Leadership Focus March/April 2013

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Issue 58 March/April 2013





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We can find a better way Welcome to the latest LF, which I trust you will find both thought provoking and interesting, with articles ranging from Rona Tutt’s thoughts on the merging of the National College and the Teaching Agency (page 17) to a review of the NAHT partnership with ShelterBox (page 14) and the positive impact that this has had on so many people. As I write this editorial I am starting to reflect on my year as NAHT President, which comes to a conclusion at our annual conference Birmingham in May – which is guaranteed be exciting, given its new format (page 8). Over the past year, I have had the privilege of visiting many branches, regions and schools around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and have met some inspirational colleagues. I have also made many great friends. When I’m on the road what strikes me more than anything else is the sense of frustration, sometimes combined with anger and occasionally disbelief, that arises when members share with me the impact of what is often flawed policy and decision making from on high, based on cherry-picked or questionable evidence. It still beggars belief that education remains a political football, with the game and its rules changing depending who is in power. It really is about time there was an open and honest debate involving all key players about the future of education and learning in our country. However, despite this negativity, I have been encouraged by the growing determination of school leaders and colleagues at the chalk face to see the profession regain control and prove there is a better way. The NAHT has a big part to play here.

It is very easy to say no when something is thrust upon us with little or no true consultation, but much more progressive to provide an alternative and then prove it can work. As Henry Ford so aptly put it: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Our soon-to-be-concluded development of an alternative inspection model is a case in point. It is our firm belief that inspection and school improvement are inextricably linked in our relentless drive to raise standards. Sadly, the current approach to inspection demonstrates a lack of understanding of this. More inspection and monitoring is not school improvement. As a profession we must continue to have high expectations of all our children and a desire to work together to create a system where the learning and progress of all children and young people is central, and where the curriculum meets the needs of every child. It must also be one where we are empowered to lead without constant interference from those who believe they know better and where it is our role to support and challenge each other. No matter what type of school we work in we have a responsibility to see the bigger picture and collaborate with each other for the benefit of all.

‘It still beggars belief that education remains a political football, with the game and its rules changing depending on who is in power’

Leadership Focus is published by Redactive Publishing Limited on behalf of the NAHT

ASSOCIATION / EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES NAHT 1 Heath Square, Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1BL www.naht.org.uk Tel: 01444 472 472 Editorial board: Russell Hobby, Steve Iredale, Bernadette Hunter, Chris Harrison, Jack Hatch, Lesley Gannon, Magnus Gorham, Paul Whiteman and Clare Cochrane @nahtnews @LFmagNAHT

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ISSN: 1472–6181 © Copyright 2013 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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Head teachers do not have to be superheroes to be brave. Fay Schopen finds out what it really means to be a courageous school leader

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NEWS FOCUS 6 ENGLISH BACCALAUREATE SCRAPPED A U-turn by the Secretary of State sees plans to replace GCSEs abandoned, although questions remain about what changes will be made to the assessment system.

7 OFSTED TO INSPECT COUNCILS Sir Michael Wilshaw wants HM inspectors to get involved when local authorities ‘fall short’ on education.

7 GCSE ENGLISH GRADES TO STAND Despite its ‘unfairness’ exam papers affected by last year’s grade boundary changes will not be regraded, a judge has ruled.

8 HIGHER STATUS FOR EARLY YEARS The Government wants more graduates, tougher standards for non-graduates and higher status for the profession as a whole.

9 CHILDREN’S BILL OVERHAULS SEND The new Bill, which covers childcare and the needs of lookedafter children as well as SEND, will have a significant impact on the lives of many people, the General Secretary said.

10 FOR SERVICES TO EDUCATION The New Year Honours list featured an impressive number of school leaders, with seven heads becoming knights or dames.

13 FAMILY ACTION: BE BOTHERED! The NAHT’s new charity partner wants schools to do more to support young carers throughout their time in education.

14 LESSONS IN WARM-HEARTEDNESS ShelterBox has helped more than a million people around the world thanks to the support of schools and the NAHT.


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Girls’ education has come a long way since the first International Women’s Day more than a century ago, but efforts to improve access further are critical.

32 USED, ABUSED OR FALSELY ACCUSED? School leaders are under enormous pressure on many fronts. Fortunately the NAHT’s Representation and Advice service is here to offer expertise and support.

36 10 STEPS TO IMPROVE BEHAVIOUR Good behaviour is at the top of every school’s agenda. Achieving it requires strategy, consistent applications of the rules and a shared commitment from everyone involved.

40 OFSTED’S EXPECTATIONS An HMI gives LF readers the inside track on what Ofsted inspectors want to see when assessing SEND provision: high aspirations, rigorous assessment and effective support.


44 FLIPPED LEARNING It’s time to rethink the teaching experience and turn the classroom upside down, according to two US chemistry teachers who visited London recently.

12 NAHT PARTNERS The NAHT has secured more great offers for both schools and individual members to take advantage of.

17 RONA TUTT’S COLUMN The National College and the Teaching Agency are joining forces but the wide variety of paths into initial teacher training still has potential to confuse candidates.

19 RUSSELL HOBBY’S COLUMN The year so far has seen a number of ups and downs in eeducation, but the NAHT is poised to seize the initiative.


Call the NAHT

A Actor Steven Seagal teaches vigilantes how to safeguard a sc school, while yoga classes could be banned for ‘sun worship’.



B Books, apps and competitions, plus information and re resources about International Women’s Day on March 8.



A head teacher discovers that tweeting is not just for the bbirds when a heavy snow forces him to close his school. MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, has scrapped his plans to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC) in favour of revamping the existing qualification. The U-turn came after significant criticism from education professionals, including the NAHT, and the Commons education committee. Russell Hobby, the Association’s General Secretary, welcomed the decision, but drew attention to ongoing concerns about the future of the assessment system. “We support much of what Mr Gove has announced today but remain concerned about some of the details of the proposals to revamp GCSEs,” he said. “We support [Shadow Education Secretary] Stephen Twigg’s calls for a cross-party consensus based on expert evidence to get the right assessment system in place for our children. In particular, we need to consult the profession and take our time.” Steve Iredale, President of the NAHT, added: “If there is a reduction in the coursework element, which is massively important to many young people, then we might have a problem. This might be the start of change, but I worry that the Secretary of State is not minded to take any notice of what the profession is advising.” However, Mr Hobby agreed with Mr Gove on the need for a rigorous system of examinations that reflects the demands of life in the 21st century. “So, for example, we welcome the news that internal assessment will remain for practical subjects such as science,” he said. “We also see the benefits to the curriculum of keeping more than 6


E Bacc scrapped but questions remain

Michael Gove

one exam board, as this will encourage schools to teach a more diverse range of subjects.” Mr Gove’s initial proposals included the idea that each GCSE should be set by only one exam board – a move that he had hoped would stop different boards competing to offer easier exams. When he announced the reversal, he said that this particular proposal had been “a bridge too far”. However, he still expects tougher GCSEs to come in for some key subjects from 2015. The General Secretary continued: “We also support changes to the current system of league table measurements which pin schools down to arbitrary targets and limit imaginative teaching. “Measuring attainment across a combination of eight subjects, rather than five, will have a real effect on the way schools look at their pupils. This could be a good thing, but schools will need time to adapt. “As to the curriculum... teachers and school leaders have always known what will inspire pupils.”

Education is not for profit Profit-making schools are unpopular, ineffective and incompatible with the ethics and ideals of a universal state education system, said Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT. “There is no public appetite for them, as parents are rightly suspicious of their effects on pupils,” he said. “If a profit-making school excludes a pupil, for example, is it because they are genuinely disruptive, or are they just difficult to teach?” Mr Hobby was responding to reports that the Conservative party may consider introducing for-profit schools after the next election. The proposals, reported in The Independent, came from Bright Blue, a Conservative pressure group. Steve Iredale, the Association’s President, said schools should expect the proposals to be implemented if the Government is returned at the next election.“I doubt whether they can afford to run the academies programme as they are doing,” he said. FORCED ACADEMIES

Brokers apply more pressure Academy brokers from the DfE are still visiting schools across the country to persuade them that they should become academies, said Bernadette Hunter, NAHT Vice-President. “Members should contact headquarters or their regional officer for advice if a DfE broker requests a meeting with them,” she said. The NAHT website has a forced academies toolkit, while YouTube has a video about one school’s fight against the process: www.youtube. com/watch?v=ayP6I0Dkrsk


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LAs could face the Ofsted test will determine whether an inspection is required, such as the proportion of children who attend a good or better school, attainment levels across the local authority, children’s rates of progress in relation to starting points, and the volume of qualifying complaints about schools in a local authority area.” Steve Iredale, the NAHT’s President, described the proposals as ‘bizarre’. “Local authorities are having their wings clipped, their powers reduced and their funding removed, yet they’re still expected to support schools as best they can, with reduced numbers of personnel,” he said. Failing authorities do not necessarily equate to failing schools, he added. “Just because LAs are failing to deliver support to schools, it doesn’t follow that schools are not delivering value.”


Local authorities’ (LAs) school improvement functions will be subject to Ofsted inspections if the agency’s proposed new framework comes in to force. Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM chief inspector, said Ofsted would get involved where was evidence that authorities were failing to demonstrate effective leadership or to fulfil their statutory duties. “If England has any pretensions to be a worldleading education system, we must have higher ambitions and be absolutely committed as a nation to doing something about the wide variations in standards across our country,” he said. “Ofsted is proposing to focus inspection where it is needed most, meaning that not all local authorities will be inspected within a prescribed or regular interval. A number of indicators


Schools and academies can now access payroll, human resources, property, and health and safety services through the NAHT’s new Assure programme. The scheme, run in partnership with Strictly Education, will provide support that is no longer available through all councils, said Bernadette Hunter, the NAHT’s Vice-President (pictured). “We’re pleased to be able to offer a range of services to colleagues in schools and we’re looking forward to seeing how our pilot schemes work out,” she said. “We’re conscious that there are parts of the country where the local authority is unable to provide these facilities any more. Offering this will help to ensure that schools have quality provision for essential services such as health and safety.” Steve Iredale, NAHT President, added: “We encourage schools to look beyond their localities as funding cuts cause local services to decline. We can reassure schools that there is an alternative that is equally secure and which could offer better value for money,” he said.


No regrade for GCSE papers, judge rules Thousands of students who missed out on a C grade in GCSE English last year will not have their papers regraded, a judge ruled in February. Lord Justice Elias found that Ofqual had done the best it could with a qualification which was structured unfairly and although the alliance of

school leaders, teaching unions and councils was right to bring the case, the grades would not be revised. The alliance, which included the NAHT, brought the judicial review before the courts after a shift in grade boundaries meant young people who sat GCSE English in the summer needed more marks for a

C than those who did the exam in January. The result was ‘disappointing’ but the NAHT was right to bring the challenge, said Steve Iredale, the Association’s President. “It may lead to reforms in the system, so maybe we’ve been a catalyst for change, but I’m still frustrated by what’s happened,” he said.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT, added: “Grading decisions were unfair and an injustice was done to many thousands of pupils. “While boundaries have not been restored, we hope this action will demonstrate to Ofqual and the exam boards that they should not act like this again.” MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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Higher status for early years The Government has announced plans to raise the status and quality of the early years workforce as part of its childcare policy. It wants to encourage more highquality graduates into early years teaching and to improve the status of the profession, according to More Great Childcare, which was launched by early years minister Liz Truss at the end of January. The Government also wants to improve the quality of people working in the sector who do not have degrees. Anyone who wants to use the ‘Early Years Educator’ title will have to achieve at least a C grade at GCSE in English and maths.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT, was cautiously positive, but warned that simply increasing expectations would not be enough. “Research has shown how vital effective early years education is in a child’s later development and so we welcome an increase in the level of minimum qualification expected for nursery staff,” he said. “However, any increase in the expected level of qualifications should also be echoed in the salaries and the status of those working in the early years sector. “While parents would welcome a reduction in the cost of childcare, any such cuts should not be made at the

expense of safety. Increasing the ratio of children to staff, for example, may not only compromise safety but possibly also affect the quality of the education very young children receive,” he said. “Just having better qualified staff in place does not make very young children easier to supervise.” Speaking at the Policy Exchange, Liz Truss said: “We won’t get where we want to be overnight, but we are moving in the right direction on quality and qualifications. “But we cannot overlook the fact that the commitment to make further improvements means giving providers the headroom to pay higher salaries.”


‘The NAHT is seizing control of the agenda’ NAHT Annual Conference is approaching fast. The theme this year is: ‘Leaders for Learners: stronger together’. The programme includes professional development seminars and themed policy workshops focusing on the top campaigning priorities for the NAHT in 2013, as well as debate, policy making and guest speakers. In addition, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has agreed to participate in an unscripted question-andanswer session. A further innovation is optional workshops on the Friday morning, which are free to all NAHT members, not just those attending the conference. Among the issues up for

debate are important decisions about the future of the Association - such as TUC affiliation and radical plans to attract new members. Other items on the agenda include an alternative accountability model, a new NAHT research strategy and the issue of facilities time. NAHT Vice President

Bernadette Hunter told LF: “As a professional association, we are uniquely placed to influence educational debate, policy and practice. We are fighting back and seizing control of the agenda. We are being proactive and developing positive alternatives: ways of working that show our

ambitions for our schools “We are developing a new school-improvement model, an alternative approach to inspection, working on a curriculumdesign project with the Royal Society of Arts and making more effective links between research and practice. “Delegates will experience a great venue in an exciting and vibrant part of Birmingham and it’s easily accessible,” she said. “Conference sets the agenda for the coming year and we are keen to hear your views. Come along and be part of it.” • The conference takes place 17-19 May at the ICC in Birmingham. For more details, visit: www.naht.org. uk/annualconference2013


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Time to settle the Bill An overhaul of the SEND system, changes to childcare, and the requirement that all local authorities have a ‘virtual school head’ to champion the education of lookedafter children, form the backbone of the new Children and Families Bill, published in February. The Bill will have a significant impact on the lives of many people, said Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT. “This Bill contains important changes and will be wideranging in its impact on children and parents,” he said. “Those in the profession will doubtless have insights and suggestions for best practice as it moves through Parliament. “Although there is much that can and must be done to improve our support for the most vulnerable, children with special needs should not be the focus of cost-cutting. “We will watch carefully to ensure we are able to continue to provide the highly skilled and talented support

their parents expect. There are concerns in this regard with the revision of statementing, for example.” The old SEND statement system is to be replaced by a new plan that covers people’s education, health and care needs from birth to 25. Parents will be offered personal budgets to give them greater choice and control. The Association is looking forward to debate over the Bill, the General Secretary said. “We need to unpick the details to see how its contents will work in practice,” he said. “Any recommendations the Bill makes will need to be properly resourced and funded, and nor are we clear how legislation can bridge the cultural, procedural and structural gaps between education and health which have consistently hampered joint working in the past.” The Bill also covers issues relating to family justice, parental leave, flexible working and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.


Wellcome Trust leads new work on school governance The Wellcome Trust is working with school leaders, governors, the National College, DfE, Fisher Family Trust and Teach First on a recommended code of governance for schools. It is also looking at how to provide better data for governors. It is piloting the code in 21 schools over two years (from November 2012). The schools selected are a mixture of school types, have different Ofsted categories and are from various parts of England. Spokeswoman Lalage Smyth said: “We hope schools will use the

recommended code to effectively set strategic direction, to ensure the school governing body is working effectively and to allow the governing body to hold the school senior leaders to account for performance. “In terms of performance data, it may be abundant, but governors can sometimes find it hard to interpret. Also, its supply is typically controlled by the school management with the risk that information may not always reach governors.” • To read the recommended code of governance, please visit: bit.ly/ZqW25A

NEWS IN BRIEF SPORT IS A WINNER Two thirds of schools are good or outstanding in PE achievement, according to Ofsted. Its Beyond 2012 report found that boys, girls and SEND pupils all made similar progress and that they enjoyed school and achieved more when they could train as playground buddies or junior sports leaders. However, it also found that a fifth of pupils could not swim 25 metres by the end of Year 6. TA AND NCSL MERGE The Teaching Agency and the National College for School Leadership will merge at the end of March. The new body will be responsible for promoting high-quality teaching and leadership. The new organisation must maintain its focus on leadership, said Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary. “It’s hard to overestimate the driving force of an inspirational leader and almost impossible for schools to succeed without one.” PENSION SCHEME CHANGES Teachers will need to contribute more to their pension funds in the next financial year, the Government announced. This shows that it has failed to listen to the concerns of the profession, said Russell Hobby. “In particular we are concerned that school leaders in their early 40s will decide to opt out of the scheme completely,” he said. MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 9

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The hard work and dedication of school leaders has been recognised in the Queen’s annual New Year Honours List. Honours range from knighthoods and damehoods for executive head teachers to MBEs for dedicated assistant heads. Those on the list had to keep the award secret from late November when they were informed until just after Christmas. Julie Mudd (pictured) will be one of many school leaders who receives an OBE at Buckingham Palace on 26 March. She told LF: “I didn’t expect it and I have no idea who nominated me, but it’s nice for special education to get the recognition.”


For their services to education

Julie’s school, Ivel Valley Special School in Biggleswade, has been through a merger, set up a satellite class at a mainstream school and offers outreach support to other schools in the area. It also provides the autism advisory service for central Bedfordshire. “More and more is being

Knight and Damehoods Sir George Berwick, head, Ravens Wood School, Bromley Dame Sally Coates DBE, principal, Burlington Danes Academy, Hammersmith Dame Helen Hyde DBE, headmistress, Watford Grammar School for Girls Dame Joan McVittie DBE, head, Woodside High School, Haringey Dame Vicki Paterson DBE, executive head, Brindishe Green School, Brindishe Lee School and Lee Manor School, Lewisham Sir Christopher Stone, executive head, the Arthur Terry and Stockland Green schools, Birmingham Sir Nick Williams, lately principal of the BRIT School, Croydon CBE Tracey Kneale, head, Marlbrook Primary School, Herefordshire Jane Lees, lately head, Hindley High School, Wigan Stephen Munday, principal of Comberton Village College, Cambridgeshire, and national leader in education, NCSL


added to our role,” she said. “We’re no longer just here for the children that we teach within the school.” Joining her at the Palace will be Felicity Greeves, principal at Blackpool Sixth Form College. Hers will soon become the first teaching school in the post16 sector. The college is also

Carolyn Robson, head, Rushey Mead School, Leicester, and lately executive head of Fullhurst College, Leicester OBE Richard Aird, head, Barrs Court School, Herefordshire Anne Bleasdale, head, Laneshaw Bridge Primary School, Lancashire Janet Bridges, head, Castle View Academy, Sunderland Susan Davies, head, Cynffig Comprehensive School, Bridgend Dr Jonathan Godfrey, principal, Hereford Sixth Form College Felicity Greeves, principal, Blackpool Sixth Form College Michael Hirst, lately head, Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College, Halifax Susan Maria Jenkins, head, St Joseph’s Roman Catholic High School, Newport Deborah Leek-Bailey, head, Babington House School, Bromley, Kent Julie Mudd, head, Ivel Valley Special School, Bedfordshire Keith Nancekievill, lately head, Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon,

sponsoring two academies – a primary and an allthrough school. The pair were happy to pass on their leadership tips. “The challenge is to be better and better,” said Felicity. “Once you get ‘outstanding’, you have to stay outstanding. The important thing is to build a great team around you.” Julie’s advice was: “Don’t be afraid to ask.You can’t know it all when you first take on a headship and you never stop learning. It can be a lonely job, everyone comes to you for support, but who do you go to? You really need your colleagues and I’ve also turned to the NAHT in the past.”

Cambridgeshire Margaret Nowell, head, St Thomas’s Centre Pupil Referral Unit, Blackburn with Darwen Council Alan Poyner Pritchard, lately head, Cyfarthfa High School, Merthyr Tydfil Lesley Walter, lately head, Boveridge SEN School, and school governor, Wimborne, Dorset Robert Yeomans, lately head, St John’s Primary School, Walsall MBE Alison Borgese, assistant head, All Saints Junior School, Maidenhead, Berkshire Albert Furze, (unpaid) education consultant and lately head of Bradstow SEN School, Broadstairs, Kent Peter Gross, assistant head, Enfield Grammar School Amanda Heslop, head, Wharf Nursery and Children’s Centre, Godalming, Surrey Kim Popratnjak, principal, North Birmingham Academy Terence Lynn Williams, lately head, Litchard Primary School, Bridgend


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Creating outstanding school environments

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recommended by the NAHT, is the UK’s leading monitor of parental, pupil and staff perceptions. It can show your results in context by benchmarking them against similar schools. Schools can ensure 360° stakeholder collaboration by using Schoolcentre, our online solution, which helps leadership teams facilitate selfevaluation, development plans and whole school improvement activities. With one click leaders can produce a short notice inspection summary. Why not also provide staff training at your school? Our modules are designed to ensure all aspects of school improvement can be addressed, with resources used to maximum effect. Discounts are available for NAHT members. To find out how we can help your school become inspection-ready, visit www.gl-performance.co.uk, email info@gl-performance.co.uk, or contact us on 0845 602 1737.

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Be bothered about young carers More than 700,000 children and young people, some as young as five, care for a parent or sibling with a disability or other health problem. This heavy responsibility can have an enormous effect on their education, which is why Family Action has launched its Be Bothered! campaign – and why the NAHT has chosen Family Action as its charity partner for the Presidential year 2013/14. Be Bothered! is designed to raise awareness of the effect that caring has on education, and to provide school leaders with strategies to tackle this issue. Young carers often struggle to combine caring with a normal childhood and school life. Their responsibilities can include household duties such as cleaning, cooking and paying bills, as well as nursing and personal care. This can be draining and it is not surprising their education often suffers. Be Bothered! wants to ensure that young carers get an equal start in life. Family Action is making sure the right support is in place in schools, and that staff are fully aware of the difficulties facing these children. Caring can harm attendance, behaviour and concentration, but in many cases children will hide the reason for their absence or poor behaviour. These children need support to help them reach their full potential, as young carers can face hostility and bullying from peers and a lack of understanding from teachers. When schools adopt a young carers policy that makes allowances for the child – such as a way for them to stay in touch with their family while at school, or flexible homework deadlines – they can significantly reduce the pressure on them. If young carers have confidence in their school’s ability and willingness to support them, then they can learn and perform well at school

be bothered

give me the phone

what are you doing?

but Sir i need to check if my mum's ok

i need to check on my mum

ha Ha!

get out this instant!

put that phone away now!

NO! you dont understand. i need to call my mum

i didnt want to be in trouble but i'm so worried. i need to know that my mum's ok


BE BOTHERED! Family Action has provided services for disadvantaged and vulnerable families across England since 1869. Now, as many as one in every 12 secondary school pupils could be young carers. They face bullying from other pupils and punishment from teachers for poor attendance. Find out more about Be Bothered!: www.family-action.org.uk/bebothered

and enjoy their childhood. NAHT Vice President Bernadette Hunter told LF that she was delighted to be working with the charity during her term as President, which starts in May: “Many heads are aware of the problems faced by children who, for a variety of reasons, are not ready to learn when they come to school.Family Action is a charity that provides services to support families with difficulties in communities all over England. They also have a grant service which people can access from other parts of the UK. “During my Presidential year, we are going to do some joint work with Family Action on school readiness. We are aiming to provide a series of pamphlets for schools to use with parents about various aspects of supporting their child in school. “We will also encourage schools to take part in a ‘family clothes day’ to raise money for the charity.” • See page 14 for a review of the two-year association with 2011-13 charity partner ShelterBox. MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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ShelterBox raises some smiles after an earthquake in Sumatra.

Lessons in warm-heartedness ShelterBox and the NAHT have worked together for the past two years. ShelterBox’s head of operations, Ross Preston, looks back at a successful partnership I’ll admit he’s not an obvious source of advice on schooling and education. But this January the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, said something I think we can all agree with: “We have to see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it.” That’s a great aspiration for any school: to develop warm-heartedness early on. And ShelterBox has certainly had a rewarding two years working closely with the NAHT in pursuit of that aim. 14

Today’s relentless 24-hour news cycle brings man’s inhumanity to man into sharp focus. But if students and pupils look they will also see acts of compassion and tolerance. Particularly in our business – disaster relief. When I talk to people I often ask them to spend a minute thinking about how they would feel if their family suddenly lost everything – home, income, possessions. Imagine the terror of fleeing an overwhelming natural disaster, or being driven out of your homeland by fear and conflict. Imagine how grateful you would be that someone was at your side quickly, offering shelter, warmth and the means to live. Dignity in a green box

that was packed for your family, half a world away in Cornwall. ShelterBox has only had a brief history – little more than a decade – but in that time it has responded to more than 200 disasters in almost 90 countries, and provided aid for considerably more than a million people. Our goal is to help 50,000 families every year. Yet we couldn’t have achieved any of this without the support of our partners. ShelterBox is in constant partnership with its donors, its worldwide affiliates, other charities, and non-governmental organisations. So why is our partnership with schools so valuable? Since October


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YoungShelterBox illustration competition winners meet author Michael Foreman.

2006, ShelterBox has engaged with more than 2,500 schools. That’s around 560,000 young people who have been enthused, we hope, by what we have shown and told them, and who are now a new generation of ambassadors for disaster relief. Our YoungShelterBox website has been viewed more than 170,000 times since January 2010, and its online resources for Key Stages 1-3, including videos, photos and poems, meet many classroom needs. Since the beginning of the partnership between the NAHT and ShelterBox, 451 schools have raised an astonishing £240,869 between them. In addition, every year we run a popular illustration competition with strong support from children’s author and illustrator Michael Foreman. The theme this year focuses on conflict; the title of the book will be The Day the Bombs Fell. It’s Ian Bruce, a head teacher in Cornwall and a National Executive member, who deserves the credit for introducing the two organisations. It was after a ShelterBox presentation at the South-West branch of the NAHT, that Chris Harrison, the Association’s President at the time, chose us as his charity of the year for 2011/12. Russell Hobby, the General Secretary of the NAHT, and the then incoming President Steve Iredale visited ShelterBox’s HQ in Helston in early 2012, and when Steve began his term he also chose to support us. The other reason why schools make great partners is that they are powerhouses of original ideas and enthusiasm.

Here are three school case studies, plucked out of hundreds: • Athersley South Primary School in Yorkshire completed a sponsored ‘danceathon’ last year, raising enough for three ShelterBoxes with the help of their local Rotary Club, which donated a further £338. • Park End Primary School in Middlesbrough raised enough for seven ShelterBoxes in 2012. The local Rotary Club had been helping the children with their reading practice, and to say thank you the school organised a ‘Cape Town to Cairo’ challenge where the equivalent miles were ‘sold’ to teachers, parents and students who were challenged to travel the miles by foot, bike or trike. • Last year Humphry Davy School in Penzance was honoured by ShelterBox as one of the most committed schools in the UK. In three years the school has raised more than £5,000. I’m sure the school leaders of the NAHT will keep up the momentum. Some of their pupils may look favourably on our work, a few may even go on to become fundraisers or volunteers. But I think that most of them will have become just a little more warm-hearted towards those engulfed by disaster. How to get involved Can your pupils bring our disaster story to life? Enter the Young ShelterBox illustration competition, which is open to all UK primary pupils. The competition closes on 24 June. You can also browse the free resources for teachers on our Young ShelterBox website, which helps to explore global issues in the classroom. Or why not ask one of our trained volunteers to bring a ShelterBox to your school and talk to pupils about the importance of disaster relief. www.youngshelterbox.org The NAHT’s charity partner for 2013/14 will be Family Action. See page 13 for details.

YOUNG FUNDRAISERS: JASMINE AND ABIGAIL Two enterprising primary school children have proved that no one is too young to support disaster relief by raising £609, more than enough to pay for a ShelterBox. Jasmine Freeman and Abigail Clifford, both 10, are pupils at Lympstone CE Primary School in Exmouth, Devon. The two girls raised some of the money by masterminding a special session at the end of the school day. The event included games such as ‘guess the name of the teddy’, pick-a-stick, and ‘guess how many sweets in the jar’. Not content with that, they went on to contact local businesses, persuading them to donate more than 30 raffle prizes such as meal vouchers, chocolates and wine. Their next idea was asking parents to get baking for a charity cake sale, followed by convincing the local Harvester restaurant to give half the proceeds of a fundraising event to ShelterBox. The remaining donations were collected from the audience at their school’s nativity play. Both the girls’ fathers are Royal Marine Commandos who have recently served in Afghanistan and Jasmine and Abigail have been touched by the plight of vulnerable people in the developing world.


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Are you ready for headship? Our National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is the first choice qualification for anyone aspiring to be a headteacher or academy prinicpal. NPQH will not only help you to step up to the role, it will also set you apart as an outstanding leader. Flexible study modules are designed to give you more choice with your leadership development. You could be leading your own school in as little as 12–18 months. Take a look at the application guidance and find out about scholarship opportunities.

Apply today www.education.gov.uk/nationalcollege/npqh



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19/02/2013 11:51


RONA TUTT R Columnist C

The more things change? The creation of (another) new agency raises many questions


arely a year after four executive agencies of the DfE rose from the ashes of the bonfire of quangos came the announcement that two of them, the Teaching Agency (TA) and the National College for School Leadership, are to merge from 1 April. While it may make sense for the TA and the National College to come together in this way, why did no one think of this when the change to executive agencies occurred? At the time of writing, the merged agency’s name is still to be decided, will it be the: Teaching and Leadership Agency; Leadership and Teaching College; or National College for Teaching and Leadership? Its head, however, has been announced: Charlie Taylor will move across from his role as chief executive of the TA. Perhaps one of the tasks that awaits him is clarifying the various routes into initial teacher training (ITT) for prospective trainees. As the TA’s own website puts it: “There are hundreds of different ITT courses. Choosing between them is a challenge in itself, and you should be prepared to put in a lot of research.” Indeed, there has been such a proliferation of routes into teaching that there is a danger that potential recruits may give up before signing up.


Schools take the lead The Government’s determination to encourage more school-based training has seen responsibility shift away from universities. Now the focus is on schools delivering training in a classroom setting, with higher education playing a supporting role School-centred ITT has been around for some time. School Direct, however, is newer and has replaced the Graduate Teacher Programme. It allows schools to pick the graduates they need to fill posts in their schools,so that they can be trained in-house and then moved straight into their first teaching post. Teaching schools are becoming established as part of the landscape too. By December 2012, there were more than 180 primary, secondary and special schools that had been designated as teaching schools. All these routes have brought clusters of schools together so that they can deliver training between them and maintain links with higher education.

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There are also schemes targeting particular groups. The Teach First programme, designed to meet the needs of London schools, has spread further afield, and now fasttracks promising graduates into teaching after a six-week crash course. They commit to spending at least two years teaching in a challenging environment. More recently, the Troops to Teachers scheme has attracted some attention. The TA’s own website assures those looking for a change of direction that “Your experiences during your military career will have given you a firm grasp of how to behave in unexpected situations and an authority that will help you manage a classroom and be a role model for pupils.”

There are hundreds of different ITT courses. Choosing between them is a challenge that requires research

Tougher entry requirements There is also some confusion about the Secretary of State’s desire to toughen up on entry requirements. Candidates with lower-class degrees are being discouraged and tougher entry tests are being brought in, with potential teachers allowed only a couple of retakes. Like the previous Government, Michael Gove would like to see teaching becoming a master’s level profession. All this tightening up, we are told, is to create an outstanding workforce of teachers who can match the best performing countries worldwide. However, in the same way that a national curriculum is supposed to raise standards, but academies are said to raise standards faster without having to follow it, academies are also being told they can appoint people who have no qualifications to teach. Rona Tutt is a retired head teacher and a Past President of the NAHT

21/02/2013 09:00

NFER tests

NFER Tests are now available Order yours now at www.nfer.ac.uk/ntnz

What are they? New ‘optional test’ style tests that assist teachers in identifying strengths and weaknesses and help monitor pupil progress What do I get? Reading and mathematics paper-based tests for years 3, 4 and 5 with comprehensive teacher guides and analysis tools “The tests give a true and accurate reflection of pupils’ abilities” Christ the King Catholic Primary School

For further information please contact the NFER enquiry team: T: 01753 637007 E: products@nfer.ac.uk www.nfer.ac.uk/ntnz 18 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2013

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18/02/2013 11:18


RUSSELL HOBBY General Secretary

Riding the roller coaster The education debate has seen a series of ups and downs so far this year



he start of 2013 has been a real roller coaster ride. We made an important gain when we secured teacher assessment for the writing score, although we will have to return to the issue next year. Michael Gove suffered a setback when he was forced to withdraw his plans for the English Baccalaureate Certificate. Sceptics are right to point out that he has retained much of his agenda in terms of linear exams, but the avoidance of a two-tier exam system is important. The Government’s proposals for accountability at KS4 look interesting too, as they offer an escape from the overwhelming focus on the C/D border. We will be watching for proposals on KS2 accountability with great interest. Taking us back down the roller coaster, however, was the defeat of our legal challenge to last year’s English GCSE results in the High Court. The judge ruled that although some students were indeed unfairly treated, the regulators acted reasonably. We might want to reflect on the value of a system in which the only reasonable action is to treat people unfairly. We also received the latest drafts of the National Curriculum, which show some improvements from early drafts – and some baffling changes. Of great concern is the new history curriculum, which packs about 2000 years into KS2.

Government faces multiple challenges The Government is facing challenges on nutrition in academies, and on sport, with Ofsted finding that the disbanded school sports partnerships havie played a positive role in promoting competitive sport. It is typical of this Government, however, to rip up what exists before thinking through its replacement. It has also come in for increasing criticism over the rhetoric used by some of its special advisers, who have apparently been using Twitter accounts to attack opponents. In doing so, they have lowered the quality of the education debate and weakened the moral credentials of the Government. Its inability to listen to criticism and dissent is one of its greatest weaknesses.

19 RH column.indd 19

The NAHT was also able to expose some of the less reputable practices of the academy brokers who wander the country making schools ‘offers they can’t refuse’ to convert to academies. The hard work of our regional officers and the courage of our members has made a big difference here. We continue to run road shows and workshops to give members the facts they need on this. These ups and downs are yet another manifestation of the dysfunctional relationship between politics and education. It should be noted that one feature of high-performing jurisdictions is the longterm, stable consensus around the vision and values of their education systems.

It is vital that the NAHT plays a role in the debate around professionalism and autonomy now under way

Confident professionals It is vital that the NAHT plays a role in the debate around professionalism and autonomy that is now under way. A confident profession will crowd out the short term whims of politicians. We are working hard in this area. Our Assure project, for example, shows that the profession has the resources and will to improve itself. We are launching a number of initiatives, all characterised by a constructive tone. There will be more announced at Annual Conference, including a debate about adopting our own code of practice and an alternative model of inspections to Ofsted. We hope you will be able to join us for this debate. Russell Hobby is NAHT General Secretary

21/02/2013 11:21




Calls for a yoga ban stretch credulity

Making a hash of children’s names

Forget the furore over the teaching of creationism. As the city of Encinitas in California can testify, that’s old news. The fight has now evolved into a spat over the teaching of yoga. Previously, in an effort to promote student health, a school district had incorporated yoga classes into its wellness curriculum. However, the National Center for Law & Policy (NCLP), a Christian civil liberties organisation, has started to make waves. The NCLP, a non-profit group, argues that yoga is inherently religious. One parent, Mary Eady, reportedly pulled her firstgrade son out of the classes. She said she had observed a class in which the children did the motions referred to in yoga as a sun salutation. She said while the teacher called it an ‘opening sequence’ the students were being asked to worship the sun, which went against her Christian beliefs that only God should be worshipped. “What they are teaching is inherently spiritual, it’s inappropriate in our public schools,” she said. Encinitas is believed to have the only public school system that will have yoga instructors teach full-time at its nine schools as part of a curriculum that includes nutrition and a school gardening programme. “This is 21st century PE,” said Encinitas Superintendent Timothy Baird. “It’s physical. It’s strength-building. It increases flexibility, but it also deals with stress reduction and focusing, which kickball doesn’t do.” The programme is expected to teach a 30-minute yoga lesson to roughly 5,000 students twice a week at the district’s primary schools. Researchers at the University of Virginia and University of San Diego will monitor the programme.

The most popular names that teachers will encounter in their classes in coming years are Oliver for boys and Lily for girls. However, there will also be a number of more unusual names. For example, the rise of social media has inspired one set of parents to tell the world (via Facebook) that their daughter is to be known as Hashtag Jameson, after the # symbol beloved of Twitter. It should be stated that this could easily be a joke or some kind of viral marketing campaign, but no one has yet come forward to dispute the claim. Her mother wrote (in text speak): “Hashtag Jameson was born at 10 oclock last nite. She weys 8pounds and i luv her so much!” This follows reports that an Israeli couple named their daughter Like, after the feature on Facebook. Lior Adler and his wife Vardit, who live near Tel Aviv, said they were looking for a name that was ‘modern and innovative’. If any readers are looking for names for their babies, LF would like to suggest Flickr and Lol for girls; Avatar and Blog for boys.


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This issue... a Hollywood actor protects US schools, yoga means worshipping the sun and there’s a child in your class called Hashtag


Primary school turns into a grammar school


Spectre of Scrooge is banished O thing we learned over Christmas One iis that some local authorities do have a h heart, even if some traffic wardens don’t. T Twelve disabled students from Oak Field SSchool and Sports College in Bilborough, N Nottinghamshire, had attended a llunchtime carol concert in Nottingham city centre, which raised £369 for a local homeless charity. Unfortunately, when they returned to their minibuses, which had parked in a loading bay, they found parking tickets had been issued, amounting to £140. Fortunately, the festive spirit hadn’t bypassed the city council. A spokesman said: “We have revoked the tickets. All our civil enforcement officers will be reminded about the need to exercise discretion while carrying out their duties.”


Life imitates art in Arizona’s schools In all the heated debate about how to combat the threat of shootings at US schools, no one predicted this response.The self-proclaimed ‘toughest sheriff in America’, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona, has brought in actor Steven Seagal to advise an armed ‘posse’ of vigilantes. Arpaio said the volunteers would receive 100 hours of training – not all from Under Siege actor Seagal – drive marked vehicles and, in some cases, be armed with automatic weapons. They would not enter a school unless they observed an immediate threat. Seagal, a seventh-dan black belt in Aikido, reportedly taught the ‘appropriate response’ to single- and multiple-shooter scenarios, room-toroom entry tactics and hand-to-hand combat techniques. Local politician Chad Campbell commented: “He is an actor. Why don’t we have Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis come out and train them too while we’re at it?”


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It’s arguably a sad state of affairs, but a school has made the headlines because it is teaching its pupils spelling, grammar and pronunciation. Children at Sacred Heart Primary School in Middlesbrough havee been given a list of 11 words and phrases that are no longer to be used in school. These include ‘I dunno’, ‘nowt’, ‘tomorra’ and ‘could of ’. Head teacher Carol Walker said: “You don’t want the children to lose their identity, but you do want them to be able to communicate properly with people and be understood. We are going to teach them the rules. If they decide not to use these rules with friends that is fine, but when they are filling in application forms or speaking in a formal situation they should use standard English.”


21/02/2013 09:00


Friday 8 March will mark the 102nd International Women’s Day. Joy Persaud reports on efforts to ensure girls have access to education despite efforts to the contrary


alala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school pupil and an activist for girls’ education and women’s rights – the words in the headline are hers. Malala (pictured) grew up in an area where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school. She came to public attention after writing about this and other topics in a diary for the BBC website. Unfortunately, this came at a cost. On 9 October 2012, the 15-yearold was shot in the head while returning home on a school bus. At the time of the assassination attempt, Malala was setting up an organisation to get girls out of domestic labour and into school. She was recently discharged from a UK hospital and has launched a fund to help other girls (www. vitalvoices.org/global-initiatives/ support-malala-fund). The NAHT is a champion of the rights of girls to be educated and supports a petition relating to Malala’s struggle (www. educationenvoy.org/petition). 22

Sadly, the lack of education available to girls extends beyond Pakistan to millions worldwide, despite the benefits it brings to individual lives, as well as its potential to reduce poverty and disease in the broader community. To help tackle the matter, the UK’s Department for International Development is supporting the Girls’ Education Challenge, which will help up to one million of the world’s poorest girls to improve their lives through education. In January, it awarded funding worth up to £30 million to 15 programmes that will create education opportunities for some of the world’s most marginalised girls. The projects will provide access to education, materials, safe spaces in which to learn, and a ‘voice’. They also emphasise innovation to encourage new ways of delivering learning. LF spoke to four organisations whose first challenge is to teach communities why their girls will benefit from education, in the hope that they will eventually be given the coveted chance to sit in a classroom.


‘I want every girl, every child, to be educated’

Equality and empowerment CINTIA LAVANDERA Afghanistan programme manager, Womankind Worldwide HER VIEW

Afghanistan has long had one of the poorest education records in the world, with a low rate of school attendance and high levels of illiteracy. Between 1996 and 2001, under the Taliban, the educational situation got worse. The curriculum was restricted, schools were destroyed and Afghan women and girls were barred from every school, college and university. After the Taliban fell from power, an international effort to reconstruct the educational system followed. Record numbers of students enrolled in school, including the highest


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percentage of female students in decades. In Afghanistan today there is an education system again, and women and girls are part of it. But the quality of education is highly variable, school conditions are often poor, and nearly half a million girls who are enrolled in school do not regularly attend. Most girls will not get to university and even fewer will go on to have a career. However, I believe the outstanding work of women’s rights organisations and others will bring change. The biggest threat may be what happens when international troops withdraw in 2014. It is vital that women’s rights are at the heart of the peace process, or another generation of women may lose their right to learn. Education is a human right, so for us it’s about equality, empowering women and girls to claim their human rights alongside their fathers, brothers and sons. But there’s also a practical side, because women who have an education and skills are in a position to earn an income. In a country with epidemic levels of violence against women this means that they are less likely to

be dependent on an abusive husband or male relative. Having information about the law and their rights means they are also more likely to be able to negotiate marrying who they like when they’re ready, rather than being forced to marry when they are children. The Afghan Women’s Resource Centre provides practical education to girls and women who were forbidden to learn under the Taliban. Education is carried out through a community education centre, the STEP Institute in Kabul, which was set up in 2011. The specific project on skills development is co-funded by an individual donor and the UK Department for International Development. These courses allow women to learn in a safe environment, with a focus on vocational subjects including journalism, business skills and tailoring. They also teach literacy, civil and political rights, and women and family law. Afghanistan is a challenging context if you are working on women’s rights. While there has been some progress, human rights violations against women and girls continue to happen on a daily basis. Child marriage is still common. Discrimination and violence against women and girls is an everyday occurrence, including fatal attacks on women speaking out publicly for human rights.

Education is a human right, so for us it’s about equality, empowering girls to claim their human rights

Girls’ right to education SACHITRA CHITRAKAR Afghanistan development programme co-ordinator, Oxfam HER VIEW

I have been involved with distancelearning education in Afghanistan for the past 12 months. The distance-learning model is designed to bring quality education for girls and boys closer to home, enabling them to perform better and motivating them to complete higher grades. The programme is complemented by training teachers in gender sensitive education – making sure that teachers allow both boys and girls to participate in class – and raising community awareness of the merits of girls’ education. The Girls’ Right to Education in Afghanistan Through Innovative Distance Education Approach – the GREAT IDEA programme – is the only distance-learning project of its kind in Afghanistan. It provides an opportunity for quality education for girls via live telecast. So, how does it work? A teacher in a local television station in Kabul teaches a class in a specialist subject such as science or maths. This lesson is broadcast live into provincial classrooms, giving students access to lessons not available at their local school. After the telecast, teachers and pupils can prepare and ask questions of master teachers back in the studio by mobile phone. Programme organisers have also started considering the possibility of using tablet computers loaded CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ➧ MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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with educational apps as another part of the programme. Experiences are continuously evaluated and used to improve the communication modules. One particular challenge facing the programme is finding enough power to run it, because some of the areas in which the project operates have no mains electricity supply. In these areas, organisers and pupils depend on battery backup systems and solar power, which can be a bit of an issue itself on cloudy days. Then there is the cost of setting up all the equipment needed. This was a concern at the outset, but a partnership between Oxfam and local organisations has developed a cheaper distance learning model via tablet and micro projector. Initially, gaining community support for girls’ education was difficult, as parents were suspicious about the kind of programmes girls were viewing via live telecast. Now, however, we are pleased to say that there is a big demand from the community and the Provincial Education Department to continue the project.

Projects that change lives TONY MCALEAVY Education director, CfBT HIS VIEW

CfBT Education Trust has been awarded responsibility for work in Kenya that is intended to ensure that disadvantaged girls have a chance to go to school. It is part of the wider Girls’ Education Challenge, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Our project is called Wasichana 24

Wote Wasome, which is Kiswahili for ‘let all the girls read’. The project will start almost immediately and will run for three years. CfBT has been supporting education in Africa from its regional office in Nairobi for more than two decades, and manages all its African projects from there. Most disadvantaged girls are found in one of two areas, typically. The first is the slums of big cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa. In these urban slums there are often only a few government schools. Desperate parents are obliged to send their children to private schools and many children do not go to school at all – there is a disproportionate number of girls out of school.Those who do go to school often receive a very poor education. The other context is the remote rural areas where girls often face long and dangerous journeys to schools. Going to school is transformative, especially in low-income countries. School attendance increases the chances of success in later life in such key areas as income and health. Although the main beneficiaries are girls and women, boys and men will also benefit from an emphasis on the importance of school attendance and school quality. To achieve sustainable change it is necessary to change attitudes. In particular, we need to persuade parents that it is important to ensure that their daughters go to school. The barriers are complex: cultural, economic and practical. If we address these barriers we are confident that we can bring about lasting change. Projects like this change lives and we intend to reach out to nearly 100,000 girls. Our confidence in the likelihood of success is grounded in evidence and experience. In a previous project we know that we succeeded in empowering girls in Kenya so they were more likely to say no to unsafe sex and thereby reduce the chances of HIV-Aids infection.



Promoting social justice DOORTJE BRAEKEN Senior adviser, Nepal, International Planned Parenthood Foundation HER VIEW

Girls’ education is a core concern for everyone working to bring about long-lasting change for people around the world. It is a way to improve gender equality and support empowerment, but it goes much further than that. Education helps to break the cycle of poverty that is apparent through generations of families. For example, it helps families to earn a living and send their children to school instead of sending them off to work. In 2001, 15 out of every 100 people aged between 15 and 24 in developing countries were still


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illiterate. Things have changed since then. But, while there are now increasing numbers of girls attending school, they are still in a minority. A survey of governmental human rights reports showed that early marriage, pregnancy and unpaid work were the greatest obstacles preventing girls from attending school. This is where we can support young people in general, and girls in particular. We are working towards a world where choices are fully respected and where stigma and discrimination have no place. A big part of what we do is focused on empowering young people to express and assert their rights. We do this through programmes that support comprehensive sexuality education in Nepal. We were asked by the Ministry of Education to train more teachers. The scale of trying to train so many in a short period of time proved difficult. The main

The main obstacle to girls’ equality is the majority of people’s attitude towards sex and sexuality

obstacle, however, was the attitude of the majority of people in Nepal towards sex and sexuality. Girls often remain sheltered by their families, and are expected to maintain social norms about sexual morality. Unlike boys, they are not allowed to go out in the evenings; parents expect daughters to be home by sundown. Discriminatory practices against young women persist: ‘chaupadi’, a practice placing restrictions on girls during menstruation, is widespread. The level of enforcement varies, but

in the most extreme cases they are required to sleep outside the home. They may also be forbidden from touching food being prepared, entering the kitchen, and eating with the rest of the family. Girls frequently miss school when they are menstruating. Our work with and for young people promotes social justice and addresses gender and sexual norms. It is therefore essential that we are involved in education, creating opportunities to discuss these issues. The knowledge of all individuals’ equal value and rights can give young people the confidence to break traditional, destructive sexual behaviour, and instead enter relationships where sexuality is enjoyed on shared terms. When women do not receive a proper education or have educational parity with men, they do not gain skills, they are unable to advance academically, and their opportunity to make a significant economic impact – domestically, in community terms and nationally – is diminished. They are more likely to have more children and less likely to be able to earn sufficient money to support them. If they do receive a proper education, they learn higher level skills, have fewer children, earn more, and extend to their own children the educational opportunity that they themselves benefited from. These benefits of educating girls are recognised through national and global studies. Work around education, skills for life, peer education, tackling discrimination, adequate resources, and family support is a long term investment. This is about enabling girls and those around them to make the right choices for themselves. These are basic human rights. MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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heads “T

he thing about being brave is that it’s a kind of quiet activity,” says Allison Compton, the head teacher at Middleton Technology School in Manchester. But in September 2008, Allison was anything but quiet when she confronted a teenager who was wielding a knife outside her school, before chasing him when he ran away. Allison was outside school at the end of the day when a teenager approached, pulled out a large knife and started waving it around. He ran away from the school, towards a main road, still brandishing the knife. “I ran after him – there were about 300 children on the pavement,” says Allison. The teenager ran across the road and jumped on a bus. “I could see the bus was filled with elderly people and ladies with babies, and I thought ‘I can’t have these people subjected to this guy,’ so I got on the bus and ordered him off in my best head teacher voice.” The teen did as Allison said, pushing past her and running off. He was soon arrested. “I don’t think I did anything brave,” says Allison. “The thought just went through my mind ‘what if I get to the bottom of the road and one of my children is lying there stabbed?’ I couldn’t let that happen. I did what any head teacher would have done.” While tackling knife-wielding teenagers is, fortunately, a relatively rare occurrence for head teachers, bravery is actually a key attribute when it comes to successful leadership, says Dave Harris, the head teacher of Nottingham University Samworth Academy and the author of a new book on leadership, Brave Heads: how to lead a school without selling your soul. “There isn’t a lot of writing on bravery, which is why I wrote the book,” says Dave. 26

More than 50 per cent of the pupils at his school, a high-profile academy which opened in 2009, are eligible for free school meals, and Dave says he has certainly found his headship challenging at times. “When you work with children, there are no easy answers. This is the book that I wanted to read to help me at my toughest time.” Dave says he set out to write an honest book, one that doesn’t say heads need to be superheroes. Rather, bravery is standing up for what you think is right. A brave head, he says, will put children at the centre of everything they do. He or she is also someone who understands that running a school is a marathon, not a sprint. Identifying a long-term vision and having the courage to stick to it is a tough path to take, he says. “Bravery isn’t just about the short term, it’s about doing the right thing in the long term for the community.” Allison, who received a CBE for services to education in 2011, agrees. Middleton Technology School is in area of deprivation, but was named by Ofsted inspectors in 2009 as one of the 12 most outstanding secondary schools in the country. “Bravery is about always making things the best for your children.You have to challenge things that people don’t like to tackle, like complacency, difficult parents and underperforming staff. These things test your mettle,” says Allison. “But you have a responsibility to your community. Over a career you are responsible for many thousands of children’s lives – it’s a job that really has an impact on the future. I believe the key to a successful life is a good education and I will always go the extra mile for one of my children.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 29 ➧


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Real bravery is the domain of all committed school leaders, not just people in superhero costumes, discovers Fay Schopen


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Neglect is the most common form of child abuse The 1933 law on neglect is basic and out of date It doesn’t prevent neglect and leaves children at risk

Help us keep children safe Join our campaign to change the law Text neglect3 and your email address to 88080 or visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/neglectlawchange

Design by Dinah, 14, who has been supported by Action for Children services Text will cost your standard network charge. Providing your email address is optional. If you choose to text neglect to 88080 you are opting-in to receive further information about Action for Children by text message and email. Please contact 0300 123 2112 for further information.



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18/02/2013 11:21


Bravery in action Three head teachers who had the courage of their convictions Standing firm

Shaun Dellenty Alfred Salter School, London LF readers may remember reading Shaun’s story in last May’s issue of the magazine. He’s the deputy head who wanted to do something about the amount of homophobic language being used at his south London primary school, were he estimated that three quarters of the children were either hearing or using “gay” as a derogatory word. Shaun led a discussion about it at an assembly, led staff training and showed a Stonewall film. Since then, other schools have seen his success and come to him for advice. “They want to know how to get people on board,” he says. “Their biggest concern tends to be the reaction they may get. They ask ‘what happens if parents react badly? “There is often doubt, prejudice and misconception, but when people see that you’re doing it for the children, that attitude shifts.” Shaun has subsequently set up a charity, Inclusion for All, to help other schools tackle homophobia. His website (www.shaundellenty. com) offers a variety of resources, including video interviews of staff at his school talking about their experiences. “There’s nothing more powerful than teachers listening to other teachers,” he says. As well as giving talks and delivering teacher training in schools and universities, parts of Shaun’s story have been included in a play about a gay teacher; Hero was performed at the Royal Court theatre in London last year. The play was already in the works when the writers heard about what Shaun was doing and realised it was similar to their plot. When they contacted him, he invited them to the school, where the cast and crew led workshops with Shaun and the children. He told the

Ian Fenn Burnage Media Arts College, Manchester Ian Fenn hit the headlines late last year when he adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards mobile phones at his school for 11- to 16-year-old boys in inner Manchester. Phones, he says, are a major issue in schools, bringing with them a host of problems, including a lack of concentration in class and cyber bullying. “They were increasingly brought out in lessons with pupils sending texts, messaging and basically doing anything other than listening,” he says. After attempting a partial, unsuccessful ban on phones in class, Ian realised that a ‘complete and utter ban’ was the only way to go. “If you leave a grey area the boys will exploit it. They prefer rules to be black and white,” he says. If pupils are found with a phone on school premises, it is confiscated. If they refuse to hand it over, they are sent to Ian – and if they refuse to hand it to him, they are excluded and their parents are called in. There is a high degree of compliance, says Ian, with just a few phones a week handed in. The policy has had a hugely positive effect in class as well as cutting cyber bullying. Even so, Ian is bemused by the attention his zero-tolerance policy has brought, dismissing the idea that it was a brave move. “I don’t know why other schools don’t do it,” he says. “If I announce a policy, that’s what’s going to happen, and nothing’s going to change that. It was fairly obvious that mobile phones had to go, it’s logical. To me, bravery is where you’re doing something you’re not quite sure you can pull off.”


Tackling homophobia

writers that he was worried that he would always be labelled ‘the gay teacher’ – a line that made it into the finished play. “It was such an unexpected but wonderful experience,” he says. Subsequently, instances of homophobic bullying at his school have dropped to ‘almost nothing’. Other forms of bullying have also lessened and the school now devotes one training day a term to the issue to keep it fresh in people’s minds. “Staff needed to connect – and I was able to share my own experiences, and it personalised it and made it real for them,” says Shaun. He urged other gay school leaders to be more open about their sexuality, with the proviso that they had support from their head and others at the school. “I absolutely believe we need more open and diverse school leaders so they can provide role models,” he says.“I felt like I was letting the children down by not being a bit more obvious about the fact I’m gay. “It would have meant the world to me to have had a role model when I was at school. I’m shouting about it because I know other people are frightened of doing what I’m doing.”


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HAVE COURAGE Ian is about to embark on just such a quest: to ensure pupils are set – and do – homework regularly. He adds that, in his opinion, the bravest thing he has done was to trust his two deputies when they wanted to switch to a continental system of opening the school between 8.15am and 2.15pm. “I thought it was a very bad idea. However, because of the respect I have for my deputies, I agreed the policy,” says Ian. “It was a massive success. Trusting the courage of other people’s convictions – that’s much more brave than banning mobile phones.”

Going ‘Gangnam Style’ Xavier Bowers Mount Carmel RC High School London “Bravery is dancing when others expect you to lecture,” says Dave Harris in his book. He might not have meant it literally. But Xavier Bowers slipped on his dancing shoes last December, when he and his staff made a Gangnam Style parody video, posting it on YouTube and the school’s Facebook page. In the video, filmed in the school, teachers sing and dance to the popular song – with some staff appearing in the changing rooms dressed only in towels. It’s not the first spoof video Xavier and his team have made, although it’s the first one they’ve posted publicly. It’s a tradition that stems from that other popular end-of-term celebration, the pantomime, he says. “It reminds the children that we are normal human beings who have lives outside the school and a sense of humour. It helps build confidence and trust with our young people.” He admits the move was ‘risky’ but says the school had great fun making the video, which has now been viewed more than 35,000 times. Not everyone thought the video was a great idea, however. Xavier and his team were criticised by local Tory councillor Peter Britcliffe, who told a local newspaper that the spoof would undermine pupils’ respect for their teachers. The story went viral and was picked up by several national newspapers, ensuring Xavier’s phone 30

rang non-stop over New Year. “I was frustrated and quite angry, and ironically, exactly the opposite of [the criticisms] was the case. The video hugely enhanced our profile across the world, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive,” he says. The media storm taught Xavier a lesson, however. “You realise how vulnerable you are as a head teacher,” he says. “When we posted the video online there was euphoria among the staff, and I didn’t think that anybody would put a negative spin on it.” So would Xavier do something similar again? “I would,” he says. “I’m not put off, but I would be more prepared for the reaction next time.” He doesn’t think it was the bravest

thing he’s done, however. That accolade goes to the very tough decision he had to make in his second term as head at the school, when he decided to remove the head of maths from his post. The school had done badly in its Ofsted mathematics subject survey, and Xavier knew he had to act. The head of maths was replaced, although he remained at the school in a different post. “It was a major decision and this is my first headship. But we were vulnerable, and we needed to go back to basics. I’m delighted to say its all going well now.” Watch the video here: tinyurl. com/af3qdlj

SEVEN STEPS TO BEING BRAVE 1 Identify the bravest thing you have done this month. And then the stupidest. Work out why the brave one wasn’t stupid and why the stupid one wasn’t brave. 2 Write down which movie character would best match your leadership style, and why. 3 Identify an issue which will be helped by you showing your vulnerability. 4 Meet a selection of pupils every month for refreshments and a chat. Ask them what they are pleased with and what they wish was different about the school. 5 Embark on at least one new partnership with another school. 6 List three ways that you will give away your authority this term. 7 Ask a colleague to write a paragraph about your leadership. Highlight all the positives. Give yourself a bonus mark for every time they use the word ‘passion’.

Taken from Brave Heads: How to lead a school without selling your soul by Dave Harris, published by Independent Thinking Press, £18.99.


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y o u . . .

Encouraging Creative Readers and writers. Raising standards. Engaging learners Performances by Berlie Doherty & John Agard

Invites you to

I n v i t e s

Pie Corbett

Talk for Writing – Using Artefacts to create Stories & Poems Including creative games and interpreting Art to develop stories and poems in a historical context. Pie Corbett Inservice conference at the National Maritime Museum The inspirational, charismatic and creative Literacy educator Pie Corbett will explore with delegates developing Literacy Art and Artefacts.

Be quick to avoid disappointment

Date Tuesday 23rd April 2013 Venue National Maritime Museum, Leopold Muller Lecture Theatre. Cost £199.00 plus VAT (inclusive of lunch & refreshments) £184.00 plus VAT (without lunch, inclusive of refreshments)

B o o k s

Group bookings over 5 delegates: 10% discount

Limited places available

This exciting inservice conference aims to move schools towards excellence through developing teaching practice in literacy with the view to raise standards and attainment in literacy across the curriculum. ✩ By inspiring good teachers ✩ By developing comprehension ✩ By creating effective and versatile writers ✩ By extending vocabulary and use of imagery ✩ Supporting the improvement of classroom ✩ teaching and out of school learning


J u b i l e e

Booking form - simply fill in below, cut from magazine and post off to the address above. (Ms/Mrs/Miss/Mr) Forename: ________________________ Surname: _____________________________________ Position: ________________________________ School/organisation_________________________________________________________________________ _ Address: ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Postcode: _______________________ Tel: __________________________________________ Fax: ____________________________________________ Email: ______________________________________________________ Dietary requirements: Vegetarian:

☐ YES / ☐ NO / Other____________ Signed____________________________

ADDITIONAL DELEGATES? if so simply tick the box and we will email you further booking forms MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS


© National Maritime Museum LFO.03.13.031.indd 31

18/02/2013 11:23


Used, abused or falsely accused? NAHT Director of Representation and Advice Paul Whiteman reflects on the intense pressure members experience and the welcome support they can expect from the Association


fter 20 years or so of representing union members, first in retail banking, then senior managers in the NHS and – for the 10 years before joining the NAHT – senior civil servants, I thought I was past being shocked by the world of professionals at work. Then, last November, I was introduced to the work of senior leaders in the education system. Although many of the pressures that NAHT members face are common to other professionals, the education context adds a surprising level of complexity to the challenge. I recognised immediately the solid and committed public servants that I was familiar with. However, senior leaders in education have a frontline perspective that engenders a passion for giving children the best education and school experience possible that is truly inspiring. It is a testament to the dedication of the school leaders I have met that they are not jaded or cynical, but continue to respond and react to all that is thrown at them positively and, generally, with good humour. You cannot measure commitment and goodwill but, if you could, any debate about the salaries and conditions of service enjoyed by school leaders would grind to a halt. Likewise, I am yet to fathom how any school leader


continues to operate with any degree of confidence given the constant spectre of Ofsted inspections and their potential impact. It is not the inspection itself – most of us agree an inspection regime is essential – but what may follow. Sharks begin to circle as a school is inspected. If your school happens to need improvement, they bite. It does not seem to matter what issues have already been identified by the leadership team, what measures have already been put in place to improve the school or – most perversely – the progress being made by the team prior to inspection. The need for a head to roll to satisfy the media machine and local and national political back-biting becomes irresistible. Too many accomplished school leaders have been lost to schools that were already dealing with their issues. The prospect of forced academisation weighs heavy too. The NAHT will support school leaders considering academisation where they believe it is right for their school’s situation and where they are doing it voluntarily. But many leaders do not think that an academy is the right answer for their school; the NAHT will assist heads in this position to resist forced academisation. As one of the larger areas of national expenditure, education will always be at the political forefront. This creates opportunities for the political battlefields of local


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Sharks begin to circle as a school is inspected. If your school needs improvement, they bite, even if leaders already have plans in place to improve matters government and Westminster alike. As such, school leaders wrestle everyday with changing policy demands, restricted budgets and even direct political interference. The industrial relations climate in schools is strained. Leadership teams are faced with industrial action by the NUT and NASUWT as a dispute between those unions and the Secretary of State for education plays out. That dispute has nothing to do with the relationship between the leadership team and the teaching staff, but has the potential to sour local relationships for a long time to come if leadership teams do not react proportionately to

the challenges faced – especially as they cannot provide the solution. Failing to do so will undoubtedly result in a poorer education experience for children. The NAHT has published two pieces of advice to members on how to manage this situation, and Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary, has written to all members. Most schools remain able to steer a path though the continuing difficulty. Some have been targeted for increased action by the teaching unions, so we have advised members at these schools on how to look after their professional and personal interests as that takes place. And, if balancing all of the above external pressures is not enough, there is the day job to do as well. Creating and mentoring a good team in an educational environment is not easy. Delivering and developing teaching techniques is demanding. Complying with the desires of the governing body and meeting the requirements of statute and the expectations of parents requires skill, expertise and diplomacy. Get it right and the most important part of the equation, the pupils, will eventually, appreciate your efforts. It’s important to remember that the NAHT can help. Our representation and advice team supports the NAHT CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 ➧ MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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Call the NAHT


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REPRESENTATION & ADVICE membership across a wide range of issues. It’s not just about helping when people are in trouble, but also about offering specialist advice on the whole range of professional issues faced by school leaders every day, whether that’s a difficult decision regarding the exclusion of a child or a challenging situation that has arisen with the governing body. By the time members contact us, the issues are usually quite complex. Although individual case work is only part of our role, it is the aspect most keenly felt and appreciated by members. With more than a thousand open cases at the moment, the team is busy covering a whole range of issues from members facing everything from capability proceedings and disciplinary action to grievance and personal injury issues. In addition, regulation and the law have always featured heavily in education and employment. The influence of both continues to grow. Our legal team of two solicitors and two assistants provides legal input to support the assistance provided to members by our regional and advice officers. The legal team will also advise on the merits of potential claims and, where the NAHT determines that a claim has good prospects of succeeding and that a legal remedy is appropriate, will pursue cases on behalf of members. A word of caution here, though: thankfully the need to resort to the law is less frequent than most press coverage would have you believe, while the large amounts of money won in compensation are extremely rare, despite reports. The whole legal process is draining and even winning rarely produces the sense of justice or satisfaction that members desire.Very many members want legal action at time of trouble and in the majority of cases such an approach is not appropriate. Indeed, it is often counterproductive.

The team is busy covering a whole range of issues from members facing everything from capability proceedings to grievance and personal injury

The Representation and Advice team are strong advocates on behalf of members and can table thump with the very best. But helping keep school leaders’ careers intact during and following difficult times is often a more subtle task than the law can cater for. The challenge for the future is to continue to deliver quality support and advice to members under ever increasing pressure. The fragmentation of education, the decentralisation of employers and the ever-changing educational backdrop, taken together with an increasing void in support for leaders from local authorities and the DfE means that school leaders are approaching their union and professional association more and more. We are therefore reviewing what we do and how we do it to ensure that members can access what they need when they need it. But if there is one piece of advice I could give to members it would be this: if you are used, abused or falsely accused, contact the NAHT as soon as possible – don’t let things run on without taking advice. That will provide time for you to receive advice and act upon it. It might save your skin.





1,000+ 28,000+

The number of solicitors, supported by two further legal assistants, employed by the NAHT to help members with legal problems.

The number of specialist assistants who deal with issues initially before referring them to an advisor or regional officer to follow up, if necessary.


The number of regional officers. They are the local face of the Association, covering all local education authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They advise and represent members individually and collectively, negotiate and interact with employers and authorities, and support the structure of the union.


The NAHT advice line receives between 200 and 250 calls a week from members.

Number of cases open at the moment.

Number of NAHT members who are supported by the advice team.

0300 30 30 333 The number to call if you need professional help or advice related to your job. The NAHT helpline is open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday. When you get through, press ‘one’ for professional advice.


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Accept Visa payments to make your life easier. It’s quicker than banking a cheque and better for cash flow as funds are usually received within 2-4 business days. It also offers parents more payment choice and flexibility, allowing them to pay in person, over the phone or online 24/7. So to make payments for school fees, uniforms, trips or clubs easier for everyone, swot up on how Visa could help you and your school. To find out how your school can accept Visa, visit visa.co.uk/schools

Life flows better with Visa


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10 behaviour

steps to improve

Good behaviour requires a strategy, consistent application of rules and everyone working together, says teacher, author and trainer Tom Bennett


aving trained teachers, schools and management teams in behaviour for the past five years, I have found that they often have something in common: the belief that someone else is responsible for dealing with misbehaviour. This is odd, because it’s everyone’s responsibility. In fact, not only is it best tackled by everyone, it is impossible for it to be tackled effectively in any other way. Disruptive behaviour is a widespread problem and many of the teachers that I advise say they are unable to access the school’s support and they feel isolated as a result. I’ve seen teachers give up after a few weeks of good intentions, exhausted by their misunderstanding that behaviour management is a sprint not a marathon. I’ve also seen lazy teachers, scared teachers and teachers who make the mistake of trying to be the pupils’ friends first and their teacher second. I also know there are many things that drive teachers mad. Not least is senior staff undermining the attempts of staff to set boundaries. Part of the problem is that it’s easy to be the pupils’ big pal, to go for the easy relationship of banter, smiles and cheery good mornings. It is far harder to stand up to pupils when they need a little steel. This is perfectly exemplified by the teacher who, told by a pupil to ‘f*** off ’, calls for support. The pupil is removed by the head, who then proceeds to take the pupil to their office for a friendly chat, coffee and biscuits. Five minutes later the


pupil is brought back to the class, covered in crumbs and sympathy. “Danny’s ready to come back to the class now,” says the jolly school leader. The teacher is now a laughing stock, because it was easier for the head to play ‘good cop’ than require Danny to face up to his mistake. If the offence has not been directed to you, it is easy to be more concerned with smoothing over situations than actually resolving them. In this example, nothing has been resolved. In fact, it’s been made worse. A second issue is school support systems that only happen on paper. One of the teacher’s greatest strategies in the classroom is relentlessness; applying the behaviour code with fairness and vigour. Eventually, the children realise that they can rely upon the teacher to be consistent and firm. But a problem occurs when the teacher needs the school to support their classroom structures, for example, when the pupil wriggles out of detention, or re-offends repeatedly, or an escalation is required. This is when the school can do most good, or harm. They can enforce and insist upon greater measures, or they can lose their nerve or vigour. In this instance, the system falls apart. Worse, the pupil learns a greater lesson: if they defy persistently, then nothing will happen. Once this idea gains strength, a rot sets into the school, as students realise that defiance en masse cannot be contained. Something that also frustrates teachers is being treated as a ‘bad teacher’ because they have behaviour problems in their


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“Good behaviour in a school is not an afterthought; it is perpetual labour. It is ‘item one’ on the school agenda and it can never be assumed” class. If a teacher is reporting and referring many problems, it might be because they are efficient administrators rather than weak on behaviour. I once heard a senior staff member describe a new teacher as ‘failing’ because of how often she communicated issues in the classroom. She was reprimanded for this, and a solution was found quickly: she stopped reporting trouble. Instead, she let it seethe, unreported, in the classroom. Not surprisingly, she left at the end of the year for a school that supported teachers rather than clobbering them for being professional. A further bone of contention for teachers is ‘invisible senior staff ’. Public spaces in a school are contested territories. Ungoverned by staff, they become governed by students. If you are fortunate, they will rule wisely and kindly. Good luck with that. School leaders should also bear in mind that from a

teachers’ perspective, the head’s position is characterised by power and efficacy, yet only a head can understand the curious powerlessness of command and the realisation that nothing happens without the staff ’s compliance. As a result, the starting point for most schools is that teachers must face up to the responsibility to run their rooms in good order, with rules, sanctions and rewards. If their efforts are no longer effective, then the head and other members of the senior leadership team must step in to reinforce their authority. School leaders also need to ensure that the classroom teacher knows what must be done in order to promote good behaviour. This may require training for the staff involved and it must be promoted to the children – ensuring that the message is consistent and repeated until the expectations are assumed and implicit in everything they do. Furthermore, the head has to revisit and reinforce this for as long as they have a job, because this never stops. Good behaviour in school is not an afterthought; it is a perpetual labour. It is ‘item one’ on the school agenda and it can never be assumed. It must be created continually or, sooner or later, it will cease to exist. Here are 10 things that head teachers can do to help their teams to manage behaviour... CONTINUED ON PAGE 38 ➧


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Be visible Every time I ask what a teacher wants from their senior leadership team, the resounding answer is: “I want to see them.” So do the children. More, they need to see the head teacher. They need to see that every nook and cranny is part of his or her kingdom. There can be no no-go zones for a head teacher.


Support for the teacher as a default position when in front of students The temptation to be Solomon in a dispute is enormous. It is true that teachers sometimes err, but the children need to see unity from the staff. If they know that they can play one against another, they will exploit it. Investigations, if they need to be done, should be done behind closed doors, and apologies made, if necessary, in public. Until then, assume that staff are telling the truth, and working for the good of the school.


Remember that new teachers do not exist within the same school as you As a school leader, you have a fluid timetable, with time to plan, follow up and recharge between the emotional cage-fight of a charged lesson. You also have status and the authority to dispense tough justice. The new teacher does not. I have seen heads describe their school’s behaviour as excellent, while all around them their staff battle monsters and go home weeping.


Develop a behaviour policy that applies to everyone, then stick to it as if an ‘Outstanding’ depended on it If children know what to expect in every lesson, and what sanctions and rewards they will accrue, then the teaching body supports itself. But if every teacher, department and faculty runs differently, and with differing severity and resolution, then children learn that rules only apply sometimes.


Make behaviour a focus, not merely an afterthought Good behaviour isn’t something to be tackled by delicious new initiatives in teaching and learning, Solo hexagons and PowerPoint at management meetings. Behaviour is tackled on the ground. Let every staff member know where they stand. Let every child know that the school is ruled by law and love. Talk about it constantly.


Focus on ‘behaviour leaders’ A tiny minority of children will, if left unchecked, set the standard for behaviour in the school. They will be persistent and they will exhaust you. Do not ignore them. Do not let them become role models for others, who will assume their behaviour is normal if no consequences ensue. And don’t let staff see that these pupils can persist in their behaviour. It will often mean removing them from classes until they can be mentored back into the community.



Streamline the behaviour code so that everyone can remember it clearly If it can’t be summarised in 10 sentences, it’s too much for staff and students to remember easily. It’s a template that worked for the 10 Commandments and it also works for schools.


Inclusion is a fine thing, but mustn’t be made a fetish Some children need to be removed from the mainstream, for their own good. This isn’t a failure; it’s a victory for everyone. They can receive the provision they need and the other children can learn unencumbered. It is very easy to cast unrepentant children back into classes. You may never see them again, but to the teacher it is a life sentence. To the child it is the most harmful piece of kindness they will ever receive. Dare to remove, even to the point of permanency. This is because the more certain the children see the consequence system in a school, the better. Detentions, punishments and the like are aimed at their own extinction. Applied properly and rigidly, their frequency fades. Applied foolishly, or inconstantly, they recur. Most of the schools that struggle with behaviour use their behaviour codes half-heartedly – and sometimes not at all – depending on whether the head is tired, feeling kind, or moved by the plea of the accused.


Be the change you wish to see in the school If the rule is no earphones, and you have a nice chat with a pupil wearing them, then you have tacitly suggested that you don’t care, or you sanction it. So why should anyone do otherwise? You have enormous power as a role model. And with great powers comes great responsibility. As you proceed, so others will follow. So it is with greater importance that you live the rules you claim to support.


If you expect a behaviour from your staff, then you must insist upon it You cannot police the school by yourself. Only the whole staff body can do that. So it follows that they need to be directed towards this noble end. Some will require extra direction: ask them why they didn’t get all the children to tuck their shirts in, for example, or why they didn’t send a pupil out. Most teachers want this more than you suspect. Just as the kids are waiting for their teachers to maintain order, so teachers look to the head to set the tone of a school. As you know, this isn’t a job where you court popularity – uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The post requires the energy of a star, and the will of Oliver Cromwell. Good behaviour only happens when we make it happen. And the head is the heart of it. Tom Bennett is a full-time teacher in inner-city schools. He runs the TES behaviour advice forum, writes for the TES regularly and trains teachers across the UK. He is the author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher.


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Recycle your magazine and seven days later it could come back as your newspaper.

The possibilities are endless.


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As a past and future head teacher and current HMI, Janet Thompson knows what Ofsted is looking for when it comes to SEND, reports Steve Smethurst



here can be no buts.” That’s the blunt message from Janet Thompson, Ofsted HMI and national adviser for SEND. It comes as she prepares to step down from the inspection body and return to headship this September in order to put theory into practice. “I can’t say this often enough: Ofsted doesn’t want to hear ‘ah, but’,” she says. “It has to be ‘ah, yes.’ And what you absolutely do not want to hear is: ‘Well, what can you expect from them?’ when referring to any students.” After 10 years with the inspection body, Janet has little patience with excuses: she wants to see a widespread raising of aspirations and expectations for SEND students. “Raising aspirations is absolutely crucial,” she says. “But my big message for senior leadership teams is that it’s about doing better for everyone. “Inspection is primarily about evaluating how well individual pupils benefit from their school. We test schools’ response to individual needs by observing how well they help all pupils to make progress and fulfil their potential.” What Ofsted is looking for, she says, is ‘expected progress’, which will take into account starting points. She urges

LF readers to look at the gap between SEND and non-SEND in their school – for example, whether there are attainment and progress gaps. “We expect rigorous moderation of the assessment of pupils’ attainment levels and target setting,” she says. “We also expect effective support arrangements to show that the rate of progress has increased and that the gap is narrowing. “Plus, regular review of the quality of support arrangements with respect to pupil outcomes, and changes made where they are not effective.” Support arrangements have come in for a lot of criticism (see box, page 43) and Janet has seen many examples where there is room for improvement. “We don’t want to hear a teacher say ‘Oh, that’s her group,’ when referring to a teaching assistant. “The teacher has to be aware of what’s going on. It’s part of the teacher’s job to monitor the effectiveness of the other adults. “I saw one adult recently acting as a scribe to a group of Year Five students, but she was doing the writing upside down from the children’s perspective. It’s little things like that. “What we also often see is teachers introducing a concept and other adults interpreting for SEND – but those who struggle to grasp concepts need to

be working with the most able teachers. What we don’t want to see is the weakest teachers working with the weakest students. Ofsted will not be impressed.” There is big difference between being busy and actually learning, she adds. “They may be on task and engaged, but are they learning? “Reading, writing and maths are the key to inspections. But how often do you go into lessons and listen to conversations between support staff and students? “As you listen to the dialogue, [ask yourself] are they being taught how to learn or how to complete a task?” She advises that teachers should have a thorough and detailed knowledge of all their students’ abilities and needs, and that students should look to the teacher for their main learning and to the support staff for ‘informed support’. In one school, a Senco who had worked on levels and learning styles tracked five students across all their lessons to see if the work was being used. She found that around half the teachers used these strategies, and the other half didn’t. “You need to check and see if they are being used and dip into sessions. If they are not being used, why not?” CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 ➧


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SPECIAL NEEDS Another of her concerns is with alternative provision. “All too often I go into schools and children are fitted in to provision, but provision needs to be adapted to individual needs and you need to know what those needs are. “You need to ask whether the provision is being suited to the provider or the student. Does it happen on a Tuesday afternoon because that’s when it’s available? “Where it often falls down is when students miss important learning and have to catch up, and their behaviour deteriorates as a result. The provision might fill an important gap, but is it causing other problems?” Another element she highlights is the lesson plan. “Does everything happen in accordance to the plan? Does the teacher stick to it no matter what? Teachers must follow the learning. No one will condemn you if you swap groups around if the plan isn’t working – responding to the learning is key.

“You need to ask if the provision is being suited to the provider or the student. Does it happen on a Tuesday afternoon because that’s when it’s available?” “Widen your eyes to what intervention is about. It could be grouping of children, it could be more adults in the room. It’s about what you do differently, and checking that it’s working. “There’s also this great myth that Ofsted wants pace... but pace needs to be adapted to each student.” She also warns that any data presented to inspectors needs to be backed up by what they see in classrooms and in work. Her final two points are simple. “We want to see an emphasis on meaningful qualifications. It’s no good collecting accreditation at low levels just to boost points. Often, if students

had concentrated on fewer, they could have achieved more. “We’re also suspicious of labels.You might be told someone has an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), but has anyone looked beyond this label? One ASD child is not the same as another.” But as some NAHT members know too well, not all inspectors are created equal. Janet says that inspectors are trained to look at all these factors, but if they find something that concerns them more, they may focus more on that. “Ultimately, as a school leader, you need to have robust evaluation in place. It’s your job. Never mind the inspector, this is your day-to-day life.”



“Two years ago, the Government wanted to enhance outcomes for SEND students and give parents confidence that their children would leave schools ready for life,” says Andre Imich, SEN and disability professional adviser at the DfE. “The changes they wanted to see included better information for parents and a sharper focus on life outcomes, not endless debates on X minutes for this and X minutes for that. “Can they read and write? That’s where the focus should be.” The main focus of the changes stems from the 2011 Green Paper Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability, which is now draft legislation and is due to be implemented in September 2014. There are already 20 pathfinders across 31 local authorities which, with their health sector partners, are testing out the key reforms. These include Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) replacing Learning Difficulty Assessments and Statements. Andre says: “Historically, there has not been much dialogue between education, health and social care, but we need a shared perspective about the needs of the child and their family. This will put parents at the centre of things, ensuring they’re listened to and avoiding the need for them to repeat themselves endlessly.” Post-16, young people can also express a preference for sixth-form college or further education, and can appeal to a tribunal if dissatisfied with elements of the EHCP. Personal budgets will also present a challenge as parents will have a right to know what support costs, and may even want a say in recruitment. But of all these changes, says Andre, the most important aspect remains: “Outcomes, outcomes, outcomes.”



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‘A FUNDAMENTAL RETHINK OF TEACHING ASSISTANTS IS REQUIRED’ It’s hard to overplay the significance of school support staff. Teaching assistant and higher-level teaching assistant (TA/HLTA) numbers have tripled over the past 10 years. A quarter of the English school workforce is a TA, with the proportion rising to one in three in Wales. Furthermore, 43 per cent of pupil premium money is being used to fund new or existing TA/HLTAs in primary schools. The status quo exists because of an assumption that support staff help to raise pupil standards. However, some studies, such as the five-year deployment and impact of support staff project (DISS), have cast doubt upon that assumption. The DISS report found a significant negative effect from TA support in both English and maths in almost all of Years 1-10. The report’s authors, which include Peter Blatchford and Rob Webster of the Institute for Education, University of London, are at pains to stress that this is not the fault of TAs, but of organisational, structural and situational factors over which TAs have little control. Indeed, many work extra hours unpaid. They also add that it’s unrealistic to expect TAs to be as effective as teachers without the same professional development and pay. They have a clear message for heads: “Addressing TA deployment is a school leadership issue. A fundamental rethink is required if schools are going to get the best use from their TAs, and help pupils.” One of their main assertions is that TAs should not routinely support lower-attaining and SEND pupils. Problems also occur when TAs are given an ill-defined remedial role.

Among the report’s headline findings are: • 75 per cent of teachers have no allocated planning or feedback time with TAs (95 per cent for secondary teachers). As a result, many TAs are under-prepared and tend to rely too heavily on the teacher’s talk for content and instructions. • 75 per cent of teachers have no training in how to work with or manage TAs, yet 55 per cent train support staff. • 59 per cent of TAs are only educated to GCSE level. The report also found that when TAs talked to pupils, explanations were sometimes inaccurate or confusing, that TAs were more likely to prompt pupils, and that they more frequently supplied pupils with answers. They were also more concerned with task completion. The authors advise that TAs should be taught to ask open questions, offer case studies, record answers, model the use of equipment and do experiments in class. Although, obviously, this requires more liaison with class teachers. Some schools have addressed the problem by adjusting TAs’ working hours so that they start and finish earlier. This allows more time for talking to teachers, by using assembly time, for example. Other schools have allowed TAs to join teachers for their PPA time. • With special thanks to Nasen’s Leadership Conference 2013, held in January (www.nasen.org.uk) • The Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project was funded by the DCSF and Welsh Assembly • The May/June edition of LF will feature a review of the NAHT SEND Conference 2013, being held in Nottingham. For advice on SEND and Ofsted, visit www.naht.org.uk


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US chemistry teachers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann issue a challenge to school leaders: it’s time to rethink the teaching experience. By Steve Smethurst

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“Flipped learning is a stepping stone on the journey from being a spoon-fed student to becoming an independent learner”



aron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann are about to meet their audience at the Bett education technology show in London. They are introduced with some fanfare. “How often does a teacher walk into a classroom to be faced by a group of students at the expected level; a group of high achievers; and a group of students who struggle with the information presented to them?” booms the event’s compere. “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to teach them with true differentiation and delivery, allowing the three groups to progress at their own pace? Also, how much of the teacher’s time is used in engaged, informed discussion about the topic and applying knowledge, rather than just transferring facts? Does the teacher really have the chance to focus on individuals and give them the one-to-one attention required for them to succeed? This is what the flippedlearning endeavour is all about.” Aaron and Jon, a pair of chemistry teachers from Colorado, then take to the stage. Over the past few years, they have become closely associated with the concept of ‘flipped learning’, which rethinks traditional teaching. Although, as Aaron is at pains to stress: “We are not really experts in anything other than the fact that we are teachers and we try to do what is best for kids.”

Their experiments began in 2006 when they grew frustrated by the number of students forced to miss their lessons due to sports commitments.Their answer: video the classes so that students could watch later via DVD, memory stick or online. This approach worked well enough as a catch-up, but it also got them wondering whether their students needed to be in the classroom at all, before starting to question the best use of face-to-face class time. As science teachers they wanted their students to be doing science rather than just being told about it. “In those days, the classroom was centred around me,” Aaron says. “I told them exactly what to learn, how to learn it, what assignments to do to learn it and even when to learn – and then I told them how to prove to me that they’d learned it.” The flipped-learning approach begins by taking the direct instruction teachers do in class and recording it using a video camera or webcam. Students then do the learning at home and apply that learning in the classroom. Aaron concedes that this isn’t exactly Earth shattering. “It is simply a recorded lesson – a worksheet that is delivered in a different space to where it used to be. There is nothing revolutionary about lectures and worksheets.” What it is, however, is a stepping stone on the journey from being a spoon-fed student to becoming an independent learner. Jon quotes a teaching colleague from



“We walk around the room and say: ‘have you got your notes from the video?’ and we check their notes on paper,” Jon says. “If they didn’t watch it, why not? We tell them they’ve ‘lost points’ and send them to the back where there are two old computers. They put headphones on and watch while everyone else does other things in class. That solves the problem. They learn quickly that it is easier to watch the video the night before instead of doing it in class.” Aaron adds that a colleague has invested in his webpage and incorporated a form students have to fill in. They must answer a short multiple-choice questionnaire and then answer an open-ended question about the video. “He knows when they watch and how much they watch. Also whether they understood, based on their responses. He then customises the class based on the responses of his students.”


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San Francisco who characterised flipped learning as “removing direct instruction from a group-learning space into the individual-learning space.” However, videos, for all their benefits, are not best suited to evaluation and analysis. What they are good for is understanding and remembering. “So, the classroom is where you focus on the upper levels of Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning [see right]. This is the traditional model of flipped learning,” says Jon. Aaron, meanwhile, takes a more top-down approach in the classroom. “I want my students creating – and evaluating what they create – constantly. When they get stuck, I have them tap down to the lower levels of Bloom’s. Through my flipped classroom experience, I’ve got an archive of all my instruction for all my future classes available. I can send that to my students anytime, anywhere, so when they need it, I say: ‘go here and access’.” He relates the story of a student who wanted to use a solar panel to charge her mobile phone. She had all the parts she needed, but was confused about how chemical energy was changed into electrical energy. As Aaron had videos on the subject, she was able to watch them and learn. “She was operating in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, creating a project, and when she got stuck I sent her down to the bottom. As soon as she had access to the information, she was straight back to the top. So, there are two different ways to approach it,” he explains.

From Mastery Learning to UDL Their next step was ‘mastery learning’ – another term coined by Benjamin Bloom. The US educational psychologist reasoned that if students had to master each learning unit before moving on, it would reduce the achievement gaps between groups of students. The teachers adopted this approach. When students got to the end of a unit, they took a test. If they didn’t get at least 75 per cent right, they had to retake it until they did. This worked well for most students, but some eventually reached a plateau and couldn’t hit the mark no matter what.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY GO TO UNIVERSITY? A common criticism from high school teachers is that when students move on to college or university they are not going to experience anything like flipped learning or universal design for learning. They may be in a 200-seat lecture hall and when given tests they are expected to take it and pass. “I can’t deny it. That is a risk,” says Jon. “But there are professors out there who are trying to change the mould. “Let’s be honest, there are lots of children who are not being successful in our system, and we have got to try something different. So I would encourage everyone to take the risk and try these things.”



Aaron says: “I was really sensitive to the fact that some of my students were trying hard and not succeeding. It was at that point I learned about something called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). One of its main points is that students need multiple ways to learn a particular topic. “At the same time, my students were saying to me: ‘Can I just read a text book? Can I watch your video? Can I watch somebody else’s video? Can I look it up online?’ Ultimately, I don’t care how they learn it and I will go out of my way to provide the resources that they need.” Another UDL point is that students should be able to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Traditionally, this has been through the test. Aaron says: “Tests work for those who are good at regurgitating what they’ve learned, but is that truly a good way to assess what they are learning? We gave our students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding in any way that they wanted to.” Students retained the option of taking the test, which most did. “That was the system they grew up with, but there was always a segment of my students, perhaps as many as 25 per cent, which thought tests were stupid. So I gave them other opportunities: art projects, music, writing stories, creating graphic novels – all sorts of creative ways that they could prove to me their understanding of chemistry.” He was ‘blown away’ by the results. “Every time I saw a student bringing in a project I got excited. It was wonderful to see how creative they were.Those few tenets of UDL transformed the way I interacted with my students and I could do that because I was not so tied to my content. I just had it archived and available to students when they needed it.” Aaron says that it transformed his practice as a teacher. “It’s what finally got me to project-based learning, which was something that I have always really wanted to do, but I had no idea how to do it because I had to teach the students content and they would be assessed on it.” Jon issues a challenge to school leaders: “Those of you in leadership positions: I would encourage you to flip your staff


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YOU CAN’T INTERACT WITH A VIDEO Watching videos presents a problem. You can’t interact; you can’t raise your hand and ask a question. The Colorado teachers compensate for this. “We talk to every student in every class every day,” says Jon. “Before, there would be 30 children in class. But how many were actually engaged with me? Let’s be honest, it was a conversation not with 30 kids but around seven – the seven kids who were interested and going ‘Ooh, ooh, Mr Bergmann, I know the answer.’ “There were many students who would walk in, sit down, take notes and walk out. I did not talk to them, they did not ask a question. “Now, I go into class and they all interact with me, every day. There is no place for them to hide. It is also not threatening because they are just talking to me by themselves or in a small group.”

meetings. I’ve lost count of the number of meetings where a principal tells me things that could have been said in an email. I would ask you as school leaders: what is the best use of your face-to-face time with your faculty? What could you be doing with them? You could be holding engaging conversations about meaningful topics that will have an impact on teaching and learning.” So, is flipped learning the answer to all the woes of education? No, say the pair. However, if you want your staff to become enquiry-driven, problem-solving teachers of the future, this may be a way to push them in that direction. This journey, the one that Aaron, Jon and thousands of other teachers are taking, is the template. “A few years ago, this was some crazy fringe thing but the fact that I am standing here at Bett and I have presented this same topic in the United States for the past five years tells me that this is something that is catching on,” says Jon. “When we started there was very little quality content in

ESHA LENDS ITS SUPPORT TO FLIPPED LEARNING The European School Heads Association is also encouraging schools to adopt flipped learning. “Flipping Classrooms empowers teachers to be more interactive and focus on the application of knowledge, mentor them directly and it frees up class time for more open ended creative things. This is where the teachers can be at their best; guide students to solve open ended, more creative projects,” a spokesman says.

eshacommunity.wikispaces.com/ Flipping+Classrooms


Create Evaluate Analyse Apply Understand Remember the chemistry field so we made our own videos. That is not true today.You could use YouTube and TedEd, to name just two, although I think it is best practice if a teacher makes their own videos, as it maximises and enhances the relationship between student and teacher. “It’s the kind of process that starts small and grows.You can flip a lesson, a chapter, a unit, a whole class, a whole department or even a whole school.” Jon believes that we are in an exciting period of change. “We are moving from a teacher-centred classroom to the learner-centred, problem-solving classroom,” he says. Aaron agrees. “Students are more engaged in my class now that technology has allowed me to flip the classroom,” he says. “I have virtually no Ds. Ds have become Cs, Cs have become Bs, and Bs have become As. Student engagement has massively increased. “They are excited about learning now, and it’s brilliant, as you Brits say, to see those light bulb ‘ah-ha’ moments when students are working in a collaborative way.” Further information: flippedlearning.org flippedclassroom.org MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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The latest products, books and teaching resources Global Glob G lo obal co conne connections onnecttio ons o ns

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Thee B British ritiish Council Co oun ncil hass recently reeceentlyy relaunched rela aun nch hed Co Connecting onn neccting Classrooms Classsro oom ms in p partnership arrtneersh hip p with wiith thee Department Dep parttmeent forr Inter International rnattion nal De Development. evelop pmeentt. Itt is an education educaatio on programme pro oggraammee for fo or schools scho ooll that tha hat iss designed desig d s gn need to to help hel elp young yo ou un ngg people pe peo op plee learn lea earn n about abo bou utt global gl glo oball issu issues suees and a b become eco ec om me responsible res esp po onsible s b e cit citizens, c tize zen nss and an and to o develop d elo devel op the t skills kill i needed eed ded ed to t work o k in a global o a eeconomy. n my my. It offers f s school c o partnerships, ar n s p professional po s o a d development e opm n courses cou ourrsess for or teachers, te teach cheerrs, accreditation acccred edita tatio ion tthrough hro ou uggh tthe h hee Int International nteernat ation onal a Sc Sch School ho oo ol A Award w waarrd and nd th the he chance cha han ncce to to share sh haaree best bes est practice prracctic t ce with witth international in ntteerna nattio on naal co counterparts. oun untteerpa parrts Schools Sch cho oo olls can can find fiin nd partners paartn p tneerss in in a wide wid de variety vaarriety e y of of countries, co ountr tries es, including in incl clu udin d ng Sri Sri r Lanka, Lan ankka, Bangladesh, Ban B nglaad deesh h, N Nigeria, igeeria ia, Ghana, Ghan G na, Palestine PPalesttinee and an nd Sierra SSieerraa Leone. Le Leon ne. www.britishcouncil.org/connectingclassrooms g g

By Nikki Giant and Rachel Beddoe Jessica Kingsley Publishers £19.99

This is a handy teaching h resource aimed at preventing girl bullying. It does this by addressing the underlying causes and by steering girls into becoming ‘strong, positive individuals’. The bullying often stems from poor self-awareness, low self-esteem and lack of relationship skills. As such, the complex dynamics of friendship can be difficult to unravel and bullying can result. The second half of the book includes more than 60 triedand-tested activities designed to help girls understand their needs, values, beliefs and influences as drivers for their behaviour.

SSay Sa ay yes yes to to making makingg learning leearn ningg relevant reelevvant Th The he Yes Yess Programme Prrogram mme is a learning leaarningg resource res sou urcee p pitched itched d aatt KS2. KS2. It draws draaws on on a vvariety arietyy of of contributors con ntrib buttorss to o show sh how w the th he relevance releevancee of classroom classsro oom m learning leearn nin to th to the the world w wo orld ld of of work. wo worrkk. There There e e are arre 90 90 career-related career a e -related ellated a ed fil films ffilms, lm including iin ncclu lud dingg drummer d dru um mm meer Yussef Yu usssef ef using us using ng fractions, fr frac acttions o s referee refeereee Payam ref Payaam Pay explaining exp xplai lain nin ng tthe h hee difference diffe d feren ence ce between be bettw weeeen fact faact and d opinion, opinion op n o Rowan Rowan Ro n the he computer com omp pu ute t games a e designer d s n r using s g simple i p algebra, g b and n R Rebecca b c thee radiographer a o r p r describing ec b g how ow w sshe hee uses h us usees magnets. maaggn m neetss. Each Eac ach h short sh ho orrt video vide deo iss accompanied acccco om mp paan nieed by lesson les essson sheets sh heets t outlining out utlin ining ng classroom cl class ssroo oom discussions discu d cusssion ons and an nd d ot other oth heer activ activities. t viti i iees.. Th The The Yes Y Yeess Programme Pr Pro oggram amme me is i available ava vailab l ble le on on subscription, su ub bscr cript ption on, p priced ri ricceed at a ££1. £1.35 .355 per peer pupil. p pu up pil. www.yesprogramme.co.uk y p g

School-based Teacher Training By Elizabeth White and Joy Jarvis Sage Publications £24.99



This book should prove very useful for teaching schools – primary and secondary – and anyone interested in initial teacher training. It covers topics such as strategies for coaching and mentoring trainee teachers and how to develop your own identity as a teacher educator. It also contains case studies, models of successful teaching and suggested activities. One particularly useful chapter looks at how to provide the right mix of support and challenge.

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Book Bo ook so some ome tim ttime me to o re rread eaad d This year’s year’s World Wo orld d Book Boo ok Day Dayy is being beeingg celebrated ceeleb braated d on 7 March March h with with h alll so sorts ortss off activities acctivvities designed dessign gned d to o encourage enc cou urage reading. reaadin ng. g Planned Plaann ned d events evven nts and d resources reeso ourccess include inc clud de The Thee Biggest Bigg ggestt Show Sh how w On On Earth, Earth h, which whicch is is a ffree reee online on nlin ne festival festivaal sstarring tarrrin ng nnine inee auth authors horrs aand nd illustrators; illu lustr trato torrs;; storycraft sto s orryyccraafft videos, v deo vid eoss, which which ch contain co con nttaain n tips t s o writing on writin wr t ng and nd illustrating illlus ustra rating i stories stor ories es from fro f om children’s ch child dre ren n’ss authors aut utho hors including inc nclud udiing Charlie Ch haarlie l e Higson, Higson g o Andy A dy Stanton, Stan antto on Malorie Malor oriee Bla Blackman lacckm man and n Michelle i e e Paver; a e and a d ann app a p for o teenagers e n g s that h contains o a s stories t ri byy nine nin ine young yo ou un ngg adult ad adu ultt authors au autth ho orss including in nclu c ud dingg Patrick PPattric r ck Ness, Neessss, Chris C i Ryan, Ryyan, R n, Alex Al Alex Scarrow SScarro r ow and nd Josephine Jo osseep ph hine ne Angelini. Ange A gellin ni. Lesson Leesson on plans, plan ans, games, gaam meess, downloads do ow wnlo n oaad ds aand n nd dm more o orre suggestions sug ugge gestions t o s ar are re available avvaailab labllee on on the th the website. web bsiite. e www.worldbookday.com. y

Countdown C Co ountdo own tto om maths aths m made ade eeasy asyy Maths M atths Made Maadee Easy Eaasyy (MME) (M MME) is is a new neew homework ho omeewo orkk service seervice from fro om Pearson Pearsson and an nd celebrity cele ebriityy mathematician maathem matiiciaan Carol Carrol Vorderman. Vordeerm man n. It’s Itt’s designed design gned d to o help heelp teachers teach herrs byy rreducing b educingg thee workload worrklo oad d as associated ssocciatted dw with ith h ho homework, omew workk, in including ncludingg se setting, etting, g marking, m arrkin ng, g assessing assesssingg prog progress p gresss and and d remedial reemeedial w work. ork. MM MME ME giv ggives vess pa p parents aren ntss ac access ccesss to the service serrvicce online onllinee so o they th heyy can caan track their theeir child’s chiild’ss progress, proggresss, seee what whatt ttasks aaskss hav have ave b been eeeen set et an aand nd even eve ven try try ry the th the tasks tas askks themselves. the hems mseelvveess Ev Every Eveerry h homework o om mewo ew workk ttask aask h has aas a video i o from f om the fro the former th fo orm me Cou Countdown ountd n down ow wn star s r explaining x a n g the h maths m t s required e d to o complete c m l e the he ta task. task. k. Th T They heeyy also a oh hav have ve a p practice rac actic t ce ssession eession io and n a test te t att the h end, e d so o teachers t c e and d parents p ar areentss ccan aan n monitor m mo on nito tor pupils’ pu up pils l progress. pr pro ogress. e www.themathsfactor.com/mathsmadeeasyy

Silent SSi illeent D Disco issco h hits itts p primary riim marry sschools choolss Now>Press>Play N ow>>Preess>>Play wa was as b born orn when wheen a theatre th heaatree director, direccto or, a banker baankker and an nd a tteacher eaacheer ggot ott to together ogeetheer to to think thin nk about abo outt a new neew kind kind of of resource reso ourrce for schools. sccho ools. Rather R atther th than han n learning leearn ningg by by reading read dingg or or writing, writtinggg,, children child dreen put putt onn wireless w irreleess headphones heaadp pho onees aand nd d are arre plunged plun nge ged into o their theiir subject. subjjecct. They T heey become beccom me characters ch haraacteers wh who ho aree immersed im mmerssed d iinto nto o th the he world wo orld d off their th heir to opic, op , whether wheeth her it’ss maths, m mat ths hs, histo history, s orryy, science sc scien ence ce or or English English. E g s The T he he experiences exxp peerrieen nccees are a e desig desi s gned n d for or KS2 KS KS2 and nd up up to o 30 30 children, ch hilld dreen plu p uss teaching tee ch c n staff, s ff ff can an ta take takke pa p part artt inn a worksh wo orksh shop hop. ho T There’s h heres e a minimum min m nim mum mu m booking boo ookin k ng of of two tw wo o workshops, wor orksh sho op ps but u five f e of the h one-hour n h u ssessions s n can an be be delivered deelivveerred in n a day daayy. y nowpressplay.co.uk p p y

14-18: A New Vision for Secondaryy Education By Kenneth Baker Bloomsbury £14.99

Author Kenneth Baker is a former Secretary of State for Education. In this book, he argues that secondary education has become a five-year programme with a single, narrow aim: to prepare pupils for highstakes GCSE exams at 16. He also argues that the National Curriculum should extend only to the age of 14 and that there should be four distinct pathways from 14-18 to take account of young people’s emerging interests, talents and ambitions: liberal arts, technical, sports and creative arts, and career. All pathways would also provide a broad education.

The Social Neuroscience of Education By Louis Cozolino Norton £27.50

Despite its serioussounding title, this book has the pace and readability of a popular science bestseller. Author Louis Cozolino, a US-based professor of psychology, explores successful classroom teaching from the perspectives of evolution, attachment theory, social and developmental psychology and neuroscience. His core message is that the brain is a social organ, and our ability to learn is dependent on the quality of our relationships with family, peers and teachers.


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Pathways to parents The value of social media became clear for one head teacher during a blizzard issued a local red warning in January that the head realised how embedded social media had become. During the weekend after the first snow day, David sat in his conservatory with his iPad and blogged that he was planning to visit the school early to check its chances of opening on Monday. The post got more than 1,270 hits – in a 208-pupil school. “I thought that was a huge amount of traffic and it was a real indication to me that we underestimate the power

First headship He began to get to grips with social media six years ago when his nephew moved to the US and suggested that they stay in contact via Facebook. The social networking site allowed him to stay in touch with his nephew and some former pupils, but it wasn’t until he moved from a village where he knew everyone to his first headship at Gelli Primary, in Petrie in the Rhondda valley, that he found a professional use for this new tool. Musing on how best to build relationships with this new group of people, particularly those who were harder to engage, he noticed that many parents had abandoned their landlines for smartphones, so he started looking for ways to use mobile technology. The school now boasts a website, blogs, a Twitter feed [@gellipri] and an emergency text system. By 2010, even the Estyn inspector praised the use of technology. “The report said we used it well to enhance our public relations, and had positive results with parents,” says David. “That gives you a bit of a boost.” But it wasn’t until the Met Office

of social media in providing up-to-date information,” he says. Social media allowed the school to text parents before 7.45am confirming whether the school was open or closed. It also kept children connected to school: on the first snow day, the blog encouraged the pupils to have fun, as well as suggesting activities such as measuring its depth. When David judged that it was safe to reopen the school, he posted photographs on his blog to show parents that pathways had been cleared through the snow.

He knows parents are reading the blog, too, because after three of the emergency text messages bounced, he used it to ask who had got new mobiles for Christmas, reminding parents that the office needed up-todate numbers. Just days later, the changes had been made.

Keeping in touch with parents Gelli is still exploring the possibilities. Next time the valley is under a foot of snow, the school’s virtual learning environment will include some work for the children to do at home. There is also a plan for children to use Twitter to tell parents what they’re doing in the classroom. “Then when they come to parents’ evenings they will have more idea of what happens,” says David. Another idea under development is to provide some sort of contact in the case of homework difficulties. “Sometimes kids can’t do their homework, parents have expectations and the kids get anxious. Perhaps we can get messages on Twitter, and we could either help or say not to worry about it until the morning. There are underlying wellbeing issues here. “I’d also like to make the links between home and school more accessible, in ways that are not intrusive but which bring benefits for the kids.” David has big dreams, and would love to find a way for all his pupils to have iPads for learning and homework. But it is the potential of the new which really excites him: “Six years ago I discovered this, now we’re here,” he says. “What’s going to happen in six years time with better technology?” • Tell me about your school – I’d love to share your stories with LF readers. Email educationhack@gmail.com or tweet @susanyoung_


Social media often get a bad press among school leaders. But for Welsh head teacher David Jones, discovering Facebook was the first step on a journey that has transformed his relationship with local parents. When a major blizzard swept into Wales this winter, David used texts, Twitter and blogs to keep everyone informed. He was able to give plenty of warning of school closures – and to post photographs of playground conditions once classes resumed. “I’ve got a very good, supportive relationship with parents,” he says. “A lot of it comes from using this kind of communication to break down barriers.”


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