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Issue 56 November/December 2012





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The tide is turning It doesn’t seem two minutes since the last Leadership Focus and yet so much has happened in the seemingly ever-changing world of education. A Government reshuffle brought some new faces into the education team (see page 7). Sadly, some familiar ones too, with the same old ideologically driven policies. We also had the latest in a long line of new Ofsted frameworks with the predicted lack of consistency around delivery, which makes me wonder what goes on at all those inspector training events. At the NAHT, we will continue to push for a clearer link between inspection and school improvement, which is very much our vision. Our work on a draft inspection model will be completed soon, too. It focuses on accountability and improvement around a partnership model and will, we believe, fill the current void. Then, to add to the mix, we had the GCSE shambles and the abject failure once more of those in power to accept responsibility and do the right thing. Yet, despite all this and more, I sense the tide is turning. Having spoken to members in several regions and branches over the past two months, I have been struck by the clear and growing determination of school leaders to fight back, demonstrating very clearly that they are the experts, not those who seem to want to bask in the ‘myths of a golden past’. It really is time to take back control from those who think they know better. It’s time to stand up for what we believe and what we know is right for our children and their communities, which we serve with such pride and passion. Despite the slow fragmentation of the education system, there is a positive

feeling of the need for school leaders to work together and support each other in all aspects of their work. We all know it is challenging out there, but the need for togetherness has never been greater. What I also find so encouraging is to hear more conversations focusing on teaching, learning and the sharing of good practice in order to raise standards. The Editoral Board has worked hard to ensure that the articles in this edition are both wide ranging and, I hope, thought provoking. The National College initiative to encourage more ethnic-minority school leaders and the stories behind some of these individuals makes a great read (page 32). What of the Olympic legacy (page 26) and the future of school sport? There are also fascinating articles on boxing supporting and developing positive attitudes in the education of teenage boys (page 44) and the challenges of school leaders being caught in the crossfire of family breakups, which so many of us know only too well (page 36). As John Quincy Adams, the sixth US President, put it so aptly: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

‘I have been struck by the clear and growing determination of school leaders to fight back, demonstrating very clearly that they are the experts’

redactive publishing limited EDITORIAL & ASSOCIATION ENQUIRIES NAHT, 1 Heath Square, Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1BL Tel: 01444 472 472 Editor: Robert Sanders Editorial board: Russell Hobby, Steve Iredale, Bernadette Hunter, Chris Harrison, Jack Hatch, Lesley Gannon, Magnus Gorham, John Hakes, Clare Cochrane and Catherine Tong @nahtnews @LFmagNAHT Leadership Focus is published by Redactive Publishing Limited on behalf of the NAHT

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ISSN: 1472–6181 © Copyright 2012 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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NEWS FOCUS 6 OFSTED MOVES TO CUT CRITICISM The NAHT takes Ofsted to task over its plans to make it harder for schools to complain about its rulings and give the inspection body longer to respond to complaints.

7 PRESSURE EASES IN ACADEMY ‘FIGHT’ The Government’s forced-academisation strategy looks elsewhere after a successful appeal to Ofsted in Lancashire.

8 NO NEED TO FEAR INSPECTIONS Five new NAHT training courses will ensure that schools are well prepared when the Ofsted inspectors come calling.

9 FUNDING CHANGES CAUSE CONFUSION Changes to complex funding formulae are set to make life difficult for school leaders and create ‘winners and losers’. 4

School sports are a vital link if Lord Sebastian Coe’s promised Olympic legacy is to progress from dream to reality


10 SPECIAL NEEDS, SPECIAL TRAINING RAININ NG ‘Identifying children with additional needs is tough without the right training and CPD,’ says Nasen CEO Lorraine Petersen.

10 PROFIT NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS ‘There is no clear evidence that profit-making schools raise standards,’ says NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby.

11 EXAMS STILL UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT The NAHT warns that the Government’s proposed changes to A-level courses may discourage students from further study.

11 GCSES: JUDICIAL REVIEW SOUGHT Russell Hobby confirms his organisation’s pursuit of a judicial review of the summer’s GCSE English marking fiasco.

12 SHELTERBOX MAKES A DIFFERENCE In Iraq and Niger, the NAHT’s charity partner is helping people to cope with displacement and flooding respectively.


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LF speaks to four education leaders to gauge their reaction to the GCSE grading debacle in the summer and the future of compulsory examinations at age 16.

32 BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS Why aren’t there more ethnic minority school leaders? A National College initiative sets out to redress the balance.

36 PARENTAL GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS School leaders want ‘clear, neutral guidance’ on what to do when they or their colleagues find themselves in the middle of parents warring over child access.

40 FREE SCHOOLS: THE JURY’S STILL OUT New research suggests that free schools tend to offer a classic education in middle-class areas, but fail to take root in more deprived areas or when offering a vocational programme.

44 BOXING CLEVER An ‘alternative provision’ project in London is successfully using boxing to help wayward boys pass their GCSEs.

REGULARS 15 RONA TUTT’S COLUMN The opportunity exists for us to replace our data-driven system with one that is more enlightened and that uses continuous assessment by teachers to raise standards.


17 RUSSELL HOBBY’S COLUMN A is for assessment, academies and appraisals. The General Secretary finds that autumn is the season of alliteration.

18 HEADS UP Three school leaders reveal what’s on top of their to-do list and which celebrity they’d like to teach at their school.

20 STRANGE BUT TRUE Striking teachers secure a 40 per cent pay rise; and the strange case of the numbered identical quadruplets.

48 WHAT’S NEW Books, apps and charity events, plus an anti-bullying roadshow on tour in the UK until 7 December.



A school leader explains how two former PE teachers helped his Year Six pupils to prepare for high school.


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Ofsted moves to fend off criticism The NAHT has criticised Ofsted’s plans to make it harder to complain about its rulings. The inspection body has said that it wants to make far-reaching changes to the existing complaints process. Arguably, the most significant change is the desire to prevent schools placed in an improvement category from complaining about it. It also wants to reduce the time allowed to make a complaint against Ofsted, while extending the amount of time the organisation has to respond. Another change would force schools to complain to the inspection team on site rather than being able to submit a complaint afterwards. The inspection body also intends to refuse to consider the comments of parents who feel they have been insulted by inspectors and wish to complain about their behaviour. The NAHT has expressed alarm that Ofsted is seeking to make it harder to complain against its rulings at a time when complaints against the schools inspectorate are on the rise. About a quarter of schools that responded to a recent NAHT poll on their experience of a recent Ofsted inspection reported serious concerns about the process. Lesley Gannon, NAHT head of research and policy development, told LF: “It is not appropriate to reduce the time schools have to complain. When put alongside running a school

Steve Iredale

and teaching children, making a complaint can take time. “We are very concerned that schools are not going to be able to complain about their inspection if they are placed into a category. We can see no reason for this. “As part of the quality-assurance process, schools must be given a proper route to submit evidence in challenge to the outcome.” NAHT National President Steve Iredale said that many more schools than the 5 per cent quoted by Ofsted are unhappy. “Their view is that the only complaints are from those that are placed in a category or have a worse judgment than expected. “Our experience, based on School View, is very different. We’re seeing good and outstanding schools complaining about the process.”


OUR OFSTED-RELATED COURSES OFFER SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE FROM SPECIALISTS Led by HMIs, inspectors and experts, for example in behaviour and EYFS. Need to know more? Visit or call us on 01444 472405 to discuss how this course can help.


Gove dodges the big issues Michael Gove has been accused of running out of ideas after a speech to the Conservative Party’s annual conference that was “heavy on rhetoric and light on policy”. The Secretary of State for Education used his speech to declare that “rigour is back, there will be no more dumbing down of exams and marks will be given for spelling, punctuation and grammar”. Russell Hobby, the NAHT General Secretary, said that the speech was all rhetoric and no policy. He told LF: “There was no mention of the GCSE marking debacle currently blighting the prospects of thousands of students. There must still be a speech to come on the 10,000 new classrooms required to meet population growth. And what about the school-inspection regime, funding, A-level reform, the abolition of GCSEs and their replacement with the baccalaureate?” ANNUAL CONFERENCE

New look for Conference Annual Conference 2013 will be new and improved, NAHT Vice President Bernadette Hunter has promised. She told LF: “We’re excited about the changes.We’ve listened to feedback from this year’s conference and we’ll make time for as many delegates as possible to be involved in debates. We’re also aiming to have at least one ‘inspirational’ speaker.” The conference will be held from 17-19 May at the Birmingham ICC. Delegates should note that this is not a bank-holiday weekend.


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Shift of focus in academy ‘fight’ The NAHT is still fighting the Government’s forced academisation strategy. NAHT Senior Regional Officer Rob Kelsall reports that the pressure appears to have eased in Lancashire (see “Lancashire hotspots”, LF Sept/Oct) as the Government’s brokers turn their attention to other parts of the country. Rob told LF: “In the case of Walverden Primary School, Ofsted upheld its appeal and overturned the DfE. This is a significant boost to any school that is faced with the threat of warning notices.” Staffordshire seems to be the next county on the list, possibly because only a handful of its 400 schools have become academies. NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby said: “They are picking the wrong schools and doing it in the wrong manner.”


The latest weapon in the Government’s armoury appears to be a refusal to transfer head teachers’ jobs across to the new employer under Tupe regulations when schools convert to academies. Mr Kelsall said: “In Staffordshire, Lancashire and Birmingham, we are challenging the local authorities’ view that an academy principal’s role differs from the predecessor head teacher’s job. There is very little to choose between the roles and it is certainly not radically different.” NAHT President Steve Iredale said: “Our figures show that fewer than 5 per cent of primaries are academies. I believe only Downhills in Haringey, London, has been forced to convert. We would encourage members to call us as soon as possible if it happens to them, in order to get our regional officers involved.”

There were significant changes at the DfE in September’s Cabinet reshuffle. Ministers of state Nick Gibb (schools) and Sarah Teather (children and families) were replaced by David Laws (right) and Elizabeth Truss (below). In the third move, Edward Timpson (bottom), who led a recent inquiry into looked-after children, took over from Tim Loughton as junior minister. The changes offered LibDem MP Mr Laws a return to frontline politics following his expenses-scandal resignation in 2010 as Chief Secretary to the Treasury – a job he held for only 17 days. Mr Laws is now reunited with Michael Gove, with whom he spent many hours debating education policy in the run-up to the 2010 general election – not least at the NAHT Annual Conference in Liverpool. It has also been speculated that the removal of Mr Gibb from a ministerial position will make it easier to secure the removal of the muchmaligned phonics check (see page 8), since he was widely regarded as the driving force behind it.


New report says bullying can be beaten A new Ofsted report reveals how good schools combat bullying. The analysis, No Place for Bullying, shows that, in the best schools, expectations and rules spell out clearly how pupils are to interact with each other. Respect for individual differences has a high profile and pupils understand the effects that bullying can have.

All schools surveyed had a written behaviour policy and an anti-bullying policy. Only 12 of the 56 schools had combined them into one, despite the combined documents representing some of the strongest policies. These schools tended to view bullying as part of a continuum of behaviour, rather than as a separate issue.

• To read No Place for Bullying, visit • Anti-Bullying Week 2012

is 19-23 November. • See What’s New (page 48) for teaching resources.


IMPROVING BEHAVIOUR AND SAFETY IN YOUR SCHOOL 27/2/13 - London, 24/4/13 - London Need to know more? Visit or call us on 01444 472405 to discuss how this course can help.


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Training allays inspection fears NAHT has developed five new training courses for members in response to the latest Ofsted framework. The aim of the courses is to provide an insight into the expectations Ofsted inspectors have, and how NAHT members can best illustrate the good practice that goes on in their schools. The courses have been developed with the help of a former Ofsted inspector and draw on ideas that have worked elsewhere. A long-held NAHT criticism of Ofsted is that inspectors identify a problem, or a perceived problem, but do not offer ways in which schools might tackle the issue.

Lesley Gannon, NAHT head of research and policy development, told LF: “These courses ensure that schools are well prepared for an inspection, that they understand what is being asked of them and that they are able to present what they are doing in an effective way. “Also, if a school knows that it is vulnerable in certain areas, it can get some useful tips on how it might address that.”

• Improving teaching and learning in your school • Raising the bar – driving school improvement (for schools wanting to move from satisfactory to good, or good to outstanding) • Improving behaviour and safety in your school (from Spring 2013) For more details, visit welcome/naht-events/ naht-training-courses/

• Delegates at the 2012 Annual Conference called for an e-petition to force Parliament into debating Ofsted reform. This petition requires 100,000 signatures for the debate to be considered. Please sign it and encourage your colleagues and the wider school community to sign it as well.


Ofsted courses • Understanding the new inspection framework • Self-evaluation – an effective and practical guide to school improvement

OUR OFSTED-RELATED COURSES OFFER SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE FROM SPECIALISTS Led by HMIs, inspectors and experts, for example in behaviour and EYFS. Need to know more? Visit or call us on 01444 472405 to discuss how this course can help.


Governor vacancies New regulations mean that the minimum requirement for school governing bodies is now only seven governors. For a standard local authority (LA) maintained school, the requirements are to have at least two parent governors, the head teacher, one member of school staff (not necessarily a teacher) and one LA governor. Dave Beresford, assistant

secretary in education management at the NAHT said: “This should help the vacancy situation. But our main concern is that a sevenperson governing body could have problems in getting disciplinary panels together - usually you’d require three to hear the complaint and three for the appeal, although they can collaborate with other schools.”


STRONGER GOVERNANCE AND STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS IN A CHANGING WORLD 25/4/2013 - London, 30/4/2013 - London Need to know more? Visit or call us on 01444 472405 to discuss how this course can help.


BROADSIDE FOR PHONICS TEST The phonics test for Year One children has been attacked as ‘pointless’ by teaching unions. A poll of 1,500 members of the NAHT, ATL and NUT suggested that only 10 per cent had learned something new about their pupils’ reading abilities as a result of the test. NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby said: “Our argument is not with phonics. Systematic synthetic phonics is an essential part of the repertoire. But the phonics test is a misguided piece of bureaucracy that should be consigned to history. “If we really want to help children learn to read, we should ask the professionals how best this is achieved and work with them on providing the appropriate training and resources for staff to help them to deliver it.” Mr Hobby’s views were echoed by Lorraine Petersen, chief executive of the special needs association Nasen, who told LF: “What are we doing to children, labelling them as pass or fail before they’re six years old? I’ve heard of instances where teaches have actually said to their children: ‘You’ve failed’.”


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‘Simplified’ funding could cost schools School leaders have been urged to contact their school forum about budgets. Each local authority (LA) has created a forum to represent schools’ views on matters relating to the total schools’ budget and LAs are currently working with them on draft budgets. The Government announced in March that it would introduce a national funding formula in the next spending review to ensure that schools in similar circumstances and with similar intakes receive similar levels of funding. Before then, however, it is simplifying the way that LAs currently fund schools. This simplification will lead to some schools receiving less money. A minimum funding guarantee is in place to ensure budgets will not rise or fall by more than 1.5 per cent per pupil over the next two years, but there is no guarantee this will be extended beyond 2015, which could leave schools open to significant cuts. NAHT Director of Policy and Campaigns Kathy James said: “School forums are important. Those elected to it are answerable to all the schools in the LA and it’s the place where the authority is held to account over its decisions regarding funding. NAHT

members need to be involved to ensure they know what’s going on and that they are involved in the decision-making process.” NAHT Vice President Bernadette Hunter told LF: “We are very concerned about the impact of the funding reforms on schools and we are working hard to keep members informed about the new system. “These changes will have the greatest impact on the F40 group of schools, which have been underfunded for years. It’s a shame that the Government’s approach to the reform of school funding isn’t more flexible. We’re all aware there’s a need to reform the way it works, but we don’t want to see matters made worse in the short term.” John Killeen, head teacher at South Cave Primary School, near Hull, also warned of trouble ahead: “A minimum funding guarantee could disappear in two years’ time and we could also have a cut in education funding across the country. “It would be the final death knell for quite a number of schools. We could be looking at the closure of a large number of small schools in rural communities,” he said.

Unions fight to fund reps Four teaching unions have joined forces in a bid to ensure supply cover continues to be funded for trade union facility time. In a joint letter to members, the NAHT, NUT, NASUWT and the ATL highlighted the challenges that schools may face when Government funding changes come into effect next April. The new funding rules would mean supply-cover costs, currently managed by each area’s local authority (LA), will be available only if schools agree with the Schools Forum to ‘de-delegate’ funds back to the local authority. The unions are concerned that removing funding at LA level could prevent schools from fulfilling their contractual obligation to provide paid facility time for union representatives. This includes paid time to accompany people to disciplinary hearings and to attend to health and safety issues. The letter concluded: ‘To ensure that funding continues to be held by the local authority to cover staffing costs for trade union facility time and other civic responsibilities (including service as a magistrate and jury service), please pass this information on to schools members on your School Forum and urge them to vote for de-delegation.’


Education conference is not to be missed The first of two NAHT Education Conferences was held in Manchester in October. The conferences, designed to energise and enthuse school leadership teams, offer practical and innovative ideas for delegates to take back and implement in their school

or college. The keynote sessions are supported by 18 workshops covering a variety of subjects, from managing autistic spectrum disorders to innovative use of ICT. National President Steve Iredale said: “It was a fabulous event. The

keynote speakers were both outstanding. Richard Gerver focused on the profession fighting back, while Tim Rylands focused on children’s learning using ICT as the basis. “There was also a great diversity of workshops. I talked to more than a

dozen delegates throughout the day and all I got was positive feedback.” The second Education Conference takes place in London on November 16. • For details of all NAHT conferences, please visit: welcome/naht-events/


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‘No place for profit-making’ The NAHT has warned against the profit motive entering English schools. It comes after a former Downing Street head of policy called for profitmaking firms to be brought in to run England’s persistently failing schools. James O’Shaughnessy made his suggestions in a report for the thinktank Policy Exchange. In Competition meets Collaboration, he argued that the first time a school receives a “requires improvement” rating it should be made to become an academy; a second such rating should result in it being made to join a successful academy chain and that no improvement means the school should be handed over to a proven

management organisation to run. Mr O’Shaughnessy said: “The new Ofsted inspection regime will mean that up to a third of schools will be told they aren’t good enough. As the Prime Minister said earlier this year, there is a ‘hidden crisis’ where coasting schools have been allowed to bump along in mediocrity.” NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby said: “A school in the ‘requires improvement’ category is not a failing school. It is simply a school that requires improvement. An automatic intervention may not be helpful to a school already on the right path. Such forced changes to a school’s structure may slow down or stop improvement.

“The Government should prioritise collaboration and federation over conversion, especially at primary level. We need to be binding primary schools more closely together – encouraging support and challenge among peers – not isolating them. “Nor do we see any clear evidence that profit-making schools raise standards, so having these as the ‘last resort’ in a system of escalating intervention does not follow logically. “This is not anti business - schools will buy services from the private sector as they have always done - just a recognition that there is a place for the invisible hand of self-interest that does not belong in schools.”


Training is key to identifying special needs School leaders have been urged to focus on their staff ’s continuing professional development (CPD) when it comes to special needs. Lorraine Petersen, chief executive of the special needs association, Nasen, told LF: “My message for NAHT members is that they won’t get outstanding Ofsted judgments unless they get their CPD right across the whole school.” Her fears are linked to the fact that initial teacher education does not include a mandatory requirement to undertake a SEND module. “New teachers haven’t been taught how to identify children with additional needs or how to offer effective intervention programmes,” she said. 10

Lorraine Petersen

“When Ofsted talks about the over-identification of children with special needs being due to poor teaching, it is more likely to be about poor training. “If we don’t start to see quality professional development in schools then we won’t see significant change.”

Lorraine added that there are so many changes on the horizon that teachers are in danger of falling behind the times. She cited education, health and care plans; the abolition of the School Action and School Action Plus designations; the role that additional support is

going to play; funding ‘that seems to be driven by high-needs pupils’; and the pupil premium rising to £900 per pupil from next April. “It’s going to put more pressure on the Senco and, ultimately, on leadership, because schools won’t get ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’, they’ll get ‘requires improvement’ and it will lead to a downward spiral of schools not being as robust as they should be,” she warned. • Lorraine is a keynote speaker at the NAHT’s special schools, specialist and alternative provision conference 2013. welcome/naht-events/ courses-list/sendconference-2013/


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Government plans to reform A levels in England with the introduction of a baccalaureate-style qualification could potentially damage the higher education prospects of young people, the NAHT has warned. Reports in the national media suggest that voluntary work and a 5,000-word essay could be part of a shake-up for A-level students in England, leading to an advanced qualification wherein students take both arts and science subjects. NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby criticised the move: “Rather than these halfway fixes, we should identify desirable outcomes, design a curriculum and then plan our assessments. We like the idea of breadth and balance, but ‘contrasting’ maths and science courses for humanities students, and vice versa,


A-level reforms cause concern

should be designed from scratch. If we bolt on a contrasting A level we risk shallowness and may discourage some students from further study.” Mr Hobby said it was necessary to “retain some depth at A level if students are to be properly prepared for the UK three-year degree system”.

“Too much here smacks of rushed and formulaic solutions. There is room for improvement but A levels should be protected and enhanced, not force fitted.” The proposals, first reported in The Times, suggested that the AS level would continue as a separate qualification. It is understood that the proposals are at ‘draft stage’ and are being driven by Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, who became Education Minister in the recent Government reshuffle (see page 7). Education Secretary Michael Gove has previously called for a more academically rigorous approach to A levels, with greater involvement from universities. Ofqual is consulting on whether modular A levels should be scrapped and replaced with an exam at the end of two years.


Still hope for GCSE regrade NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby has confirmed that the NAHT is still pursuing a judicial review in relation to the GCSE English results for this summer. He said: “It’s really unfortunate that GCSE achievements have been overshadowed by the shambles surrounding English. Having seen grade boundaries moved between January and June, and papers regraded in Wales but not England or Northern Ireland, it is our feeling that the drop in the number of students getting five A* to C including English and mathematics is related to this.” He said the data proved that schools are continuing to make excellent progress, but that thousands of young people have had their results and their futures hampered by the marking fiasco.

Mr Hobby added: “We continue to prepare the framework for a legal challenge to see these wrongs righted, with the aim of English being regraded, and we are optimistic in our hope of seeing official data to reflect this regrade in the near future.” • Government figures show an increased take-up of subjects included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Mr Hobby said he hoped that a focus on a limited range of subjects would not be to the detriment of disciplines such as music and religious studies. He said: “We do not wish the EBacc to have a negative impact on any subject and what we would like to see is a fully-rounded baccalaureate that gives pupils a chance to show their academic and creative potential as well as volunteering and civic activities.”

NEWS IN BRIEF POLITICAL DEBATE The NAHT was represented in fringe events at all three major political party conferences during the autumn. Among the subjects that were debated were professionalism, parental choice, Labour’s education vision, GCSE reform and school improvement. Senior figures from the Association spoke alongside Graham Stuart, MP (Conservative), chair of the Commons Education Select Committee; Stephen Twigg, MP (Labour), shadow spokesman for education; and Dan Rogerson, MP (LibDem). Also speaking at the debates were Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the NUT, and Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the ATL. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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ShelterBox aid for Iraq and Niger ShelterBox, the NAHT’s official charity partner, has been working hard in two new regions – assisting Syrian refugees in Iraq and flood victims in Niger. ShelterBox tents are now sheltering Syrian families living in the Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq. As a result of growing violence, sectarian tension and economic hardship in Syria, an influx of people has crossed the border into the region. There are currently about 20,000 people at the camp, a figure that is expected to triple by Christmas. David Webber, who is leading the disaster-relief charity’s response team in the area, said: “With winter approaching, the boxes contain extra thermal blankets, hats, gloves and scarves. In addition, we’ve brought out 16 ‘school boxes’, each with enough

Heavy rains have affected Niger.

supplies for 50 children – bags with pens, paper, rulers and crayons, plus solar light bulbs, a wind-up radio and teacher resources.” Another response team has travelled to Niger. Team member Fiona McElroy told LF: “In August they had six months’ rainfall in just one night. There was widespread flooding along the Niger river.

“A lot of people live on the flood plain and 200,000 people lost their houses in the capital, Niamey. They also tend to plant low-lying crops, such as rice, which were washed away. “Across the country, 500,000 people were made homeless over the course of two days. At the same time, they also lost their food source, so they are completely dependent on aid.” Fiona added that people were seeking shelter in schools, with up to 20 families living in a classroom. “Once children stop going to school on a regular basis, the whole community infrastructure can very quickly disintegrate,” she warned. • For more information on how schools can get involved with disaster relief, visit: • See What’s New (page 48) for ShelterBox teaching resources.


Education Resources Awards NAHT members are urged to enter two categories in the 15th Education Resources Awards (ERA): ‘Leadership in education’ and ‘Educational establishment of the year’. The Leadership award will be presented to an educational professional, nominated by his or her peers or themselves, for a special leadership quality or qualities. It could be the way that a teaching environment is managed, for qualities displayed in managing an educational purchasing policy, for the way in which the respect of pupils has been gained or for outstanding innovation. The Establishment award will be presented to an educational establishment from any phase – early years to tertiary – that can best demonstrate effectiveness and real value to the community it serves. 12

Each entry will be judged by a panel of 30 educational practitioners and winners will benefit from the publicity of ERA’s sponsors and supporters, including the Guardian’s education section. The awards ceremony will take place on 15 March 2013 and will include a cocktail reception, a three-course dinner including wine, guest celebrity host, awards presentation ceremony, casino and dance. The sponsors include some of the best known names in the education industry; including, Findel Education, HP, Hope Education and Softcat Education. Supporters include the NAHT, SSAT and the UK Trade and Investment skills department. The closing date for entries is 14 January 2013. To nominate someone, visit

NEWS IN BRIEF JOIN THE NAHT NAHT’s member referral scheme has been extended to Friday 30 November. This will allow more time for you to talk to your colleagues or follow up with those you’ve already given a form to. You could earn a 100 per cent rebate on your 2013 membership subscription. NAHT membership is open to head teachers, deputy heads, assistant heads, school business managers, bursars and children-centre leaders. For more information visit Alternatively, call membership recruitment on 01444 472 414 or email


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Every corner considered

0800 387 457

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Partner contacts Become the employer of choice The NAHT is committed to negotiating a wide range of high-quality, value-added benefits and services for its members. If you have any comments on the services provided by our affinity partners, please email John Randall, the NAHT’s Head of Marketing and Communications, at

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25/10/2012 14:17


RONA TUTT R Columnist C

Lies and damned statistics Our education system should no longer be so in thrall to data


n today’s climate of targets, tables, and tests, it is hard to recall the time when there was no National Curriculum and therefore no need to measure it. Occasional visits by HMI relied on an exchange of professional dialogue and league tables were for footballers. Behind these dramatic changes has been a single malign influence: an over-reliance on data. Now, with the National Curriculum and the entire exam system under review, there is a chance to replace our data-driven system with one that is more enlightened and uses continuous assessment by teachers as a surer way to raise standards. Tim Oates, in his review of the National Curriculum, suggested that levels should go, and, if GCSE exams disappear too, Mr Gove has said that current league tables could not be used.


Exam overload There is plenty of evidence that the data on which schools and their students are judged is dodgy. Speaking to the House of Commons in September, the Secretary of State said: “While pass rates have soared, we have fallen down the international education league tables.” He spoke of this year’s exam fiasco, confirming that there had been grade inflation – a stark reminder that figures are not always what they seem. Other sets of dubious data stem from the variable quality of examiners and inspectors. Because we are overloaded with exams, there are not enough experienced examiners to go round. It seems that how a school is graded depends, at least in part, on the wisdom or otherwise of the inspection team. When Sir Michael Wilshaw was asked whether it was true that some of his inspectors had never taught, his reply was: “If that is happening, we need to address it. When an inspector’s in a classroom judging teaching, I would expect them to know what good teaching looks like.” This comment was extraordinary, not just because there was the possibility that those who had never been teachers were judging teaching, but that Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector did not know whether it was true or not. In 2007, the NAHT’s Commission of Inquiry into Assessment and League Tables came up with the following recommendations:

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• Teacher assessment only should be used at KS1-3 • National sampling should replace key stage tests as a way to track national standards • Pupil achievement at all levels and in all areas should be recognised • League tables should no longer be compiled. Since then, the Association has led the fight to bring some semblance of sanity to a situation that is rapidly running out of control. For instance, in an era when financial restraint is required, money is being poured into a phonics screening check for six-year-olds, rather than using it to help children to learn to read. And instead of discussing whether we need an exam at 16 when the age for participating in education is rising to 18, there is a consultation on whether GCSEs should be replaced by the English Baccalaureate certificate. If the Coalition wants to make a difference, now is the time to think outside the straightjacket of targets; to stop having thousands of examiners mark millions of exam papers at a cost to schools of more than £600 million; to get rid of a testing regime that detracts from the educational experience of primary pupils; and to stop using the vocabulary of ‘levels’ and ‘age-related expectations’, which ignores the fact that every child is different. The clock cannot be turned back and data will not go away, but its limitations should be noted. The reliance on data, and dodgy data at that, must cease. Disraeli said, there are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics. The latter do not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, yet, on this insecure foundation sits the fate of students, staff and school leaders.

There is plenty of evidence that the data on which schools and their students are judged is dodgy

Rona Tutt is a retired head teacher and a Past President of the NAHT

25/10/2012 15:31

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25/10/2012 09:23


RUSSELL HOBBY General Secretary

Season’s greetings… But appraisals, academies and assessment threaten to dominate autumn t the risk of being over alliterative, autumn is for appraisal and action (industrial), with academies and assessment thrown in. As Ofsted raises the temperature on appraisals, two unions are taking ‘action short of strike action’, which specifically impedes the appraisal processes and lesson observation. Appraisal – or performance management – is one of the central responsibilities of a leader. Early reports from inspections this term show that inspectors are asking for anonymous appraisal documentation and will also look for evidence of a correlation between the quality of teaching and the proportion of teachers who have passed through the threshold. Where there are concerns about the quality of teaching, they will look for evidence of robust monitoring and training; or more ‘terminal’ action. School leaders are entitled to worry about being held accountable for their predecessor’s actions (for example on the number of threshold teachers) and are right to point out that custom and practice have long mandated automatic incremental progression. Any leader who contradicted this practice would have faced concerted industrial action, which could have lowered rather than raised standards.



Detailed advice available In the opposing corner, we have the instructions issued by the NUT and NASUWT. Some of these put staff in breach of contract and frustrate senior leaders’ professional responsibilities to monitor and improve teaching standards. It is vital that teachers understand the potential repercussions of any action they take, so that their decisions are based on fact. While it is the employer’s responsibility to determine and impose sanctions for breach of contract, you may, however, be called upon to advise on and implement sanctions. This may put you in a difficult position and we have therefore placed detailed advice on our website. To continue with the ‘A’s, 2012/13 will be a pivotal year for academies.You will have read in the last edition of LF about some of our successes with regard to forced academisation. These successes have been repeated up and down the country. It is now clear that some DfE brokers exaggerate their powers

in order to pressure schools into conversion against their best interests. But, when confronted, they are also equally swift to move on. The NAHT will continue to support members under threat of forced academisation. Contact your regional officer if you need support; the earlier the better. Our campaign priorities for the coming year are simple. One is Ofsted, including Parent View, negativity and inspection quality. Another is academies, particularly the facts, advocacy and space to make decisions based on education values. With regards to assessment, we want to make the useless phonics screening check optional and keep Spag (spelling, punctuation and grammar) in its place (behind teacher assessment). We’ll also find time to work on terms and conditions – proper pay for School Business Managers and for leaders at all levels in federations, plus keeping an eye on pensions contributions. We also plan a major piece on profitmaking schools (and, in case you are wondering, we’re not keen). Let me finish with a few more ‘A’s: assertion, ambition and achievement. It is time the profession took back control of standards. We know there are plenty of problems to solve, but we can be proud of what we have achieved so far. Indeed, it is only a proud and confident profession that will have the courage to take risks and try new ideas. This is what is so wrong with relentlessly negative and ill-informed rhetoric: it stands in the way of innovation and creativity. Next issue, we move on to ‘B’s…

It is only a proud and confident profession that will have the courage to take risks and try new ideas

Russell Hobby is NAHT General Secretary NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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DAVID HARRIS Head teacher, Ravenscote Community Junior School, Camberley, Surrey

WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU? Describe yourself in five words: Ambitious, competitive, driven, creative and passionate. What’s top of your to-do list? Fostering the hopes s. and dreams of our pupils. What’s your favourite biscuit? Ginger nut. What’s your top holiday destination? Sorrento, Italy. What wouldn’t you do for £1 million? Base jumping. Who would play you in the film of your life? Michael McIntyre.




I lost my hair after dyeing it every colour of the rainbow



Three school leaders take up the Leadership Focus challenge to describe their leadership style and tell us a joke Would you like to take the questionnaire? Email us at

The celebrity I’d most like to have as a teacher at my school is Nelson Mandela, a man of true inspiration, passion and drive. As a child I wanted to grow up to be an actor or singer. The best excuse I’ve heard was when a parent told me their child was off for the whole of January, not because she was ill, but because she needed more time to play with her Christmas presents, as so many had been bought for her. I went into education because teaching is in the blood. I grew up in schools helping teach IT on a BBC computer in my mum’s class and making cups of tea for the teachers. Every child needs to be given belief, hope and inspiration. My most embarrassing moment in school was when I was teaching a maths lesson and accidentally put a metre stick through a black board. Luckily we were replacing them with whiteboards, but the conversation that ensued with the head was highly embarrassing. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that everyone can be a true inspiration to others, they just need someone to believe in them. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I lost my hair after dyeing it every colour in the rainbow. Tell us your best joke: My wife is always saying to me that we should be more spontaneous. I say: “Fine! When?”


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Deputy head teacher, Connah’s Quay High School Clwyd, North Wales

Head teacher, Oakhurst Community Primary School, Swindon, Wiltshire



Describe yourself in five words: Optimistic, determined, loyal, focused and risk-taking. What’s top of your to-do list? Paint the garage door (it has been top of my list for months). What’s your favourite biscuit? Cookies. What’s your top holiday destination? Southern Spain. I love the contrast of the landscape and the cool beer. What wouldn’t you do for £1 million? Climb to a great height. Who would play you in the film of your life? Pierce Brosnan.

Describe yourself in five words: Enthusiastic, dedicated, energetic, sociable and fussy. What’s top of your to-do list? To clear my email inbox. What’s your favourite biscuit? I know it is strictly not a biscuit, but I do love a Lion Bar. on? What’s your top holiday destination? Bali, for the beaches and food. What wouldn’t you do for £1 million? Anything to do with spiders. Who would play you in the film of your life? Mr Schuester from Glee.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES The celebrity I’d most like to have as a teacher at my school is not really a celebrity, but I would love some of the torch bearers from the Olympics to come in to share their stories with learners at our school. Learners gain so much from seeing real people who have chosen to make a difference to their own lives or the lives of others. That’s real inspiration to me. cher. As a child I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. I always wanted to be a leader in a school, so I am really living the dream. The best excuse I’ve heard was “The dog ate it.” It ate a tie. I felt sorry for the dog. I went into teaching because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The ability to influence a future generation of learners by ng providing them with the best quality learning and enriching experiences is too good an opportunity to turn down. My most embarrassing moment in school he was on teaching practice when I read out the register and pronounced the name Siobhan ging exactly as it’s written. It was quite a challenging n. school and it took some time to live it down. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s ‘you can neverr cross the ocean unless you have the courage to mbus lose sight of the shore,’ as Christopher Columbus once said, allegedly. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I love 007 films. I am not a film lover, but I cannot resist a James Bond film and a cup of tea at the weekend. It’s perfect for switching off from the realities of my weekend job list. Tell us your best joke: I absolutely love ‘knock-knock’ jokes. There are far too many for me to pick one and I am pretty sure you would know it already.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES The celebrity I’d most like to have as a teacher at my school is JK Rowling. Her journey to success is inspiring, not only for her series of globally best-selling books, but for her determination to succeed and to create a better life fo for herself and her daughter. A As a child I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. My mum rrecalls the ‘teacher games’ I played as a young boy with m my cousins. I was called Mr Fruglewashingshaw and, by aall accounts, I carried a long stick and was very strict. T The best excuse I’ve heard was “I don’t think it was me, bbut I’m not sure…” I went into teaching because I love the buzz of seeing cchildren passionate and enthusiastic for learning. Nothing m makes me happier than a beaming child after sharing ttheir achievements. M My most embarrassing moment in school was w while teaching a topic on ‘mini-beasts’. I decided to bbuy some maggots and a tank from the angling shop tto show the life-cycle of a fly. Unfortunately, I left part of the lid off the tank during the holidays and returned to a classroom full of flies. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that if you put children fi first in the decisions you make, it is very easy to justify yyour actions. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but if I wasn’t teaching (and had unlimited resources) I would love to be a thoroughbred-horse owner and have my own racing silks. Tell us your best joke: Adult: “Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out, who was left?” Child: “Repeat.” Adult: “Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out, who was left?”


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25/10/2012 15:32



Free food for obese pupils


Striking teachers earn 40% pay rise Teachers in Kenya have won a tense stand-off with their government. The Kenyan National Union of Teachers called off its strike at the end of October after agreeing a deal that will raise salaries of the lowest-paid teachers by 40 per cent, to about £140 a month, and the highest paid by 20 per cent. The strike, which lasted for three weeks and shut most of the country’s schools, came about because teachers were among the lowest-paid professionals in Kenya. The union had demanded an increase of between 100 and 300 per cent, in line with other civil servants. Before settling the dispute, the Government had threatened to sack the strikers and hire 100,000 newly graduated teachers and retired teachers to replace them.


In what seems at first glance to be a counter-intuitive move, an MP has called for free school meals for obese children. South Hams MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has argued that the meals will help the youngsters to lose weight. She said that there was a strong link between low incomes and obesity and that free school meals could ease the problem. Dr Wollaston said: “There’s a very strong link between child obesity and low incomes and that’s partly because high quality food is more expensive. Conversely, sugar and fat are very cheap. Therefore, we should be offering obese children access to high quality food at school.” Local school leaders admitted that they liked the idea, but were worried that the move could further stigmatise youngsters th ‘poor’ because they would be attacked as both and ‘fat’. Almost one child in five in Year Six in /11, England was classed as obese in 2010/11, according to the Government.


Hobbit films are becoming a habit As the country eagerly awaits the first st of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy of films oup of to be released on December 14, a group o the schoolboys has beaten the director to n of the punch by releasing their own version JRR Tolkein classic. The boys, from Tower roduced House School in East Sheen, have produced venty a 90-minute version of the novel. Seventy he boys, aged from eight to 13, star in the d ddragon. film, which includes a computer-generated Paul Geary, head of drama and director of the film, said: “The boys showed great dedication to this project, which shows the quality of drama that a school can produce.” The film received an official premiere at the Curzon Renoir Cinema in Russell Square.


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Strike action wins teachers a pay rise to £140 a month, while 70 East Sheen schoolboys pre-empt Peter Jackson’s film, The Hobbit NUMERACY NU

T fight to stop The ch children becoming ‘j‘just a number’ fails

Schools should ‘embrace the slam’ Poetry slams are coming to a school near you. Slams were invented in the United States some 30 years ago as a way to give poems back to the people, rather than being the province of the well educated. The crucial en difference is that, in a slam, poetry is written on stage, rather than on paper. As writer/ poet Nathan Thompson told The Guardiann recently: “Slam competitions take poetry back to its roots by creating a live event performed for the entertainment of a tribee of peers. At the same time, they update poetry by offering a number of short poems in quick succession and adding a competitive element … it’s like X Factor for poetry.” Nathan says that schools should embrace the slam: “Poetry slams build a sense of community between participants based around the primal experience of the spoken word. It gives the power back to the children.”



Q Quadruplet siblings in China made the he headlines last month when their parents de decided to “make life easier” for teachers an classmates when it came to telling and th them apart. The six-year-old boys each re received a severe haircut before their fi day of school in Shenzhen in first G Guangdong province. The four turned u for class with their hair shaved into up a number. The boys, whose names are J Jiang Yunlong, Jiang Yunxiao, Jiang Yunhan and Jiang Yunlin, were given the numbers one to four. “My sons are identical, even to me,” the boys’ mother Tan Chaoyun apparently told local media. Although why they have Western numbers rather than Chinese remains unclear. In related news, the teacher of a Year One class at Dianliu Primary School in Jinan, China, discovered that her cohort contained no less than five sets of twins. So far, they all have a full head of hair.


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When grades cross the line


his summer’s English GCSE exam grading was the proverbial mess that smashed into the assessment fan, leaving thousands of pupils with results worse than predicted. The shifting of grade boundaries for the exam sparked widespread distress – as well as calls for an inquiry into assessment at 16. School leaders, teachers and the Government are now debating how to go forward to stop a repeat of the situation and, consequently, to offer the best option for pupils who have frequently been accused of sitting progressively easier exams. Sion Humphreys, NAHT Policy Adviser, told LF: “It’s been a perfect storm. We need an independent inquiry. We have an entire assessment system in crisis – not just at GCSE. If we are considering a new baccalaureate, we must ensure that it is suitable for all young people. We must consider the needs of young people whose abilities lie in the practical, technical or creative area and ensure we have parity for different pathways. “Research has shown that 60 per cent of the public believe that the exam system is flawed or broken. We have to be careful; change for the better won’t happen without informed debate between the professions. NAHT is not just an organisation that criticises; we want to be seen as constructive as well. “It’s about offering practical, practitioner-informed alternatives to policy.” 22

Joy Persaud speaks to four education leaders who give their vision of the future for examinations in light of the summer’s GCSE grading fiasco

Time to treat pupils better TONY DRAPER Assessment and Accountability Group (AAG), NAHT and head teacher at Water Hall Primary School, Milton Keynes HIS VIEW

It’s very easy for those who sat either different types of exams, or those who have an axe to grind, to state that they are getting easier and to believe it because they’ve said it – these are very often people who love the sound of their own voice and who are sometimes in positions of influence. This is extremely unfair to

the young people who, along with their teachers and parents, have invested so much time and effort to achieve the best possible examination results. I sat O levels and they were great for those who were able to regurgitate facts. However, for me and my friends, they meant nothing. Could we remember, just weeks after the exams, all that we had crammed in order to pass them? Not a chance. O levels did not enable any of us to put our learning into practice, and that was a key failing of that system. Education is not simply about learning, but also about understanding how to learn and being able to use knowledge to explore further. Education’s sole aim is not the regurgitation of facts in one exam. Vocational learning is very valuable and provides structure


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We need to test real skills ANNA BRYCHAN Director, NAHT Cymru



and a reason for learning for many young people who may otherwise not have that interest. It provides a path to a qualification for those who genuinely struggle in the examination room for a variety of reasons. I am concerned at the way in which our young people are constantly run down and their achievements disparaged. So the debacle of this summer makes it even worse. Our young people have been treated very badly by the system. Unfortunately, the people at the top, starting with Ofqual, do not seem to accept responsibility for the catastrophic effects their manipulations will continue to have on the lives and future prospects of the pupils they serve. This situation is not acceptable; our young people deserve far better than this.

Exam pass rates have improved in recent years. Several factors account for this, including greater precision and understanding of the course requirements and how they will be examined. As one of our members pointed out, an O-level specification in 1985 was one sheet of A5; a GCSE course specification is 40 pages of A4. Given this, it is scarcely surprising that results have gone up. Teaching is more precise and better at achieving what the examination sets out to test. The wider question is whether the examinations universally test the skills that students most need. This year’s cohort was unfairly treated. In Wales, the English language GCSE was regraded (for those who sat the WJEC examination, ie, 95 per cent of the Welsh cohort) in an effort to redress that injustice. The important point here is that there was wide agreement that pupils examined in June were as able as their peers who had sat the test earlier. In terms of informing employers and further and higher education institutions of pupils’ skill and knowledge levels, that was the important point. We would welcome a similar decision in England to avoid young people missing out on future education and apprenticeship opportunities. We do not support a return to O levels. The old O-level/ CSE model was abandoned for good reasons. It was, in effect, a model designed to identify

those who would go on to higher education and offered little to those who would not. The GCSE was an attempt at an examination for all that would celebrate the achievement of all within a common framework. This attempt was not wholly successful in that grades below a ‘C’ were not acknowledged properly as reflecting a significant achievement for some students. Going back to an O-level model would not solve that problem. Assessing two years of work in one three-hour examination is also an inadequate way to determine the real skill and knowledge of individual pupils. We already have the Welsh Baccalaureate, which has enjoyed a dramatic increase in take-up in recent years. It offers a core plus several options, including: a foreign language, an independent research element, volunteer work and an understanding of Wales and the world. The majority of our members consider the Welsh Bacc a useful qualification that allows pupils to develop skills beyond the often narrow focus of their A levels in particular. We are reviewing age 14-19 qualifications and it is likely that the Welsh Bacc will become an even more prominent feature of Welsh education. It makes little sense to have a terminal examination at 16, particularly since, in Wales, we introduced a 14-19 Learning Pathways curriculum that acknowledges that most pupils do not leave education – school, FE or elsewhere – until they are at least 18. Others argue that, since compulsory schooling ends at 16, failing to examine pupils at that point would lead to their leaving the compulsory stage of education with no qualification to show for it. Many school leaders find that prospect unacceptable. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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Not all skills are academic ROBERT CAMPBELL Principal, Impington Village College

Education has become increasingly political – it needs to be in the hands of educationalists and, perhaps, employers. It cannot be the pawn it has become. Too much is at stake. I am sure there are experts who analyse exam questions over time to prove whether exams are getting easier or not. This year we saw a new style of exam for English, which may have contributed to the events of the summer. The questions were more particular and this may have caught out some staff and, in turn, students. Controlled assessments replaced coursework and this may also have contributed. Centres are supposed to have strict criteria for managing these: no drafts, as such; no teacher comments before final submission; fairly formal conditions throughout.Yet it’s clearly possible for this to be relatively unregulated. Students who submitted assessments in June were discriminated against as the boundaries changed from January. Early entry of some aspects of the English GCSE is now fairly common, so some centres were relatively unaffected The best resolution would be the restoration of the January boundaries for all candidates, as it doesn’t feel right that students from the same cohort could have been given different grades for the same marks. It also appears that other subjects were affected to a lesser extent, with maths and science having been quoted. 24



Vocational qualifications should be enhanced and viewed as being equal to ‘academic’ achievements. I feel there should still be ‘core’ learning of literacy, numeracy and ‘softer’ skills, such as problemsolving, with qualifications that reward and recognise practical and technical skills (perhaps offered from 14 upwards). There is nothing wrong with teacher assessment and it can be more challenging in many cases than a limited achievement assessed via an exam. Most jobs in life need a variety of skills and flexibility. For example, the International Baccalaureate (IB) – a challenging post-16 qualification – makes good use of oral assessment, yet I don’t hear anyone claiming that this is a dumbed-down qualification. It is

built around a learner profile, develops linked proficiencies and encourages an holistic approach to education, not a random selection of separate qualifications that are particularly favoured by one secretary of state. Personally, I would introduce the IB’s Middle Years Programme, which has a similar structure to the diploma for students aged 11 to 16. It can be as challenging as you want while supporting those with greater needs. I would willingly abandon all exams prior to 18.You might offer literacy and numeracy tests, but these could be ongoing and taken when students are sufficiently strong. I would develop competencies and want students to follow programmes that are suited to their choices at 16 and 18, similar to the model adopted in some highperforming European jurisdictions.


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Why reinvent the wheel? KENNY FREDERICK Principal, George Green’s School, London, and member of NAHT Executive HER VIEW

The suggested Ebac will meet the needs of about 30 per cent of the population, rather like the old O levels. What will happen to the rest, who will be classed as secondclass citizens, and what will they do? Vocational education has already been damned and there is little hope that this group of pupils

will be able to cope with the Ebac. The style of exams and the teaching, from what I can see so far, will demotivate huge numbers of pupils, both able and less able. ‘Inclusion’ seems to be a dirty word in education. Society and many schools comprise children with a huge range of needs. What about those with SEND needs and those at Foundation Level? They do not even get a mention. There is little thought for those struggling with tough home-life situations and who need to be nurtured and encouraged in addition to being taught well. Equality of opportunity will be a thing of the past and the class system will be even more stark. Community and social cohesion will suffer.

The suggested Ebac seems to be one man’s vision based on nothing but his memories of the good old days and will do nothing to serve the interests of youngsters, employers or industry. Heads and teachers will be happy to look at changing the exam system, but they – the professionals – must be the ones to do this, not politicians. The Ebac is not a baccalaureate; it is just a list of subjects chosen by our secretary of state because he thinks they are important. What about art, drama, RE, citizenship, PE, D&T and ICT? The young people who will have to sit the Ebac will be staying on in FE until they are 18, so why another exam at 16? In our school we do the International Baccalaureate and IBCC, a vocational offshoot of the IB in the sixth form. The IB has had no grade inflation in the 45-plus years of its existence. It covers a range of subjects, including a foreign language, English and maths, but it also includes the theory of knowledge, which teaches students how to learn and think for themselves. It also includes CAS (creativity, action, service), which involves a range of experiences and services required to educate the whole person and prepare them well for life and university. Research shows that those who do the IB are far better prepared for university than those who do A levels. So why are we inventing a new Bacc when the IB is so fantastic? Why reinvent the wheel? In our school we have a wide range of needs to meet so we run Level 2 courses and Foundation Learning programmes. We value all our young people, not just the brightest in terms of ability. In the 37 years that I have been teaching, I have heard regularly that students today are useless. I am not sure how the country’s industry has managed if they have all been so poorly educated. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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SYLVIE PINSONNEAUX 26-30 legacy NEW.indd 26

26/10/2012 14:35


Daring to


Schools will be a vital link if the promised Olympic legacy is to become reality. Natalie Li investigates the challenges and opportunities facing school leaders


he gold rush of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a Ryder Cup victory by British and European golfers, a first tennis Grand Slam title by a male British player since the 1930s and a first British winner of the Tour de France made for an unprecedented summer of sporting success and has left us all wondering, what next? What will be the precise nature of the long-touted legacy the Games were promised to deliver? In particular, what effect will this legacy have on schools and their role in introducing children to sport and nurturing the next generation of talent? One of the debates surrounding the development of talent was put into sharp relief by Lord Moynihan, the former British Olympic Association chairman, who earlier this year decried the high proportion of privately educated British medal winners at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If anything, the London Games’ medal tables should make happier reading for Lord Moynihan – 63 per cent of Team GB’s 65 medallists were from state schools and, according to the Good Schools Guide, 70 per cent of gold medallists attended a state secondary school. In the disciplines where former public-school pupils were expected to dominate, the state sector made gains, winning almost half the rowing medals and half the sailing medals. State-educated Team GB members won all our medals in boxing, judo, kayaking, swimming and taekwondo and, in cycling, all but one of Team GB’s 12 medallists went to a state school. The London Games left little doubt about its power to

reposition physical activity in the minds of the inactive and its potential to create a healthier nation, so the spotlight now falls on the much-heralded legacy. Speaking at the Labour Party conference in September, Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog), called for cross-party support to maximise the Games’ benefits. Lord Coe said that the event had never been “party-political property” and called for a consensual approach to realise the promised legacy.

On your marks, get set... The nurturing and talent-spotting aspects of the promised benefits are now in the starting blocks. The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, said recently that Britain’s Olympic heroes would spend time in UK schools, coaching stars of the future. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Mrs Miller said: “Between them, our inspirational Olympic athletes will dedicate 5,000 days a year to teach, mentor and encourage young people in sport.” However, this promising start is set against a background of uncertainty, as the Daily Telegraph reported recently: ‘The lack of a coherent school sport strategy has been highlighted as the missing link in the Government’s legacy plans… The Prime Minister is understood to be pressing for a meaningful policy so that his lavish Olympic legacy promises are not exposed.’ The seed for all this was planted in Singapore in 2005, where Lord Coe spelled it out: “London’s vision is to reach young people all around the world. To connect them with the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.” The former Olympic champion then told the audience CONTINUED ON PAGE 29 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 27

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how, at the age of 12, he was inspired to participate in sport. “My journey here to Singapore started in my school hall,” he said. School sport did appear to be high on the Government’s agenda after the launch of the School Sports Partnerships in 2000. The initiative was set up to increase sports and physical education opportunities for schoolchildren by creating links with local authorities. But, just five years after the Singapore promise and under the coalition Government, Education Secretary Michael Gove axed the £162 million a year funding for the School Sports Partnerships. David Cameron ordered a partial U-turn, but the ring-fenced funding was still cut by 69 per cent and is now guaranteed only until next year. Furthermore, figures compiled by the Labour Party, through Freedom of Information requests to 150 top-tier local authorities, have indicated a 60 per cent drop in the time dedicated to organising school sport nationwide in the wake of Government cuts. To add fuel to the fire, Mr Gove has already approved 21 out of 22 requests to sell school sports pitches since the coalition came to power two years ago. NAHT General Secretary Russell Hobby tells LF: “Schools have been inspired by London 2012 and we shouldn’t waste this opportunity. School leaders are clear that sport is great, not only for the health and wellbeing of pupils, but also as an aid to learning. “On the downside, the crowded curriculum facing school leaders means that school sports are reduced. I was talking to a head teacher at a very good school recently and he was baffled as to how he could deliver a new curriculum without reducing time dedicated to sport. “It will be tricky to get the right balance between academics and sport. The burden of legacy is being dropped upon schools. School leaders have their part to play, but so does the rest of the nation in leading this revival of sport. It’s time school leaders were valued and recognised for their contribution to sport.”

Where does PE fit in? But with the dismantling of the partnerships and a focus on literacy and numeracy in the curriculum, how do teachers and school leaders find the time to even access training for PE? Even people in the Olympic movement have voiced their disquiet, with Lord Moynihan criticising the Government in October for failing to invest enough in sport. John Steele, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, recognises the deficit in PE teacher training and resources to support this. “There is some fantastic work going on in schools to deliver sport from some very dedicated staff,” he says. “What many of these passionate people lack is the time and resources to deliver PE and sport as they know it can be.” Earlier this year, the DfE announced the removal of the duty on schools to report whether they met the two-hour-a-week school target for PE and sport. This only diverts focus from school sport and Hobby has urged the Government to plan the curriculum to ensure enough time is available for PE.



OUTDOOR EDUCATION Alistair Cook, national chair of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, says that more sporting opportunities should be made available to all pupils. “We were not consulted by Locog when it came to our input in legacy, but I believe that we need a Government lead, with a clear agenda for the health of the nation. “The range of sports provision nationally is sporadic and once we have a lead in place it will have a profound impact on the health of the nation. “Competitive sport has its place, but there are so many opportunities – the outdoor sporting world offers a range of non-competitive activities, from BMX biking to kayaking. “For us it’s all about inspiring young people to begin the path to a lifetime of involvement in sailing, climbing, or whatever they choose. There is a clear connection between activity/outdoors adventure and the classroom – for example, numeracy skills can be improved through orienteering. “Even when outdoor programmes aren’t well structured, the impact can be formidable. When these kinds of programmes are built into PE in school, it will be workable. The earlier children are able to make a start, the better.”

Gwyn Thomas is a deputy head at Arthur Bugler Junior School in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. Like many schools, it relies on the goodwill of staff members to run its afterschool sports clubs. “There has been a clear increase in interest in sport following the Olympic Games, but we can dedicate only two hours a week at our school because we face increasing pressure to prioritise literacy and numeracy,” he says. “We have paid a gymnastics coach to come in and we offer traditional sports such as football, rugby and athletics. It’s also been noticeable that the ‘Bradley Wiggins effect’ has increased the number of children cycling to school. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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EXAMPLES OF SPORTING INITIATIVES Sport England has launched a £1bn, five-year strategy, Creating a Sporting Habit for Life, to establish new, school-based sports clubs with links to one or more sports’ national governing bodies. Coaches will run sessions to help create strong ties between schools and local sports clubs. Places People Play is a £135 million Sport England initiative that aims to transform facilities, protect playing fields and invest in voluntary programmes to lead grassroots sporting activities. “Changing the sporting behaviour of a generation has not been achieved by any other Olympic host nation,” says Jenny Price, head of Sport England. “With a new focus and a regime of payment by results, Sport England and its partners are determined to deliver.” The Youth Sport Trust’s Change4Life sports clubs programme aims to harness the inspiration of the 2012 Games. It encourages school children to do more physical activity and play sport. So far, 7,500 schoolbased sports clubs have been set up in England. It has also joined forces with the YMCA with a view to sharing expertise and facilities. Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All aims to develop an inclusive PE training programme for teachers. The scheme aims to ensure the inclusion of disabled children in PE and sport within mainstream schools. StreetGames is a charity that aims to bring sporting opportunities to young people in disadvantaged communities throughout the UK with funding streams from Sport England and the National Lottery. “Providing sport for youngsters during the many hours they live outside the school gates is crucial to ensure that the promise of inspiring a generation is fulfilled,” says chief executive Jane Ashworth. Get Set offers resources for teachers to use in the classroom for 3- to 19-year-olds. Some 21,000 UK schools have signed up and 65 per cent of secondary school teachers say the programme has ‘enriched teaching and learning’ and 45 per cent that the programme has had ‘a positive impact on behaviour’. The English Federation of Disability Sport has received £1.5 million from the Government to raise sporting participation by disabled people.


We would like to offer more variety, but that all comes down to funding.” It might seem as if the legacy is already slipping away, but the DfE is confident that the new PE Programme of Study, due to launch in 2014, will help to build on the legacy promise. The programme will aim to ensure that pupils are physically active for sustained periods of time and that they partake in competitive team sports. The Government also claims that School Games – a nationwide initiative to get children playing competitive sport – will lead to more than half the schools in the UK taking part. School Games has four levels: competition within school; competition between schools; county- or district-level competition; and a national competition for elite young performers. Disability is also an essential part of School Games at all four levels. A DfE spokesperson said: “We want more young people to take part in competitive sport – not only so that they lead healthy and active lifestyles, but also so they develop new skills and learn how to work as a team. That is why we are putting competitive sport at the heart of the new primary school curriculum and extending School Games.” However, is the enforcement of competitive sport a good way to encourage children to participate? “I think it’s great for children to gain a competitive spirit, but I believe physical education has to be delivered in a positive way,” says Baroness Grey-Thompson (below), the former Paralympian. “There needs to be a cultural change in the way we view sport and physical activity,” she adds. “The Olympic and Paralympic Games were just the fairy dust; we need to do a lot more.” School leaders argue that young people should be offered a range of activities to ensure uptake of sport and physical activity. In Wales, Cardiff Council is to waive football fees for 3,500 registered junior and mini players who use council pitches throughout the city in a bid to boost participation. “Removing the registration fees for the under-12 football teams is just one of the steps we are taking to encourage grassroots sport in our city and do our bit to y p create future Olympians,” said Councillor Huw Thomas. “The future o of school sport and the next generation ma may seem uncertain, but the role that the education agenda can play in maki making that happen should not be un underestimated”, says Laura Mc McAllister, chair of Sport W Wales. “Those schools that em embrace the importance of vvibrant school sport and are ppassionate about it, place sp sport high on the agenda, ensur ensuring that opportunities reflec reflect the needs of children and link w with their communities and local clubs to keep them enga engaged once their school days are o over.” 30 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/D NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

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Breaking down

barriers Steve Smethurst reports on a new National College initiative to encourage more black and minority-ethnic school leaders


arlier this autumn, a graduation ceremony took place. It was for aspiring head teachers who had completed a new internship programme run by the National College. This isn’t perhaps the most surprising news in the world, but it was unusual in that it was open only to aspiring school leaders from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. The development of such a course is interesting, since a debate has raged for many years about whether the education system is “institutionally racist”. A Guardian article last year*, which broke the news that there were only 30 black male head teachers in England, generated 295 reader comments with wildly polarised views on the subject. People were adamant either that it is, or it isn’t institutionally

racist. Middle ground wasn’t much in evidence. The College diplomatically steers clear of the debate, but confirms that while 6 per cent of the teaching profession is BME, in leadership roles the figure falls to 4.2 per cent for deputy heads, and to just 2.4 per cent for head teachers. There must be a reason for the disparity, but what is it? Maggie Farrer is executive director for leadership development at the National College. She insists that there is nothing concrete to prove that the system is institutionally racist. She tells LF: We have no evidence of that sort of collective failure,” she says. “However, there is no denying that BME leaders are underrepresented and, at the College, we want to keep the leadership percentage as close as possible to the proportion that exists in the teaching population.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 ➧



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Lisa Peterkin: associate head at St Mark’s CE Academy in Mitcham, London.


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The internship programme is part of the College’s drive to do this. Maggie explains: “One of the things that helps people to accelerate into headship is the chance to experience leading a school alongside really outstanding leaders and, through doing that, to gain confidence. It also gives you an edge in terms of expertise and skills. So we set up this programme focusing on BME leaders.” One of the first tranche of BME leaders to graduate was Lisa Peterkin, associate head at St Mark’s Church of England Academy in Mitcham, London (pictured, page 45). She first heard of the programme when a flyer appeared in her inbox. She found the course “extremely useful and enlightening”. “It was a really good networking opportunity. It coached you to be able to articulate exactly what is required of a head. We already had most of the skills, knowledge, qualities and attributes, but maybe we didn’t always know how to use the language of the governing bodies to get them up for employing us,” she says. For her internship, Lisa chose to work in a school that was predominantly white. “That was to do two things: to break down some barriers about what I might expect


‘It is my belief that, as a black female, you have a significant number of barriers to overcome and sometimes the barriers get the better of you’ from them and about what they might expect from me; and to increase my confidence. Because I thought that if I can perform in this school, which is predominantly white and outstanding in most categories, then I could do it anywhere.”

Dynamic and enthusiastic Lisa’s opinion is that institutional racism exists in education as it does in all industries, although she adds: “Whether I would say I have not got a job because I am black and female, who knows? I have sometimes applied for jobs and questioned why I haven’t got them. “A lot of the participants on the internship talked about barriers along their career path. It’s my belief that, as a black female, you have a si significant number of barriers to ov overcome and sometimes the barriers ge get the better of you.” One of Lisa’s contemporaries on th the course was Shazia Akram. Now in her first headship at Edward Pa Pauling Primary School in Hounslow, w west London, she is also grateful for th the course, which she took to gain ha hands-on experience of headship af after she had finished her NPQH. What struck Shazia about her fe fellow interns was that they were the “m “most dynamic bunch of people you co could come across, the most driven, th the most enthusiastic, motivated le leaders you could hope to meet.” She says that they all gained an in increased belief in themselves as a re result of the internship. “But in this da day and age, why should it take so something like the BME programme ffor us to feel that? We should feel

that all the time,” she says. Shazia is also full of praise for the head teacher she worked with – Gill Denham at Marish Primary School in Slough. “I remember that Gill told me: ‘I never see you as a BME leader, I just see you as Shazia’. That really touched me because I have worked with other head teachers in whose eyes I have been an Asian woman or a Pakistani woman. So it was very empowering to come across individuals like Gill.” Despite saying that she has experienced racism “as a leader, as a deputy head and as a class teacher, from colleagues, parents and from children”, Shazia maintains that if you are driven it doesn’t matter which ethnic group you are from. “If you have that drive you will find your way to break down those barriers.” One school leader who has broken down barriers in her path is Saroj Bell (pictured, below left), head teacher at Richard Wakefield CE School, in Tutbury, Staffordshire. She feels that racism is a fact that ought to be acknowledged. “It’s not often overt, but it does happen. It took me longer to get my first teaching post than my [white] friends. I suspect it’s partly because my college put on my reference that my skills would be very useful in a school with children with additional languages. “I feel this hindered me because some people would have interpreted that as meaning I would be good only in multi-cultural schools. In the end, my first job was in a school where children spoke Gujarati, which is my mother tongue.”

Not ‘pink and fluffy’ Saroj adds that at another interview, where a little over half the children were Asian and she didn’t get the job, the feedback was: “The governors felt that you would not have been there for all the children.” Another BME school leader who spoke to LF, but who did not wish to be identified, was told recently that she was not “pink and fluffy” enough in her interview feedback. For Saroj, the key to change rests with ensuring that governing bodies are representative of the school


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‘LET’S RAISE AWARENESS: IT’S A REWARDING PROFESSION’ Forget about accusations of institutionalised racism. Nabil Chaaban (pictured, below), principal at Burnham Park Academy in Slough, Berkshire, would rather emphasise how rewarding the profession is. “I fell into education by accident, but eight years on I am a principal at an academy,” Nabil says. “That is due to a welcoming environment and exceptional mentors, most of whom have been white British people. So I find it disappointing when I see terms like ‘institutionalised racism’. “When I see headlines like ‘Only 30 black male head teachers in England’* I find it surprising. Statistically, there is no question that there is a lack of representation, but how do we address the issue? “One of the things that pops into my mind is the ageold problem of girls outperforming the boys at GCSE – does that mean we have institutionalise institutionalised sexism in our education syst system? Or does it mean that we d do not have enough program programmes that engage or inte interest boys? “It concerns me when I see those hea headlines, because it may be distracting from the core issues, which m might be raising awareness of the availability and the need for diversity in the edu educational system, rather than everyo everyone chasing red he herrings. “I applied for ap programme

community. “I’d like to see the NAHT encourage schools to ensure that they do recruit in this way. They will say that it is hard, but you just have to work harder sometimes, don’t you? Maybe the NAHT could also arrange some events for BME leaders so that they can network more effectively.” She feels that the pace of change is far too slow. “I still go to many events and meetings where I am the only BME person and always being the minority is very difficult,” she says. Even so, she is doing her bit to change attitudes: “We are part of a co-operative trust with eight schools and I made the suggestion that maybe

called ‘Shadowing Ofsted’ at the National College and it was only later that I discovered that this programme was exclusively targeted at BME people. We are all aiming for a true meritocracy and you cannot create one by saying a programme is exclusive for a particular ethnicity. “The programme itself is outstanding; but should it be exclusive? I’m not so sure. The interview panel at my school was all white, but they made a decision based on merit. I am yet to see any evidence of institutionalised racism. To me, the bigger question is how many applicants are there and why aren’t ethnic minorities applying? “Certainly, headship is a pressurised job, but in my previous career I was the global head of ICT for a Polish bank and I had 700 employees reporting to me, yet I love this job more because it is real. If the equity floor made money and the bonds lost, you’d net the result. If it was positive then you would be happy. “But in this job I can’t say: ‘Oh well, the girls results are through the roof and the boys have struggled, but overall we are positive. You can’t do that. There is an added level of complexity, but it’s not an impossible job; it is actually a highly rewarding profession. “I have never experienced any barriers based on my colour or my name. I grew up in Beirut and, doing that, you really do experience racism. Here, what we need to do is increase awareness that this is a rewarding profession and to stop putting out headlines that say it is not accessible, because then it becomes a selffulfilling prophesy.” *

the heads could go from one school to another to do an assembly. I suggested I could go to the school with the highest number of ethnic-minority children. My hope is that I can be a role model for those children.” Maggie at the National College would be impressed by this attitude, since she encourages all school leaders to spot talent early and to ensure that they are looking at BME teachers, women, those with disability and so on, until no talent is sidelined or marginalised. “Then I would urge those in school leadership to find ways to give aspiring leaders in their school the chance to try aspects of headship,

perhaps by working alongside them to chair a governing body meeting, tackling a difficult issue, or being open to the idea of job swaps for short periods of time so that the talent gets the chance to try senior leadership.” Lisa certainly benefited from her experience of headship and is keen to end on a positive note. “I work for a Church of Southwark Diocese and CFBT organisation and they have been incredibly supportive. “You go to some organisations and you feel let down by them, but, in my current climate, I certainly feel very supported by my colleagues and the sponsors.” NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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rimary school head teacher Stephen Watkins outlines a dilemma that most head teachers will be familiar with: “All too often we see parents, usually mothers, who tell us that the father is to have no further access to their child. But when I ask for the paperwork, there isn’t any. It’s less of an issue during school hours, since I can refuse access to the child because they’re in my care. The dilemmas come at the end of the day.”


Stephen continues: “The fathers turn up wanting their child, but the mother is nowhere to be seen. I’ll ring the police, but they’ll be reluctant to get involved, asking: ‘Is it the child’s natural father and is there any paperwork?’ “Then you’re left to decide whether to risk being punched by the father because you won’t let him have his child. In those circumstances, I put the child in my office with a member of my staff and the door locked, and I front it out with the father. “It’s easier if you have never met the

father.You can say: ‘I don’t know who you are, I have never met you, so I can’t just hand over the child…’ “If you do know the father and a bit of the family’s history you can sometimes try: ‘You’re doing yourself no good if you try to take the child. Do you really want the police involved again?’ I’ve worked in the same area for 28 years, so I can usually quote many previous court appearances, but it can get very heated.” Stephen, head at Mill Field Primary in Leeds, works in what he freely


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The Government is looking to amend the complex legislation around parenting disputes, trying to remove the idea of ‘winners and losers’. But will it help school leaders? Steve Smethurst reports

describes as “a very tough area”. It’s in the 5 per cent of most deprived wards in the country and, as a result, Stephen is “no stranger to laying down the law with parents”. He would like schools to have more guidance in cases when there is no court paperwork to offer a clear-cut solution. “It does get very awkward when parents tell me that the other parent is not allowed this or that and they aren’t aware that they need documentation,” he says. “They say: ‘You’re the head of the school, you can stop him.’ So I

would love more clarification from the Government. I’d estimate that two thirds of our children are resident with a parent who isn’t a natural parent; it can get very messy. Unless you have your piece of paper from the courts, you have to wing it.” Currently, the Government is attempting to move away from the idea of ‘winners and losers’ when it comes to family separation and child-access arrangements. As part of this, the Justice Select Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith, is considering draft clauses of the

Children and Families Bill, which is expected to be introduced to the House of Commons next year. In particular, the committee is considering proposals relating to divorce, mediation and shared parenting as well as procedural improvements around taking children into care. As Stephen suggests, more guidance for school leaders would be very welcome, but the Family Justice Review panel, among others, has CONTINUED ON PAGE 38 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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argued that no legislation should be introduced that “creates, or risks creating, the perception that there is a parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents”. Part of its reasoning is that it could lead to parents seeking a 50/50 division of their child’s time. This could be particularly dangerous in situations where the child’s safety is an issue. Like Stephen, Nottinghamshire head Sally Bates has also been put in uncomfortable situations owing to the lack of statutory guidance. “It is always really difficult for heads,” she says. “You have to be sensitive to families’ circumstances, but you also have to be firm about what is acceptable in schools, as you can sometimes see parents behave in a way that is very distressing for their children.” Sally cites the example of a colleague who had to call the police when estranged parents each tried to take their child at the end of a school day. The head teacher didn’t feel that he could allow the child to leave the premises with the parents shouting and swearing at each other. So he called the police, who defused the situation. She adds: “You do need to know the legal framework because sometimes you have to give parents advice.” The biggest grey area from an NAHT perspective is when there has been a breakdown in trust between the parents, but before a court has issued any judgments. Sally explains: “Often, in this situation, a parent will come in to see me and will say the other parent is to have nothing to do with the child. But I can’t enforce that. Without guidance, head teachers will continue to be stuck in the middle of situations that are often very fraught.” Lesley Gannon, head of research and policy development at the NAHT, says that the NAHT will be using the consultation process to highlight how schools and school leaders can end up in the middle of parental disputes and will seek to discuss the challenges schools face in supporting children through a traumatic time in their lives. “The NAHT is calling for improved guidance for schools on how to balance the competing demands of warring parents with the best interests of the child,” she says. 38

‘GIVE US CLEAR, NEUTRAL GUIDANCE’ “The legislation isn’t the problem,” says Lesley Gannon, head of research and policy development at the NAHT. “It’s the guidance for schools. Quite rightly, most of it focuses on facilitation. It’s about ensuring that both parents can get access, appropriate information and can be involved. But there is much less information and support for schools about the conflict-resolution aspect of schools’ involvement in parental separation. “It would be useful for schools who want to prove that they are not taking sides with one parent if they could point to a piece of guidance and say that they are working within guidelines that tell them how to act in these situations. “So if one parent says: ‘I am getting a court order to prevent this parent from seeing the child because they are a risk’ – despite there being no other supporting evidence in the public domain – schools are in no doubt about how to respond. We are looking for very clear, external, neutral guidance that schools can point to and say: ‘In this situation, government guidance suggests that this is the protocol that we should follow…’ “Obviously, if the school has been a key witness to an event or has received a disclosure from a child, it is right and proper for the school to be involved. What we are talking about is where schools get dragged in inadvertently when they don’t need to be.” Tony Draper, head at Water Hall Primary School in Milton Keynes, agrees. He says: “We had an incident recently where there was a nasty separation between parents and we were caught in the middle. We couldn’t keep up with the warring. We have more than 300 children and I advised the couple to get it sorted out in court because we couldn’t cope. The court eventually made it clear what the access arrangements were. Once you have that, it makes the job a lot easier. “At the moment it’s a massive minefield. The only thing we can do is to be as even-handed as possible and, in many cases, just hope that we don’t make a mistake. To have clear guidance, so that we can sit down with parents and read totally unambiguous guidelines to them, would be great. It would allow us to keep sitting on the fence and not get drawn into ugly disputes.”

“Without guidance, head teachers will continue to be stuck in the middle of situations that are often very fraught” “It is a massive problem for schools. There can be real conflict, where one parent is making allegations against the other, and the school is sometimes dragged into the middle. “Even the most innocuous incidents can prove controversial: permission to attend school trips or have music

lessons, the amount of time spent with each parent at parents’ evenings and school plays. All of these can and have been used as weapons between parents in conflict; there is really no limit to the extent to which the domestic situation can flow over into what is happening at school.” To read the draft legislation and to find out more about the work of the Justice Committee, visit To contact the NAHT with your experiences, or to seek advice on this issue, email


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Notofmuch a change? New research findings suggest that free schools tend to offer a classical model of education – and steer clear of disadvantaged areas. Susan Young reports


ith almost 80 free schools now teaching children in England, debates about the policy continue as fiercely as ever. Are the schools springing up to serve middle-class parents concerned about the social mix in their local primaries, or to entice the aspirational with the trimmings of a private school? Or are they, as their architect Michael Gove claims, driving social mobility in areas of high deprivation? The jury will remain out on the performance and value for money of the new schools – as individuals and as a group – for some time to come, until the first Ofsted inspections, or the time when the first cohort of pupils sits external tests or examinations. But, a little more than a year after the first wave of schools opened, research is beginning to give a clearer picture of which groups of backers are proving most successful and, in particular, about the parent-proposers intended to be at the heart of the policy. Dr Rob Higham may know more about free schools than anyone outside the DfE or the New Schools Network, which works with proposers on applications. His research paper, Free Schools in the Big Society (see right), draws on interviews with a sample of 50 free school groups representative of the proposers originally encouraged by the Government to apply. The sample to date does not include free school proposals by existing schools, academy chains or trusts and his findings cover the first two “waves” of applications and approvals. He tells LF that his paper paints a contrasting picture of successful and unsuccessful proposers. He has recently shared his interim findings with fellow academics at the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society, which is 40

funding his continuing free schools research. His current working conclusion is that successful free school applications are more likely to come from groups of middle-class professionals planning academic schools and are most likely to be rejected if they propose a vocational school in the most deprived areas. While Rob, a lecturer at the Institute of Education, London, believes this may be an “unintended consequence” of the Government’s desire to ensure free schools are successful when judged in school league tables, he also

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Free schools are difficult territory for researchers since the Government does not release details of unsuccessful applications. In writing Free Schools in the Big Society, Dr Higham has tracked 226 of the 312 proposals made so far and interviewed a sample of 50 groups representative of those originally encouraged by the Government to apply (parents, faith groups, teachers and charities, but not education institutions). The research used the same measure of disadvantage that the Government has commonly used in its published analysis of free schools and defined proposals as highly disadvantaged where they were located in the 20 per cent most disadvantaged Lower Layer Super Output Areas, as measured by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index.


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suggests that the process by which new schools are being created undermines the claims of the Secretary of State for Education that the policy is designed to drive social mobility in areas of high deprivation. “One can partly imagine how this might be happening. It is a high-profile policy and is subject to a great deal of media interest. The Government will want a framework to select schools with the best chance of meeting its benchmarks in terms of outcomes, including the English Baccalaureate” says Rob. “When viewed from that perspective one might imagine certain kinds of judgments. The Government might want to involve people who can provide a diverse range of corporate, managerial or professional expertise that could be beneficial to the Government, especially as free schools won’t have local authority oversight to monitor if things are going wrong. “When judged in those terms, those groups most committed to serving disadvantaged areas, who often live or work in those areas, may not be the most likely to get through.” He adds: “The initial research sample suggests that proposers most able to negotiate the DfE application process are not, on average, those purposefully seeking to serve highly disadvantaged communities. Conversely, the majority of proposers in highly disadvantaged areas have aims and expertise that do not fit well with what the DfE appears willing to accept, though there is a minority that bucks that trend.” While many groups talk of inclusion, Rob says, only a minority of proposers describe detailed and committed work to engage and build trust among poor and workingclass families. Successful school proposers in the sample were “almost exclusively professionals”, with high numbers

Proposers most able to negotiate the DfE application process are not, on average, those seeking to serve highly disadvantaged communities

of managers, directors and other professionals. Several teacher proposers talked about the usefulness of their Oxbridge networks, while “a parent-led group had two senior professionals from banking and marketing, a company director, a university lecturer and the support of several head teachers”. By contrast, unsuccessful parent proposer groups were more likely to include people with administrative, secretarial and skilled trades backgrounds, or were working in caring, leisure and service occupations. They were less likely to involve professionals outside education, such as from law, business and accounting, and “several felt this lack of breadth had contributed to their rejection by the Government”. Time and money were often obstacles for the less wealthy proposers, who were more likely to be motivated by the perceived lack of a suitable school for their own children. One teacher-proposer told Rob: “Whether it was paying for postage, for pop-up stands for events, or setting up a limited company, or rail travel down to London to go for the CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 ➧ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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interview [at the DfE] or the free school conference – we personally had to pay for that … it’s very easy to come up with a headline that says ‘committed parents, inspired teachers, have a go at setting up a free school’, but you won’t stand a chance of doing it.” Free school proposer and head teacher Mark Lehain was unconvinced by the findings without having read the full research. “As a former maths teacher, I always like to see the data,” says Mark, whose Bedford Free School opened with almost 200 pupils in September (see right). As a high-profile campaigner for free schools, Mark has not only spent hours talking to parents, but has also worked with the New Schools Network, where he found “absolutely no difference” in the interest they paid to different proposer groups. “I am absolutely convinced: my own experience tells me that they don’t care what background parents have got. I think parent groups have just as much chance provided they tap into what the community wants. I can understand there are particular challenges for parent groups: you need people to have time to put into the campaigns, it’s not easy and you are not always going to clear the high hurdle. But the whole purpose of the business case is to demonstrate that the proposer group has the capacity to set up and run a school, which will require a key set of skills. So they will need to demonstrate financial and legal capacity, for example.” Mark points out that the Bedford proposers were “essentially a teacher group” who then had to find people with expertise in planning, accounts, property and so on. “We went out and found people through friends of friends and word of mouth. I don’t think it is impossible to find people to fill these skills sets, but maybe that is me being middle class and it would be harder if I was a parent from a minority ethnic background.” So far, Rob’s research also suggests that traditional academic school proposals are more likely to succeed. His paper quotes a “vision” from one parent promoter “with the 42

POLICY IN ACTION: BEDFORD FREE SCHOOL It took three years of hard work before Bedford Free School opened to pupils in September, and principal Mark Lehain says: “I’m knackered, but it’s beginning to feel like a proper school now. It’s just a normal school. “I do not want people to think of it as a free school, but part of the family of local schools.” The school day runs from 8.30am to 4.15pm, including a final enrichment session each day with 24 clubs on offer, including rowing, a student newspaper and rock climbing. Mark says that the academic target is for 100 per cent A*-C (“give or take”), that it is offensive that working class children should not be expected to achieve such grades, and that “first and foremost” the school wants to create “decent human beings”. “You’ve got to do some things in life for the joy and the heck of it. When we first thought about the school we had a list of things we felt that a child should have mastered by the age of 16, besides the exam results. These included being able to cook a roast dinner and to be confident enough to stand up and speak in front of people.”

concentration on core subjects, such as English, maths and science. Parents could say: ‘This looks like an independent school, with white shirts, black ties, black blazers, small classes, strong discipline and well behaved, polite kids who say “good morning, sir,” and open doors for you to walk through’.” Also popular was another type of academic school in areas of aboveaverage disadvantage, “characterised by high expectations and a commitment to all students succeeding within core and mainly academic subjects”. By contrast, unsuccessful proposals for schools in the most disadvantaged areas, while diverse, often emphasised vocational educational aims. One

I don’t think it is impossible to fill these skills sets. Maybe it would be harder if I was a parent from a minority ethnic background

proposer said: “This is a vision of a vocational offer combined with an ethos that enables students to understand the connections between school and the wider world of work. Local employer engagement is seen to be important in curriculum design as well as in providing mentors for students, work placements and/or transitions to work.” With a doubling in the annual number of free school openings expected in 2013, Rob is continuing and broadening his research into the proposals that succeed and, crucially, those that don’t. “I am not surprised by my findings so far, but I am surprised that the Government hasn’t done more to support free schools proposals in disadvantaged areas. “My research is very much a work in progress into a fascinating area and there is a lot more to do in order to take this beyond what are merely interim findings. For instance, what do parent proposers do when they are rejected? Some of those who were turned down tell me that they will need to partner with an organisation upon which the Government looks favourably, such as an educational consultancy company or academy chain. It will be interesting to see how that develops.”


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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

Life flows better with Visa


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Hard 44-46 boxing NEW.indd 44

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I Tom Ogg and Chris Hall worked together for three years in a bid to get London’s most wayward boys through their GCSEs. Steve Smethurst reports on how they used boxing as a means to achieve that

t was the former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell who once said: “We know that boxing can be a way of disengaging kids from gangs, carrying knives, from low-level crime and high-level antisocial behaviour. It reaches young people that other sports don’t.” Tom Ogg learned the wisdom of this when he left the University of Oxford to work as a maths teacher at the London Boxing Academy Community Project (LBACP). Before he started, he was told: “The job is extremely satisfying: just very rarely. It’s really tough trying to get the students to do anything, but when they do, the buzz is great.” Tom was placed at the LBACP, a gym opposite Tottenham Hotspur’s football ground, by Civitas, the institute for the study of civil society, which worked with the academy. It was one of a growing number of ‘alternative provision’ projects and the LBACP specialised in working with 14- to 16-year-old boys with aggression problems, many of whom were already known to the criminal justice system. The project began in 2007 at the gym run by former boxer Chris Hall (see panel, page 48) and had space for 36 students. Tom helped three year groups of students through their GCSEs. Most left with a handful of

C, D and E grades. He tells LF: “The results would be unimpressive for a mainstream school, but one head teacher who referred students to us said that the results were ‘awesome’.” To put the challenge into context, Tom once took a group of students to Devon to broaden their horizons. One of them was amazed to see cows. He pointed and asked the teachers: “What’s that?” He was told it was a cow. “What about that white thing, is that a cow too?” He was told it was a sheep. Having grown up in Kingston, Jamaica, then moved to north London, farm animals were not something he was familiar with. The same student, Kemar Duhaney, died earlier this year after being stabbed in the chest. In Tom’s time at LBACP, 101 students attended the school. Almost a third did not complete their studies. Fifteen students were expelled; three did not complete owing to prison sentences; others withdrew because of changes in their home lives; while for some, gang-related tensions meant they were unable to travel to Tottenham safely. Tom says: “Most of the students liked the school in a way that they hadn’t liked any other institution. For example, that they didn’t sit in a classroom all day long; no school uniform; lots of personal attention – classes a maximum of six – and spending time with ‘hardnosed’ boxers to whom they could CONTINUED ON PAGE 46 ➧


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relate. They also liked the way Chris ran the school.” Students were grouped in pods of six, each of which was assigned a boxer or boxing coach who worked as a ‘pod leader’, a role that combined those of a teaching assistant, mentor and minder. The main sanction in Tom’s power to combat poor behaviour was to send students out of class. “We did not have detentions, and did not shout at students, because these were punishments that had already failed in mainstream schools. What we insisted upon was positive participation. If a student did not participate positively, then something else would be found for them to do.” Tom says the approach was in marked contrast to mainstream schools where colleagues of his have been asked: ‘What was so wrong with your teaching that the students misbehaved? Why didn’t it interest them?’ “We had the opposite attitude – it was for the student to conform with what was required in the classroom, not for the classroom to conform to the wishes of the student.”

Tom says that almost all the students had used violence in the past and many would have done so again with little hesitation. But they knew that if they were near a boxer, they were fairly secure from attacks from the students. It should also be emphasised that few of the students took boxing seriously as a sport, most simply skipping, using the punchbags and doing pad work. “The latter was the most popular because it meant one-to-one attention and the satisfaction of trying to hit a real, moving target,” Tom says. Tom has now written up his experiences at LBACP and is training to be a barrister. “I thought about becoming a head teacher, but I have quite a fondness for stationery, wigs and long lunches,” he jokes. Every now and then, however, his mind goes back to Kemar and the others at the LBACP. You can read his recommendations for schools in the panel below. Boxing Clever, by Tom Ogg is published by Civitas, price £9.50.

TOM’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOLS • Assess the reading age of your Year Seven intake each year to identify the two or three who are in big trouble. As soon as you know there’s a problem, you have a chance to solve it. • A minority of heads are tempted to regard the students they send to alternative provision as ‘problems to be got rid of’. That said, many of those students will be happier outside mainstream education. However, I would like to see heads take a greater interest in ensuring alternative provision is high quality. I would urge everyone to read Charlie Taylor’s recent report, Improving alternative provision. • Some young people, especially the most difficult, react badly to being treated lightly. There can be a temptation to brush off their questions, but you have to be prepared to deal with hard facts because hard facts are what these young people deal with every day. A willingness to engage in challenging issues will gain their respect. • Schools should consider boxing as one of their school sports. For some young people it can be very attractive and boxing coaches have a long and impressive record of working with wayward young men. • If you can find a way to make a young person want to come to school, they’ll try harder. For some young people, especially boys, sport will be crucial. The PE department will have a vital role to play, as will extracurricular activities. Putting aside money in a budget to pay staff for this purpose would be a positive step.


ASK THE COACH Chris Hall, an experienced boxing coach, left the LBACP to set up three new alternative provision schools – the Footsteps Academies. He tells LF what he’s learned about troubled 14- to 16-year-olds. What’s your ethos? Too many people are keen to impose their will on young people. Our ethos is that we genuinely care about the individuals. We still have rules and we still get issues, but you are far more likely to have a positive outcome if you have a positive relationship. What drives you? I get genuinely upset when I see kids let down by the environment they have grown up in. We have at least five or six at any one time who, if they were born in someone else’s shoes, would be real alpha students. What advice would you give to mainstream schools? The most important things are balance and continuity. I’d also like to see mainstream schools do more on literacy. We get 15-year-olds who have a reading age of six. If there is any one way that these kids are let down, it’s that they leave primary school without learning to read and write properly. How do you deal with discipline? We had an incident where someone did something that we had clearly set out to him that he must not do again, or this would be the consequence. So, as soon as he did it, his reaction was: “Oh, this is going to happen now.” You get a much calmer response. It is important that the lines of battle are laid out clearly; so we never impose responses to a negative situation where we haven’t made it very clear that this is how we regard this situation and this is how we are going to respond.


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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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The latest products, books and teaching resources Every Teacher Matters By Kathryn Lovewell Ecademy Press £14.99

Part way through this book is the heading: “If If you don’t take care of yourself, who’s going to take care of the kids?” It’s written by a former secondary school art and drama teacher who quit mainstream education in frustration at statistics becoming more important than people. She now trains senior leaders and teachers to manage their stress levels. A nice anecdote comes at the end: “A new prison learner said he wasn’t going to stay in class if it was ‘all that weird, lying-down breathing c**p.’ He was swiftly put in his place by another who told him: ‘Listen, mate. This s**t really works!’”

Full-On Learning By Zoë Elder Crown House Publishingg £18.99

The clever use of illustration, colour, white space and typography all comes together to showcase the education ideas of author Zoë Elder and those she admires. It’s been described as a ‘blueprint for teachers in the 21st century’ and it should prove very useful for NQTs and also those whose practice could do with a lift. It should particularly appeal to those put off by the impenetrable language of academic tomes, yet equally frustrated by the dumbeddown bullet-point lists of the mini-guides.


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‘R ‘Reduce, Reducee, rreuse, eusse, recycle’ re ecyclle’ says says Ellen EElle lleen

Follow Me, I’m Right g Behind You

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By Jim Smith Independent Thinking Press £16.99

Anti-bullying An A ntii-bully lyingg hits hitts the h th he road road Anti-Bullying A ntti-B Bullyyin ng Week Week runs from fro om 19-23 19--23 November, No oveember aalthough lth hou uggh h it eff effectively fecctivvelyy lasts laastss for fo or the the whole wh holle of of the thee month. m onth h. T The hee th theme hem me this yyear eaar iss ‘W ‘We’re We’’re bet better tteer w without ith hou ut bullying’ b ulllyin y ng’ g an and nd aan n ant anti-bullying ti-b bullyin y ng roa roadshow adshow w will ill to tour ourr th the he UK U K fro from om 15 Oc October cto obeer to to 7 December Decem mbeer to to sspread pre p ead d th this his message. m me essa saggee. Itt w will illl vvisit iisiit sschools, cho hoo ols, s yyouth o ou uth th ccl clubs, lub ubs,, ccolleges, olleg o egees, universities u unive versit s ties es and d pa p parent aren ent ggroups rou ro up ps to oh highlight igh ghlligght ht tth the he effect ef eff feect bullying bu ullyyiin ng has haass on on achievement. acch hieve evem meent. The Th hee roadshow ro oad adsshow ow iis made m d u up off films, l s p presentations, s n t n quizzes, u z , prizes r e aand d dedicated de d ed diiccatteed d aan anti-bullying ntti--b bu ully lying ng resources. rreesourc o rces. e SSc Schools ch ho oo ols b booking o oo okkin ng tthe h he roadshow roa o ad dssh ho ow w will be be given give ven a one-hour on nee-hour o anti-bullying anti-bu t bulllyying ng lesson leesso s on plan plaan and p an nd d a DVD D DV VD containing cco onta n aiining ng ttip tips, pss, ro role-pla role-plays e lays aand le lesson esssso on n iideas ideas. ea g

The T h he d day ay o off ‘t ‘two two ffor or o one’ ne’ o offers ffferss Th The he N NAHT’s AHT T’s ccharity haarityy partner parttneer for fo or this thiss year, yeearr, ShelterBox, Sh hellterrBo ox, is sharing shaarin ng with witth primary prim marry school schoo ol children ch hild dren what whaat itt has learned lea arned ab about bou ut the wo world. orld d. T The hee disas disaster-relief sterr-reelieef ccharity’s harrityy’s annual an nnual iillustration llusstraatio on com competition mpetiitio on h has ass led d to tthree hreee boo books okss in a sseries eriies foc focusing cussingg on d different iffeereent dis disasters sastters and ho how ow t y aff they aaffect feect families faam milie ies and and d communities comm co munit n ties e around a ou aro un nd the h world. w wo orld r d. T The h hee b bo books, oo okkss, cre ccreated eate a ed by by cch children hildren l en ffo for or cchildren, h hilld dreen n, are a a ggreat reat r t resource e o ce ffo for or tthe hee cla cclassroom. asssrroo oom Th T The he llatest at ateesst ed eedition, ditio t on The T Th he D Day ay ay the th he Sea S a Changed Ch ha an nggeed d, w will illl bee launched lau aunc nch heed on on 8N November ovem mber e 220122 aand n nd d co costs osstts ££4. 4. 4 U Untili C Christ Christmas, stm maass, yo you can cca an also also so b bu buy uy T The Day Day ay the th the Ground Gro G ou un nd Shook Shook and Sho n T The Th he Day D Da ayy tthe Rain a Came a e in n a ‘two tw wo o ffo for or tthe he he p pr price rice ce o off o on one’ ne o of offer. ffer e p g

Jim Smith is an assistant head who describes himself as the “laziest, yet still professional, teacher in town”. His book is an entertaining read with lots of tips and advice. One you might like to try is to set up an email account such as ‘God@’ and suggest that if your students get stuck, rather than turning to you for help, they send an email. The recipient could be a teaching assistant, or even the head teacher. All they need to do is offer some guidance back. “The amazement when the students get their responses is incredible,” says Jim.

The Subject Leader By Steve Garnett Crown House Publishingg £18.99

The author has trained hundreds of teachers over the years and his hands-on knowledge shows through. Unlike many other guides, it isn’t written for an audience of academics but for busy people working in real schools. His advice ranges from how to run team meetings and how to recognise and use the right leadership style, to how to manage stress. There is also a higher level aspect which asks teachers to address their own philosophy of education.


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Developing confidence How two former PE teachers raised the bar for a new generation


might give away the whistle so that the participants look after their peers or a lower age group.” But Carlo and his Humanutopia partner, Graham Moore, threw away not only the whistle, but PE itself, and concentrated on encouraging leadership development and life skills.

A fresh start Humanutopia works mainly with secondary schools and has four linked strands, including one where older pupils teach younger ones a skill they are passionate about, another where an older group organises a camp for a younger one, and ‘Heroes’, where the pupils take the lead in introducing Humanutopia activities and ideas. Leadership and responsibility are vital underpinnings, as is the message that fresh starts are possible, and the organisation’s website is crammed with videos of teenagers explaining how these concepts worked for them. As the first primary school to take the package, Orrell Holgate was something of a guinea pig. Pupils already took responsibility for younger ones, but the new courses took it a step farther as Mike wanted to help his Year Six students develop the confidence to move on to high school. They did that and more,

with sessions and events such as the children organising a camp for younger pupils who were about to move into Year Three. Mike and his staff watched the pupils gain confidence, develop better relationships, strive to reach their potential and develop real life skills, all while increasing their achievements and making a difference to their own and other peoples’ lives. What’s more, they were happier.

New understanding Mike says that one child in particular stood out – a boy who had severe behavioural problems. “He was fantastic with the younger children, very helpful, very caring,” he says. “The exercises give opportunities to share thoughts and feelings. It’s more about thinking of people as opposed to Sats, letters and numbers. “It’s about challenging them to share their plans for the future – and not everybody wants to be a footballer. One of the boys wants to be a car mechanic and I can see him doing that.” And finally, there is the children’s new understanding that the past need not dictate the future: that every day is a new one. “They know that, if you work hard, something positive might happen in the future,” Mike says, adding: “Holgate children were more confident: they felt they could ask anybody what they needed to know at their new school. They know an awful lot more than I did when I was 11. Humanutopia has really supported the school’s ethos of TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) and I’m very grateful for that!” • Tell me about your school – I’d love to share your stories with LF readers. Email


If writing this column has taught me anything, it’s that every single school does something out of the ordinary. So, when I bumped into Wigan Primary head Mike Wilson, it was natural to ask him what unusual things his school had been up to. Mike immediately launched into an enthusiastic explanation of how a project more commonly used with teenagers had boosted the confidence of his Year Six pupils as they prepared for life in high school. He was delighted: not only with the outcomes for his pupils, particularly those who often found themselves in trouble or who struggled academically, but also with the financial deal he’d struck with the organisation that runs the project (another thing I’ve learned about schools is that head teachers love to haggle). I was expecting him to tell me about a management consultancy but instead I heard a cheering tale about Humanutopia, a social enterprise set up by two former PE teachers. But first, the back story… One summer, a decade ago, two PE teachers were brought together through a Sky TV education project and soon realised that they wanted to continue to develop their working methods with wider groups of teenagers. As one of the pair, Carlo Missirian, explains: “We got results by challenging young people, for the right reasons, in terms of giving trust and responsibility. There’s lots of that in junior sports leadership, where the PE teacher LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

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Wellington Academy, Tidworth Lloyds TSB Commercial customer

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New style academies refers to academies created under the 2010 Academies Act. †Figure as at 31 December 2011. *Free day-to-day banking applies to state schools only and includes day-to-day tariff transactions such as cheques, standing orders, cash, UK Sterling Direct Debits, deposits and withdrawals. All we ask is that you operate your account in credit or within agreed limits. Note that charges services may apply.2012 Calls may be monitored or recorded. Lloyds TSB Commercial is a trading name of Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Lloyds TSB ● other 52 LEADERSHIP FOCUSfor NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Scotland plc and serves customers with an annual turnover of up to £15m.

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Profile for Redactive Media Group

Leadership Focus  

NAHT magazine Leadership Focus Redactive November December 2012

Leadership Focus  

NAHT magazine Leadership Focus Redactive November December 2012

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