny and we need to protect our children from that.” While Charles is not alone in his concern for the loss of our children’s expectations of privacy, it is unlikely that computerised surveillance will retreat from our schools any time soon. The challenge for schools therefore is to use the technology wisely, in proportion to the risks it addresses, and in deference to the rights of those it purports to protect.
Schools installing CCTV must notify the Information Commissioner, renew this notification annually and within 28 days of any changes that are made to their CCTV use.
A school CCTV policy should cover: Data controller – the classroom teacher may decide when the camera is switched on, but the school is regarded as the data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. Privacy – include details on information to be given to pupils; whether, and to what extent, parents should be informed; how to ensure the message is ‘heard’ (signage, leaflets, tutorials). Limits on use – a system installed to improve teaching cannot be used for anything else. Dissemination – schools should guard against dissemination beyond their ‘sphere of influence’. Sharing footage for training advice is OK. Sharing on the internet or at conferences is not. Retention of images – a retention schedule is required. Access to images – on a need-to-know basis. Disclosures – should not normally be allowed. The data controller may release footage for purposes such as crime prevention. Data subject rights – anyone whose image is recorded has a right to view the images of themselves and be provided with a copy. For further advice consult CCTV code of practice 2008 at www.ico.gov.uk or access: www.ico.gov.uk /upload/documents/library/data_protection/detailed_specialist_guides/ ico_cctvfinal_2301.pdf
CCTV and schools: hitting the headlines this year
The Daily Mail aill reports that Lynch Hill Primary School ool in Slough, Berkshire has used its in-class cameras to identify an eight-yearold girl who has hidden her friend’s shoes.
Four schools in Salford, Manchester are accused of ‘Big Brother’ tactics after ial creating special ‘training classrooms’ in which teachers are monitored on CCTV and receive live feedback through a concealed earpiece from a watching supervisor.
Len Holman, head of Angel Road Junior School in Norwich, defends installing CCTV in the school’s toilets. He tells the BBC’s Today programme that pupils requested the cameras, covering overing the sink area, to o protect the toilet blocks from m vandalism.
Lipson Community College in Plymouth is forced tto remove CCTV ccameras from the students’ toilets after furious p protest from pu pupils and parents.
Pupils at Davenant Foundation School in Essex walk out of lesson lessons after CCTV is installed for teacher training. They return three weeks later wearing masks. Two pupils write up the story for The Guardian.
Stockwell Park High School hits the headlines after installingg 28 cameras in oms, corridors and classrooms, ls and another stairwells 40 in thee grounds..
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refuge Employing refugees – who may have teaching qualifications – is one way to improve community cohesion and add to your team’s skillset, finds Joy Persaud
hink of refugees and what pops into your mind? Is it the Sangatte camp in Calais with its hordes of people trapped behind wire fences; or perhaps the stories you hear of 20 or more people taking their lives in their hands by being smuggled across borders by unsuspecting (or not) lorry drivers? For most people, the image of a refugee isn’t someone working in their local school. But perhaps it should be. After all, boosting community cohesion is long established as a duty for all schools. And one way to accomplish this is to involve or
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recruit refugees to participate in education, as employees, or to enhance work skills, depending on their experience. While this may sound appealing in principle, it’s not always obvious what prospective employers must do to ensure a refugee is entitled to take on a role. To help schools support refugees, the NAHT’s race and cultural diversity committee collaborates with the Refugee Council. Tim Benson (pictured above) is the chair of the committee, as well as being headteacher at the culturally diverse Nelson Primary School, East London, which caters for 900 children and employs 107 staff. “We have people from all areas of the world, including countries that people have come from as refugees,” he says. “The issue for schools is, quite often, when refugees come, they don’t have the paperwork because if you are leaving the country in a hurry, you
don’t look for your teaching certificate.You grab your bags and you grab your money and you make your escape as quickly as possible. “So, quite often, people don’t have their documentation, but if they do, the next problem is getting it recognised as a qualification, or knowing it can partly go towards one, but you are still going to need qualified teacher status (QTS) in England.”
Jan Myles, Assistant Secretary, policy, politics and education division, NAHT, has represented the Association on the Refugee Teachers Taskforce, and works with colleagues from the Refugee Council, Employability Forum, TDA, GTC, Refugees into Teaching (RiT), The National Recognition Information Centre (Naric), DCSF, and other professional associations. Some refugee teachers registered on the RiT database currently work as teaching assistants or are volunteers in schools. Such posts provide refugees with valuable knowledge of the UK’s education system and may be a route for schools to support continuing professional development to QTS. RiT aims to work closely with refugee community organisations to improve their training and networking opportunities, as CONTINUED ON PAGE 37 ➧
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well as increasing its dealings with schools and local authorities through schemes that connect schools with refugees looking for employment and work placements (for more information, visit www.refugeesintoteaching.org.uk). The Refugee Council states that overseas trained teachers (OTTs) are able to teach in schools without gaining QTS for up to four years. This can be through direct employment or by working with a supply agency. Employability Forum, which is supported by the NAHT committee, is the lead organisation behind the ‘London Hub’, a Government-funded project that works with refugee organisations across London to improve the pathways of refugee teachers into the UK education sector. The organisations provide information, advice and guidance as well as courses and practical job search support to refugees wanting to work in a range of jobs in education. Jan has alerted the Employability Forum to the need to have a smooth transition process into employment so that schools seeking to employ refugees are not burdened d with additional workload. The Employing Refugees Guide, published earlier this year, is designed to aid this process (go to: www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/practice/ employersguides). So, how can schools engage with refugees? Tim has found that it is best to proactively encourage individuals to come forward to give them an opportunity to divulge their qualifications once a bond of
REX FEATURES/GETTY IMAGES
‘SAME BARRIERS TO LEARNING’ Doreen Mukotekwa came to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2003, where she had been a secondary teacher for 12 years. To support herself and her children, who were based in Zimbabwe, Doreen worked in residential care and set about finding her way back into teaching. She had taught home economics in Zimbabwe and held a Certificate of Education, which was recognised by Naric as the equivalent of a UK honours degree. She found the Refugees into Teaching programme via the Employability Forum website, and attended familiarisation and communication courses at Kingston University. In June 2008, she was granted refugee status. Doreen has completed the theory part of her QTS training, and is now team teaching on a work experience placement. As her English is good, she is also able to work part-time as an associate (unqualified) teacher. The practical teacher training in Zimbabwe has been of great value to Doreen in the UK, particularly in behaviour management. She says that the children are very similar in both countries, and experience the same barriers to learning. As well as giving talks to other refugees, schoolchildren and adult learners, Doreen mentors unaccompanied children. She is taking a course in design and technology at the University of East London, and has been encouraged to apply for a cover supervisor position.
trust has been established. Coffee mornings for people from a particular community group have been useful tools for reaching out to refugees. Where there is a core of parents from a particular place, such as Somalia or Angola, meetings are organised. Translators and someone who knows the educational system of the country left behind is also invited to explain the differences in educational approach. “This is so they understand how you can talk to an English headteacher or come in to an English school, and also talk about the sorts of jobs that are available,” explains Tim. “Quite often these people are very valuable to us because they are educated and they have got the language that we can use
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ET ‘CONTRIBUTE TO SOCI
Fisnik was in the first year of a law degree when he left Kosovo in 1997. He was granted permission to work in the UK after six months. The English-speaker approached local primary schools, but found that they were cautious about employing him as he lacked experience working with children. He applied for a teaching assistant (TA) post and a place on a PGCE course, but despite his degree in international relations from London Metropolitan University, was turned down. In 2008, the Shpresa programme, an Albanian community organisation, arranged a voluntary placement as a teaching assistant for Fisnik, which gave him work experience and an understanding of the UK education system. He was also CRB checked. Fisnik has since been working one-to-one with a child with behaviour problems. As a supply agency employee he doesn’t receive holiday pay, and has missed out on some training, but he says on-the-job experience is the most valuable thing of all. He has also worked with children with language difficulties and found creative ways to help them. Fisnik has applied to the Graduate Training Programme (GTP), which allows students to work in an educational setting while studying. He has been turned down for this year’s programme because he doesn’t yet have a letter from Naric recognising his overseas qualifications, but remains undeterred. He says: “Do lots of research. If you have qualifications, get a comparability letter from Naric. Get volunteer work experience as soon as you can. You have the chance to really contribute to society and pass on your knowledge to the younger generation.”
in terms of translation and preparation of resources to support the children. “I have known refugee families in my school who have been friends of the school for two years before they have actually said, ‘Well, in Somalia I was a teacher.’ Sometimes there is a reluctance to come forward.” One of the barriers is a lack of language skills, which can make refugees reluctant to approach individuals they perceive as being in authority. Whereas headteachers in England are not seen as establishment or authoritarian figures, says Tim, they are regarded as such in other cultures and countries. “So, whereas an English person might go up to someone in the playground and say:
‘did you know, I’ve got this sort of qualification,’ or ‘I can do this’, refugees might be reluctant to do that,” he says. Apart from the additional workload involved in collating information, such as CRB clearance, there are fears among some schools that employing someone with a heavy accent may adversely affect pupils’ development. “In my experience, in a school such as mine, with 56 languages, it’s difficult to find anyone without any sort of accent. I think it’s an issue for schools in mainly white areas – they might think: ‘should we employ someone who can’t speak perfect English, or speaks it with a heavy accent’? Whereas in London, or the big metropolitan areas, that’s the world we live in and everybody speaks in different ways,” observes Tim. Those schools that make the effort to employ refugees reap many benefits, he stresses. Pupils from refugee backgrounds may experience a boost in self-esteem if they see people from
“I have known refugee families for two years before they have said, ‘in Somalia, I was a teacher’ ”
other cultures, including their own, working at their school. “There’s a feeling of belonging that having refugee teachers helps children to connect to. If you can get good people in, you get good role models. You get people who can say, ‘look, I came here as a refugee just as you did and I am working my way up and the only way to do it is through education. “I’ve spoken to children so many times and said there is only one way out of this – out of the flat or house or poverty you are in at the moment – and that’s through education. Let’s get down to it, do our best and work hard. And if that message is portrayed by someone who you can relate to, who dresses the same as you and has come from the same country, and they know the possible difficulties you have been through, that’s all to the good. “Also, it enriches the cultural diversity – the songs, the music that people can bring from their own homes, their own countries. We celebrate diversity at my school because that’s the place we are and it’s natural for us. But it is much harder to do in areas where there’s very few other than the white, indigenous population. It takes a while for that to be overcome but the more we do it, the more it will become good practice.”
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DIPLOMAS: ONE YEAR ON
anniversary Rachel Quesnel, headteacher at South Chadderton School in Oldham, explains why the Diploma’s first anniversary should be a cause for celebration
PHOTOGRAPHY: RICHARD HANSON
t’s over a year since we introduced a new qualification in Oldham that is transforming education for 14 to 19 year olds. The qualification is the Diploma, and it’s opening up opportunities for young people of all abilities who have never had so much choice. Over the past year, our Diploma students across Oldham have been studying in a new way, applying their knowledge in practical, work-based, and real-world situations. As well as learning about a specific sector, our Diploma students are continuing to develop their functional skills in English, maths and ICT and are gaining essential transferable skills such as presentation and time management. It’s a groundbreaking qualification, and it’s helping to bridge the gap between academic and vocational learning. The Diploma is part of a wider set of reforms to 14-19 education that were introduced in September 2008. Thanks to these educational reforms, more young people are now getting the knowledge and skills they need to
succeed in education, life and work. There is a wider choice of options, with GCSEs and A-Levels on offer alongside Apprenticeships and the Diploma. It’s difficult to underestimate how important these reforms are for young people, who can now choose the right mix of learning to motivate and challenge them. Of course, introducing the Diploma hasn’t been without its challenges. In fact, many school leaders will be aware of seemingly variable public and media support for the qualification. The problem with news reports is that they are often one sided, and rarely paint a complete picture. For example, over the summer it was suggested that top universities are cautious about the Diploma, which will have caused some headteachers concern. The truth is that the Diploma was originally developed in partnership with universities and employers, to provide an additional route into higher education and employment. The qualification has received backing from many HE institutions – demonstrated by recent research from the National Foundation for Educational Research, which found that many of the UK’s top research-intensive CONTINUED ON PAGE 40 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 39
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universities are strongly supportive of the breadth of learning and skills that Diploma students develop. Similarly, a report by Universities UK earlier this year recognised that the 14-19 reforms have the potential to provide students with the skills and attributes that higher education institutions would like to see, noting that some higher education teachers have been surprised to find that some Diplomas contain similar content to first-year undergraduate courses. Figures from UCAS have also confirmed that Advanced Diploma students can now apply to more than 80 per cent of university courses in the UK. This figure is expected to rise as more Diploma lines become available. It’s not just universities that have recognised the Diploma as excellent preparation for life beyond school. For some time, employers have expressed concern that young people are leaving school and college without the skills and
“It’s frustrating the Diploma students’ responses to the qualification are so often overlooked in public debate” confidence that will help them succeed, and the Diploma is helping to meet this need. Diploma students are learning the skills that employers look for in a real-life context. Over the past year, students from five secondary schools across Oldham have worked with the BBC, the Army and engineering companies in the North West. Being able to experience what it’s like to work for large corporations has excited our pupils, who are used to studying solely in the classroom. It’s frustrating that the Diploma students’ responses to the qualification are so often overlooked in public debate. For students who are not stimulated by traditional academic subjects, this golden
opportunity to experience the working environment can often be the motivation they need to flourish. The Diploma is offering students a way of learning that they really enjoy, and the excellent attendance figures at South Chadderton School for our Diploma courses over the last year are testament to this. For teachers, the Diploma allows greater control of the curriculum and the opportunity to offer their students a new way of learning. For many practitioners, teaching the Diploma also means having to learn all about the related industry area, and how the world of work operates – often for the first time. Working so directly with employers and
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DIPLOMAS: ONE YEAR ON
and resources, widening the opportunities for young people in the area. The collaborative aspect of the Diploma has some significant advantages, although securing the agreement of different school leaders on issues such as timetabling and funding agreements hasn’t always been easy. For many schools, collaboration has also meant having to move from an environment of competition around results and league tables to an entirely different one where they are expected to work together and share information. As a new qualification with new requirements such as the programme of applied learning, collaboration and teacher training, there are also costs associated with delivering the Diploma for the first time. Colleges and schools already offering the Diploma have had to factor the rise in uptake into their plans. Building towards entitlement in 2013, where all young people will have access to a Diploma course, means all colleges and
schools will need to work with their local authority to develop a sustainable funding model that can be scaled-up as demand for the qualification grows. Despite these challenges, there are huge advantages in sharing facilities and resources, and many schools and colleges have enjoyed the openness and support that develops among delivery staff within the partnership. Ultimately, collaboration gives students the choice of extended progression routes and opportunities in education. I feel passionately that the Diploma is a strong and relevant qualification. It’s ensuring that young people have a broad, interesting and challenging learning programme that feels relevant to them. If we can give young people a qualification that engages them, as well as giving them the skills for work and university, they are more likely to succeed. The Diploma is already doing this, so let’s celebrate its anniversary and encourage more young people to benefit from its advantages.
Further information Rachel Quesnel: “for students not stimulated by traditional academic subjects, Diplomas are the motivation they need”
building knowledge of a new industry has been a new and challenging experience. At South Chadderton School, our teachers have had to work together – with each other and from those at the colleges and employer organisations co-delivering the Diploma – to make these changes. Nevertheless, for many teachers who have been delivering the Diploma, the challenges they have faced have been outweighed by the opportunity it offers them to engage students, expand teaching horizons, and develop their talents and skills for their own professional development. This September saw the addition of five new Diploma subjects or ‘lines of learning’ to the five that were introduced last year, and our students are able to study three of these: Construction and the built environment; Creative and media; plus Engineering. We deliver the Diploma in a consortium of schools and colleges across Oldham, and this collaboration means we can share expertise
The Diploma lines of learning In 2008 the first five Diploma lines were introduced: Construction and the built environment; Creative and media; Engineering; Information technology; Society, health and development. In 2009, they were joined by a further five: Business, administration and finance; Environmental and land-based studies Hair and beauty studies; Hospitality; Manufacturing and product design. For information aimed at schools and colleges on all of the 14-19 education changes, see www.dcsf.gov.uk/14-19/ The Functional Skills Support Programme is available through National Strategies for Schools. A free-of-charge package is available, focusing on CPD at regional and local level to support providers as they prepare to teach functional skills. www.nationalstrategiescpd.co.uk The DCSF produces a newsletter containing new information and important dates for the whole support packages on functional
skills and Diploma lines of learning. www.dcsf.gov.uk/14-19/newsletters Another site, www.diploma-support.org provides advice on delivering the Diploma and how the qualification is structured; offers bespoke training sessions; hosts online forums so teachers can share insight and best practice and includes a wealth of other personalised support tools and resources. And the two publications below can be ordered at www.publications.teachernet. gov.uk or over the telephone on 0845 60 222 60 or by text phone on 0845 60 555 60, quoting the relevant reference
The Diploma: a guide for schools This publication provides general details and an overview about the Diploma for teachers, careers advisors and Connexions advisors (ref: 00499-2008LEF-EN). The 14-19 Reforms and You Toolkits These toolkits are a practical resource designed to help leaders and managers disseminate key information about the 14-19 reforms to their staff. They can be ordered from www.dcsf.gov.uk/14-19 (ref: DCSF-00328-2009 for schools; and ref: DCSF-00323-2009 for colleges).
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Early RISERS Steve Smethurst reports on how the leadership team at a Sure Start Children’s Centre in Middlesbrough is nipping problems in the bud
hildren’s Centres are where children under five years old and their families can receive seamless integrated services and information. By 2010, every community will be served by a Sure Start Children’s Centre (SSCC). But do they work? Yes, says the leadership team at the various centres that make up the cluster that serves south Middlesbrough. A local primary school headteacher, Andrea Williams of Viewley Hill School, also endorses their findings. She is well-placed to comment as she sits on their advisory panel. “My nursery staff will tell you that the SSCC does
make a difference,” she says. “The twin staff run a dual course called ‘getting ready for nursery’, which is a six-week course. Those children that have done the course have shown more social understanding, collaborate more with each other, and their skills are more developed in terms of physical manipulation – it’s all been very positive. “Some of our parents are unsure in terms of understanding what their children need in the first years of life and there can be difficult-to-reach parents who don’t want to come into a school building to find out about how to get their children ready for school. “But the Sure Start people are working
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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY BY: RICHARD HANSON
with these families from a very early age, and they can tackle things such as toilet training and behavioural issues that would otherwise impede the children’s learning when they first come in. “They’re also giving very good support to families in terms of family learning – which even has knock-on effects in terms of job seeking and the local drug scene and how we support parents facing difficulties.” The hub of the SSCC cluster in south Middlesbrough is in Hemlington, which is a walk-in centre and also the site of the main day-care offerings. Another site, at Coulby Newham, operates as more of an outreach centre. Between
them, they offer baby clinics and baby massage. Then, by the time the children are ready for school, they’ve often done parenting and volunteering courses. SSCC cluster manager Sue Welburn explains that gathering evidence that details the impact of Children’s Centres has been a challenge: “Qualitative evidence from local teachers supports the difference that SSCC are making, particularly in the area of personal, social and emotional development. Children who have accessed our centre activities, appear more confident and ready to start their school journey and continue their early learning. We work hard in the area to foster good working relationships and I believe we are regarded highly by our
partner agencies and are seen as innovative in the shaping of children’s services. Joanne Tickle, Family and Community Manager and SSCC lead at Coulby Newham, adds that there are also those people who think they’re fine and don’t need any help. We’re here for when they do need us. Quite often we have fleeting contact with people who access activity sessions, but don’t want anything else. But when the need comes they know where we are. It might be when their children get to two or three – and all the challenges that come with it – then they might turn to us for help.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 44 ➧
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TEAMWORK “We have excellent
Welburn CHILDREN’S CENTRE CLUSTER MANAGER
● Sue oversees several Children’s Centres in the south of
Middlesbrough, but is based in Hemlington and leads in the centre. She has been a primary school teacher for most of her career and has worked for Sure Start for the past six years, originally as an Early Years consultant and from last year as a cluster manager. She also oversees a parenting programme across Middlesbrough called the Family Links Nurturing Programme. Interests: walking, reading, preaching/teaching in the local church and is involved in pastoral care. Her family, now grown up, are also a big part of her life. In a nutshell: excited about Early Years, passionate, an encourager. What Alison says: “Committed, enthusiastic, passionate – she really wants to make a difference to the local community.” What Rebecca says: “The way she manages, she values the team, which makes us want to work harder.” What Andrea says: “Sue’s a lovely thoughtful person. She has fantastic ideas and really inspires her team.”
relationships with the schools in our area, but communication has to be rigorous – I think that’s a common challenge. We have an Early Years forum, which brings the schools together. The headteachers are part of our advisory board, part of our governance, and we update them with exactly what’s going on. Our meetings are a forum to share developments, discuss service delivery and provide opportunities to make collective decisions. Time management is also crucial. We have a rigorous system in the office – there’s a board that shows where everyone is and what they’re doing. We have regular co-ordinators/managers meeting, where I cascade everything down from other meetings I’ve been to, so people get a strategic, as well as a local, picture. This is then brought to our team meetings. Communication is vital and we’re very focused on how we
“I’ve been here a long
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY MANAGER AND CHILDREN’S CENTRE LEAD ● Joanne is Sue’s deputy and has worked for Sure Start for six
years, originally as community participation coordinator, and has been in her current role for three years. Previously, she spent 12 years in leisure and community development with local authority and the last 10 years of that were in Hemlington. Her time is split between Hemlington and Coulby Newham, where she is the lead. Interests: recently joined a dragonboat team, so is doing some paddling. Loves to keep active. In a nutshell: enthusiastic, creative and highly motivated. What Sue says: “She’s a little whirlwind, I don’t know how she fits everything into a day. She’s very professional and very supportive.” What Alison says: “She is really good at motivating. She’s also very laid back, but in a positive way.” What Rebecca says: “She’s good at organising and, as my line manager, she’s very busy, but always makes herself available.” What Andrea says: “She’s very organised and on the ball.”
time and feel like I’m part of the furniture. I manage the family support team and the community development elements of the team. I’m responsible for co-ordinating our approach to identifying the needs of the community and ensuring that we are providing what’s needed. Also, for co-ordinating the family support approach to parenting. My role is very diverse, for example, I could be arranging a promotional event in a local shopping centre to raise awareness and to get the team motivated to sell the brand of Sure Start and promote what our services can offer and what opportunities are available. Alternatively, I could be working with parent groups, empowering them to get funding to make projects sustainable, or I could be delivering support by running a parenting programme. I also
share information, it’s pivotal to things running smoothly. You need to find the right balance. I also deliver several parenting programmes, one in a prison, one at our centre – so I have to make sure that I attend the most relevant meetings to ensure I keep a strategic view and cascade information down. We have an excellent appraisal scheme, which relies on regular supervision for staff and emphasises the importance of professional and personal development. I really value my managers and recognise their skills, strengths and passion to raising the hopes and aspirations of our families. I’ve also completed my National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership. All children’s centre leads and those in management take this. My line manager has also been supportive. She inspires and encourages me. What’s more, she has given me the confidence to continue my leadership journey.”
liaise with local agencies to discuss how we can support our most vulnerable families. I love the diversity of my job – every day is so different. Working with parents and the community is really hard in one respect, but also inspiring. It’s lovely to see a parent grow, from the beginning of their journey when they’re looking for help and support and they might think that being a parent is the loneliest job in the world. They can go so far, when their self-esteem and confidence are raised – and understand that they are a human being not just a parent, and they are actually allowed time for themselves. In our area we are a very nurturing team – and a lot of that comes from Sue, who leads by example. It means you can actually see parents grow on their journey with us.”
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“We are very nurturing.You can see parents grow on their journey with us” “My role is to be
FAMILY SUPPORT CO-ORDINATOR
● Rebecca has been in the role for five years, previously working for the NHS in Pembrokeshire in the learning disability service. She was in a specialist team for 10 years working with children and adults with challenging behaviour and learning disabilities. Interests: Music is her big passion, and going to gigs is her way to relax. She is also doing a BA hons degree in social work. In a nutshell: cheerful, caring and empathetic. What Sue says: “She has a wealth of knowledge about family support, is professional, and has a heart for all families. She has to deal with some very challenging ones, but is very dependable.” What Joanne says: “She’s very knowledgeable about her area of work and very good at her job.” What Alison says: “She is committed to the families she supports.” What Andrea says: “A very good practitioner who understands the family she’s working with and considers individual needs.”
responsible for all the family support work that comes through the team for the south of Middlesbrough within Children’s Centre Services (CCS). It comes via the allocations process, and I chair the allocations panel. I make sure all referrals that come into the Children’s Centres are processed correctly. They go to a person in the team and I’m responsible for the initial assessment phase and matching staff to the work. Then I oversee the work that’s done with family. It might be that a health visitor is working with a family with young children and they want to access CCS, but feel nervous and don’t want to just turn up. They might need an introductory visit to explain the services. A full Common Assessment Framework is completed by the referrer; we then carry out an initial assessment and put together a support
plan which is comprehensive, and could include behaviour management, such as a bedor meal-time routines. I have a running caseload, working with approximately 15 families intensively, but it goes up and down. In the south, we don’t have as high a level of child-protection cases, but we are part of protection plans with social services where children are registered as in need of protection. This is a big part of my role. I have to ensure that children who have a protection plan have access to, and receive a service from, children’s centres. We work with those who have the greatest need – those covered by section 17 and those in need of protection. These are hardest to engage as they need the greatest encouragement and support to access our services.”
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TEAMWORK “I wanted to be more
Kitson EARLY YEARS SENIOR PRACTITIONER
● Alison has been in her role for a year. Previously, she was a
primary school teacher and spent 16 years in a variety of roles, such as KS1 co-ordinator and literacy co-ordinator. Then she fancied a change, so when a job came up with Middlesbrough libraries she took it. It was linked to a school and a Sure Start centre and she did this for five years until she moved to Hemlington. Interests: running, which gives her the opportunity to switch off; and she has just started salsa lessons. In a nutshell: committed, enthusiastic and never still. What Sue says: “She exudes passion and energy around Early Years. She really encourages and inspires her team. She delivers such quality in her training – in fact in everything she does.” What Joanne says: “She’s always on the go; very committed to what she does.” What Rebecca says: “She’s a good organiser, creative and comes up with good ideas.” What Andrea says: She’s lovely, warm, positive and thoughtful.”
hands-on with families and children, so that’s why I moved away from teaching, which I’d done for 16 years. I’d become a little disillusioned with working weekends and evenings, doing things that didn’t really benefit the kids, so I fancied a change. I’m responsible for the Early Years team and my job is about developing and delivering high-quality play and learning opportunities for under fives and their families. We provide a range of services and activities for families to promote their participation in their child’s development and learning. This tends to be rapid and children’s experiences in the earliest years are critical to their subsequent development. Parents often don’t realise that what they do has a profound influence on their child. We share information with them on the benefits of playing,
“When I came here,
Williams HEAD TEACHER, VIEWLEY HILL PRIMARY SCHOOL
The headteacher is coming up to end of her seventh year at Viewley Hill. It is her first headship, although she has worked in schools in Middlesbrough for most of her teaching career, mostly in challenging areas with economic and social deprivation. Interests: Andrea is a passionate gardener and a ‘reluctant’ runner. She also loves reading and immersing herself in literature. In a nutshell: energetic, passionate about learning and positive. What Sue says: “I’ve learned a great deal from her, she leads her team with skill, sensitivity and passion. She embraces our philosophy and is committed to partnership working.” What Joanne says: “She’s very committed to making a difference to the lives of the children who attend her school.” What Alison says: “She is very supportive about anything in relation to partnership working.” What Rebecca says: “She works very well with us and is always at partnership meetings. She’s very positive about our service.”
the Children’s Centre hadn’t been built, and I argued strongly for it to be built on our site. I felt it would be a huge bonus for our children to have an early start in their learning and to have the facility on site to help parents to see that education really does begin from a very early age. I was involved in the planning meetings for the centre, and gave up some of our school’s outdoor space by moving our nursery into the main building. This was back in 2002. From the beginning we’ve looked to work with the Children’s Centre in terms of training, school improvement plans, delivery in classrooms. We share all those things in order to bring a consistent and cohesive approach to what we’re offering the children and the families. The Early Years team meets up with Children’s Centre staff both formally and informally. Sometimes they will just pop
talking, reading and singing to their child from birth. We encourage families to register with us and we tell them about Sure Start and what we offer. We have a weekly timetable of activities and suggest ones that are relevant for them to come to. Challenges include working out ways to engage parents. The trick is to get them to come to something, find out what their needs are and signpost them to other activities. It calls for good partnership working. We work in partnership with our local schools, we run a ‘Getting ready for nursery’ course and ‘Take your dad to nursery’ sessions. I’m a very hands-on person, I really like working with families, children and seeing them grow and develop. We have a very varied team with different personalities – we appreciate the different skills that everyone has and value their expertise.”
across and say ‘we’re doing a topic on this, can we share ideas?’ I also have regular meetings with Sue Welburn to discuss various issues of monitoring, finance and leadership at the two centres, it’s very valuable. We have similar problems in some ways, so can share our experiences and can often benefit from the same resources. I have good relationships with other infant heads, especially with the Catholic primary school nearby, as this is the nearest one to ours. Children at the SSCC come in to the building every day for their lunches and see our children every day. We are two separate organisations but are very close – we work with the same families, for example. Early Years is such a high priority. If we can help these children get off to a good start, then it’s got to have huge benefits later in their academic careers.”
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What is the best way to assess your pupils using the new QCA ‘Making Good Progress’ and APP scheme? QCA has announced its plan for improving the ef¿ciency of teacher assessment using the new ‘Assessing Pupils Progress’ and assessment focuses. The scheme is designed to embrace teacher assessment and support a uniform and reliable method of assessment. But it is all going to take a lot of time… Research in primary schools suggests that not only could the APP scheme add up to 3 hours work per week, many teachers are confused as to how they go about it. What if there was a solution which not only saved your teachers’ time and simpli¿ed their assessment but also provided you with a wealth of easy to analyse tracking, target and report data? Using a simple electronic markbook for recording assessments against objectives from Foundation Stage, National Curriculum, P-Scales and the new APP, Classroom Monitor can help cut teacher administration time by as much as 50%.
“My markbook automatically levels my pupils and allows me to analyse their progress”
“My markbook creates personalised targets for every pupil in seconds”
“My markbook feeds Teacher judgements on objectives are pupil progress into automatically converted into National an end of year Curriculum Levels for each pupil, report” lessons can be planned and strong and weak objectives highlighted, target documents for individual pupils can be created at the touch of a button and all of the collected information can be viewed as graphs or tracking sheets in Excel. There’s one more thing. Your colleagues can feed their ongoing assessment into an end of year report – slashing their report-writing workload too.
“My markbook saves me time”
Classroom Monitor has won numerous awards since launch in 2004 and is used in over 1000 schools in the UK. To celebrate our success and the launch of our updated web version, we are giving away a free site licence of Classroom Monitor and a case of wine to one lucky reader.
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To enter simply request some more information and a demo by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 0844 5555 211 www.classroommonitor.co.uk
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The latest products, books and teaching resources M Martian in the P Playground
ActionAid campaign heads to Copenhagen
B Clare Sainsbury By SSage Publications Price: £16.99 P
Following the launch of a new resource pack, schools can get involved with ActionAid’s campaign to stop climate change. The campaign has been set up ahead of the Kyoto Protocol summit, which takes place in Copenhagen this December. The pack, called Countdown to Copenhagen, provides students with information about the worldwide impact of climate change, and gives them the opportunity to get involved with the campaign. The pack’s resources include a DVD (pictured) featuring film clips and case studies and posters to display around the school. There are also instructions to help you set up your own climate conference, and instructions to help ensure students can make their opinions heard by those in power. www.actionaid.org.uk/ countdown
Clare Sainsbury has produced a very readable book. It not only summarises all the essential facts you need, it also allows you to step ‘inside the head’ of Asperger’s sufferers and get an insight into their thought processes. For example: “There was a student I thought resembled a cat, so I meowed whenever she spoke to me, which she thought was strange.” Or, “I didn’t know I was supposed to say ‘hi’ to people until I was 13, and I wasn’t able to make it a habit until I was 14.” And be warned, when one Asperger’s man is asked what message he would like to pass to teachers, he answers: “Remind them that they have the capacity to damage a kid for life.”
M Motivating y your S Secondary C Class B Maurice Galton, By Susan Steward, Linda S Hargreaves, Charlotte Page and Anthony Pell Sage Publications Price: £22.99 Why do 11- to 14-year olds dislike science? Are pupils being properly initiated into secondary education? Do teachers need to try harder to encourage class participation? These are just some of the questions posed in this in-depth look into the problems encountered in KS3 education. By analysing data and interviewing pupils, the authors offer useful insights in how to develop effective procedures within your own teaching environments to ensure that lower secondary school pupils get the best out of education.
The poetic promise of a prize for pupils Young poets across the UK are being urged to put pen to paper for the opportunity to get their work published and win up to £3,000, thanks to Oxford University’s Christ Church College. The Tower Poetry Competition 2010 is open to all sixth-form students, and will award seven budding poets with cash prizes ranging from £500 to £3,000. The schools attended by the winners will also be given a financial reward. Past winners of the competition have gone on to achieve further acclaim for their writing, including Helen Mort who won the Young Poet prize in the Manchester Poetry Competition in 2008 and Annie Katchinska, one of eight new poets in The Faber New Poets programme. Judge and published poet, Peter McDonald, said: “this encourages students to consider poetry as an integral part of their lives – something to be experienced for its own value, as well as to be experienced as part of their formal education.” The deadline for entries is 11 February 2010. www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize/index.html The Tenth Christopher Tower Poetry Competition from Christ Church, Oxford
Write a poem of no more than 48 8 lines on the theme of ‘Promises’.. Entry is free. Open to 16 -18 year-olds in UK schools and colleges.
M I S E S
First Prize Second Prize Third Prize Commended
£3,000 £1,000 £500 £250
Every winner also wins a prize for their school, and is automatically eligible to enter the Tower Poetry Summer School.
The closing date for entries is 11 February 2010 – please ensure the right postage is used as late entries cannot be accepted. Judges: Stephen Romer Michael Schmidt and Peter McDonald
To download entry forms go to: www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize or telephone 01865 286591 or email email@example.com or write to Tower Poetry Christ Church, St Aldate’s Oxford OX1 1DP or ﬁnd us on (search for ‘tower poetry’)
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Climate change in the Yorkshire Dales Children can learn more about the impact of climate change thanks to a new online game, which was initially designed forr the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Created by Sense Internet, the Climate Change Game is based on the boardgame Snakes and Ladders. Players ‘roll the dice’ to move their piece, and if they land on a square with a question mark, they are faced with a multiple-choice question to test their knowledge of climate change and pollution. The quicker they answer, the more points they receive. The game can be enjoyed by any age group, but the information it provides ties in well with the KS2 and KS3 curriculums. www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/climatechangegame
Exercise your knowledge of excise HM Revenue & Customs has teamed up with the DCSF to create a new online resource to help teach pupils about tax and Government spending. The Tax Matters website contains a variety of interactive features – such as quizzes, a glossary and video clips – that provide information about income tax, National Insurance payments, and citizenship. There’s also a teachers’ area, which has plenty of downloadable resources, such as factsheets and lesson plans. The site is a useful tool to help support PHSE and Citizenship lessons. www.taxmatters.hmrc.gov.uk
Development disc for Diploma staff Now that the 14-19 Diploma has been rolled out across the country, managerial and professional development staff will be working hard to prepare teaching staff for the changes. Lifelong Learning’s new publication, A Guide to Support the Professional Development of Diploma Teachers, has been designed to assist them with that task. The booklet outlines the seven elements that contribute to the effective delivery of Diploma teaching, such as promoting applied learning skills and developing individual learning plans.. The colourcoded document offers explanations ns of each of these elements, and also provides guidance as to wh what hat should be included in the CPD programmes for these teachers. acherss. Another resource, aimed specifically at teachers, is a CD-Rom -Rom m called Involving Business in Diploma Lessons. The disk is pack packed ked with information, checklists and d lesson plans, which will help teaching staff incorporate the working environment to the Diploma curriculum. www.lluk.org
Do Parents know they matter? By Alma Harris, Kirstiee Andrew-Power and Janet Goodall Continuum Price: £19.99 In the early pages, it states: “Parental engagement makes a significant difference to students’ learning outcomes.” But how can schools ensure that parents remain involved in their children’s education? This book offers proactive solutions by identifying common problems. For example, many parents may have had negative experience of education, therefore are reluctant to involve themselves. It also offers advice on how to take action to improve communication between the parties involved: parents, children and education staff. As well as exploring the theory behind successful relationships, the book uses case studies to explore tried and tested methods – such introducing parent-support programmes and setting up automated absence alert systems.
Schools within schools By Wendy Wallace Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Price: £8.50 A decade ago, big schools usually meant failing schools; no parentt wanted their children learning in a place where the classrooms would be overcrowded. But now the UK has nearly 300 secondary schools that have more than 1,500 pupils. This book examines the trend by calling on case studies, such as the success of Bridlington Enterprise College, which went from receiving the Ofsted thumbs-down back in 1999, to completely overhauling both its reputation and structure to create five ‘mini-school’ environments – each with no more than 300 pupils – within one larger education community. Featuring interviews with staff members and pupils, this book offers readers the chance to discover how these educational facilities work in practice, by exploring issues such as logistical financial implications, as well as the impact they have on children’s learning.
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And finally Susan Young
What you won’t hear an exec head say at parents’ evening
‘Listen up, parents…’
The school will need proof that anyone collecting your children has been approved in this way and the pickeruppers will need proof of identity signed by at least 343 people. Parents of other pupils will also have to be vetted before they can invite your children round for tea and biscuits. Some schools are going down the route of applying for all parents to be checked under the vetting and barring scheme. This will make life simpler until the scheme fulfils its ambition of checking all parents at the first midwife’s appointment.
Sign here please You may also have heard of the new home-school contract. This is simple: you have to guarantee that your child always behaves well and follows our instructions. If there are any problems, he or she will initially be put in the class run by the local military, who run a very tight ship. Should your child still prove to be ‘challenging’ then I have to explain that schools now have powers to impound your belongings, car, home and any pets you may be fond of. Anyway, back to school. As parents, you’ll no doubt expect things to be like your own schooldays – and under the new regime you may be in luck – but you will find a few changes. For example, since few headteachers can stand the pressure,
there are now very few of them left, just executive ones who never leave their office, let alone teach or have time to shout: “Don’t run down the corridors, Smithers!” Now to the curriculum. As you may know, there have been some revisions and our teams have been working on how to make lessons exciting and interesting for your children. However, recent political events mean that’s no longer a priority, so we’re making them dull again. But, you will be delighted to hear that we have managed to snap up a couple of retired history teachers and a job lot of 1066 And All That. It’s good news as all primary schools will be introducing a reading scheme during this academic year which you may find familiar: Janet and John. We also have a strict uniform requirement, with ties and blazer, which by law are obliged to be ill-fitting and in colours that were popular in the 1970s. Finally, I’ve been asked to explain that if you are less than happy with what you’ve seen this evening, there is an alternative. In your information pack you will find a glossy brochure explaining how it is envisaged that parents just like you could start your own schools, according to the Swedish model. There is a tear-off slip and reply-paid envelope for any of you wish to register an interest. We’re promised there won’t be any bureaucracy involved.
t’s fantastic that so many of you have made it here tonight. I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but as executive head for a school cluster I can’t be everywhere at once. In fact, I barely manage to leave the office when I have to answer the call of nature. Still, what could be better than a live presentation to parents across the whole community of schools? Actually, I know what would be better – standing there and seeing the whites of your eyes. But I can’t do this for all four schools and complete the financial compliance statements, so you’ll have to make do with a big screen. After all, we must embrace new technology, as we give our children the 21st century education which is ‘fit for purpose,’ especially since Ofsted will fail us if we’re not using whiteboards to make lessons sufficiently pacy. Actually, now I’m being Tweeted new directives every half hour, I’m terrified to look at my mobile. But that’s probably enough on technology. Now, before you fill in your application forms, the Local Authority has asked me to point out some new regulations. For safeguarding purposes, you will not be able to ask other people to bring your children to and from school more than once a term until they have been through the vetting and barring procedure.
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009
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