Issue 45 September/October 2010
THE BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ALL SCHOOL LEADERS
SITTING IT OUT YOUR EXPERIENCES OF THE SATS BOYCOTT
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Where’s Lolli? Help us find the UK’s best lollipop person! Does your school have the best Lollipop Person in the UK? Do they go the extra mile to ensure pupils at your school cross the road safely? Are they a much-loved member of your school family? Do you think they should receive extra special recognition for the valuable job they do?
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Win £3,000 for your school! Lots of regional and national prizes to be won, including a £3,000 Grand Prize for the winning school. The competition launches officially in September and entries close on 19th November, giving you plenty of time to get your pupils to show off their creative talents. Past year’s entries have included drawings, photographs, stories, poems, mock news reports, animations, songs, DVDs and more - anything goes! Winners will be announced in January 2011 backed by press and TV news coverage.
the Lollipop Person of the Year competition ticked “ Entering so many boxes for us. It allowed us to learn by exploring issues like health and road safety. The children used expressive art, music, speech and writing to a degree that both surprised and delighted the staff. In fact it was exactly the sort of project that our new curriculum is all about.
Moira Monaghan, Head Teacher at Bushes Primary School
Bushes Primary School celebrate winning in 2009.
For more information visit www.bestlollipop.co.uk or email email@example.com
ROBERT SANDERS EDITORIAL
Help us to help you We talk a lot about ‘leadership teams’ – about the powerful effect of working to a common goal based on the knowledge, skills and experience of a range of people. But, of course, sharing ideas and experiences extends far beyond that and the best leaders listen and seek to understand the views of all their stakeholders. It’s a model we try to reflect in Leadership Focus – so when we talk about the way in which a primary school has encouraged classes to set up their own businesses (page 38), we make sure we encompass various opinions, whether it is parents, children, teachers, school leaders, or local business people. And in ‘Behind the headlines’ (page 18), we look at the primary curriculum from the point of view of Professor Robin Alexander, director of the Cambridge Primary Review, NAHT’s Chair of its Primary Committee, an advocate of the Rose Review and a spokesman for the Council for Subject Associations. That’s because while it’s good to know what you want, it’s also rather dangerous if you don’t listen to what others have to say too. So, when you’re faced with the task of leading three very different schools as a single ‘education village’, like the one run by Dame Dela Smith in Darlington (page 28), it’s very important to know where you’re headed, but equally important to listen to all the people involved and develop your strategy accordingly. Even new Education Secretary Michael Gove admits that he turned to eight highly skilled and experienced school leaders for their opinions and expectations (page 32). Through our Sats campaign, we have tried to represent the views of a very large number of our members that the testing
regime in this country is damaging. The statistics on school leaders taking action tell us something about the strength of opinion, the impact and the effectiveness of the boycott, but it’s important too to read the angst, the sacrifices and risks that each and every one of those who stood up for what they believed in went through, and the equally difficult choice of those who decided not to take action for the benefit of those they work with every day, who might also be affected (page 22). A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting with a group of school leaders in a focus group. Together, we began to take a good hard look at our publications and our web site. It was so enlightening to hear first-hand what people think about what we do, but even more valuable was hearing what school leaders need from us. I would like to extend that invitation to you. Tell us what you think – about the magazine, the Association and the big issues. Tell us about the things that you look for, but don’t find, the things that would save the day for you. I promise I’ll look at them and share them with the people that can make them a reality. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘It’s very important to know where you’re headed, but equally important to listen to all the people involved and develop your strategy accordingly’
redactive publishing limited EDITORIAL & ASSOCIATION ENQUIRIES NAHT, 1 Heath Square, Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1BL www.naht.org.uk Tel: 01444 472 472 Editor: Robert Sanders Editorial board: Russell Hobby, Chris Howard, Mike Welsh, Chris Harrison and Robert Sanders Leadership Focus is published by Redactive Publishing Limited on behalf of the NAHT
17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP www.redactive.co.uk Tel: 020 7880 6200 Fax: 020 7880 7691
EDITORIAL TEAM Managing editor: Steve Smethurst Assistant editors: Rebecca Grant and Carly Chynoweth News and features reporter: Hollie Ewers Designer: Adrian Taylor Senior picture editor: Claire Echavarry Deputy production manager: Kieran Tobin Cover image: Francesco Bongiorni Printed by: Wyndeham Heron
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Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation: 27,835 (July 2008-June 2009)
ISSN: 1472–6181 © Copyright 2010 NAHT All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers. While every care has been taken in the compilation of this publication, neither the publisher nor the NAHT can accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or changes since compilation, or for consequential loss arising from such changes or inaccuracies, or for any other loss, direct or consequential, arising in connection with information in this publication. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply recommendation by the publishers. The views herein are not necessarily those of the publisher, the editor or the NAHT.
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COVER STORY PAGE
SATS: YOUR VERDICT
Despite huge Government pressure, the Sats boycott took place in June. More than 4,000 schools backed the NAHT/NUT campaign. We speak to members about the pros and cons of the boycott and how they came to their decision… BY MARK HUNTER TER
10 NEWS FOCUS 6 SATS NEGOTIATIONS SET TO RESUME The NAHT wants its assessment charter to be the basis of Government policy and talks are due to commence in the coming weeks to see if that will be possible.
6 SCIENCE SAMPLE TESTS: EARLY DAYS Has the number of pupils reaching level 4 really dropped, or is it a quirk of a small sample size? Only time will tell.
7 HEAD TEACHER PAY IS SAFE, FOR NOW The Secretary of State for Education has backed down over plans to cap head teachers pay, which was designed to prevent school leaders earning more than the PM.
7 PHOTO COMPETITION 2010 The deadline for entries in the 2010 ‘Great Outdoors’ photography competition is drawing near… 4
16 8 CHILD-PROTECTION DATABASE CLOSED The ContactPoint database, set up in the aftermath of the Victoria Climbié murder, has been shut down. Minsters said that it was “not the best way to safeguard children”.
10 CAUTIOUS WELCOME FOR A* A-LEVEL The A* grade made its debut in A-levels this year, with one in 12 A-levels attaining the new high. The NAHT welcomed it, but warned that no conclusions could be drawn until there were three years of results to analyse.
11 FREE SCHOOLS ALL SET FOR TAKE OFF Firms are queuing up to create ‘free schools’, with wellknown businesses such as Pearson, Serco, Tribal and Nord Anglia all expected to grasp opportunities.
11 BEST OF THE BLOGS Never mind flash new buildings, says Dr Paul Phillips of Weston College, “what you really need are entrepreneurial skills, inspirational learning and commitment – ie FE.”
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28 WORKING IN HARMONY Partnership working is being taken to a new level in County Durham. Mark Hunter visits Darlington Education Village, where a primary, secondary and a special school are all on one site, and being led by Dame Dela Smith, an SEN specialist.
32 MICHAEL’S MAGNIFICENT EIGHT Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Education used his first major speech to say that many of his ideas came from conversations with eight head teachers. Carly Chynoweth tracks them down to find out what they said.
38 GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Steve Smethurst visits a primary school in Slough to see how business skills are being taught to even the youngest pupils. It’s an approach that will produce our entrepreneurs of the future, say local business leaders.
REGULARS 13 RUSSELL HOBBY COLUMN The new General Secretary urges school leaders to grasp the opportunity to lead. The first thing to do is move the debate from structures to quality.
14 TEN THINGS WE’VE LEARNED Popstars, like Sting and Seal, want yoga taught in American schools; a Lancashire pupil has designed a pair of knickers for the Queen; and big things are happening to school uniforms at Marks and Spencer…
16 HEADS UP Three school leaders take the magazine’s Big Question Challenge by telling us about their favourite biscuits, guilty secrets and the biggest challenge of all... to tell us a joke.
18 BEHIND THE HEADLINES: PRIMARY CURRICULUM The Rose Review is out of favour and the Alexander Review has taken its place. Hashi Syedain finds out what this means for schools, and speaks to Prof Robin Alexander.
46 WHAT’S NEW All the latest books and educational resources.
49 RANTLINE What’s making you angry? Could it be Ofsted, or having to work through your holidays? Find out here...
50 BACK PAGE: SUSAN YOUNG
There’s confusion over phonics, the curriculum, funds for new buildings, academies, free schools and vocational education. When are you going to sort it all Mr Gove, wonders our columnist…
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Sats negotiations set to resume The Government has acknowledged that Sats tests can be improved and has reaffirmed its belief in externally validated testing The NAHT is preparing to engage with the coalition Government on a fundamental review of Sats. “At the moment, our position is that we want our charter to be the basis of Government policy,” said Mike Welsh, the NAHT President. “But we are offering to undertake future Sats tests on the basis that they are not reported and that they contribute to teacher assessment. “We have put forward these proposals and we are hoping that the Government will be responsive.” The move comes after 4,005 schools boycotted the most recent tests. Schools Minister Nick Gibb has recently indicated his support for externally marked tests, but appeared to leave some room to manoeuvre by acknowledging that the existing system could be improved. The minister said: “KS2 tests are a vital staging post in a child’s education and can provide crucial information as children move from primary school into secondary education. Externally validated tests give parents and professionals valuable information to gauge the standards of our primary schools and their pupils,
and play a vital role in accountability. “We know the tests can be better, and we will be discussing with all parties how to improve the effectiveness, accuracy and rigour of the tests.” Russell Hobby, the NAHT’s General Secretary, welcomed the Government’s recognition of the tests’ flaws, but added: “This is not a system that needs a bit of tinkering, but a radical overhaul.” More than 4,000 schools boycotted the tests this year because of head teachers’ conviction that they are a deeply flawed way of assessing children’s progress, he said. “Tests are one part of the toolkit, but we have become obsessed with what we can measure rather than what matters. Testing has its part to play, and schools test pupils regularly, but it should be used to inform teacher assessments, which have been proven this year to be rigorous and robust. “Externally moderated teacher assessments give parents a view of their child’s progress based on a whole year of judgement; they give timely and accurate data to secondary schools and enable inspectors to accurately judge schools’ performance. Parents need and deserve
hard facts about how well their school is doing and which school is right for their child. Sats do not provide those facts. “We look forward to engaging with the Government and other professional groups on a fundamental review of assessment and accountability in schools,” he said. Head teachers want a system whereby Year Six students are assessed on their performance across the year, not simply a snapshot, said Mike. “That should be what is reported to parents and Government,” he said. “We have to remember that Sats were originally brought in to support teacher assessment, but now the tail is wagging the dog.”
2010 Sats findings This year’s results showed an improvement of between one and three percentage points in English, writing and mathematics, but a two point drop in reading. The percentage of children achieving higher than the expected level rose by four points in English and reading, one point in writing, and remained steady in maths.
• Sats boycott feature, see page 22.
‘Tests are one part of the toolkit, but we have become obsessed with what we can measure, rather than what matters. Testing should inform teacher assessment’
The results from this year’s sample testing of pupil achievement in science suggest that the number of 11-yearolds reaching level 4 has dropped in comparison to last year’s Sats results. But NAHT Assistant Secretary Lesley Gannon advised against jumping to conclusions based on these tests, which involved 5 per cent of eligible pupils. “This is the first year of the sampling exercise,” she
said. “The data may prove useful in monitoring trends in the future, when we have additional years’ data, but we don’t actually have another data set to usefully compare it to at the moment. “This was a 5 per cent sample with tests being taken under very different conditions from last year. A direct comparison of this data to the teacher assessment doesn’t work as you are comparing two completely different
groups – one of 27,000 and one of over 500,000.” Schools no longer have to ‘teach to the test’, but this does not mean that there has been a drop in the standards of teaching or learning, she said. “Teacher assessment results in science, based on observation of more than half a million children’s knowledge and understanding over a period of time, have remained largely consistent for several years,” she said.
Science sample test results: still early days
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Head teacher pay is safe, for now Secretary of State for Education backtracks on plans to cap head teachers’ pay this year Education Secretary Michael Gove has backed down on plans to cap head teachers’ pay, so that no school leader earned more than the Prime Minister’s salary of £142,500. Earlier this Summer, the Secretary of State said that the limit would be in place by September, but he has since decided that the change would be too complex to make in such a short time. The move came after the NAHT and six other teaching unions told the Government that a cap was a bad idea. Imposing an arbitrary limit would be: “likely to produce unintended consequences, which would have serious and deleterious effects on schools”, they wrote in a letter to the Secretary of State. Any such proposal should be subject to the widest possible consultation and detailed consideration by the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), they said. In a letter to Anne Wright, chairwoman of the STRB, Mr Gove said: “I have noted the complex issues that you raise for consideration… and considered the advice of statutory consultees, and on balance, I have concluded that there is a need to look further at the implementation of a limit as
‘If you want people to take things on you have to pay them accordingly. It’s not just about the time – it’s also the pressure. It’s tough work in all aspects of school life’ a part of a wider review of leadership pay, in the context of the Government’s policy on senior salaries in the public sector. “As an interim measure, I will write to relevant bodies about the need to exercise senior pay restraint and consider how the principles within the report of the Senior Salaries Review Body apply to schools.” NAHT President Mike Welsh said that any arbitrary cap on salaries would make a mockery of the increased freedoms being offered to academies and would make it much more difficult to recruit top heads to challenging schools that required a great deal of extra work to turn them around. “If you want people to take things on, you really do have to pay them accordingly,” he said. “It’s not just about the time – it’s also a question of pressure. Improvement isn’t just about jumping through hoops; it’s tough work in all aspects of school life.” He added: “Of course, the vast majority of school leaders are not paid anywhere near six figures, so very few people would actually be affected if a cap was put in place, but the important thing is the
message that it sends.” Capping pay would fail to acknowledge the value the heads can bring, he said.
Political party conferences The NAHT will be at all three party conferences this autumn and is seeking feedback from members about the issues that it should raise. “We will be doing a New Statesman fringe event called ‘can schools have too much freedom in the Big Society?’ as well as having stands,” said NAHT Assistant Secretary Lesley Gannon. “Members who are attending the conferences are welcome to come and see us there, or to contact me in advance to let us know what issues they would like us to raise.” The NAHT is also seeking input from members for what Lesley said will be a ‘full and frank’ submission to the new Education Select Committee’s inquiry into the role and performance of Ofsted. Please contact Lesley by email at email@example.com by the end of September if you would like to comment on these matters.
THE 2010 GREAT OUTDOORS PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION DEADLINE IS APPROACHING FAST… BETTER MAKE IT SNAPPY! Time is running out for schools to enter this year’s Great Outdoors photographic competition. All entries for the competition, which celebrates activities and education outside the classroom, have to be submitted by 30 September 2010. Competition entries will be judged in three main school categories: primary, secondary and special. Pupils can choose to enter photographs taken either during an off-site outdoor/ adventure activity and/or during a school-based learning outside the classroom activity. In each category, a school can enter a maximum of three photographs. Images must be submitted in jpeg format with a maximum file size of 4MB. There are a selection of prizes available. For each category there will be a winner and runner-up prize: First prize: an Olympus u-Tough 6000 waterproof camera worth £219; runner-up prize: Flip
One of last year’s winners
Ultra video camera with waterproof case, worth £122. The prizes are courtesy of Ward-Hendry Photography, the official sponsors of the 2010 competition. Ward-Hendry will also provide winning schools with a professionally mounted display of their pupils’ winning photographs. For more details, see: www.naht.org.uk/photocomp2010
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NEWS IN BRIEF
14-19 FUNDING CHANGES
The ContactPoint database followed the inquiry
Child-protection database is closed The Government has switched off the ContactPoint database, which held the details of all 11 million children and young people in England The ContactPoint child-protection database has been scrapped. It cost £235 million and was established following the murder of Victoria Climbié as a way for doctors, teachers, social workers and police to keep track of at-risk children. However, it has now been consigned to history, in line with Conservative and Liberal Democrat pre-election pledges. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “We don’t think that spreading very thinly a resource which contains details of all 11 million children in the entire country, more than 90 per cent of whom will never come into contact with children’s services, is the best way of safeguarding children.” There were also concerns about civil liberties and the system’s security, he said. The Government is considering a new signposting service that will help professionals working with vulnerable children to find out whether colleagues in other areas have worked, or are working, with the same child.
Speaking on the child-protection issue more broadly, NAHT President Mike Welsh said that schools take child protection very seriously, but warned that schools could not be expected to take up the burden created by the shortage of social workers in many local authorities. “Across the country, a significant number of local authorities are nowhere near to having sufficient social workers, so the potential for future cases is there,” he said. “We have seen time and time again that schools are having to take on more involvement in teams around an at-risk child. My concern is that we do not have the time, or in some cases the training and expertise, to do that work.” Schools are happy to work in multidisciplinary teams but simply do not have the right personnel to be the lead professionals in the childprotection arena, he said. “Integrated working is excellent but we have to be very careful that the forthcoming period of austerity does not force schools to be lead agencies in this area… I would not like to see schools or school leaders taken before tribunals. We have to be wary about taking on responsibilities we are not trained for.”
The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) has announced that the process for agreeing allocations for the 2011/12 academic year has been withdrawn and will be replaced by a ‘significantly simplified’ system. The YPLA will now directly fund general FE colleges, sixth-form colleges and other providers, while maintained school sixth forms will continue to be funded through the local authority, and apprenticeship providers through the Skills Funding Agency. The NAHT asks concerned members to contact Sion Humphreys: firstname.lastname@example.org
WELSH NPQH ON HOLD Recruitment for the National Professional Qualification for Headship in Wales has been suspended until the course undergoes a major review. The change comes after criticism of the programme’s effectiveness, with Estyn calling it ‘ineffective’ and ‘outdated’. A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly said that funding for the course was not being withdrawn and that new arrangements will be piloted this autumn.
PENSIONS UPDATE From next April, public sector pension schemes will be revalued based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI). The NAHT has also advised its members that non-Club transfers into and out of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme have been suspended, as has the calculation of the cash equivalent transfer values for pension-sharing on divorce. The Government has also set up a new enquiry into how public sector pensions can be made more affordable. It will produce an interim report this September.
£4M FOR WELSH-SPEAKING TEACHERS The NAHT has welcomed the Welsh Assembly’s decision to allocate £4 million to increasing the number of Welsh-medium teachers. Spokesman Iwan Guy said: “There is a dire shortage of people able to teach in Welsh. We are always advertising for them, and get little response.” The funding will be spread across two years. A spokesman for the Assembly said: “Some might speak Welsh but lack the confidence to teach in it. Others might be unable to speak it but are keen to learn it and teach using it.” The funds will be used to help train teachers, classroom assistants, nursery assistants and others involved in early years learning.
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Cautious welcome for A* A-level The new A* grade made up one in 12 of this year’s A-level results, while the overall pass rate rose to 97.6 per cent. The new grade was introduced to make it easier for universities to distinguish between top students, as the percentage receiving A grades has grown significantly over recent years. The NAHT’s Sion Humphreys was broadly positive about the new grade, but urged people not to be overhasty in interpreting this year’s results. “It’s encouraging, but I do think that there needs to be caution until we have two or three years of results and can identify trends,” he said. “But I think it is a good start.” A*s were not the only new qualification in the news this summer: IGCSEs – the international GCSE – and A-level alternative the Cambridge Pre-U both drew public attention. Much
This autumn sees the arrival of several new qualifications but it is too soon to read much into the results, the NAHT has warned
The new grades should make life easier for universities
newspaper coverage focused on schools turning to these courses because GCSEs and A-levels were not seen as challenging enough, although there are still only a small number actually offering them, Sion said. “There has been a lot written about the Pre-U but there are only 54 schools,
including 15 state schools, actually doing it.” Like the A*, this is the first set of results, meaning it is too soon to come to any conclusions about the qualification. He cited the GCSE’s modular approach controlled assessment as one of the factors pushing schools
‘It’s encouraging, but there needs to be caution until we have two or three years of results and can identify trends’
RUSSELL HOBBY TAKES OVER FROM MICK BROOKES AS NAHT GENERAL SECRETARY Russell Hobby has taken over as the new General Secretary of the NAHT, replacing Mick Brookes who held the role for five years. Association President Mike Welsh paid tribute to Mick’s hard work and achievements and welcomed Russell’s arrival. “Russell is clearly the right person for the job,” he said. “He is already making a very positive
name for himself. He has a very considered approach to the Association, its members and the media, and I think he will also be a very important player with Government – ministers will realise that they have someone good to work with.” The President also wished Mick all the best for the future. “He did an excellent job in a very tough time,” he said.
to look at IGCSEs. “The feeling is that it takes far too much assessment time out of teaching and learning time,” he said. “IGCSE isn’t necessarily a better product per se – it’s more a question of logistics. “What is crucial now is how the new GCSEs bed down. Schools will look at how that is progressing, although there has not yet been a cohort go through.” The first results for the new curriculum will be next autumn, with English, maths and science coming through over the two following years. The NAHT also congratulated all schools and students on their exam results, including those who completed level 3 diplomas. “These achievements must not be overshadowed by the uncertainty facing the future of the qualification,” an NAHT spokesperson said. “We believe that it is time for a fundamental review of vocational education in England to ensure that there are appropriate pathways to both meet the needs and aspirations of learners and to serve the needs of the economy.”
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THE BEST OF THE BLOGS NOT MUCH OF A HOLIDAY It’s only August but Dr Paul Phillips, principal and chief executive of Weston College, is already back at work, where he has to deal with building refurbishment, while facing the latest funding updates. “Have you noticed the outrage from some academies at the withdrawal of capital funding?” he asks. “Apparently you need new buildings to transform learning – incorrect – you need entrepreneurial skills, inspirational learning and commitment – ie FE.”
The school run: likely to be to a ‘free school’ in future
Free schools are all set for take off Well-known businesses are lining up to either create or advise on free schools
‘I would not want a business sponsor for our school. Making a donation is fine, but we would not give them power over the curriculum’
Susan Young enters the free schools debate by asking how the Government knows that they will automatically offer good places. “Just wanting to be really good, and working to be really good, doesn’t necessarily mean that the end product will be really good,” she writes. “It’ll be interesting to see how many parents take up places for their kids if there are other, more established, choices in the area.” www.naht.org.uk/welcome/resources/blogs/susanyoung/?blogpost=349
WHO NEEDS A PGCE? Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, would rather kids were taught physics by Oxbridge graduates without a PGCE than by “physics graduates from one of the rubbish universities with a PGCE”. Elitist claptrap, or common sense? Steve Smethurst tries to work it out. www.naht.org.uk/welcome/resources/blogs/stevesmethurst/?blogpost=336
COMPARING APPLES WITH ORANGES? A change to the way 11-year-olds were tested on science this year generated a torrent of negative headlines – something that bemuses former TES journalist Warwick Mansell. “I am struggling to get my head around how such negative stories can be generated when the data on which they are based clearly does not support it,” he says. Journalists did not compare like with like, he says. www.naht.org.uk/welcome/ resources/blogs/warwickmansells-blog/?blogpost=351
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A number of private firms are preparing to set up and run ‘free schools’ in England alongside parents and charities, although they would not be allowed to make a profit by doing so. Well-known businesses such as Pearson, Serco, Tribal and Nord Anglia are all looking at opportunities in this area, while Cambridge Education, the consultancy, is offering a ‘complete package of support’ for anyone who wants to set up one of the schools, the BBC has reported. Gems, an independent education provider, said that it has been contacted by almost a dozen groups planning free schools; even more
groups had approached the provider about help running an academy. NAHT President Mike Welsh, who expects that his school will become one of the country’s first primary academies this autumn, supports the freedoms the model offers. “But I would not want a business sponsor for our school,” he said. “Making a donation is fine, but we would not give them any power over the curriculum or anything else.” • The NAHT believes that all schools, not just those defined as outstanding, should have the right to become an academy following consultation with relevant stakeholders. It is running three one-day ‘academies’ training courses this autumn. For more information and an application form, visit www.naht.org.uk/events
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RUSSELL H HOBBY Columnist
Opportunity knocks Time to debate quality rather than structures, says the General Secretary
hat’s that old saying? ‘Be careful what you wish for?’ Well, after a decade of despair about overregulation, intrusion and heavyhanded policy, it turns out that freedom has downsides too. Firstly though, is it genuine freedom? Rhetoric about trust sits uncomfortably with directives about teaching methods and curricula; the freedom to choose your own approach would be meaningless if your performance is measured on minutely defined outcomes. And is ‘freedom’ merely a Trojan horse for competition and fragmentation? Of the many gains of the past few years, the sense of education as a collective activity is the most valuable. In modern society, equal access to high-quality education is a civil liberty – the right which underpins all other rights. An education system based on luck, wealth or class makes no more sense than a justice system based on the same. Yet we must also be honest enough to admit that our current ways of working have not come close to ending disadvantage either. In a way, however, these questions are merely interesting distractions. The Government’s intent matters less than the profession’s response. The great thing about freedom is that you can choose what to do with it. You can choose not to use it at all – and many will, indeed, ‘wait and see’ if the door is really unlocked. More importantly, you can choose to use it responsibly – working for the success of the system rather than protecting your patch.
on, from structures to quality. Structure is beguiling: concrete, tangible, something you can change swiftly and decisively. Yet it makes very little difference. It doesn’t matter much what a school is called, the exact composition of the governing body, what it owns and who it reports to; great buildings and fancy technology are nice, but not essential. What matters more than anything is the quality of teaching.
After a decade of despair, it turns out that freedom has its downsides too. Is it merely a Trojan horse for competition and fragmentation?
Unfortunately, there are no quick victories in improving teaching, few easy decisions, little political capital. It happens in the unglamorous daily management choices – interviews, coaching, discussions, difficult conversations, small changes to practice. This is where school leaders make the difference, and it is time to make this work our focus. The NAHT can be the means through which the profession exerts its leadership, shapes its freedoms and focuses the debate on the things that really matter. It is an exciting year ahead and a great time to be joining in. Russell Hobby is NAHT General Secretary
Defining moments Professional freedom is not real unless it is exercised. If the profession is silent on the big topics, we should not be surprised if others, less well qualified, speak up. If the profession dodges the difficult questions, we should not be surprised if others, who are less well-intentioned, answer them for us. Freedom is created and shaped through leadership: taking responsibility for performance, using evidence and, particularly, building new partnerships to lift education above short-term politics and give it to those that it belongs to – parents, communities and professionals. Whether it is intended or not, we now have this opportunity to lead. Our response will be one of the profession’s defining moments. The first thing we should do, as a matter of urgency, is move the debate
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STRANGE BUT TRUE
THINGS WE’VE LEARNED Since the last LF, we’ve discovered that Batman is a bad role model but good primary teachers are worth their weight in gold You need to lock up your copy of The Guinness Book of Records In a most appropriate twist of fate, it transpires anspires that the publication that holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries is… The Guinness Book of Records. This is its second record, as the book is also the best-selling copyrighted series of all-time.
You really can make a drama out of a crisis Walthamstow drama teacher Vivienne Franzmann has won the George Devine award for most promising playwright. Drawing on her experiences of 12 years teaching in London comprehensives’ Ms Franzmann’s play Mogadishu is about a teacher who is falsely accused of assault and racism by a pupil. The Lyric Hammersmith and the Royal Exchange theatres will stage the play next year and the Royal Exchange will run a series of tie-ins with the production, including workshops and teaching resources on the issues raised.
In the countryside, cows go to sleep for the winter Actually, that’s a lie, but it is what hundreds of children surveyed for a study for Eden TV thought. The research revealed that nearly half of the 2,000 eight to 12 year olds they questioned thought that cows hibernated during the winter. As if that wasn’t bad enough, almost a third were unable to identify the horsechestnut tree as producing conkers and a fifth had never heard that a dock leaf could sooth a nettle sting. Eden TV channel’s survey results also found that a fifth had never visited a farm and twofifths had never been camping.
You can put a price on a good reception teacher According to a Harvard University study, adults who received better early-years education are more likely to have significantly higher salaries than their less well-educated peers. The economists maintain that being taught by an aboveaverage teacher increases the collective lifetime earnings of five year olds by $320,000 (£200,847). Time for a pay rise?
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A creative pupil was behind a majestic pair of bloomers A class in Lancashire has received a letter of thanks from the Queen after designing her a pair of knickers. Having read Nicholas Allen’s book The Queen’s Knickers, pupils at Great Harwood Primary School, near Blackburn, created numerous designs for Her Majesty and held a competition to find the best pair. Six-year-old Husna Ahmed’s design was chosen as the winning entry and was sent off to the Queen, along with a letter from the class. A reply was sent on behalf of the Her Majesty by one of her ladies-inwaiting, thanking the pupils for their designs.
Academies take a harder line on exclusions Government statistics have shown that pupils at academies are twice as likely to face repeated temporary exclusions or permanent expulsions than in mainstream secondary schools. In the 2008/2009 school year, 7.27 per cent of academy pupils were given more than one suspension while with mainstream secondary pupils the figure was only 3.8 per cent. However, the figures did not consider the fact that many academies are based in areas of serious deprivation, which might account for the difference.
Some meaty decisions need to be taken
According to psychologists from the University of Massachusetts, young boys who look up to macho superheroes like Iron Man and Batman are more likely to adopt aggressive, violent and stereotypical male behaviours. More traditional heroes like Superman or Spiderman were suggested as idols for young children because, outside of their costumes, they were real people with real problems and vulnerabilities. Psychologist Sharon Lamb said: “Today’s superhero is aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks of doing good for humanity. They exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with guns.”
Pop stars want yoga to be taught in American schools A CD featuring the likes of Sting, Sheryl Crow and Peter Gabriel has been released to help raise money so that yoga programmes can be introduced into schools across the United States. The proceeds from Yoga revolution will be donated to the Youth Health Alliance, a nonprofit organisation, that provides yoga, academic, and health programmes for ‘underserved’ elementary and middle school children. The CD also features yoga fans Sarah McLachlan, Ziggy Marley and Seal.
You can’t always believe the marketing hype Retail giant Marks & Spencer has introduced a new plus-size range of school uniforms for overweight children, claiming that the move is part of a ‘collective effort’ to curb child obesity. The plus school-wear range, which started being sold online in the summer, caters for ages three to 16, with waist sizes going up to 41 inches. An M&S spokesman said: “There needed to be a collective effort to curb obesity. Parents should not fail in their responsibility - it is they that put food in their children’s mouths, send their children out to play.” However, despite the apparent good intentions of M&S, child health campaigners said it was simply commercial recognition of the fact obesity was a growing problem.
The catering situation in Harrow’s primary schools is to be reviewed in the autumn following media reports that the London borough is to use halal-only meat caterers. With nine Harrow secondary schools already serving only halal meat from their catering company, the council said it had received no complaints about it so far and all 10 secondary schools in the area will be serving the meat, which is slaughtered and prepared according to Islamic teachings, from September. However, the proposed move has angered parents of other faiths, as well as some animal rights groups, who are against the Islamic method of slaughtering animals.
Some superheroes are more super than others…
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SUE ROBERTS Head teacher, Littlegreen School, Compton, Chichester, West Sussex
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU?
UP Three school leaders take up the Leadership Focus challenge to describe their leadership style and then tell us a joke
If you would like to take the LF questionnaire, email us at email@example.com
In five words? Looking forward to my retirement. Most prized possession? My soft-top Mini Cooper. Favourite biscuit? Fig roll. Unmissable TV? The Apprentice. Top Film? The Italian Job. Favourite song? Jean Genie by David Bowie Best Book? Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks. Which celebrity would play you in the film of your life? Dawn French. Guilty secret? I have too many clothes and shoes.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES I went into teaching because I wanted to be a journalist. My dad said to train to be a teacher so that I would always have that to fall back on. I began teaching and was hooked – I forgot all about journalism. My own schooling was great at primary level; I was head girl and top of the class. My secondary education was tough. I went to Grammar School where I felt out of place because very few of us went there from the council estate where I lived. I didn’t fit in with the local kids either, because I went to the ‘snob school’. My most embarrassing moment in the classroom was in a cookery lesson when I forgot to put the top on a liquidizer full of tinned tomatoes. My leadership style is varied. I can be directive and autocratic but I also recognise when a more democratic approach is needed. As I near retirement, I have become much better at delegating and developing leadership skills of others, I hope. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that teachers earn their money and they make a real difference to the lives of children. If I were the PM, I’d work on restoring public respect and trust in the teaching profession by paying teachers what they deserve, letting teachers teach, dumping Ofsted and ensuring that anyone who has a say in education policy has recent experience of working in a school. I shouldn’t be telling you this but I sometimes listen to The Archers when I’m doing something boring at my desk. Tell us your best joke Where would you find a tortoise with no legs? Where you left it!
I forgot to put the top on a liquidizer full of tinned tomatoes
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CHRIS HARRISON C
H Head teacher, Oulton Broad PPrimary, Suffolk
Deputy p y head h teacher, Victoria Community School, B Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU? In five words? Determined, dependable, fair, loyal and conscientious. What is your most prized possession? My grandfather’s pocket watch and cuff links. Favourite biscuit? Garibaldi. Unmissable TV programme? Any Six Nations rugby union games that I cannot get a ticket to. Top film? Lawrence of Arabia. Favourite song? Almost anything by Bob Dylan. Best book? Mind Over Matter, by Ranulph Fiennes. Which celebrity would play you in the film of your life? My wife would like it to be Hugh Grant or Nigel Havers, for some reason. What is your guilty secret? My little sister still hasn’t forgiven my best friend from primary school days for putting worms in her sandwiches 50 years ago, when, actually, it was me.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES I went into teaching, because I like working in a job where you can make a real difference to people’s lives; where life chances and opportunities to meet success become the norm for all associated with a school – children, staff and the community. My own schooling was an enjoyable, rewarding and largely pleasant experience at primary level, while the secondary years couldn’t end fast enough. It was only at a local FE College studying A-levels that I became fully engaged with learning for life. My most embarrassing moment in a classroom was while a deputy head and taking a PE lesson with infants learning to perform forward and backwards rolls, I needed to demonstrate the appropriate technique. Forwards went fine, but the reverse action included an enormous ripping sound as my trousers split. My leadership style is focused on building a teamwork approach where all in school ‘talk together, plan together, work together’ and strive to provide the best outcomes for children and the community. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s we should take greater care to nurture those entering the teaching profession so that they stay involved, motivated and they want to come to work each day. If I were the PM, I’d focus on the value of the role of education in our society; education and schools require long-term investment to build the health, capacity and resilience of all our children and their communities. But, most of all, I would want to ensure there p is caution wherever there is a response which places a lot of emphasis on the cost of things and hass little lly matter realisation of the value of the things that really onfident to us all in our work to build a stable and confident educational system that’s fit for the future. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but school d leadership really is the best job in the world Tell us your best joke Two cows standing in a field. The first one looks at the other and says: “Moo.” Then the second cow goes: “I was going to say that!”
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU? In five words? Determined, thoughtful, resilient, fair and caring. What is your most prized possession? My family. od. Favourite biscuit? Pink wafers – a reminder of my childhood. Unmissable TV programme? Coronation Street, it helps to relax my busy mind. Top film? One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Favourite song? Bat out of Hell, by Meatloaf. Best book? The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien. Which celebrity would play you in the film of your life? Shilpa Shetty. What is your guilty secret? I would prefer to treasure that memory!
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES I went into teaching, because I wanted to work with people. I thought about nursing but the sight of blood makes me feel sick so teaching it was. I have loved it, despite the ever-increasing pressures. My own schooling was very enjoyable after the first two years. Once settled, I was so eager to be there I would make my dad leave the house early enough to ensure I was one of the first there. My most embarrassing moment in a classroom was when I was young, new to a school and teaching my first mainstream class. I walked into the store-room popped a chocolate into my mouth, came out to be met by the head teacher. I daren’t speak in case he smelled chocolate so I just nodded and smiled until he left. My leadership style varies. If time allows it and the member of staff needs support, I use the coaching style thus showing how the job can be done. However, if the needs of children are not being met through laziness or apathy, I can be authoritarian. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that not everyone is in the position to demand their rights. Every child has the right to a quality education. In many middle-class schools, parents will ensure this occurs; in some schools, it’s down to senior leaders. If I were the PM, I’d suggest that if teachers were still in the same school after 10 years, they should be given the opportunity to swap jobs with a teacher in another school for a while. This would be a way to retain enthusiasm and share good practice. It would also make staff understand that the grass is not always greener. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I was so much in awe of a hea head teacher I worked for, I didn’t have the courage to park in her par parking spot at school, not even when I knew she was in Spain aand not likely to need it. T Tell us your best joke After being with her all evening, the m man couldn’t take another minute with his blind date. Earlier, he had secretly arranged to have a friend phone him so he would hav have an excuse to leave if something like this happened. When he retu returned to the table, he lowered his eyes, and said grimly, “I have som some bad news. My grandfather just died.” “Thank heavens,” his date replied. “If yours hadn’t died, mine would have had to!”
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BEHIND THE HEADLINES PRIMARY CURRICULUM
A tricky subject Now the Government has scrapped the primary curriculum that was based on the Rose review, school leaders are divided over how to deliver education in their schools, Hashi Syedain discovers
irst there was the Alexander review, then the Rose review – and now Alexander (officially known as the Cambridge Primary Review) is in favour once again. Primary heads could be forgiven for being a touch confused about which way the primary curriculum is heading and what they should be doing to prepare for the changes. Many schools are already some way down the line in implementing recommendations from Jim Rose’s review of the primary curriculum, which the previous Government had declared should be adopted by all primary schools from September 2011. But when the coalition Government took over in May, true to the Tories’ pre-election promises, it abandoned the Rose recommendations. Some Rose enthusiasts are pressing ahead anyway (see Bernadette Hunter, p22), in the hope that what they are doing will not prove incompatible with whatever comes next. In the meantime, the existing National Curriculum will stay in force, while Education Secretary Michael Gove and his schools minister Nick Gibb determine the new
framework for primary education. There are reasons for “guarded optimism” about what that will be, says Sion Humphreys, NAHT Assistant Secretary for Education Management. Indications that a new primary curriculum will have slimmed-down content, allowing greater freedom for teachers and heads, are welcome after years of increasing central prescription. But there are concerns about what the prescribed content might be and about early signs of what could be downgraded – such as the teaching of ICT or PSHE, says Sion. So far, there has been little consultation with the teaching bodies. But the new Government is talking actively to Professor Robin Alexander, who led the Cambridge Primary Review. “The situation for us has been transformed by the election and we are seeing a good level of consultation,” says Robin. What is needed now, he says, is a “proper debate at the level of every school”. Instead of polarised discussions about knowledge versus skills or subjects versus topics, the debate should start with what primary education is for, and then go on to look at how and what we should teach.
The favoured academic ROBIN ALEXANDER Director of the Cambridge Primary Review, fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge, previously professor of education at Warwick and Leeds universities HIS VIEWS
There are some mixed messages coming from the DfE at the moment – on the one hand, schools will be allowed greater freedom and the National Curriculum will be a lighter touch affair, but on the other, certain things will be non-negotiable, such as phonics, says prof Alexander. Nonetheless, he is pleased that meetings have already taken place – and further meetings have been timetabled – that will ensure the Cambridge Primary Review authors have a seat at the centre of policymaking in the coming months. A big concern, says prof Alexander, is whether heads and teachers have the skills to take advantage of a less regulated world. “After 13 years of prescription, central direction and teaching that was available ‘off the shelf ’ and from the internet, there’s a big question about the capability of the system to take the freedom. Some schools will grasp it with both hands and others will have become deskilled and won’t,” he cautions. The danger is that, when the new curriculum framework is set, schools may be tempted to replace ‘one off the shelf ’ curriculum with another. Leadership is vital in this environment, the professor argues. “If it is genuinely the case that we’re moving out of an era of central control and that professionals are being encouraged to re-engage for themselves with debates and decisions about how and what to teach, my plea would be for effective leadership at the top of each school – rather than having recourse to the quick fix of taking untested or apparently enticing
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The committee chairman DAVID FANN Head teacher of Sherwood Primary School in Preston and chair of the NAHT’s Primary Curriculum Committee
We were very critical of what Rose did on aims. He proposed his framework then looked for aims materials off websites or shelves.” As a way of encouraging practical support as well as debate, the Primary Review is launching a professional network of teachers, Local Authority personnel and others who are interested in building on the ideas in the Review. The network launches in October and will be led by Alison Peacock, head of Wroxham Primary School in Potters Bar. “It will support teachers who want to work things out for themselves, to be re-empowered in a way that is rigorous and evidence-based,” says prof Alexander.
The network is a response to requests from teachers, he says, who said that they liked what they read in the Review, but were put off implementing its recommendations because they were afraid of Ofsted and their School Improvement Partners. “It was a horrifying finding of the Review that some heads had become intimidated by the enforcers – but they said that they would do it if there was a support network.” Although the Review has proposed a particular curriculum framework, based on 12 aims (see box, page 21), he says that he is less concerned with the Government adopting ‘his’ aims, than with the principle that the starting point should be a national debate about the aims of primary education. “We were very critical of what Rose did on aims,” he says. “Rose proposed his curriculum framework, then looked around for a suitable set of aims. The problem with this approach is that it means aims have little effect when in practice.”
Most head teachers are somewhat concerned about the future and the pace of change – although they are generally supportive of curriculum change, says David. “As heads, we have said: ‘bring in curriculum change in a staggered fashion and take on board the views of head teachers.’” David started teaching well before the National Curriculum “when teacher freedom was total”. The first National Curriculum introduced in the late 1980s was too ‘top down’ and subsequent revisions have led to a curriculum that is burdensome and too centrally controlled. Over the course of two decades, schools moved from a position of too little accountability to too much, he argues. David believes a review of the curriculum is necessary, but that not everything about the current curriculum is bad. “The literacy and numeracy emphasis is good, but ideally we would like to see teachers develop confidence to develop other subjects in a more systematic manner,” he says. “We need a deep debate about where children are going and what society expects.” On the knowledge versus skills debate, David believes in a middle path. “In history, if children are learning dates and facts, does the modern adult need those or do they need the ability to find out? That’s a debate. “Schools minister Nick Gibb suggests that dates and key facts are more important. Whereas we think, let’s get broad statements that can be adapted locally. For example, children should know key historical facts by age 11.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 ➧ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS
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BEHIND THE HEADLINES PRIMARY CURRICULUM
The Rose advocate BERNADETTE HUNTER Head teacher, William Shrewsbury Primary School and NAHT council member for Staffordshire HER VIEWS
Bernadette and her staff are disappointed that the Rose recommendations have been shelved. The school has already gone some way down the Rose road. It has developed a skills-based approach, using skills ladders that the children progress up, with knowledge fitted in around that. The skills ladders were developed by the school itself and then mapped against Rose. The school is also moving to a more integrated curriculum that’s based on themes rather than subjects. “It makes more sense for children,” says Bernadette. “Because it’s how they learn anyway.” At its best, this themed approach pays dividends across many subject areas. For example, says Bernadette, a Year Six project called Loft, which was run in conjunction with some architects as part of the Creative Partnerships initiative, had a noticeable impact on the children’s reading and writing, despite being all about structures, buildings and areas. Subjects haven’t disappeared. Maths is taught separately and so are other subjects when they don’t fit easily into a theme. It may also be that children can’t name subjects readily, even if they have good knowledge of them. “My six year olds wouldn’t know what you meant if you asked: ‘What do you know about geography?’, But they know all about houses and different kinds of places to live and areas around the school.” Bernadette intends to continue with the approach and says it is compatible with the current National Curriculum – just organised differently. It means, for example, a more holistic timetable, rather than “getting hung up on making sure there’s an hour of history and an hour of geography.” Bernadette acknowledges that a
Children can’t name subjects readily even if they have a good knowledge of them
The association representative DAVID JONES Previously chief executive, now liaison officer of the Council for Subject Associations (CfSA)
themed approach does require extra vigilance on the part of the leadership to ensure that sufficient weight is given to subjects, and that rigour is maintained. “You do need to make sure someone in the school looks at the whole thing and makes sure there is progression.” The journey that the school has been on has “revitalised the discussion about pedagogy among staff and given the opportunity to think about why we teach,” says Bernadette. “Subjectbased work is not successful for primary, especially early years.”
The CfSA is an umbrella body set up in 2007 to represent more than 20 different individual subject areas. One of its main activities was to publish Primary Subjects, a termly publication devoted to a different theme each issue, in which all 17 primary National Curriculum subject associations, offered curriculum content and suggestions relevant to that theme. Themes included the 2012 Olympics, Every Child Matters and Assessment for Learning. “Primary Subjects offered head
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QUICK GUIDE TO THE CURRICULUM PROPOSALS FROM THE CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY REVIEW
The worry is there may be greater focus on academic subjects rather than art or media studies
teachers ways of addressing the various Government agendas through the vehicle of subjects and made links across subjects,” says David. When the Rose review was published, there was some concern among CfSA members that subjects would be watered down and would cease to be identifiable as the building blocks of the curriculum. Now, says David, the worry is that there may be a greater focus on academic subjects, at the expense of subjects like design and technology, art or media studies.
The Cambridge Review runs to several hundred pages, covering 10 different themes of which curriculum and assessment is just one. Among the Review’s guiding principles, however, is that primary education needs to start from aims. Only once you have decided what it is for, can you start to create a meaningful curriculum, it argues. The Review came up with 12 aims to do with the individual child, society and the wider world and ways of learning. It then proposed eight ‘domains’ of study, some of which correspond easily to traditional subject areas, such as ‘mathematics’ and ‘place and time’ (history and geography) and others that are less familiar, such as ‘citizenship and ethics’ and ‘physical and emotional health’. Domains are not ranked in importance – and it is one of the central tenets of the Review that there should not be a hierarchy of subjects or a division between core and non-core. Nonetheless, ‘language, oracy and literacy’ has a central place. Unlike the current emphasis on literacy, which has come to mean reading above all else, the new domain envisages an important place for spoken language as well. This means modern foreign languages will come under this domain, as would ICT because of its central role in language and communication. The absence of a hierarchy would effectively mean an upgrading of some subjects that have become devalued – such as art. “‘Arts and creativity’ forms a distinct domain,” says Robin Alexander, “because the arts have become ways for human beings to make sense of experiences and the world.” In terms of teaching time, the Review suggests that 70% should be devoted to the National Curriculum within a statutory framework, leaving 30% free for a locally determined curriculum. In both cases, the detail, such as actual programmes of study, should not be statutory, although non-statutory guidance should be made available for the National Curriculum only. Follow the link below for a summary. WWW.PRIMARYREVIEW.ORG.UK/DOWNLOADS/FINALREPORT/CPR-BOOKLET_LOW-RES.PDF
ELEMENTS IN A NEW PRIMARY CURRICULUM As proposed by the Cambridge Primary Review The National Curriculum The Community Curriculum 30% of teaching time 70% of teaching time • overall framework nationally determined, • overall framework and programmes of statutory study locally proposed, non-statutory • programmes of study nationally proposed, non-statutory Aims • well-being • engagement • empowerment • autonomy • encouraging respect and reciprocity • promoting interdependence and sustainability • empowering local, national and global citizenship • celebrating culture and community • exploring, knowing, understanding and making sense • fostering skill • exciting the imagination • enacting dialogue
Domains • arts and creativity • citizenship and ethics • faith and belief • language, oracy and literacy • mathematics • physical and emotional health • place and time • science and technology
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How was it for I
n the end it was all about the timing. When NAHT members made their historic decision in the Spring to boycott KS2 Sats, it was immediately obvious that, with the tests due to begin just four days after the general election, a campaign fought for so long under one Government would most likely reach its conclusion under another. Of course, no-one could have predicted that the tests would have already begun before the new Prime Minister and his coalition deputy were eventually signed in. Timing had been a crucial issue even before the union’s ballot was called. The law requires any industrial action to take place within four weeks of a members’ ballot. This meant it was impossible for schools to agree in September to boycott tests that would not take place until May. For many head teachers and deputies, this created a huge dilemma, whatever their feelings about the value of KS2 Sats. How many would be willing to boycott a test that their pupils had been preparing for all year? CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ➧
ILLUSTRATIONS: FRANCESCO BONGIORNI
Despite the Government’s fierce attempts to avert a boycott, more than 4,000 British schools shunned this summer’s KS2 Sats. Mark Hunter talks to NAHT members about their experiences
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ILLUSTRATIONS: FRANCESCO BONGIORNI
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‘Those schools with pending inspections felt great pressure to comply and one primary withdrew as their inspection was imminent’
Our children were more relaxed Graham Chisnell is head teacher of Warden House (Extended) School in Kent. His school chose to boycott the KS2 Sats “Our children were more relaxed during the assessment period, the results clearly and accurately reflected the children’s abilities and there was no anxious wait for a set of externally processed results. “The moderation process, both across the school and across our cluster of schools within the boycott, was informative, professional and enabled a deep discourse into cross moderation of expectations, assessment systems and marking strategies. “Is this not what our profession is about, our professional judgement must be accepted as a first-class assessment, not a second-class ‘guesstimate’. Regarding the consequences of the boycott, I have a very understanding chair of governors who supported my decision. I had taken careful advice from both NAHT HQ and the South East rep, as there were so many mixed messages and threatening statements
from both central and local government regarding pay and legality issues. “I did receive some pressure from my senior team about my decision, but when I spoke with them about the context of the decision they were able to see the purpose of the boycott. I felt disappointed that more colleagues were not engaged with the boycott as we have been bemoaning the decision to keep KS2 Sats as a test-run assessment when we have teacher assessment for KS1 and KS3. “In hindsight, I feel there was a lack of clarity as to why the boycott seemed to some as at very short notice. Without understanding there was a legal timeframe, I can see their frustration. Those schools with pending inspections felt great pressure to comply and one primary school ready to boycott withdrew and administered the tests as their inspection was imminent.”
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls clearly felt this was a weakness he could exploit and he became ever more bullish as the boycott date approached. He urged school governors to bar heads from their own schools and appoint ‘another competent person’ to administer the tests if the head teacher refused. It was also suggested that heads should have their pay docked if they supported the boycott. The National Governors Association (NGA) protested at being ‘caught in the middle of a trades dispute’ and questioned the legality of Balls’ demands. In the event the NGA reported that ‘next to no’ governors had acted on the minister’s advice. Local authorities also distanced themselves from the Government’s aggressive stance. So much so that NAHT General Secretary Mick Brookes wrote to local authority (LA) directors of children’s services to praise their ‘measured response’ to the boycott. When the dust had settled, it emerged that 4,005 schools had boycotted the 2010 KS2 Sats. This accounts for 26 per cent of the schools that were expected to deliver the tests. Support for the boycott varied considerably across the country. Analysis by NAHT blogger Warrick Mansell (see www.naht.org.uk) showed that at least 50 per cent of schools joined the boycott in 24 local council areas. Support ranged from 100 per cent of schools in Hartlepool to zero in Islington. The new education secretary Michael Gove had been a strong critic of Sats while in opposition, highlighting their duplication, the risk of teaching to the tests and decrying their lack of rigour in ‘holding primary schools to account’. Once in office, however, he reverted to type by immediately publishing a name-and-shame list of all those schools that had joined the boycott. Mick Brookes described appearing on this list as a ‘badge of honour’. Mr Gove accepted that there were ‘flaws with the current testing system’ and agreed to a review, but in the same breath announced the date for next year’s tests – the week of May 9. The NAHT’s response has been to remain hopeful that an agreement can be achieved before then. So, how was the Sats boycott for you? Leadership Focus spoke to NAHT members about their experiences to find out.
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I stood by my principles Helen Rooks is head teacher at St Mary’s school in Bridgwater, Somerset. Her school also boycotted the KS2 Sats “In common with the majority of head teachers, I do not object to children being tested as part of a complete assessment of their ability. However, the Sats in their present form are not used for this purpose and that is the key objection. “My philosophy is that our role is to educate the whole child and that is how we organise our curriculum and our school. We do not teach to the test and do not spend Year Six endlessly practising Sats papers. Our children have a mock test under test conditions in March, to get them used to the real thing, but that is all. “The call to boycott this year was a difficult decision to make. I consulted staff who were adamant that we should support the boycott, but clearly this was my call. In the end, I felt I had no choice but to stand by the principles that have guided my headship and boycott the tests. “However, talking to other heads locally, I did feel that I would be going out on a limb as very few colleagues felt they would actually make a stand, and this was not a comfortable feeling. “I kept the children informed throughout, as many of them had heard the news about the campaign and wanted to know what was happening. We had several excellent discussions about the matter and they had a good understanding of the issues involved. “During the week, our children were tested on old papers which the Year Six staff marked. Only one other school in the town was also boycotting the Sats and I made arrangements with the head teacher for our Year Six staff to undertake some joint moderation. Both schools found this an
extremely valuable exercise and we have agreed to do this on an annual basis from now on. That was a positive that came out of the campaign. “My governors were not happy, but, after a long discussion, made it clear that they would not take any punitive steps as a result of my decision. I wrote to parents but did not receive a single comment or query about the boycott. “We had an Ofsted visit at the end of June and I informed the lead inspector during our first telephone conversation that we had boycotted the Sats. She did not make any comment or refer to the matter again and did not seem at all concerned. Once in school, she clearly wanted to check that our assessment procedures were rigorous and all the inspectors had access to teachers’ APP (assessing pupil’s progress) files and the pupiltracking data. When reviewing the progress made by the children she commented on the fact that standards were good across the board and that it could be seen that we had a holistic approach and were clearly concerned with educating the whole child and not teaching to the Sats. “Obviously, boycotting the tests was a difficult decision to make but, having gone through all the soul searching, I am pleased I stood by the underlying principles of my headship. I haven’t been sacked and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Our Year Six children have high-quality teacher assessments at the end of the year and their parents and their next schools are happy with this.”
I was in two minds Jackie Chalk is head teacher of Seend Primary School in Wiltshire. Her school decided to carry out the KS2 Sats “I voted for the boycott, and would have supported it if I had still been at my previous school. But when the time came I had just taken up my post at a new school. I was only beginning to get to know the parents and the governors and it would have been very awkward to boycott the tests at that early stage. “So, I was in two minds. I discussed it with the children, who thought we should boycott. Then I discussed it with the parents, who all thought we shouldn’t. “In the end, the NAHT advised me to go ahead with the tests, so that’s what we did. The tests just went ahead normally with no problems. I do hope the level of support for the boycott hasn’t weakened the union’s position and I’m certainly disappointed that the Government seems to have already set a date for next year’s tests. Sats are a very narrow measure of a school’s performance and I would gladly see them disappear. “We have a very small cohort here and one child going off sick on the day of the test can skew the results quite significantly. In fact, I think the whole system is skewed.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 ➧ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS
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‘We have allayed some fears. We haven’t turned to stone and have shown that, as long as you have robust data, Ofsted is not worried’
We wanted a negotiated settlement Steve Iredale is head teacher of Athersley South Primary School in Barnsley. He proposed the motion to ballot NAHT members on the Sats boycott at Annual Conference “Our position was always that we wanted a negotiated settlement and we were quite willing to compromise to get one. It was therefore with a very heavy heart that we actually went ahead with the Sats boycott. The biggest disappointment about the whole campaign for me was that it had to go that far. “In fact, in January, we thought we had worked out a resolution. Unfortunately, I think Children’s Secretary Ed Balls took the view that this was a fight he could win and adopted a very aggressive stance and we were left with very little choice but to go ahead. “The timing of the action worked both
ways. Obviously, the election was going on in the week of the Sats, so things went very quiet for us in the media. In some ways that was helpful, but it did mean the issues didn’t get as much coverage as we would have liked. “The level of support was what we expected in the run up to the boycott and we have achieved a number of things. We wanted to frustrate the league tables and we’ve done that. I think we’ve made the point that we are not against testing, but the way that the data is used. As a result of our campaign we have succeeded in raising the profile and importance of moderated teacher assessment and demonstrated there are more
effective ways of assessing children’s progress accurately. This of course is very much in line with the aims of the NAHT Charter. “We’ve also allayed some of the fears that head teachers might have had about the boycott. We are all still here, we haven’t turned to stone and we have shown that as long as you have robust data, Ofsted is not worried about Sats. “So, if – perish the thought – we ever have to take action again, the support may well be higher. My feeling is that it won’t come to that. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and I’m very hopeful that we will be able to agree an interim position.”
I leave the campaign in capable hands “We were delighted that the action was supported by more than 4,000 schools. That’s a very significant proportion of head teachers in this country and I think it would be a big mistake for the Government to try to minimise the size of that revolt. “Obviously, we were disappointed with the Government’s rather provocative action in setting a date for next year’s test. Both Michael Gove and his advisers have said
while in opposition that they do no believe the Sats are a sensible way of testing and promised a review. So we are now hoping they will do the honourable thing. “The NAHT remains in active negotiations to try to ensure we are in a more sensible place by this time next year. It won’t be me leading those negotiations, but I leave the campaign in extremely capable hands.”
Mick Brookes has been NAHT General Secretary for the past five years. He retires in September having led the campaign for change
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER JULY/AUGUST 2010 2010
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‘If things go pearshaped in any of the schools, then I am the one who is ultimately responsible. I would have to walk’ DAME DELA SMITH, PICTURED ABOVE
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Working in harmony
Combining three schools to create Darlington Education Village created a whole host of challenges, but Mark Hunter discovers how the transition was made as painless as possible for all concerned
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM VARNEY
ame Dela Smith casts an anxious eye over an email that has just pinged into her inbox, and then breaks into a broad grin. It’s the draft report from the Ofsted inspection carried out the previous week at Beaumont Hill School in Darlington. The verdict, as expected, is ‘Outstanding’. No stranger to Ofsted reports – she has enjoyed no less than seven inspections in the past five years – Dame Dela is nevertheless delighted at this latest step in the development of the Darlington Education Village, a federation comprising Springfield Primary School, Haughton Community School and the ‘outstanding’ Beaumont Hill, an all-age special school. The three schools share a common site and the same budget, a single governing body and an overarching vision. But each school officially retains a separate identity and is judged by Ofsted accordingly. As executive director of ‘the Village’, Dame Dela is the statutory head teacher of all three schools. It’s a huge responsibility. “If things go pear-shaped in any of the schools, then I am the one who is ultimately responsible,” she says. “I would have to walk.” “My role is to keep a cohesive overview of
the federation plan and what we are doing. The operational parts of the headships are clearly distributed down to the second tier of management. So, I have to have a lot of trust in them, and rely on good working relationships and good communication.” The federation was formed in 2005, and since then it has picked a precarious path towards its current success. It has gained a
national reputation for its pioneering work on the inclusion of children with special educational needs (SEN). But it is fair to say that all previous seven Ofsted reports haven’t been as encouraging as the latest. The federation’s secondary school, in particular, has had to overcome a poor reputation. In 2008, Ofsted demanded that Haughton Community School improve its English, maths and science results, and it became a national challenge school. A follow-up inspection last year judged the school to be making good progress, a conclusion borne out by the GCSE results. Pupils gaining five or more A*-Cs, including maths and English, went up from 18.9 per cent the previous year to 42.3 per cent. Overall, A*-Cs went up from 61.1 per cent to 76.6 per cent. It is a “radical improvement”, says Dame Dela. Her background is in SEN – she received her DBE in 2001 while head of the special school. But she clearly demands high standards right across the federation’s spectrum. “We want to be collectively outstanding in the Village, rather than having individual elements that are outstanding and others that aren’t,” she stresses. But she also believes that the pursuit of those high standards need not CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 ➧
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be at the expense of the inclusivity that lies at the heart of the Village’s ethos. The Village owes its existence to Dame Dela’s belief that children with special educational needs have the right to an education within the mainstream community. “We were looking for new ways of extending opportunities for young people in terms of inclusive learning, and we were already working with schools across the town. But, at the time, the special school was isolated. It was down at the bottom of a farm track, and we didn’t feel that our young people ever really belonged. Then Darlington became a unitary authority and we were given the chance to rebuild the school.” Dame Dela describes the formation of the federation as a ‘perfect storm’ of political will, supportive personalities and funding opportunities. What she declines to mention are the powers of persuasion it must have taken to protect the interests of the special school to such an extent that, rather than
being swallowed up by those of the mainstream schools, they actually became the bedrock on which the Village was built. Under Dame Dela’s guidance, the plans evolved, from an idea to attach special school units to both the primary and secondary schools, to a full-scale federation that now sits on a £37.3 million campus built through PFI on the site of the old secondary school. “As we discussed the issues, it became clear that the context had to change towards a single organisation in a bespoke building in which we would put the needs of the special school at the centre of the planning. “We then looked at the strategies that would remove barriers to inclusion. One of the first things we looked at was governance. We felt a single federated governing body would provide coherence and monitoring.”
The school’s three budgets were combined and an integrated leadership team formed. By the time the schools moved onto their new campus, the substantive heads of the secondary and primary schools had departed and Dame Dela was duly appointed as the federation’s chief executive. It was a coup that did not pass without controversy. “I think a lot of people found it hard to accept. It was a massive step for me and a huge learning curve. But I believe that good leadership skills are generic. The technicalities we all have to learn, and in learning those technicalities you need to build a good team around you,” she says. Building that team has involved making some decisive moves on staffing and the leadership structure. “We had to have a close look at some of
the staff, for whom this perhaps wasn’t for them. Workforce reform was at its height, so we were able to look at the whole of the staffing team against the new TLR (teaching and leaning responsibility) structure and develop a Village staff. We were able to bring in new people who wanted to be here, and wanted to be inclusive. “The secondary school needed a lot of work in terms of raising its achievement. It was a fantastic opportunity to bring in new and inspiring people who have brought so much to the table and have been part of bringing the three schools together.” One of the first key appointments was a strategic business director to work across all three schools. Dame Dela also brought in consultants to advise on the cultural challenges posed by the transition. “We wanted to ensure that each school, irrespective of size, could contribute equally. No one culture should be allowed to take over another culture. So even before we got to the Village, we worked with Hay Group, the National College and the innovation unit and conducted a full culture review.” One exercise used as part of this review required staff and pupils to draw a picture of a boat that reflected their view of the change. Children at the special school drew a happy boat filled with smiling faces. But staff at the secondary school drew a submarine plunging towards the seabed, while their pupils drew a pirate ship being dragged towards a rock. “That’s how insecure they felt about it,” says Dame Dela. “There were a lot of displacement and territorial issues.”
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SCHOOL PRINCIPLES The common vision of the three schools that make up Darlington Education Village is encapsulated in six ‘pillars of principle’: Governance – a single governing body for all three schools. Leadership and management – each school has an identifiable team lead – ‘so parents have a face to go to’ – but all have overarching Village responsibilities. The second tier of management is based on the Every Child Matters agenda and comprises directorships of teaching and learning; community, inclusion, Village resources, and pupil engagement. Inclusivity – seeking to meet the needs of all. Curriculum – personalised and accessible, planned in a cohesive way. Resources – shared to provide wider opportunities for pupils, parents and staff. Community – providing facilities and services to the wider community.
There was also resistance from parents. “In the early days, we had to win over a minority of parents, particularly in the primary school, who were understandably unsure about moving into this big organisation. They like the personal touch, so we had to work hard at getting the right people to work with them,” says Dame Dela. “Also, there was a fear that we would simply create one huge special school and everybody’s standards would move down. So, we had to demonstrate that we could have high standards at all levels. That was a difficult task with the secondary school, in particular. There were small groups of parents who felt the special school was not the best place to be leading a federation.” Once the move to the new campus had
been made, however, many of the initial concerns proved unfounded. The children, especially, adapted to their new environment without breaking stride. “I don’t think the children are our problem, and we don’t really give them enough credit,” says Dame Dela. “Children are flexible. If you consult with them and work with them in the right way, they have the most amazing capacity to surprise you. “For example, we thought that our autistic youngsters would have terrible difficulty in adapting to the new school, but they didn’t. We had a transition programme and they hit the ground running. “There were a lot of surprises, with the secondary school children in particular wanting to spend time with the children
from the special school, to make friendships and to contribute. So because we had worked with the children before the change and had been positive about it, they were fine. From day one they came in and were totally accepting of their new environment. “It could be argued that the staff had the greater difficulty in adapting, but the majority saw the opportunity and were fantastic. We said we would not coerce people to work in areas that they were not comfortable with. I was well out of my comfort zone, but I couldn’t expect all staff to respond in the same way.” Dame Dela stresses that her drive for inclusivity is ‘pragmatic’ rather than ideological. “It’s not silly inclusion we do here,” she says. “It’s not sentimental and there’s no room for ideology. There’s no point having children sitting together where they are not learning. They have to learn and it has to be right for the child.You’ve got to be pragmatic, because every single child has to achieve. But they all need to be happy as well. It doesn’t matter which school they are from – they have to be happy, healthy and feel safe. That is the common denominator.” She believes many of the lessons learned in building the Education Village could be applied elsewhere, whether in seeking to improve inclusivity or simply in looking at ways in which different schools can co-operate more closely. Indeed, it may be that the federation model has found its moment, as it suits an age of restricted resources and growing difficulties in recruiting new head teachers. Dame Dela, who will retire at the end of this year, offers advice to those who might follow her lead. “It’s certainly not for everybody.You do have to change the structures – the governance, the leadership and the resources. Some head teachers might find it very hard to give up autonomy for the greater good. “But lots of it can be replicated, even for organisations that are not co-located. You could do a lot of this on separate sites. It’s about leadership, sharing, economies of scale. We operate at an incredible economy of scale and can then put those resources back into the school. There are so many ways to make the best use of your money, but you have to be prepared to give up some autonomy and power as a result. “The best people to manage those kind of areas – where you are having to do a lot of negotiation – are business managers. You have to leave the teaching and learning to the teachers. We are here to serve the children and their families, not to hold power over budgets and organisations.And by far the best way I’ve found to do that is collaboratively.”
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A MESSAGE TO MICHAEL
Michael’s magnificent eight The new Education Secretary says that his knowledge of the area is largely thanks to a small handful of school leaders. Carly Chynoweth tracked down these eight head teachers to find out what they told him
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SUE JOHN LAMPTON SCHOOL, HOUNSLOW, WEST LONDON MESSAGE: DON’T CAP HEADS’ PAY Sue John has a lot of positive things to say about Michael Gove, who visited Lampton School, an outstanding mixed comprehensive, only two days after being appointed Secretary of State. “I think that he is very passionate about social mobility and he understands that education is the key to that, but it’s hard to say if anyone else in the cabinet feels that way,” she says. Mr Gove agreed with Sue’s approach, which is that children of all backgrounds are entitled to an academic education and access to a broad range of enrichment activities, from the Royal Shakespeare Company to music. She believes that children should be pushed academically rather than allowed to stagnate by studying easier vocational subjects, even though this can make schools’ results look better. “At the end of the day we need to do what’s right for the children, not what’s good for our CVA score,” she says. “We have not gone down the road of offering a wide range of vocational options. We keep a broad and balanced curriculum and
ichael Gove used his first speech as Secretary of State to formally announce the new coalition Government’s vision for education. Equality of opportunity for children, autonomy for individual schools and the power for head teachers to innovate in the pursuit of improvement all made it in. One of the first things he did, however, was to acknowledge the important part that head teachers have played in shaping his thinking. “The people from whom I have learnt the most while in politics have been head teachers - people like Fiona Hammans, Joan McVittie, Mike Wilshaw, Mike Griffiths, Mike Spinks, Sue John, Patricia Sowter and Sally Coates,” he said. Since that speech, made in mid-June at the National College, the Secretary has come in for significant criticism from teaching unions and others over everything from the botched announcement about which schools would lose their Building Schools for the Future funding to the speed with which he pushed through the legislation that will allow outstanding schools to become academies. Here, Leadership Focus asks the eight heads he mentioned in the speech to describe their schools, explain what they discussed with him, and give their thoughts on the challenges he will face in the coming months.
believe all children should do English, maths, statistics and ICT.” Sue and her colleagues found Michael a charming and interested guest with a genuine interest in their work as well as what the school’s children had to say about Sats, school and life in their community. “We were surprised. I don’t mean that critically, but the media coverage does not add up to the person. Everyone in the school felt that he was very interested in what they did and he made them feel important for doing it.” His performance so far has been robust, she says, blaming civil servants rather than the minister himself for the BSF debacle. Like many of the other heads interviewed here, she thinks that there was a lot of money wasted by the scheme, although she is sympathetic towards those who missed out. She is also confident that he will create changes that will mean less bureaucracy and more mutual support between schools. However, she is less impressed by the suggestion that head teachers’ pay should be capped. “On one hand he’s giving us more freedom through academy status, but then on the other he is centrally imposing something.You could argue that there’s a conflict there. If academies are to be able to control their own budgets they should also be able to pay their heads as they see fit,” she argues. CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 ➧
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A MESSAGE TO MICHAEL
PATRICIA SOWTER CUCKOO HALL PRIMARY, NORTH LONDON MESSAGE: EVERY CHILD CAN SUCCEED Patricia Sowter began her teaching career at an inner-city school in north London and has never once considered looking for an easier option. “I always chose schools in challenging areas because I felt that teaching those children was more rewarding,” she says. “I come from Camden myself and have a working-class background.” She’s the only one of four siblings to have gone to university (she worked as a banker for six years before becoming a teacher) and she firmly believes that other children deserve that same opportunity. “Children can succeed whatever their background,” she says. Cuckoo Hall, which is now considering becoming a primary academy this autumn, had only just come out of special measures when she joined it as head in 2002. “What I realised straight away was that I had really good people, both teachers and support staff, who had a real commitment to the school and to the children. I knew I could work with that, and I set about doing it.” That meant taking immediate steps to start building staff confidence and doing what she could to revamp the building. “I got community volunteers to help decorate the place to make it brighter and more vibrant so that children would want to come, even though the fabric of the building is still poor. “My philosophy is that no one will give you a handout, so there is no good moaning – you just have to get on with it. And with more cost-cutting to come, heads are going to have to be more creative with what they do have.” Michael visited the school in May only days after being appointed Secretary of State. Patricia took the opportunity to bend his ear about a number of topics, including bureaucracy and academies. “I have always been of the mind that successful schools should be given more freedom from local authorities (LAs),” she says. “He was also interested in the fact that this school is in an area with high levels of disadvantage, but all the children succeed. We don’t make excuses about our children being disadvantaged so they can succeed; we make sure that each child does succeed to the best of his or her ability. He was very impressed by that, and interested in finding out more. I don’t think that I made any radical suggestions, but I did say very strongly that any child can succeed as long as they have lots of support and excellent teaching.”
JOAN MCVITTIE WOODSIDE COLLEGE, NORTH LONDON MESSAGE: MAKE IT EASIER TO SACK POOR TEACHERS Joan is leading a remarkable turnaround at Woodside, which she joined at the start of 2006. The secondary school, once known as White Hart Lane, was below 20 per cent on the five A*-Cs measure for GCSEs – and below 10 per cent if English and maths was included. She expects the results that come out this summer to be more like 75 per cent and 40 per cent. “We set high aspirations, but we are realistic about what can be
‘Improvement can happen fast, but you can’t do it all in a year and he understood that. He was very impressed by our children, who come from deprived backgrounds’ done,” she says. “We are aiming to pass national averages and continue climbing, but that does not happen overnight.” When Michael Gove visited the school she explained this to him. “Improvement can happen relatively fast, but you can’t do it all in a year, and he understood that.” They also discussed the steps that she has taken to begin the process. “I set clear boundaries and was very clear what my expectations were of both staff and students, and people responded,” she says. Some of her other actions included asking the children to design their own school uniform, which is now a blazer and tie rather than the previous ‘sloppy’ polo shirt. “He was very impressed by our children. He knew that they came from deprived backgrounds. He was impressed by their aspiration and by their behaviour around the building. “I think that the fact he conceded so quickly on the pupil premium came from meeting our children and seeing how much difference extra funding can make in deprived areas.” She also talked to him about the difficulties she faced disciplining or getting rid of unsatisfactory teachers when she arrived. “It can take a very long time,” she says. “I think we can see on the horizon that the Government will streamline some of these processes. Obviously, people should have a fair hearing but, sometimes, this can take two years, which can mean a failed GCSE for a pupil. That’s one of the issues that I raised with him, and I think that he is looking into it.” Joan, who will take over as vice-president of the ASCL this summer and will become president in 2011, was as impressed by Mr Gove as he seemed to be by her students. “As a life-long socialist I was very pleasantly surprised by him. I think that school leaders should give him a chance.”
MIKE GRIFFITHS NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL FOR BOYS MESSAGE: MONEY FOR SCHOOLS, NOT QUANGOS OR GOVERNMENT It won’t be long before nearly all schools become academies, says Mike Griffiths, who, with his governing body, is considering the move for his school. “The old days of a municipal town hall controlling everything that went on in schools have long gone,” he says. “People are accepting that LAs simply are not the best way of getting school improvement any more and we need to find an alternative way. My understanding is that the great majority of secondary schools, not just those with outstanding status, will get
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‘The best place to put the money is closest to the learner and head teachers are in the best place to know how to spend that money’ academy status in this parliament. I think that the only limit will be the rate at which the DfE can deal with applications. “The best place to put the money is closest to the learner. Head teachers are in the best place to know how to spend that money.” Making sure that money goes straight to schools, rather than disappearing into central or local government or any of a number of quangos, makes obvious sense, he says. “Having a properly funded system will be far better than having a separate government scheme every two or three years to put extra money into certain areas, which was fine except that as a head you knew the money would be there for three years, but then what? Do you have to make people redundant? So, the idea of the pupil premium, which came out of the Liberal Democrats, is a very sensible way to organise funding.” Mike is also confident that, despite the scare stories from some who say that academies will simply ‘cream off ’ the best pupils, academies will lead to broad improvements, as long as appropriate safeguards are in place. He believes that, far from competing with other schools, head teachers will be only too willing to cooperate by forming their own partnerships locally. “I am quite sure that in two or three years’ time we will be able to point to a few maverick heads who have done their own thing but I think that on the whole there is a strong moral code that head teachers want their pupils to have the best possible education, but not at the expense of others.”
SIR MICHAEL WILSHAW MOSSBOURNE, HACKNEY, LONDON MESSAGE: STRUCTURE AND DISCIPLINE ARE KEY When Michael Gove visited Mossbourne Academy in east London he wanted to know what its secret was. “We are in Hackney, which is a very poor part of London, and we take in children from poor homes and do very well by them,” Sir Michael says. “We are in the top one per cent of secondary schools in the country. “We talked about how we place a big emphasis on creating a structured, disciplined environment here, because a lot of our children come from unstructured homes.” They also spoke about the value of the extended school day – Mossbourne’s pupils often stay at school for 40 hours a week to participate in a range of extension and enrichment programmes because they learn better in these positive and structured environments rather than in what can be quite difficult homes.
SIR MICHAEL WILSHAW
‘The people who make a difference in schools are heads, and for them to make that difference we need to give them the power, autonomy and the resources that they need’ Being an academy has helped with this, Sir Michael explained to the Secretary of State, who has visited the school twice. “Staff here have a zero-hours contract to meet the needs of the children, but if they do the extra hours, that’s recognised in the salaries we pay them.” The independence, autonomy and sponsor support provided by the model are also important. It makes sense for more schools to be able to become academies, Sir Michael says. “We are now in a new era. The era of LA bureaucrats telling schools what to do is gone. It is now about recognising that the people who make a difference to schools are the heads and the other people in the school, and for them to make that difference we need to give them the power, the autonomy and the resources that they need - and of course the accountability, too.” Devolved schools must be closely monitored to ensure that increased autonomy and independence also bring system-wide improvement, he says. He thinks it’s inevitable that Michael Gove will come in for criticism. “You can compare his role to that of a head teacher going into a failing school. I am not saying education has failed, but he is going in to make radical changes to make sure that things that have not happened in the past do. He is determined to make these changes and if he is going to be radical, he will get a lot of people criticising him.”
DR FIONA HAMMANS BANBURY SCHOOL, OXFORDSHIRE MESSAGE: CUT BUREAUCRACY There’s a tendency for people to think that Banbury School is a quaint little school based in a leafy suburb – principal Dr Fiona Hammans blames the famous nursery rhyme – but it’s actually a very large school in a poor area with a multicultural population. Children start the school performing below the national average but, by the time they finish, a number of them go on to places at Oxbridge colleges. Fiona, a former research scientist, met Michael Gove in 2009, when the then Shadow Education Secretary opened a new building at the school. “It was quite a while ago, but he was clearly doing his research,” she says. “He asked us about the National College, LAs and various quangos, and whether we found them useful. He wanted to know the value that they were bringing to us working with youngsters. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 ➧
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A MESSAGE TO MICHAEL
DR FIONA HAMMANS
‘He asked us about the National College, the Local Authority and some other quangos. He wanted to know the value they were bringing to us’ “He was listening to people on the ground. I don’t think that he came in with any particular point of view. I think he genuinely wanted to find out what people thought.” In her case, Fiona had a lot to say to him about bureaucracy, which she feels must be cut. “For example, every term we have to fill in a racial-incident monitoring form. Of course, we will have already acted on anything that we have seen in the school, but we still have to send in this paperwork to the LA. We’ve never had any feedback from them on it, so I am sure they just collect it and stick it in a drawer somewhere.” She also expressed her irritation with the national strategy consultants sent in by the LA. They try to tell her teachers what to do, despite not knowing anything about the students or their needs, she says. Fiona supports Michael’s decision on BSF, despite missing out on £20 million because of the change, as there was just too much time-consuming bureaucracy involved. “The number of hoops you have to jump through before you get anywhere near the possibility of new buildings meant that it wasn’t value for money,” she says. Her advice to him over the months ahead is straightforward: “continue to strip out the bits that don’t make a difference to youngsters.” This will mean a delicate balancing act, she says. “There are huge vested interests in education – ideologies, principles and money – but in the end there’s no clear right or wrong way… we need a clear set of values and principles, and we need to be sure that money goes to help the youngsters, not to the vested interests.” Unions and professional associations will also have issues to wrestle with, including about how they can best influence the agenda, she adds; this may prove harder for classroom unions than those representing school leaders, particularly when schools’ increased freedoms could affect pay scales.
SALLY COATES BURLINGTON DANES ACADEMY, WEST LONDON MESSAGE: DON’T RUSH CHANGE Being able to adjust the curriculum to suit their pupils has made a big difference at Burlington Danes. “For example, we have significant problems with English literacy, so we are able to spend more time on that,” says Sally. “The bottom set does not do other languages – they get more English tuition. In previous years, when
the school was in real difficulties, they did not do humanities either – they learned it through English – but now everyone here does history, geography and so forth. “It’s good for all schools to have these freedoms.You have to trust the professional ability of head teachers; sometimes people think that freedom means that they will go off and do crazy things, but that’s not the case – we are professionals.” The freedoms that come with academy status have also allowed her to get better value for money when buying services and IT equipment that previously had to be sourced through the LA, she adds. However, she thinks it would be a good idea for Michael Gove to take his plans for change a little more slowly. “He is well-meaning and I think he wants to get things right, but in some cases he needs to take a bit of time and think about things before doing them. “The coalition Government has sometimes gone headlong into things, such as cancelling BSF… I understand the sentiment and why they are doing it, but maybe they need to not rush in quite as much. I am not saying what he is doing is wrong, but he needs to do it carefully and a bit more slowly. For example, maybe on all schools becoming academies he needs to go a bit more steadily.”
MIKE SPINKS URMSTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL, TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER MESSAGE: OFSTED SHOULD BE MORE SUPPORTIVE Mike Spinks has been impressed with Michael Gove from their first meeting, which was well before the election. “Even then I thought that he was something very different,” Mike says. “He has integrity and a compelling intellect… I really hope that he can maintain that vision, that zeal to make changes, because circumstances are mitigating against some of them. “He and I talked about qualifications, from vocational qualifications right though to GCSEs and advanced level qualifications. We also talked about Ofsted, and how in my view it should be far more supportive than it is, so that we are no longer naming and shaming schools in this country, so that we do not put schools into a three-year downward spiral after a bad Ofsted, and I think that he took that on board.” Mike was particularly impressed by Michael’s desire to give schools more freedom. It’s now up to educators to respond in kind, he says. “We are looking at academy status, and he has spoken at length about how he is putting trust back into head teachers and teachers to run schools. There reaches a point where we have to reciprocate – we have to trust him to do his job.” The biggest challenge facing him comes from within the system, he says. “I think he is probably facing barriers to deliver on his ambition and, dare I say it… not being supported by people in the system, because he might well find himself short on answers sometimes. Now that he is in post he needs to continue to speak and listen to heads and to children – and they have to keep speaking and listening to him.”
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER JULY/AUGUST 2010 2010
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Getting down to business Steve Smethurst visits a Slough primary school that’s launched an initiative to help pupils with their literacy and numeracy by learning business skills, equipping them early for high-flying careers 38
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SKILLS FOR LIFE
PHOTOGRAPHY: KAREN ROBINSON
usiness leaders seem to take it in turns to bemoan the capabilities of school leavers. Last November, it was Sir Stuart Rose, the executive chairman of Marks and Spencer: “They cannot do reading. They cannot do arithmetic. They cannot do writing,” he said. In March this year, it was Lucy NevilleRolfe’s turn. Tesco’s executive director of corporate and legal affairs said she could not understand how, even though “many A-level students [are unable] to read, write or understand maths, more are achieving better results.” Then, in July, it was Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT, who said that his company had received 26,000 applications for 170 apprenticeships, but that 6,000 were not worthy of consideration. He said: “They were unable to complete a form because they could not spell, put it together or read properly – completely illiterate.” However, speak to Brenda Bigland, head teacher for the past 17 years at Lent Rise Primary School in Burnham, Slough, and she refuses to accept that her pupils will ever be condemned in this way. In fact, Brenda, a member of the Business in the Community leadership team for education, has gone out of her way to enhance her students’ employment chances by putting the entire school through a challenging ‘Business Week’ for the past two years. She explains where the idea came from: “I was probably in a conference, listening to people talk about the strand of economic achievement. We can track where we teach it in every subject area, but I wanted to make
it more fun and more of an experience for children. I thought we could make business practical and investigative,” she says. And so an annual event was born. A visit to the school towards the end of last term found enthused pupils, teachers, parents and, even better, supportive local business people. All were evangelical about the scheme that Brenda has pioneered. Her idea was to turn every class into a small business. Acting as a banker, she instructed each class to come up with a product and a business plan, which they then had to present to their head teacher. In each instance, she was prepared to award them up to £100 in venture capital. It was then up to each class to turn a profit through sales of their product – which ranged from personalised mugs to elephant piggy banks. It was a huge success. And this year, it expanded dramatically. She explains: “Last year, we did it on our own, but I wondered if we were the right people to do it. We’re teachers – perhaps we needed other skills to enrich the experience.” Earlier this year, she got an introduction to Rodney Mallinson, the head of the local Federation of Small Businesses. “I rang him, told him who were are and what we do – and asked if he thought the federation might be able contribute.” Following the call, Rodney visited the school and was told the pupils needed business expertise, at an appropriate level, alongside the teaching of business education. “He was so enthusiastic, he was amazing,” says Brenda. “He had a real passion and energy for it. He was as fired up as the CONTINUED ON PAGE 41 ➧
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Making Professional Development Affordable The ENTHUSE Award Project ENTHUSE is a partnership supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Education, AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust, BAE Systems, BP, General Electric Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls-Royce, Vodafone and Vodafone Group Foundation. These organisations have come together as the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust, to provide the ENTHUSE Award to help schools send teaching staff on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses at the National Science Learning Centre.
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SKILLS FOR LIFE
teachers h and d the h children. h ld He put together h a list of people who could contribute marketing or finance skills. It was an instant breadth of expertise. When they came into school, each person adopted a class or year band. When each business was being set up, they would look at what they were trying to achieve – whether they’d costed it too high, whether it would appeal to the public, and what the marketing would look like.” She tells the story of one expert who visited a class with a little hessian bag. “The pupils had no interest in the contents because it looked so drab,” she says. “Then she pulled out a beautiful frame. Instantly, the children became aware of the power of packaging and marketing.”
‘Secondary is too late. If you start at this age, you allow children to make choices’ As well as producing, marketing and then selling their products, an extra twist this year was that each class would have to pitch their ideas to a panel of business people, just as in the television series Dragon’s Den. The winners, in two age groups, would each receive a trophy. “It brought a different perspective to it all,” says Brenda. “At the end of the week, once they’ve made the products, created radio and video adverts for our website, done their poster campaigns and sold it all,
WHAT THE PARENTS SAY Cate Beaton: “I have a typical boy, and getting him to communicate about his day or sit down for homework is a challenge. But Business Week produced a different child. He was motivated and happy to write his ‘business diary’. He taught me the importance of marketing, how difficult it is, how much hard work it is to run a business, how the product has to be good, and that you have to make a profit. It was totally different in our house.” Tricia Moriarty: “The kids loved having Rodney [Mallinson, the head of the local Federation of Small Businesses] in. They have teachers in front of them every day, but then they had a businessman who could tell them exactly what they were
doing and what was right. It really did make all the difference.” Chris Arnold: “Meeting different people from different businesses gives them an awareness of the different types of jobs people do. When I was at school, if you were a girl the careers advice was: ‘Oh, you could be a nurse’. If you were a boy, it was: ‘Go and join the Army’. It was limited and you just didn’t know what was out there. So this was fantastic.” Sarah Secker: “Josh is going to senior school in September, and he came home saying: ‘Right, I know I want to be a businessman, so I have to get my A-levels and go straight to university.’ I was thinking: ‘Yes – finally.’”
they then had to present to five Dragons.” The Dragons were impressed. They heard from confident speakers who, aside from displaying literacy, numeracy and business knowledge, could even use PowerPoint. “We had children as young as four presenting about what profit they’d made, and we had absolute criteria to judge against, with one prize for 4- to 7-year-olds and one for 7- to 11-year olds,” says local entrepreneur Joanna Ward. As Brenda notes, these are ‘skills for life’, and soft skills are what business people are crying out for. “I’ve never been able to understand why people don’t have them. My pupils have them, and a lot of them come from what the DfE would call a ‘challenging clientele’. Certainly not all our parents have these skills,” she says. “But if they’re encouraged from the age of four to speak to adults and to communicate well, they’ll have the best chances in life. I won’t tolerate ‘yeahs’ and ‘nahs’ – it’s full sentences and presentation skills, and Business Week enhances that.” But is a primary school the appropriate home for this venture? Absolutely, says the head teacher. “It’s almost too late at secondary. What good is careers advice if you don’t have the skills to step into the career you choose? If you start at this age, you allow children to make choices.We’re giving children sales, finance, marketing, presentation skills – it means the child has choice.” Speak to the pupils, and they tell you they CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 ➧
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SKILLS FOR LIFE
LEADERS URGED TO ‘VISIT OUR SCHOOLS’ Business leaders are invited to visit schools and colleges this autumn so they can have a practical and open conversation with school leaders and young people about opportunities and priorities for partnership working. Visit Our Schools week, which runs from 18-22 October, is a national campaign planned by the Education and Employers Taskforce and its partners – which include the NAHT and many big businesses and public sector organisations. It involves schools and colleges teaching young people aged 5-19. See: www.visitourschools. org for more details. To sign up for the campaign briefing, email carol.glover@ educationandemployers.org
want a career in marketing, sales or finance. In addition, their literacy and numeracy skills have been developed, as has their teamwork. Year Six teacher Robert Jenkins confirms this: “We have been writing adverts and podcasts for the school’s website, making flyers on the computer to hand out to parents. They were really enthusiastic about writing ideas, and for homework they were doing art projects – it went right across the board for all their work.”
Inclusion has also benefited. “Everyone in the class was involved. Each child had a different strength. So I had a management team handling the money side of things, an art team doing the advertising and the craft enthusiasts making the product. It catered for everybody. If I ever move school, it would be something I’d take with me.” The Dragons were also hooked, with marketer Rodney Mallinson reporting that he had been “phenomenally enthused” by his participation. “I am certain you will get business leaders coming out of this culture,” he says. “By the time they have done this four or five times, it will be ingrained: ‘business, business, business’. “It is fun as well as practical, and a life skill. To get the idea of profit at this age – that you can lose money, and that money has to be paid back – is one of the greatest learning points. When I first came in, I faced around 40 questions in 30 minutes – everything from ‘what do I enjoy about business?’ to ‘how long should a business run for?’ They were penetrating questions.”
Joanna was also hooked hooked. “I had to present to Year One, and they were so sweet.They had the idea for a photo frame.They knew that if they bought it for a pound and sold it for £1.50, then 50p profit could be used for something for the class.They knew about profit and loss – they knew that the customer was king, I was about 40 when I learned that.” So far, so good. As for what comes next, Brenda already has a plan. The first part is the hope that it will spread to other schools. Her advice to anyone considering this is that you need a head teacher who understands and supports the rationale behind it. The second is that you need a lead for business enterprise education who can make all the telephone calls and co-ordinate the people involved. Her third tip is to make the challenge tougher each year. So, next year there will be no ‘pre-order’ forms, which this year meant some classes had sold out before market day. And, to make it even more challenging, she intends to charge interest on the loans. “Well, you have to move it on a bit each time,” she says. “Successful businesses don’t stand still, do they?”
WHAT DOES A TOP BUSINESS LEADER THINK OF THE SCHEME? KPMG is one of the largest professional-services firms in the world, covering audit, tax and consultancy. It employs more than 135,000 people across 140 countries and its chairman is John Griffith-Jones. LF tracked him down to see what he thought of the Lent Rise scheme and also the national campaign Visit our Schools week (see box above). “I think they’re great schemes. I’m in charge of Every Child a Chance, which promotes reading and maths in primary schools, and KPMG sponsors an academy in Hackney through the London Corporation, so I feel I know a little about education,” says John. “My view is that if you don’t get cracking at primary school, then it affects your education and the rest of your life. If you can’t read you can’t do history, geography, French or anything else.
Basically, you can’t do anything. And without maths, you can’t do science and you end up not being able to shop or keep budgets. Both are vital. “Speaking as a business leader, we all know from experience what grade C or D at GCSE really means – it’s not as much as we would like. There is no shortage of people saying ‘it needs to be better’. The real question is ‘how, on an affordable basis?’ And that goes to the heart of it. But my goodness, it’s important,” he says. “Lent Rise’s Business Week and the Visit our Schools week should be applauded because, especially in deprived areas, there aren’t role models for young pupils. At least in middle-class enclaves there are plenty around, but that is not the case in some parts of the country. So these exercises are great.”
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MEMBER BENEFITS FROM OUR SELECTED PARTNERS MESSAGE FROM A SCHOOL PARTNER
Partner contacts The NAHT is committed to negotiating a wide range of high-quality, valued-added benefits and services for its members. We do this by working closely with a number of carefully selected companies, known as NAHT affinity partners. The services our partners provide are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they meet the high standards you’d expect. Many offer discounts or packages that represent great value, although unfortunately the NAHT cannot guarantee that they will always represent the best buy. If you have any comments on the services provided by our affinity partners, please contact John Randall, NAHT’s commercial development manager, by email at email@example.com
SERVICES FOR SCHOOLS ETEACH Online staff recruitment 0845 226 1906 www.eteach.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SCHOOLS ADVISORY SERVICE Staff absence insurance 01623 643 555 www.schooladvice.co.uk
KIRKLAND ROWELL Self-evaluation surveys 0191 270 8270 www.kirkland-rowell.com SCHOOLQUOTE Online procurement portal 01993 848 748 www.schoolquote.co.uk Email: theteam@ schoolquote.co.uk
SERVICES FOR MEMBERS AIS Travel insurance 0844 557 5874 www.nahttravelinsurance. co.uk AVIVA Home, contents and motor insurance 0800 046 6389 www.fromyourassociation. co.uk/NAHT CS HEALTHCARE Private medical insurance 0800 917 4325 www.cshealthcare.co.uk (please use promotional code 147)
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Valuable support for your school self-evaluation forms Do your self-evaluation surveys (SEFs) tick all the right boxes? With the focus of school inspections remaining firmly fixed on the quality of a school’s self-evaluation data, and with parental power increasingly important, do you know enough about what your stakeholders really think? Kirkland Rowell is the country’s leading provider of school self-evaluation, with more than 10 years experience, and know-how that comes with working with 2,300 schools. Kirkland Rowell is delighted to offer special discounted rates to all NAHT members; with primary schools receiving five per cent off all our surveys and secondary schools receiving 50 per cent off staff surveys when
ordering questionnaires for parents, pupils and staff. Whether you are preparing for inspection, gathering evidence for your SEF, or updating your development planning, Kirkland Rowell is ideally placed to help you generate the data you need with a minimum of fuss. Our reports are continually updated to reflect the current SEF and Estyn common inspection frameworks and, uniquely, generate data that has been weighted against what parents and pupils say in ‘similar’ schools to yours. To arrange a no-obligation visit to discuss how we can tailor our questionnaires to your needs, call 0191 270 8270 or visit www.kirkland-rowell.com
MESSAGE FROM A MEMBER PARTNER
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The Parent Agenda: everything you ever wanted to know about fostering positive relationships with parents Tutor - Wendy Gregory Course Code - LEAD040/FOCUS
Safeguarding Young People in the Online World (Secondary) Lighthouse Tutor - Jeff Haslam Course Code - PAS027/FOCUS
So You Want to be a Successful Assistant/Deputy Head Teacher? Tutor - Keith Briscoe Course Code - KB0002/FOCUS Community Cohesion - What is Required of Schools? Tutor - Brendan Schmack Course Code - LEAD017/FOCUS Managing People, Personalities & Pressure (Part One):Happiness at Work Tutor - Jeanie Civil Course Code - PAS025/FOCUS
Learning & Teaching How to Coach Students and Improve Performance - Fast! Tutor - Annie Boate Course Code - AB0002/FOCUS Questioning: stop shooting, start fishing Tutor - Hywel Roberts Course Code - TEA018/FOCUS From Good to Outstanding: Differentiation to transform progress in the classroom and personalise learning Tutor - Melissa Jones Course Code - TEA001/FOCUS
Moving to Pastoral Leadership Lighthouse Tutor - Stephen de Silva
Course Code - SS0101/FOCUS
Post-16 Students' Mental Health Lighthouse Tutor - Brenda Mallon
Course Code - BM0006/FOCUS
Heads and Assistant Heads of Sixth Form: Effective 6th Form Management Lighthouse Tutor - John Honeybourne Course Code - CS0026/FOCUS Pastoral Tutoring for Post-16 Lighthouse Tutor - John Honeybourne
Course Code - JH0101/FOCUS
SEN The Dyslexic in the Classroom Lighthouse Tutor - Lee Pascal
Course Code - LP0001/FOCUS
Understanding and Working with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Lighthouse Tutor - Jenny Ronayne Course Code - SEN002/FOCUS
Transforming Learning & Teaching through Staff Peer Coaching and Feedback Tutor - Annie Boate Course Code - AB0003/FOCUS
Synthetic Phonics and the Special Needs Pupils Lighthouse Tutor - Maggie Johnson Course Code - SEN003/FOCUS
Course Code - TB0003/FOCUS
Facing the Challenge – Moving Behaviour to Good or Outstanding Tutor - Dave Vizard Course Code - TEA024/FOCUS Confident Classroom Leadership Tutor - Peter Hook
Course Code - PH0001/FOCUS
Managing Learning & Teaching for Children with ADHD Lighthouse Tutor - Fintan O’Regan Course Code - SEN005/FOCUS Counselling & Pastoral Support For Pupils and Students with ASD & Asperger Syndrome Lighthouse Tutor - Jenny Ronayne Course Code - SEN013/FOCUS Effective Teaching for the Dyslexic Student in the Examination Years Lighthouse Tutor - John Bald Course Code - SEN015/FOCUS
Learning Support Assistants
Supporting Dyscalculic Students in Secondary Schools Lighthouse Tutor - Sue Peace Course Code - SEN018/FOCUS
Teaching Assistants and EAL: Meeting the Demands of your role Tutor - Sue Lee Course Code - EAL003/FOCUS
Supporting Dyspraxic Students in Secondary Schools Lighthouse Tutor - Sue Peace Course Code - SEN019/FOCUS
Developing the Pastoral Care Role of the LSA Tutor - Suzanne Templeton Course Code - LSA003/FOCUS
*Please see website for dates and venues for these and all other subject specific courses, including details and programmes for each course.
Developing Highly-effective Behaviour Management Skills for the LSA Tutor - Suzanne Templeton Course Code - LSA004/FOCUS Mentoring & Coaching Skills for LSAs Tutor - Suzanne Templeton Course Code - LSA007/FOCUS Highly Effective L & T Strategies for LSAs to Support Successful Inclusion Tutor - Suzanne Templeton Course Code - LSA006/FOCUS
I have always found Lighthouse courses to be excellent - well organised, fantastic venues and well delivered course content S Brammall, Soutthfields School, Berks
Pupils who can Speak but Don't - Working with Selective Mutism Lighthouse Tutor - Maggie Johnson Course Code - MJ0102/FOCUS
How to Teach an Outstanding Lesson Tutor - Suzanne Templeton Course Code - TEA013/FOCUS
Boys are from Mars - or are they? Tutor - Tom Barwood
The Lighthouse brochure is always the first point of reference for CPD needs. Jo Nutter, the Causeway School, East Sussex
LIGHTHOUSE Professional Development
0800 587 8880 www.lighthouse.tv 24/8/10 10:47:11
The latest products, books and teaching resources Cool Rhythms!
Useful Use U seefu ull tte teaching eeac achi hin ng aaids id dss d
Richard Juukovsky Footprint publishers LTD £21.99 Cool Rhythms! is a down-to-earth dictionary of problems and solutions for secondary pupils. It is designed to enhance positive thinking and mental strength through improving learning capacity and finding personal goals. The book’s aim is to make pupils more aware of the decisions they will have to face in life and to emphasise the fact that if they raise their grades, they increase the number of opportunities they have. It also gives advice on subjects from knife crime to alcohol; friends and family to money and music.
Stones into schools Greg Mortenson with Mike Bryan Penguin Books £8.99 From the author of Three Cups of Tea, this is the continuing story of a determined humanitarian’s efforts to promote peace through education. It is a heart-warming, yet fascinating tale, written by Greg Mortenson about his extraordinary work in Pakistan and Afghanistan and how he raised awareness of the fact that young children in war-torn countries are deprived of education. His book reveals how he dodged bullets in shootouts with warlords, and shows the unique building of relationships with the Islamic clerics to achieve his aim of promoting peace through education. Included are the personal stories and pictures of the people who have witnessed and been involved in his remarkable efforts to establish schools for girls, especially after an earthquake hit Pakistan in 2005.
The he Br British ritish h Re Red ed C Cross rosss iss h helpin helping ng sc schools ch ho ools l to ccelebrate eleeb braate World Wo orld l Firs First st A Aid id dd day ay on 12 SSeptember epttem mberr wit with th ttheir heir Lif Life. fe. Live Live it. eeducation d ducatiion kit. i Aimed Aim A med d at 11-144 year yeear olds, old ldss, but bu ut adaptable adap ptab ble for oth other her agee gro groups, oups, th the he kkit itt h has as b been eeen desig designed gned d tto ob be taught tau ught ht b by any anyone, yone, regardless reegarrdle d ess off ttheir h heiir fir first-aid rst-aid t d exp experience. perieence. Consisting Con C nssisting ng o off a C CD-Rom D D-R Ro om mw with ith h 10 0 fflexible lexible e b e fi firs first-aid st-aid d le lesson esso s on p plans lan a (30-90 3 9 m minutes), u s PowerPoint o e o t lesson ss n presentations, r e a on vvideo e aand audio d clips, l , and d an n interactive t a v q quiz. z The h complete o p t kit ki comes o e in n a large g holdall o a bag a ccontaining t n aC CPR practice ac c d dummy, m , triangular r g a ba bandages, d e d dressings ss g and n p posters. st s Ass a ttaster, t tthe first s two w llessons so s aree available va b to o download o n ad for o free r ffrom m the h w website, bs e and n a sample m e CD-Rom D o can n bee ordered d e to too. Thee kit i can a be b bou b bought ught g ffro from om the he o online ne sho sshop op ffor or ££135. 135 35 Fin FFind nd o out ut u more m e aatt th tthe he w web eb e add address ddres ess be b below. elow o www.redcross.org.uk/lifeliveit
Classic Class C Cl laassiic n nove novel ovell ttransfers rran an nsffer errs tto oW Wes West estt EEnd nd Thee classic no novel oveel byy Se Sebastian ebasstian n Faulkss ha has as be been een transformed transfo orm med for thee sta stage agge byy play playwright ywrright g t Ra Rachel acheel Wagstaff Wa aggsttaff and d dir director recttor Trevor Trevvor Nunn. Nun nn. Taught Tau ughtt on both bo oth English Eng glish h an and nd H History isto ory syll syllabuses, labu usess, the st story toryy will bee played pla ayed d ou out ut M Monday ond dayy to Sat Saturday turday u until ntiil 15 Januaryy att the Comedy Comed dy T Theatre, heeatree, Lo London. ond don. Edu Education ucattion n wo workshops orksshop ps h have avee been bee en developed deveelop ped d by The Theatre eatrre W Workout orkou ut an and nd aare re led led by professional pro ofesssion nal aactors. cto ors. In tthe he wo workshops, orksh hop ps, st students tudents will experiment exp periment w with ith h actingg and th theatre heattre ttechniques ech hniq ques an and nd will explore exxplo ore tthe he cen central ntrall the themes emees in n th the he sh show, how w, ba based ased d around aro ound d sc scene cenee an and nd chara character acteer st studies. tudies. A ttwo-hour wo--hour workshop wo orksh hop p is ££12 12 perr stu student.) uden nt.) www.westend-workshops.com/Birdsong.html
Chi hildren’s h illdreen’s ’s B Book ook W Week eeek Takkkin king ng p place lacee ffro from om 4-10 0O Octo October, toberr, this t year’s yeear’ss tth theme heme fo for or Ch hildren’s h re s Book o W Wee Week iis ‘books b k aaround u tthee world’. o ’’. The h B Bookk Tru ust h u ha has as va various arrio ouss less lesson esson n sequen sequences e ence cess lilinked ed tto this h ye yyear’s ear ar’s th hemee available he v a e forr download, o n d as we well aas o other e useful s u ideas d s an nd ttips tto h n help p schools c o ccelebrate e at rreading d g forr pleasure. e u Thee 20 010 Children’s 0 i e Book o W Week e p packk contains o a a comprehensive o p h s e teeeachers’ h s resource e u e guide i including l i ggames m and d activities ct t s fo or Fo o Foundation n t n Stage, a , KS1 S1 and n K KS2 aas w welll as p posters s s and n stickers sst k and d the h Be Best Book o G Guide d .T To rrequest u t a ffreee pack, ac or additional o ad t n ffreee copies p s off thee poster, o e eemaili education@ d a o @ booktrust.org.uk b o r t g k orr calll 020 2 8 88755 4580 5 . www.booktrust.org.uk/show/feature/Childrens-BookWeek-Resources
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010
46-47 whats new.indd 46
Win W in a ttrip rip p tto o tthis hiss yyear’s hi ear’’s SSchools cho ch oo ols P Prom ro om Mu Music usic for Youth You uth (MFY) (MFFY) and d the National Natio onall Union Uni ion off T Teachers eacch heers aare re o offering ff ffeeringg sc schools choo ols the he chance chancce to o win an an al all-expensesll-exxpensespaid d tr trip rip tto o th the he SSchools cho oolss PPr Prom rom att tthe he h Royal Roy R yal A Albert llbeertt Hall and a visit visi i it fr from rom an experienced exp perieencced dM MFY YM Music usicc M Mentor enttor tto o help e develop deveelop o m mu music usic i m ma making aking i g iin you your ur school. sch choo ooll. To To enter een nter e the he competition, cco om mp petit t tion o simply sim imp ply fi fill in n an an entry ent ntry form, fo orm, m which w wh hich ch asks aaskks you o to t describe d c e the h musical m i activities t ti tthat att aree taking a g place l e in your o school h l and n w whatt ideas e yyou u have a ffor d developing v o g them, h m and n h how w you um might ht use s a dayy visit i ffrom m a mentor e o to o your o sschool. ho ll. Nine i schools s o s will i w win a trip i for o a class a o of students t e ts to o the h Sc Schools o s Prom, o which i takes ke p place c on 8-10 - N November v m r 2010, 0 pluss a vvisitt from o aM MFY Music M ic M Mentor. t Thee competition o p t n is o open e to alll schools c o iin England n a and dW Waless and n th the closing l n d datee for o entries n e iss 20 0 September. p em e T To d download w o tthee form, r ggo tto tthe linkk below. e w www.mfy.org.uk/downloads/MFYfinalflyer.pdf
Brritish iittiissh FFood ood FFortnight orttnigght Celebrating C eleb bratting British hp pro produce odu uce aand nd d tea teaching achiingg chil children ldren ab about bout food fo ood d and d ho how ow to ccook oo ok iss thee aim mo off Br British ritissh Fo Food ood d Fo Fortnight. ortniightt Taking T akin ng p place lace fr from rom 18 SSeptember ep ptem mbeer – 3 O October cto oberr 2010, 20 010, the the event eveent iss run n to o co coincided oinciided d wi with ith H Harvest arvestt Fe Festival. estivval. The Thee website weebsitte h has as a vari varied ied list of reso resources ourcces ffor or bot both th p primary rim maryy and d se secondary econ ndary education, eed ducaatio on, w with ith h links tto o competitions aass w well ell as downloadable dow wnlo oadaablee cookery cco ookeery gguides, uid des,, res resource sourrce pac packs cks aand nd cas case se st studies. tudiies. Che Check eck outt th the he ‘Teacher ‘T Teaccher Zone’ Zo one’’ at thee web weeb address addrress below. below w www.lovebritishfood.co.uk
Lollipop Lo olliipop person perso on off th o the he yyear ear 22010 010 0 The se The search earch h ffo for or th the he b best estt LLo Lollipop ollipo i op person persson in tthe he UK b beg begins gins this h au autumn. utum mn. O Org Organised ganiised d by Kwi b Kwik ik Fi Fit it In Insurance, nsuraance, the ccompany om mpany iis contacting con ntac t cting i g all prima primary ary sschools cho hoolss d du during uringg September Sep ptem mb beer ab about bou ut en entering ntterringg tthi this is year’s yeear’s competition. com omp peetition. i n La Las Last st yye year’s eaar’ss w wi winner inne ner w was ass JJohn ohn oh Foley, Fole o eyy, tthe he loll h lollipop o lipo pop m man aan att B Bushes u ush hees Pr Prim Primary maary School c o iin Paisley, a e SScotland. t n H He w won n £3,000 3 0 fo for tthe sschool, o ll, which h h was a spent p nt on n completing o p t g a longed-for o ge -f community m u t ggarden en. Mr Foley M o y (pictured, i u d right) g ) was a judged u e the t winner w n aafter e the h school c o sent s t in hundreds n e off drawings, r w s poems o m aand DVDs D aabout o h him.. To o makee sure m u yyourr school h o is on thee contacts o a lisst, t t, email m i info email@example.com fo@ @b bestl s lo ollipop op.co co.uk u www.bestlollipop.co.uk
Developing p g Professional Practice 7-14 Viv Wilson and Sue Kendall Seatter Canterbury Christ Church University £24.99 Developing Professional Practice is designed to guide young professionals through their initial teacher-training programme and into the early stages of their career. It aims to help stimulate and support them in developing their practice. This book, has ‘over to you’ features, which are designed to encourage knowledge understanding and practical skills. Also included are pictures and graphs for colleagues who are more visual in their learning style. Its aim is to give teachers the opportunity to make the most of their training and be able to learn and teach without limits.
The Science of ADHD By Chris Chandler Wiley-Blackwell Price £15.99 A guide for parents and professionals, this book looks at the latest scientific and medical research on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its treatment, and considers the various debates presented. It covers genetics, neuroscience and psychology to try to present an understanding of what happens in an ADHD brain. Author Chris Chandler is a parent of a child with ADHD, which is what prompted him to write this book. As a psycho-biologist, he uses a neuroscientific approach to provide readers with a clear account of the complex disorder and its treatment, in order to dispel assumptions and what he feels is previous books’ selective use of evidence.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS
46-47 whats new.indd 47
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LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010
HAVE YOUR SAY
RANTLINE What’s driving you mad? Is it working over the summer, or the devastating effects of Sats and Ofsted inspections? AREA: Dorset SUBJECT: Allegations
AREA: County Durham SUBJECT: Visions and values
Dear editor Everybody knows their rights but many seem to have forgotten their responsibilities. How many complaints from parents are valid? I suspect not that many. The time and energy taken investigating what are often malicious allegations, as well as complaints, prevents head teachers from concentrating on the important things that they have to deal with. It wears us down and often results in a second complaint being made about us. It is parent power gone mad!
Dear editor Visions, values, mission statements... Really, what is the point? Doesn’t every school want to produce the same thing – literate, numerate, socially aware children – and all achieved through an interesting curriculum. What’s the point of stating the bleeding obvious? It seems to me to be something dreamed up by consultants to earn a few quid.
AREA: Norfolk SUBJECT: Sats Dear editor Recently, I read some children’s comments about how they felt once the Sats were over. They were very revealing and have made me more determined to fight for a change in the present assessment system. How can any government think that Sats are a good way of assessing children when the children themselves are so adversely affected by them? Our Government appears to be finding it difficult to trust the opinions of school leaders and teachers, but surely they must be willing to listen to the opinions of our children? Teacher assessment with an effective externally moderated approach linked to a national sampling system is the only way forward. I still fail to understand why governments do not have the ability to understand the evidence and actually trust teachers.
planning or policy writing. I’m also ‘on call’ for the next two weeks as my caretaker is away and my office manager is off sick. Then I’ve also been in to chaperone those staff who have wanted to come in. My attitude is that it’s not fair for the teachers to have to deal with anyone who comes in because they saw cars in the car park. There’s also building work to check up on. I guess at least I’ll start the year feeling prepared, but at what cost further down the line?
AREA: South Yorkshire SUBJECT: Ofsted
How can any government think that Sats are a good thing when children are adversely affected
AREA: London SUBJECT: Summer work Dear editor Six weeks holiday? You’re having a laugh. My friends think it’s brilliant but after a great first week, I’m now starting to think that my one week will be it. I am due an Ofsted during the autumn term and all my good intentions of recharging my batteries have gone out of the window. I can find something to do every day, whether it’s my SEF update, assembly
Dear editor Ofsted just has to be abolished. I’m so frustrated at its tick-box system of outstanding, good, satisfactory and inadequate. They apply these to so many areas that require far more rigorous assessment. What’s more, its bureaucracy is self-serving and self-important Many of its inspectors do not have sufficient classroom experience or management skills. They could learn from some highly skilled supply teachers. How about we don’t teach, just suddenly burst in on the class periodically and say, ‘Everybody, a test, now!’ And if you fail, you are in detention, and I’m going to publicly name and shame you. Ofsted must go because it is simply not fit for purpose!
A PROBLEM SHARED… Angered or annoyed by something at work? Get in touch and we’ll air your grievance. You can email publications@ naht.org.uk or leave a message on our dedicated rantline: 020 7880 7663.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 49
49 Rantline.indd 49
AND FINALLY SUSAN YOUNG
Is it all academic, Mr Gove? Head scratching over academy status, the curriculum and building problems
their new curriculum has got lost as well. They are all still teaching phonics but for some reason ministers and even Boris Johnson are publicly exhorting them to, as though they weren’t. You’d think they’d know it was a legal requirement, unless they can prove other methods work as well, so they don’t quite follow why nobody in Government seems to know that. That doesn’t really bode well, does it?
This may sound cynical, but… As a secondary head, I’m wondering what’s on the way for my pupils. We’re eligible to ask for academy status because Ofsted thinks we’re Outstanding. But that’s because we’ve found ways of using the current secondary exams to suit everyone. Our less academic pupils’ talents are finally shining, with the BTECs, diplomas, and other bits of vocational education. Others have done well with the modular A-Levels. But now we are hearing that these exams aren’t rigorous enough. My slightly cynical deputy is suggesting that the new curriculum will be so scary that hundreds of schools will go down the academy route to escape it. If it’s English, maths and Latin all round, lots of schools would do almost anything to avoid that. Where will they find Latin teachers, for example? And if we want to offer vocational courses, do we have to become an academy?
And then there’s the builders. They’re causing me a real headache, Mr Gove. They come in, measure up, then mutter something about ‘cowboys’. One of them was most unhappy when bits of the science lab ceiling landed on his head. And now we’re not getting the money to rebuild our school, even though bits of it are falling off. What we’d really like is enough for a proper refurbishment. But if we do accept your kind offer of becoming an academy, my caretaker says the buildings will become our responsibility. The state they’re in, we’d need sponsorship from Bill Gates – or at least B&Q – to keep the rain out and the students in. Since I’ve heard that parents round here are getting flyers from the Mega Schools Corp, stating that it’s looking at setting up a free school, we might have trouble keeping our students, especially if they get money for their building and we don’t. And something else I want to get straight – is it right that as an academy, we’d be expected to help other local schools, but free schools can just go it alone? Surely you’d have the same expectations of both sorts of school? I know you’re a busy man Mr Gove, but I’d appreciate a few answers. Please accept my apologies if they’re silly questions, but I can’t find the answers anywhere, and I haven’t got the time to look. I’ve got a school to run, you know.
ear Mr Gove, please excuse the lateness of this submission to your ideas website, but it’s taken me the whole of the summer holidays to do the paperwork for the past academic year, what with having to get on top of all the changes you’re planning. First of all, thank you for your kind letter inviting our school to become an academy. It’s a very nice thought - although my teachers don’t seem so keen. I keep on falling over the placards they’ve stacked up behind the staffroom door. A colleague at a nearby school reckons I’ve missed a trick. I should have got the governors to vote this one through while we were still on summer holiday, as we don’t have to consult anybody until we’ve decided to go for academy status. But I think he must have got that wrong. As I understand it, we could then change the curriculum as we want, change the staff ’s terms and conditions, and Ofsted wouldn’t need to come in unless our results took a nosedive – by which time I could be in the South of France enjoying my pension. Have I really got this right? The curriculum was another question. Firstly, what’s it going to be? My primary colleagues tell me the National Strategies have all but disappeared. But
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010
50 And finally.indd 50
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Leadership Focus magazine from the NAHT. September-October 2010