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LEADERSHIP F O C U S New courses for the autumn P.24 The magazine for NAHT members September/October 2015 • £5

Issue #70

Assessment without levels P.30 ‘Who’s in health?’ month P.36

Curriculum reform From P levels to building character – how can school leaders refine the system?

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Our training was graded 'outstanding' in all 44 categories assessed in our last Ofsted inspection




We can support your school. Find out how at teachďŹ

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eptember, a new beginning. Staff and pupils return with renewed optimism, energy TONY DRAPER and hope. New starters excitedly explore their surroundings and forge relationships. Enthusiastic newly qualified teachers look to impress and learn alongside their colleagues. This should be a highlight of the year and yet colleagues are worried about their futures. It’s because of threats issued by summer. National Executive would not forgive me if I did government about so-called ‘coasting’ schools (see page 8). not specifically congratulate our former national treasurer The prime minister thinks only academisation can raise school Jack Hatch on his OBE. Jack was for many years the constant standards irrespective of increasing contradictory evidence. figure in the national officers’ group and helped shape the Assessment without levels also continues to tax leaders, organisation as we now know it. especially as the government is publishing its revised standards Finally, please download the Youth Sport Trust’s Class of this term instead of at the end of last term as promised. Staff 2035 report (page 9). PE and sport are at a crossroads and the who could have been using the summer to plan for end of year link to physical and mental wellbeing and good educational outcomes will now have to shoehorn this in alongside their other outcomes cannot be underestimated. The Trust is NAHT’s responsibilities. The Barclay School (page 30) has developed an chosen charity this year and, to this end, a certain middleinnovative system of assessment and the NAHT’s invaluable aged couch potato will be ‘running’ the London Marathon to assessment materials are available free of charge on our website. raise funds. I must also add my congratulations to colleagues who were Have a great year all. recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list (page 9) this



Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation: 28,060 (July 2014-June 2015)

ASSOCIATION AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES NAHT 1 Heath Square, Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1BL Tel: 0300 30 30 333 Editorial board: Tony Draper, Heather Forse, Lesley Gannon, Nicky Gillhespy, Kim Johnson, Magnus Gorham, Chris Harrison, Russell Hobby, Gail Larkin, Christine Milburn, Caroline Morley, Stephen Watkins and Paul Whiteman. @nahtnews @LFmagNAHT

EDITORIAL TEAM Managing editor: Steve Smethurst Assistant editor: Carly Chynoweth Designer: Adrian Taylor Senior picture editor: Claire Echavarry Production manager: Jane Easterman Cover photograph: Tempest Columnist illustrations: Lyndon Hayes Printed by: Wyndeham Peterborough

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Advertisement sales: Joe Elliott-Walker Sales director: Jason Grant Leadership Focus is published on behalf of NAHT by Redactive Publishing Limited, 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP Tel: 020 7880 6200 Email:

ISSN: 1472–6181 © Copyright 2015 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 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 NAHT.


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OVER 23 MONTHS WITH A £2,384 ADVANCE RENTAL To find out more visit: login: NAHT or visit your Vauxhall Retailer. Official Government Test Environmental Data. Fuel consumption figures mpg (litres/100km) and CO2 emissions (g/km). New Corsa Excite 1.4i 90PS 3dr (a/c): Urban: 42.8 (6.6), Extra-urban: 65.7 (4.3), Combined: 54.3 (5.2). CO2 emissions: 121g/km.# Personal contract hire offer on New Corsa Excite 1.4i 90PS 3dr ecoFLEX (a/c) in Carbon Flash on orders received between 2 July 2015 and 7 October 2015, subject to availability and status. Age 18+ only. Figures based on a non-maintenance contract hire package with advance rental of £2,384, then 23 monthly rentals of £149.00. Excess annual miles over 16,000 charged at 6.64ppm. Excess charges also apply if you breach manufacturer servicing or maintenance guidelines or if the car exceeds BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear guidelines for its age/mileage when it is returned to Vauxhall Leasing. Package includes Road Fund Licence and Vauxhall Assistance. Guarantee/indemnity may be required. Prices and details are subject to change without notice. Offer applies to Vauxhall Partners only. You will not own the car. For full specification and Ts&Cs contact your local Retailer. ALD Automotive Ltd., trading as Vauxhall Leasing, BS16 3JA. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For Partners Terms and Conditions go to Offer applies to pre model year 2016 vehicles only. #MPG figures are official test data and may not reflect real driving results. Correct at time of going to press 11/08/2015.

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School’s out for summer Chinese teaching methods are under the spotlight in this issue’s ‘big picture’ from Henan province


GCSE and A level results The release of exam results in August brought renewed pressure on government to offer schools stability and increased funding



SBM professional standards In partnership with NASBM, NAHT is committed to increasing the professional recognition of school business managers Honours for school leaders The Queen’s birthday honours list awards an OBE to former NAHT national treasurer Jack Hatch

10 Inspiring Leadership conference As one of hosts of the conference, NAHT oversaw another inspirational event with impressive speakers 11 Are you ready for headship? A conference in Solihull was aimed at deputy and assistant heads, while NAHT will hold a conference for new heads in November 12 Birmingham branch conference More than 100 members attended the event which covered school improvement and issues relating to ‘Trojan horse’ 13 The great outdoors Research from the English Outdoor Council identifies the key impacts of outdoor learning





24 NAHT events guide This term sees the launch of six new courses that build on NAHT’s existing portfolio of outstanding continuing professional development

16 NAHT partners The Education Broker looks at the questions to ask when buying insurance, while Graybrook offers professional liability insurance

26 Northern Ireland’s high flyer Helena Macormac, NAHT Northern Ireland’s new policy director, is ready to influence government and involve the wider membership

17 Legal update ‘Positive handling’ is a contentious area where legislation has changed. What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to control and restraint?

28 Wales watching Rob Williams, policy director at NAHT Cymru, outlines the country’s unprecendented levels of change 30 Ahead of the game Assessment without levels is a brave new world but deputy head Karen Palmer and assistant head Jennifer Ellison are piloting a new system at the Barclay School in Hertfordshire 36 Who’s in health? October brings the chance for primary schools to raise the aspirations of their students by introducing them to people who work in healthcare, as Carly Chynoweth reports 40 Complexity and the curriculum Susan Young looks at how Chailey Heritage School in East Sussex is reassessing how it identifies and shows progress in students with profound and complex special needs 46 United nation Schools are required to promote British values. But what are they and how do you teach them? Carly Chynoweth investigates

19 Rona Tutt’s column The Education and Adoption Bill is a missed opportunity and it’s time to let the profession take the lead 21 Russell Hobby’s column The association will be your voice, inspiration and your shield in stormy times, promises the general secretary 22 Best of the blogs Our bloggers turn their thoughts to emotional resilience, recognition and equality for SBMs and the unresolved tension in assessment 50 Susan Young’s column Susan pays a visit to St Paul’s Junior School in Shepton Mallett, Somerset, and taps into the innovative ways the school is using technology


14 Funding concerns NAHT remains concerned about funding and capacity in relation to the Childcare Bill 15 New lease of life Retired head Richard Balukiewicz completes the Marathon des Sables


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With Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school airing on BBC2 over the summer from Bohunt School in Liphook, Hampshire, and the GCSE and A level results announced recently, this is a glimpse into what examinations are like for Chinese students. These pupils are taking their final exams in the open air at a middle school in Xinxiang, Henan province, China. According to local media, the school set up the exam outside to create a more comfortable environment for the students. What they

made of a photographer disturbing their concentration isn’t known. Meanwhile, the head at Bohunt School, Neil Strowger, has revealed: “The 12-hour days and Chinese teaching style suited some students and did not work for others, with some showing their frustration, which, of course, made the edit. As the series progresses the students grow in character and show the determination to succeed, which is such a feature across the school.” Outdoor education, page 13


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Read on. Get on. 

‘Proud support’ for campaign NAHT is a proud supporter of the ‘Read on. Get on.’ campaign, designed to ensure that by 2025 every child is a confident reader by the age of 11.



Events to look out for include Dyslexia Awareness Week from 5 to 11 October and National Storytelling Week, which begins on 30 January



Exam results put government under pressure to improve Stay up to date with The annual GCSE and A level results in August led to NAHT the latest association speaking out against the government, accusing it of ‘lacking news on Twitter vision’, ‘coasting’ on GCSEs and creating instability with insufficient funding, particularly in post-16 education. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “The secondary sector is crying out for some vision from government. Instead, obsessive tinkering over many years has short-changed students and created unnecessary pressure on education professionals. For the students heading into A levels, the future is uncertain. The government is coasting on this issue. These young people deserve better.” A particular area of concern at post-16 is modern foreign languages, which is seeing a continual gradual decline in entries. NAHT has urged the government to acknowledge that school sixth forms face severe and increasing financial pressures. Mr Hobby said: “Teachers have been required to plan for the radical reforms in qualifications to be implemented from September. School leaders will have to continue supporting colleagues in this work, while seeking to remain innovative in curriculum design. All of this is against a backdrop of financial pressures and turbulent accountability requirements. “A sensible approach would be to recognise these pressures and provide some stability. Instead the government is hinting at further rationalisation of exam boards. This does little to create any stability and ignores a mounting and potentially destabilising problem: that of recruiting and training sufficient examiners for the increasing volume of high stakes examinations.”


Clarification on ‘coasting’ primary schools The government has set out how a primary school will be defined as coasting in 2016. Subject to the passage of the Education and Adoption Bill, a school will be coasting if: • In 2014 and 2015 fewer than 85 per cent of pupils achieve level four or above in reading, writing and mathematics and a below median percentage of pupils make expected progress, and; • In 2016 fewer than 85 per cent of pupils achieve the new expected standard across these subjects and they do not make sufficient progress. To be deemed coasting in 2016, a school must fall below the coasting level for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Ministers have also decided that the attainment part of the primary floor standard will be set at 65 per cent in 2016 to differentiate the one-year floor standard and the three-year coasting definition. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “The whole coasting initiative will be a massive distraction from the real and pressing problems of our education system, which is eliminating failure and helping every school narrow the gap. “There is an opportunity cost to focusing resources on so-called coasting schools, because we lack sufficient sponsors, partners and new head teachers even to address failure adequately.”


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The ‘Read on. Get on.’ website has more information, ‘story starters’ and competitions. To find out more, visit

NAHT calls for changes in draft pay document NAHT has written to the DfE following the draft publication of the latest school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD). The association had two key areas of concern. The first is that the top of the head teachers’ groups should not be uplifted. NAHT policy adviser Valentine Mulholland said: “It arises out of a misunderstanding by the School Teachers’ Review Body that recent reforms give governing bodies enough scope to set the pay range of a head teacher above the top of the relevant head teacher group. “But a head teacher’s pay range can only be redetermined in limited circumstances, such as for new appointments or significant change in responsibilities. “This is distinct from uplifting the maximum of the range on an annual basis to ensure that those at the top of the head teacher group range do not see a reduction in salary in real terms.” There was also concern the current draft would make it impossible to apply a one per cent increase to a teaching and learning responsibilty (TLR) allowance unless it was set at the minimum or the maximum of the TLR range.



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TELL US ABOUT YOUR INSPECTION EXPERIENCE If you have been inspected recently, NAHT would like to know more about how it went. Fill in the survey at

NAHT commits to professional standards framework for SBMs

Education conference keynotes confirmed NAHT’S Education Conference 2015 features four impressive keynote speakers. As well as the inspirational pairing of NAHT president Tony Draper and general secretary Russell Hobby, there is head teacher Stephen Drew (pictured), of Educating Essex fame, and Emma Jackson, a survivor of the sexual exploitation ring that affected 1,400 children in Rotherham. Stephen is head teacher of Brentwood County High School in Essex, while Emma, 25, will talk delegates through her extreme ordeal of being groomed and sexually exploited by a gang of men at the age of 13. Over the past three years Emma has worked with several different organisations to raise awareness of the issue. Conference details 16 October at the Mercure Hotel, Manchester 13 November at St Paul’s, etc.venues conference centre, London Cost £245 for members


NAHT is committed to increasing the professional recognition of the role of school business managers (SBMs). As such, it has supported the work of the National Association for School Business Management (NASBM) to develop a professional standards framework for SBM professionals, comparable to those already available for other staff in schools. NASBM has engaged stakeholders through two standing groups: a practitioner group of SBM professionals with representation from NAHT members; and a stakeholder group including NAHT, ASCL, Fasna, Anglia Ruskin and Serco qualifications providers, the Institute of Leadership and Management, DfE, the National Governors’ Association and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. NASBM’s intention is that the framework: • Sets out the core and specialist areas within the SBM professional role; • Assists those currently working in, or aspiring to work in, the school business management profession to perform their role as expertly as possible; • Sets out the content of both initial and continuing professional development for those entering or developing their career in the profession; and • Provides a framework for the future development of qualifications and other professional recognition for school business management professionals. The framework identifies a number of core activities that school business management comprises, as well as a number of functional areas. The core activities are: leading support services, strategy, governance (including risk management) and securing efficiency. The functional areas being described are: finance, procurement, infrastructure, human resources, marketing and policy. The framework will have four tiers within each section to range from entry level school business management through to the most senior. NAHT has provided direct feedback to NASBM on the first drafts of the standards, as well as inviting members to give their views. NASBM plans to launch the standards at its annual conference in November.

AUTHORITATIVE SEND GUIDE SEND CODE OF PRACTICE: POLICY, PROVISION AND PRACTICE 0-25 YEARS Two NAHT specialists have pooled their knowledge and resources to write a comprehensive guide to the new SEND code of practice, dedicated to all those trying to ensure the code leads to better outcomes for children, young people and their families. LF columnist Rona Tutt, a past president of NAHT, and Paul Williams, chair of the association’s SEND committee, have created a book that should be relevant to all professionals working in the field. It covers the broader Children and Families Act (2014), the role of the local authority and guidance on all the key changes. With clear chapters divided into relevant sections, there are also a number of engaging and informative case studies from settings across the 0-25 age range, including maintained schools, academies, free schools and specialist and alternative provision. Published by Sage, the book costs £22.99 in paperback form. The authors combined previously to write How successful schools work: the impact of innovative school leadership (2012).


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Rona Tutt column, page 19


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Members named in honours list The 2015 Birthday Honours list, published in June, recognised several NAHT members for their services to education and children’s services. Official congratulations came from Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at the DfE, who said: “Their achievements and dedication are helping to improve the lives of children and young people, and raising educational standards so every child and young person can fulfil their potential.” One familiar name was head teacher Jack Hatch (pictured), former national treasurer at NAHT, who was awarded an OBE. Jack’s school, St Bede’s Academy in Bolton, earned praise from former schools minister David Laws for its work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. He has also been described as a ‘hero’ by Conservative politician Liz


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Truss for helping to set up childcare from 7am to 6pm. Jack said: “I was quite shocked, but very pleased; it is perhaps the crowning glory of my career. It is something that makes you feel humble. I have had a really rewarding career, but I also want to thank all the people who haven’t been given an award.” NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “This is a much-deserved recognition. Jack is held in extremely high esteem by this union. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for the generosity with which he has given of his time and his considerable talents. He is an inspiration to us all.” Other NAHT members honoured include: Sarah Bailey, executive head, Queensbridge Primary School, De Beauvoir School and Mapledene Children’s Centre, Hackney; Donna Barratt, head, Glebe Primary School, Harrow; Patrice Canavan, head, Oaklands School, Tower Hamlets; Sharon Gray, head, Netherfield Primary School, Nottingham; Peter McPartland, head, Trinity Special School, Barking and Dagenham; David Sellens, head, Thomas Jones Primary School, Kensington and Chelsea; and Garry Reed, head, Swimbridge Church of England Primary School, North Devon.

During National School Sport Week in June, the Youth Sport Trust (YST) launched the Class of 2035 report, an independent insight into what PE and school sport might look like in 20 years’ time. Chief executive Ali Oliver explains: Class of 2035 was commissioned to mark the Trust’s 20th anniversary but also to renew our energy; check in with our members, partners and stakeholders; and ensure we start the next 20 years on the best possible path. What the report reveals is that PE and school sport are at a critical crossroads. Unless they remain a priority, we risk future generations who lack physical, social and emotional literacy, are disengaged and who are overdependent on screen-based entertainment. This combination will undoubtedly undermine their achievement and attainment. Yet technology is what schools must embrace. It is integral to education and the report looked at case studies and examples where technology could engage students through PE and school sport. ‘Gamified’ activity, wearable technology and tracking equipment may sound like the preserve of professional sports, but they have an impact on adult behaviours and could, as costs fall, help inspire and empower young people too. However, we must tread this line carefully. The format and values of PE and sport provide an invaluable opportunity for young people to not only be active, but also to develop personal and social skills. By introducing digital technology we risk losing some of the simplicity of being physically active and the face-to-face interaction that is such an integral part of sport. We believe there is the potential for PE and sport to become an environment where young people learn about a healthy balance in their life and the need for time away from the screen as well as engaging with it. The report tells us that by taking action now, we can help ensure a generation that is fit for purpose, rather than digitally distracted or, worse still, hostages to their handheld devices. The challenge has been set and the Youth Sport Trust is committed to modernising and transforming PE and school sport so it is relevant and meaningful in a digital age and, in doing so, making the strongest contribution to young people’s wellbeing, personal development, and achievement.



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Inspiring to achieve excellence Taking time out from school is a challenge, there’s no doubt about that. So how do you decide how to spend your valuable time? Well, if you listen to delegates at June’s Inspiring Leadership conference, this was an event that ticked all the boxes. The annual conference, jointly hosted by NAHT, CfBT and ASCL, took place at the ICC in Birmingham for the second time. Building on the reputation of its predecessor, the National College’s Seizing Success conference, it aimed to bring together the best of leadership from the world of education and beyond to inspire, empower and energise. As well as the high-calibre

speakers, there was a programme of thoughtprovoking masterclasses and workshops that gave a fresh perspective on leadership, empowering, motivating and inspiring delegates to achieve excellence in education. The workshops were designed around four core themes: inspiring learning for children; inspiring others; being inspired; and inspiring the system. Leading educationalists and leaders shared their expertise and insights during hands-on sessions to offer practical lessons to take back to school. Speaking following the conference, NAHT’s deputy

INSPIRING SPEAKERS Jay Altman chief executive, FirstLine Schools Alain de Botton philosopher and author Alastair Campbell writer, communicator and strategist Erica Ariel Fox author, adviser and lecturer Baroness Susan Greenfield scientist, writer and broadcaster (pictured) Peter Hyman head teacher and co-founder of School 21 Steve Munby chief executive of CfBT Education Trust Pak Tee Ng Singapore’s leading educationalist Ben Page chief executive of Ipsos MORI Steve Radcliffe leadership expert Sir Ken Robinson expert on innovation in education Alan Watkins expert on leadership and human performance

general secretary, Kathy James, who leads NAHT’s contribution to the event each year, said: “NAHT is delighted to be one of the three hosts of this conference. This year saw another successful event, with great feedback from among the 1,500 delegates. Ninety-eight per cent of respondents said

the event met or exceeded their expectations. “Of the speakers, Sir Ken Robinson and Alastair Campbell (pictured above) came top of the class, with masterclass presenters Andy Buck (speaking on ‘Seven habits of highly effective schools’), Kevan Collins (‘Harnessing evidence to secure professional trust’) and NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby (‘Connected leadership’) proving to be leading lights. “Our challenge is now to bring together another programme of inspirational speakers for delegates at Inspiring Leadership 2016 in June next year.” To view presentations and highlights, visit: www.inspiringleadership. org

For the names of the masterclass and workshop leaders, see



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Deputy and assistant heads in the spotlight The first NAHT deputy head and assistant heads conference took place on 23 June at the Lake at Barston conference centre in Solihull in the West Midlands. More than 60 delegates listened to a keynote speech from NAHT president Tony Draper, who spoke about assessment and Ofsted, among other issues. It was followed by a workshop led by NAHT regional officer Beverley Haywood entitled ‘School leaders in the firing line’, which looked at managing difficult situations. The session focused on prevention rather than cure and was designed to empower delegates with strategies to keep them out of trouble – whether it be difficulties with pupils, staff, parents or governors. The rest of the day was led by NAHT past president Sue Sayles, who looked at:

• Expectations and challenges: what deputy and assistant heads bring to the school • Key relationships: working with and supporting the head and others in the senior leadership team • Leading others at the school • Influencing others: upwards and downwards • Workload, organisation and time management • Work-life balance

The conference was organised by NAHT national executive member Ian Backhouse, secretary of the Solihull branch. He told LF: “The conference filled a gap left by the local authority, which used to organise a conference for deputy heads. Of the delegates, around 30 were non-members and we recruited 15 as new members as a result of sharing with attendees the benefits of NAHT membership. ”

CALLING NEW HEADS NAHT is holding a conference for new head teachers on 26-27 November at the ICC in Birmingham. Keynote speakers include Sir John Jones and Andy Cope (pictured). If you have been appointed in the past two years, the conference should prove particularly useful. It has been designed to ensure you know what is expected of you and where help and support can be found. NAHT is keen to help all new head teachers develop resilience and confidence and the conference will provide a mixture of inspirational keynote speakers, interactive workshops and larger traditional lectures. All speakers and workshops are suitable for


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all sectors and phases. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “The conference has been formulated by successful and experienced head teachers from all sectors. It provides a balance of inspirational ideas and sound foundations, so that you return to your school equipped to develop and deliver your vision, as well as prioritising the daily demands of your new role. “If you are newly appointed in this role, this is your opportunity to meet and share your hopes and fears with your peers in a comfortable and relaxed environment.”

One of the delegates was NAHT member Andrew May, assistant head teacher at Castle Bromwich Junior School in Solihull. He said: “All the speakers were very good. Tony talked about current issues in education and how they might affect our schools. Beverley discussed difficult situations we might encounter. The key learning point for me was to plan your response carefully and, where necessary, withdraw from the situation to buy yourself time. “Then, in dealing with the issue, acknowledge others’ feelings, but always bring it back to facts and evidence. Also, don’t be frightened to seek advice. Finally, keep a record, preferably written, for example an email that outlines the conversation and what was agreed. “Sue talked about what was involved in our role. The main message I took away was to work more smartly. For example, working five 10 hour days in a week was likely to be more productive than working five days of 14 hours, despite the fewer hours. You are fresher, more able to think and make decisions and, ultimately, you also have a life. Time management is crucial, for example by putting limits on how long a meeting is going to last and sticking to it. “Overall, the conference was an excellent event, not least because it presented the opportunity to talk to other deputy and assistant heads about their roles day to day, to share best practice with them and to talk through any issues we might have.”



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Birmingham branch holds first summer conference The first NAHT Birmingham branch summer conference brought together more than 100 members to tackle key issues of importance to school leaders in the area. Held at Birmingham City’s football ground, the event now looks set to become a fixture in the NAHT West Midlands calendar. The conference began with a powerful and informative session on equalities and how we define British values (see also page 46). The session was led by Birmingham head teachers Jamie Barry and Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson (pictured), who spoke passionately about their experiences of tackling issues of democracy, the rule of law, liberty and respect particularly in the context of gender inequalities and sexual orientation. There were excellent examples of good practice taking place through curriculum opportunities as well as timely reminders of lessons learned through the recent ‘Trojan Horse’ review in Birmingham. One delegate told LF: “I found the presentation from the two current heads informative and thoughtprovoking. Their comments clarified the issues around ‘Trojan Horse’ and their views on the equalities agenda, although uncomfortable to hear, have


Russell Hobby

made me have follow-up discussions with staff – engaging them in professional dialogue and not avoiding issues.” Another added: “Our group was very interested in the talk dispelling some of the myths about the Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools programme and it encouraged us to think about what we do in our schools.” Tim Nash, managing director of EdisonLearning, then introduced head teacher Julia Brown (pictured) and deputy head Emma Crabtree from Greenhill Primary in Sheffield, who spoke positively about the experience of moving the school forward through their involvement in NAHT’s collaborative school improvement programme, Aspire.


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Julia Brown

A delegate commented: “I really liked the way NAHT Aspire works, making it all about working together for improvement – rather than a particular model of school improvement. I hope we will be able to access the programme soon.” The programme is currently being piloted and will be rolled out more widely following its success in taking the majority of schools to an Ofsted category of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in three years. The ‘Question Time’ panel session then offered an opportunity to discuss issues covered throughout the conference and highlighted specific issues facing local leaders. Paul Whiteman, NAHT director of representation and advice, and Rob Kelsall, NAHT senior regional officer, led

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson

members through the session using NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby’s powerful speech from national conference (see LF, May/June) as a framework. The conference provided a unique opportunity for members to gather to develop good practice and share common issues as well as to remind everyone why Birmingham remains such a great city with such great leaders. Thanks go to Alison Marshall, Birmingham branch, for all her work in making this conference such a success. It is hoped the event will be the first of many. As one delegate commented: “It was a great opportunity to hear about current issues and to talk to other heads. We need to do this more often.”


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The key benefits of outdoor learning Britain has a long tradition of engaging young people in outdoor learning, which has a widely acknowledged positive impact on their development, says David Harvey, head of residentials at the Brathay Trust and national chair of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC). Outdoor education is often associated with rock climbing, canoeing and mountain walks with outcomes generally focused on personal and social development. Over recent years, however, research has shown that by taking an integrated approach to using the outdoors – both in and out of school – even more can be achieved. While teachers have long recognised the value of

outdoor learning, the past decade has seen research focus on both the ‘how’ of outdoor learning and the ‘why’, which in turn is laying the foundations for more targeted research into specific outcomes. The English Outdoor Council (EOC) has identified the following key impacts of outdoor learning: • Raising educational standards • Making a powerful contribution to the broader curriculum and the development of ‘character’ • Helping to address health problems and enhancing wellbeing • Offering, for many, a first real contact with the natural environment • Helping to reduce disengagement, antisocial

HALLMARK OF QUALITY The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) represents leaders and managers of providers, offering quality, innovative outdoor learning experiences to young people across the UK. AHOEC is affiliated to NAHT and the two organisations jointly promote the benefits of high-quality outdoor education. AHOEC has representatives on the governing bodies of the main adventure sports and key organisations concerned with outdoor learning. Membership is widely regarded as a hallmark of ethical and quality management, and AHOEC promotes its own gold standard quality mark. All centres bearing this mark are also accredited to both the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge and Adventuremark. This gives further reassurance of the quality and safety of your chosen provider.


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behaviour and crime • Building cross-cultural understanding and changing communities • Helping young people to manage risk and encouraging them to welcome challenge • Contributing positively to societal outcomes. Critically, while the EOC believes outdoor learning has a powerful positive impact, it is far from an equal opportunity and for some it is a lost opportunity. A progressive range of learning experiences outside the classroom, including at least one residential experience, should be an expectation for all young people. A perception of excessive red tape, the threat of litigation and the resources needed to accomplish any sort of teacher-led activity in school time has meant there has been a move towards the more traditional activities becoming the sole preserve of residential outdoor education centres and specialist providers. These visits generate valuable experiences, the learning from which can then be transferred back to the school environment. However, by developing the confidence and skills of teaching staff it becomes possible to integrate outdoor learning across all aspects of school life. Starting with the

school grounds and then moving further afield means that learning can be transferred between different settings, thus enhancing the possible outcomes. School grounds and the immediate vicinity provide numerous opportunities for developing numeracy, literacy and fieldwork skills and, with some basic skills in place, it becomes possible to meet specific outcomes that cut across all aspects of the curriculum. It is sometimes beneficial to use specialist help; many centres offer day visits as a means of meeting specific curriculum targets. If the topic being introduced is based around rivers, could that involve a day out following a river from source to sea? Alternatively canoeing, for example, could be a personal and team development activity, or it could be a way to experience the forces involved with paddling and buoyancy, the water cycle, freshwater habitats, boat design, local history and geography, maths, creative writing and more.



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Funding concerns In May, the government announced its intention to provide 30 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks a year to all working parents in England. The Childcare Bill 2015 containing these provisions is currently going through parliament. While NAHT is broadly supportive of the policy to extend early years education and support working parents, it has concerns around funding and capacity. Following a survey of members in July to gather information and views, NAHT organised an event with the DfE for early September to influence this policy. The strong response by members provided important evidence, which will be submitted to the DfE and

shared more widely with members in the autumn term. NAHT also welcomed research on early years from the Nuffield Foundation. Among its findings are that when early years settings are of high quality, there are positive effects on many child outcomes that are sustained into the teenage years. However, across provision as a whole, effects are more modest and fade out during the primary phase.

It also found the quality of provision is of central importance to the outcomes of early years education and childcare, particularly for disadvantaged groups. In addition, there is a strong relationship between the level of staff qualifications and the quality of early years education and childcare, and there is scope to use funding mechanisms to create stronger incentives for higher quality care. NAHT policy adviser Valentine Mulholland said: “The Nuffield research supports NAHT’s stance on early years. The key findings link straight through to our position on qualified staff and to funding for early years.”

Refer a colleague to NAHT or NAHT Edge With a new term comes the inevitable movement of people. You’ll doubtless know those who’ve changed roles, risen in the career ranks, taken on more responsibility or added to their current commitments. It’s those teachers and leaders we need your help to reach. For those who are now senior leaders, they may not know about the many benefits you’re already enjoying within NAHT. They probably won’t know NAHT is a community of more than 29,000 education professionals and we can provide immediate access to significant support and legal advice as well as high quality training and development. They won’t know how hard we lobby as a voice of senior teaching professionals and how much we do for our large network of leaders and managers within the sector.


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Others will have stepped up to duties beyond the classroom. These middle leaders may now find themselves accountable for pupil development, for a year group, for a subject area, or for another area outside of their main teaching role. This group needs to know about NAHT Edge and the benefits of membership. If you refer someone who joins NAHT or NAHT Edge, you’ll receive £20 in M&S or Amazon vouchers, while the new member will get 50 per cent off their membership fees.* Help us to spread the word. The larger our network, the louder our voice.** *Terms and conditions apply. ** You’ll need your log in details to access this page. If you need a reminder, check online or contact

Committee hears NAHT evidence on ‘coasting’ bill Since 2010, the government has focused almost exclusively on turning schools into academies to drive school improvement. The Education and Adoption Bill proposes new powers to intervene in schools if it deems they are ‘coasting’. As the bill neared the end of the committee stage, NAHT joined other voices in education at a parliamentary briefing on 15 July. NAHT’s president Tony Draper spoke at the event, outlining NAHT’s opposition to the bill and to the ‘coasting’ school definition, which NAHT believes is unhelpful and too data-driven to be effective. NAHT also believes the proposal to make such schools eligible for intervention is heavy-handed and unnecessary. Along with many others in education, the association has submitted written evidence to the bill committee. In addition, NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby gave oral evidence to the committee, saying that instead of raising standards, the bill could result in narrowed curricula, teaching to the test and people leaving the profession, making it harder to recruit head teachers to work in the most challenging schools. NAHT will continue to work collaboratively with other unions and experts, particularly when the bill makes its way into the House of Lords.


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Retired head finds new lease of life running 250km Marathon des Sables Moving on from a high-pressure school leadership role can be a mixed blessing. For some, retirement is a chance to pursue a gentler way of life. For others, there’s a sense of loss akin to grief and a fear of impending decline. For NAHT life member Richard Balukiewicz, it meant a distinct a loss of status. Weighing in at 17 stone with a ‘dodgy’ knee and shoulder, Richard also worried about his long-term health. “My retirement planning was rubbish. I had always imagined that I’d be fit and healthy and doing the things I did in my youth. But I struggled to walk farther than a mile and food and wine had taken their toll,” he said. In 2013, Richard and wife Gill had a holiday in France. It included cycle rides of up to 15 miles, which rekindled his pleasure in sport and inspired him to cycle to John O’Groats from his home in Nantwich, Cheshire. Having reaching his destination, Richard said: “I felt at peace. I’d lost a stone in weight and stopped drinking alcohol; my family was really proud of me.” His next challenge was mammoth: a 250km marathon across the Sahara desert in temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius. After passing a medical and a heart check, Richard was allowed to enter the Marathon des Sables and embarked on nine months of gruelling training. Then, at 12 stone and armed with a venom pump to fight off the effects of snake, scorpion and camel-spider bites, he flew to Ouarzazate in Morocco. At 63 he was the second oldest Briton to finish. Richard’s message for fellow school leaders facing retirement is to hang on to their self-belief. He says: “For me, retirement was difficult but you don’t become a school leader by accident and you deal with issues that seem impossible to resolve. Yet you don’t flinch, just use your confidence and self-belief to succeed. It’s the same in retirement.”

Northern Ireland conference packs them in NAHT (NI) held its AGM and conference in May at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle. The keynote speaker was John West Burnham, professor of educational leadership at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, who led a discussion on transforming learning for school leaders to improve standards and secure equity for learners. The conference theme was ‘Uplifting leadership’, which focused on the way school leaders are being asked to do more than ever before with fewer resources, yet they continue to rise to the challenge to push for the best outcome for children.

Gavin Boyd, interim chief executive of the Education Authority, gave a presentation followed by a Q&A session. Minister for education John O’Dowd also addressed conference and expressed his commitment to open dialogue with school leaders on a number of key issues, such as assessment, the education budget and principal release. Special thanks went to conference exhibitor Bridge Commercials, which raised £250 for Mencap by squeezing 40 (willing) principals and vice principals into a 15-seater minibus. Helena Macormac interview, page 26

NAHT Edge continues its growth into second year NAHT Edge enjoyed its first birthday earlier this month following an exciting year of development. Edge is a new type of professional association and union membership which focuses on helping teachers to be better managers and leaders through high-quality professional development. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “Members have told us they feel NAHT Edge is important within the education sector because of the recognition it gives middle leaders. “In a recent survey, 96 per cent of NAHT Edge members said they would recommend membership, which is a great platform for the association to build upon as it prepares for the coming year. “The most popular benefits for members are the tailored services offered to middle leaders and the online advice and resources. We’ll be launching more services in the coming weeks and months. “With NAHT Edge now well established, launch chief executive Louis Coiffait decided it was time for him to move on to new projects. We thank Louis for his contribution and wish him all the best for his future. “We’ve got an exciting year ahead of us and I look forward to telling you more later in the year.”


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PARTNERS WE M E S S A G E F R O M A S C H O O L P A R T N E R Buy cheap, pay twice? What to ask when buying staff absence insurance The differences in cover are only small, aren’t they? A slight difference between policy wordings may be hard for the inexperienced eye to detect, but it can be the difference between having a claim paid or not. Always compare the full policy wording, not just quotes and key facts. All policies have exclusions, but when are they applied? Most standard policies provide cover for 12 months, with renewal offered annually. It is critical to establish whether exclusions are applied when you first buy the policy or are reapplied at renewal too. When making a claim, will you need to ‘bother’ the absent person? Ask whether the insurers will rely on information from the school or will write to the person’s doctor. If the latter, seek approval from all insured staff before buying. Maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave – is it worth insuring? Establish what your financial loss would be if someone did take leave. Then ask: How much and when will the claim be paid? Does the person have to return to work? Ensure you get the correct insurance cover and do not just opt for the cheapest, or it may cost you more in the long run. Contact The Education Broker on 0808 168 2549 or email

WE M E S S A G E F R O M A M E M B E R P A R T N E R Professional liability insurance for independent consultancy work The considerable experience, expertise and knowledge you have built up over your time as a school leader will be invaluable to private and public sector employers – including government agencies – that are looking for consultants to help them with educational support and school improvement programmes. If you decide to take this step it is important to remember you will be liable for any errors or omissions in the advice you give as an independent consultant. The types of cover usually recommended to protect against these liabilities are professional indemnity and public liability insurance policies. NAHT has a long association with Graybrook, a leading independent insurance broker, which specialises in providing this type of cover to educational consultants on behalf of NAHT members, who also receive the added benefit of discounted premiums. For further information please visit or call one of Graybrook’s professional advisers on 01245 321 185.



partner contacts 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, contact

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Policing the use of force All members of school staff have the right to use ‘reasonable’ force under Section 93 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. In this context it refers to control or restraint and can range from blocking a pupil’s path to more extreme circumstances where a student needs to be restrained to prevent violence or injury. ‘Reasonable’ means using no more force than is needed. Often referred to as ‘positive handling’, there are several situations where it might be necessary. Examples include a pupil attacking a member of staff or another pupil; pupils fighting; a pupil at risk of causing injury or damage; and a pupil persistently refusing to obey an order to leave a classroom, or behaving in such a way that seriously disrupts a lesson. The law also includes the provision to search pupils without consent. For example, staff can use reasonable force to conduct a search for weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, stolen items, tobacco and cigarette papers, fireworks and pornography. However, force should always be a last resort and never a punishment. Nor can you use reasonable force to search for items such as mobile phones that are banned under school rules. Schools are required to have a behaviour policy but there is no requirement to include clauses relating to the use of force. Likewise, there is no requirement to obtain parental consent. Changes in the law Following the tragic and avoidable deaths of two teenagers in 2004 some restraining holds are now illegal: the ‘seated double embrace’ and the ‘double basket-hold’, both of which restrict breathing, and the ‘nose-distraction technique, which is a somewhat Orwellian term for what is actually a sharp upward jab under the nose. Because of changes in the law, training in the use of reasonable force is recommended but the decision is up to schools. Should a complaint about the use of force be received, the onus is on the person making the complaint to prove the allegations are true, not for the member of staff to show they have acted reasonably. Suspension should not be an automatic response when a member of staff has been accused of using excessive force.


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Action steps 1. Tell the pupil who is misbehaving to stop and state possible consequences of failure to do so; 2. If possible summon another adult; 3. Continue to communicate with the pupil throughout the incident; 4. Make it clear that restraint will be removed as soon as it ceases to be necessary; and 5. Appropriate follow-up action should be taken, which may include: i. Providing medical support; and ii. Providing respite for those involved. A calm and measured approach to a situation is needed and staff should never give the impression that they have lost their temper or are acting out of anger or frustration when handling a problem. DO • Tell the pupil what you are doing and why • Use the minimum force necessary • Involve another member of staff if possible • Tell the pupil what they must do for you to remove the restraint (this may need frequent repetition) • Use simple and clear language • Hold limbs above a major joint, for example above the elbow • Relax your restraint in response to the pupil’s compliance DON’T • Act in temper • Involve yourself in a prolonged verbal exchange with the pupil • Involve other pupils in the restraint • Touch or hold the pupil in sexual areas • Twist or force limbs back against a joint • Bend fingers or pull hair • Hold the pupil in a way that will restrict blood flow or breathing, for example around the neck • Slap, punch, kick or trip the pupil

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hose school leaders who managed to survive the unprecedented amount of RONA TUTT change in the past academic year might have been hoping for a less eventful year this time round. But hardly had members of the present government placed their collective feet under the cabinet table – unhindered by any coalition colleagues – than a barrage of THE EDUCATION AND ADOPTION BILL IS bills started their labyrinthine trek through parliament. At first glance it A MISSED OPPORTUNITY AND IT’S TIME might seem only the Education and TO LET THE PROFESSION TAKE THE LEAD Adoption Bill has much to do with schools, but that isn’t the case. current academic year as a hiatus, a time for the multitude of The Childcare Bill will have an impact on schools and other changes introduced recently to settle down. At the same time, early years providers, as it extends free childcare for three and a pause for thought would have given time to consider whether four year olds with working parents to 30 hours a week for 38 we need to continue with a system that is based on judging weeks of the year. At the other end of the age range, the Welfare school against school and pupil against pupil, as if we were Reform and Work Bill incorporates the government’s target of dealing with identikit schools filled with identikit children. three million apprenticeships between 2015 and 2020. Considering the DfE has admitted that national curriculum Meanwhile, the Personal, Social, Health and Economic levels gave a misleading picture of pupils’ attainment and Education Bill is a second attempt by Green Party MP Caroline Ofsted has confirmed more than 1,000 inspectors have been Lucas to make PSHE compulsory in schools. culled because of concerns about their reliability, it would have been an obvious time to think about the wisdom of carrying on Flawed logic in the same way. Most significant though is the Education and Adoption Bill, It would have been the ideal time for politicians to the first part of which is concerned with getting coasting acknowledge the damage done to education by inspectors – schools to stop coasting. The bill was introduced before who themselves require improvement – being used as the sole anyone had defined what was meant by a coasting school. arbiters of how well a school is doing. The situation has been Subsequently, the Coasting Schools (England) Regulations exacerbated by their judgements relying too heavily on 2016 indicated that the DfE believes such schools can be unreliable data, itself the result of successive governments’ identified by applying the usual sort of generalised overemphasis on the value of testing at the expense of teaching accountability measures. But this will do nothing to pick out and learning. With the evidence of what has gone wrong in the schools in favourable circumstances which fail to achieve the past set out clearly before her, the secretary of state has the results that might be expected and everything to encourage opportunity to let school leaders lead, rather than churning schools to view less academically able pupils as a liability. out endless bills and diktats. Putting teachers and taught alike It is ironic that this fixation with introducing a new category under constant pressure to perform has had its day. of schools was announced before the DfE’s commission on assessment without levels had published its findings, when the review of assessment of pupils with lower attainment had not Rona Tutt is a retired head even started its work and before the latest incarnation of the teacher and a Ofsted regime had enough time to bed down and prove its worth. past president of NAHT How much more sensible it would have been to treat the




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EE “The association will strive to be your voice, your inspiration and your shield in stormy times”


elcome back to the autumn term. I hope the break RUSSELL HOBBY provided a chance to refresh and to reflect. But what to expect next? Here are some predictions for the year ahead: • There will be no coasting schools. There is no such thing as a coasting school until autumn next year. Don’t let anyone label you as such. • The gap between the government’s A BUSY YEAR IS GUARANTEED data and practitioners’ experience on AS NAHT CONTINUES TO recruitment will grow so wide it will SUPPORT SCHOOL LEADERS prompt a rethink of the supply model. • We will see another attempt at a fair rapidly, adding new continuing professional development national funding formula but it may well run out of time to components to its portfolio. be implemented. We also have a government obsessed with autonomy and • We will finally get our college of teaching. But NCTL will face accountability but neglecting to build capacity. It is time for it major reform or break up. to step back from a blind faith in academisation and to ask, for • Assessment will be so evidently broken we will cease patching example, why some chains perform so well while others are it up with compromises and restart from first principles. distinctly average. As an association we have no problem with • More than 100 schools will participate in the NAHT Aspire academies when freely chosen and fully engaged with the local school improvement programme. family of schools. But forced academisation by default looks • The number of schools predicting financial deficits will increasingly threadbare as a systemic school improvement increase significantly and the erosion of cost of living strategy in 2015. We are not clear where the sponsors and payments will increase tensions. system leaders are going to come from to meet the government’s • We will experience the full impact of GCSE and performance ambitions in the absence of capacity building. table reform, creating turbulence in results, and continue to We will continue to campaign on inspection, accountability struggle with marking volumes. and assessment but we will also seek to raise the profile of • The DfE will increasingly try to marginalise Ofsted results in recruitment, funding, childcare and parity for SEND and favour of league table accountability measures. special schools. Our alternative performance tables should • The profession will establish a leadership foundation to take beat the government’s own to publication and will contain back ownership of leadership qualifications, preserving the more relevant data, including best entry rather than first entry. best of NPQH but also reforming the qualifications to fit the It looks like another busy year for the association and we new demands of school leadership in 2015. will strive to be your voice, your inspiration and your shield in stormy times. Despite all the pressure and uncertainty, school An uncertain future leaders continue to rise to the challenge, protecting staff and Some good, some bad, some uncertain. I think the reform pupils and building communities of learning. It is NAHT’s of assessment in particular offers a promising if high risk privilege to support you in this. opportunity. There’s also increasing evidence of the profession taking back ownership rather than waiting for permission. Internally, within NAHT, the regional review will roll out to Russell Hobby the first tranche of regions, greatly expanding our capacity is NAHT general secretary to support members, and NAHT Edge will continue to grow




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BLOGS Isn’t it time to acknowledge your achievements? Susan Young Education journalist Susan Young has been writing on the topical subject of emotional resilience. “Have you ever thought about it for yourself, rather than the children in your school? Julia Steward thinks you should. “Julia, a leadership consultant who has worked with school leaders for 20 years, is increasingly concerned that leaders struggle in a system where the government focuses on what’s not working. It leaves them ‘vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy and guilt when they prioritise their own needs’. “Julia adds: ‘For school leadership to be sustainable, we need to retreat from the current culture and provide space for renewal.’ “So, when she embarked on research

My assessment? Unresolved issues remain in place Warwick Mansell Education journalist Warwick Mansell writes on assessment without levels. “The final report of the DfE’s Commission on Assessment Without Levels was due in June, just before schools are supposed to implement new assessment systems which no longer rely on the structure of levels to track pupils’ progress through the national curriculum. “But the report did not come out as planned, meaning schools will not be able to rely on its advice in planning for the new term. This was just the latest in a string of delays that have bedevilled the entire development of the new national curriculum and particularly its associated assessment, as documented repeatedly by this blog in recent years. “However, I got sight of a leaked copy of a draft of the report. Reading the

for a masters’ in heads’ emotional resilience, she starting by asking 49 head teachers what supported and undermined this for them. “Activities cited included pursuing other professional opportunities, time for reflection and networking with colleagues, plus having a sense of the significance of the role, appreciating the opportunity to make difference, and noticing and celebrating success. “These were largely upheld in the research: negative impacts were led by feeling overworked (35 per cent), ineffective (30 per cent), with feeling out of control and Ofsted inspections both cited by around a quarter of heads. “The longer heads were in the job, the less likely they were to celebrate their own achievements. Every single head in post for over nine years said they did not acknowledge their own achievements.”

document, some good sense comes through strongly. But so does a feeling that there are unresolved issues around how those good intentions are to survive the pressures being placed upon any new assessment system used in schools by accountability mechanisms. “This tension is summed up on the first page of the report, in the foreword by the commission’s chair, John McIntosh. He says: ‘While few would dispute the need for a robust accountability framework, there is no doubt that the measurement of the performance of schools and of the system as a whole has exerted undue influence on the assessment of individual pupils.’ “This is true, but the report does not do enough to acknowledge that the second part of the sentence above remains true and is, surely, still likely to remain true even with the abolition of national curriculum levels as schools then use their own assessment systems.”


Unanimous support for SBM motions at annual conference Nicky Gillhespy School business manager Nicky Gillhespy has been working hard, fighting the corner for SBMs. “Since my last blog I have been increasingly busy attending various NAHT meetings, pushing on with the SBM pay principles and all other SBM committee objectives. I’ve also attended NAHT annual conference. This was a big year at conference for SBMs as both Grahame Colclough and I presented motions that were unanimously accepted. It was the first time SBMs had presented motions so it was quite a big moment for us all. “NAHT will now work on all the motions passed and the SBM committee will be involved in helping with this. At conference it was lovely to meet a number of other SBMs from around the country, many of whom were first timers. “I have also received many emails, which helps me feel in touch with what is going on. I have met SBM members to discuss issues and am confident that we can all work together to achieve recognition and equality as members of our schools’ senior leadership teams. It is interesting that from north to south we all basically have the same problems. I have also been invited to speak at a number of local conferences and hope to continue to use these and other events to meet more of you. “Workwise, setting the budget and various meetings about academisation have taken up a lot of time. We have also had to recruit teachers to replace those moving on to become leaders in other schools. We are finding it increasingly challenging as gifted graduates are put off from entering the profession. This is one of the key areas that NAHT is lobbying on in the face of official denial that it’s an issue.”



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New NAHT training courses This term sees six new training courses to keep your knowledge and continuing professional development up to date. They add to NAHT’s established training portfolio but book quickly as places are going fast quality standards 1Improving in the early years London: Friday 9 October & Thursday 10 December This new course is about using effective approaches to evaluation, strategic planning, practical solutions and continuously improving outcomes. These key aspects of leadership and management will help to ensure your provision has a positive impact on children.

the SEND reforms: 4Embedding keeping on the right side of Ofsted and the law London: Wednesday 18 November This course will cover the latest information on the SEND reforms and how to embed them in your early years, school or college setting. As well as outlining the changes and the timetable for implementation, the legal implications will be covered along with how to meet the expectations of Ofsted.

new inspection framework: 2The understanding, preparing and managing 5The Senco as a strategic leader Manchester: Thursday 22 October London: Thursday 22 October & Tuesday 17 November Ofsted’s new common inspection framework came into force this term and this course brings you up to date with all the changes. You will also have the opportunity to examine each aspect of the new inspection in relation to your own school.

3Working with cost centres

London: Wednesday 4 November School governors and leaders are under increasing pressure to direct resources to activities that deliver maximum educational outcomes and best value for money. A cost-centre management approach to the organisation of finances allows for easier interrogation of financial information and brings clarity to decision making and budget setting. This new programme will help you prove and challenge budgetary allocations and support and defend the areas you want to protect.

London: Thursday 10 December With the introduction of the SEND code of practice 2015 all Sencos now have a much greater strategic role in school. If not part of the senior leadership team then they will certainly be a middle leader. This new course will set out the roles and responsibilities of the Senco and offer advice and support to enable them to undertake their duties in an effective way.

assessment framework: 6NAHT’s good practice in a world without levels. Phase two: emerging practice and implementation Birmingham: Wednesday 4 November This builds on an earlier course and provides details of emerging good practice developed under NAHT’s assessment framework. It draws on examples developed in schools and will provide schools with a robust assessment process.

For more information or to book your place, visit



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Book your place today! Improving your Ofsted rating: how to cross a grade boundary London: Wednesday 16 September This essential course will guide you through the most recent inspection framework to help you audit and identify areas for improvement. In addition, it will consider recognised good and outstanding practice and how this might relate to your school; audit and evaluate your current effectiveness; and identify and prioritise actions for school improvement. Appraisal and difficult conversations London: Thursday 1 October As someone who appraises staff, you have additional responsibilities in supporting colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties and in making recommendations for pay progression for all teachers on all pay ranges. This interactive course provides the appraiser with an opportunity to practise their skills and gain confidence in handling difficult conversations effectively, objectively and unemotionally. Planning for your future Leeds: Thursday 15 October London: Friday 20 November The NAHT is committed to supporting you during your professional career but we also want to help you consider your choices leading up to retirement. This seminar has been designed to help you consider your options and make informed choices. Delivered by colleagues from NAHT’s specialist advice team and NAHT Personal Financial Services, this half-day seminar will: • look at work/life balance, including job-sharing and phased retirement; • provide an overview and update on the Teachers’ Pension Scheme; • give you an understanding of what it would take financially to be able to fully enjoy retirement; and • give practical information and direction of where to obtain credible support and assistance. Exploring academy status Manchester: Wednesday 21 October London: Thursday 12 November This comprehensive and practical course presents an impartial overview of the pros, cons and consequences of moving towards academy status. It will help you understand the key issues around constitution, governance and finance, as well as the implications for management. It will direct you towards sources of information and support should you want to take things further and cover the key considerations when making the decision. Taking control of inspection London: Tuesday 10 November Preparing for an inspection need not be daunting, confusing or time consuming. This course will ensure you understand what Ofsted is looking for, what to expect at each stage of the process, how to prepare and how best to present your evidence. It will help reduce your anxiety regarding any forthcoming inspection by learning how to prioritise actions and gather evidence so you feel confident that you are ready. Improving school achievement through effective self-evaluation London: Wednesday 11 November Continuous and rigorous school self-evaluation is at the heart of school improvement. This course will guide you to focus your improvements on the areas that matter through a mixture of informative, reflective and practical activities, delivered by a specialist consultant. Suspicious, scared and sad: supporting pupils with mental health needs London: Friday 20 November This course provides an opportunity for participants to learn more about what is meant by mental health; why it is important to understand what neuroscientists are discovering; and what it tells us about how to help children and young people with mental health needs to engage with learning.


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Northern Ireland’s high-flyer Helena Macormac, NAHT Northern Ireland’s new policy director, is ready to influence government and to involve the wider membership 26

How would you describe yourself? I’m a strong believer in letting actions speak for themselves, but I’d like to think I’m motivated, ambitious, optimistic, organised and patient.

What’s your background? I previously headed up the policy team at an organisation concerned with equality and human rights. My specialism was racial and gender discrimination but I worked on a wide variety of areas relevant to my current role. For example we undertook research and focus groups looking in to bullying in schools and free school meals.  

What qualities do you bring to the role? One key experience I bring is ensuring a member-led approach to strategic policy planning. Since starting with NAHT a great deal of my time has been spent


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WE How do you relax

away from work? Despite a fear of heights, I am passionate about aerial circus. I train regularly in my local circus school where my favourite apparatus are the silks (pictured) and aerial hoop. It’s great to work as part of team, as the experience of performance is exhilarating. Community circus is a wonderful medium for bringing people from all walks of life together to keep fit and do something challenging. It’s also a great way to switch off from whatever pressures you’ve experienced during the working day. When you’re 40 foot in the air with only your grip to rely on, anything that’s been on your mind just slips away.   

mind, and looking to the Assembly elections 2016, I believe I can give political prominence to the issues that matter to our members.  

Where would you like to make the biggest impact?

working with members to develop the NAHT Northern Ireland (NI) manifesto. Policy work is about identifying where we want to be and influencing government actions to achieve that vision. In creating change I know the importance of a robust evidence base, a realistic vision and a plan for targeting key decision makers. I have knowledge of lobbying and influencing departmental and government structures both in the province and elsewhere. I have a background in human rights law and my work has taken me to different continents and jurisdictions. Such work has given me an insight into how vital education is from a whole-society viewpoint: it can alleviate poverty, improve health and inspire future generations. It can also transform the perspective of a country’s entire economic and social system. With this in


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With the recent education budget cuts, a particular concern is how to best meet the needs of learners with such limited resources. Currently, our schools receive less than 60 per cent of the education budget directly; this contrasts with our Welsh and English counterparts who receive 80-90 per cent. We don’t want a replica of the English system whereby centralised services are stripped away without adequate support; rather, we would like the option of a system of graduated autonomy. Informed by school leaders, it would enable schools to take on additional responsibilities and accompanying resources as and when they are ready. With the May 2016 NI Assembly elections looming this premise has formed the backbone of our manifesto, which will be launched in the autumn. Other key areas where we are calling for change include inspection, assessment and provision for SEN.

What excites you about the role? The ability to work with members to make a difference. Policy change can be a slow process but when you get a breakthrough, it’s exciting. I feel privileged to have this role; in my short time at NAHT I have met many highly dedicated and passionate school leaders. I come from a family of teachers and head teachers and I know first-hand the vital part they play in shaping future generations.

Do you have a message for members in Northern Ireland? I’d urge them all to get in touch and tell us the issues they think we should focus on. We don’t want to simply react when something goes wrong but to put forward professionally informed strategic solutions to current challenges. I would be especially keen to hear from members who have not have been involved in policy or committee work previously. While NAHT NI has a number of excellent active committees we know our wider membership brings a wealth of diverse expertise that can enrich our direction of work.


25/08/2015 13:05


Wales watching Rob Williams, policy director at NAHT Cymru, outlines the country’s unprecedented levels of change SOMEONE ONCE SAID BOREDOM IS GOD’S WAY OF telling you that you are wasting your time. By that definition, NAHT Cymru members are not going to be twiddling their thumbs for many a year. The current level and type of activity in Welsh education is almost unprecedented. Among a plethora of plans, ideas and new initiatives, we face a completely new approach to curriculum and assessment, a proposal to address professional learning for the entire education workforce, a new government bill on additional learning needs (ALN) and proposals for local authority reorganisation. That’s not to mention an ever-evolving regional consortia model for school challenge and support, staff recruitment and retention issues and the increasingly fraught process of balancing the budget while continuing to improve standards.

Reasons to be cheerful Successful Futures, Professor Graham Donaldson’s review of the curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales, was greeted in many quarters as one of the most radical and exciting of its kind for decades. What’s more, NAHT Cymru members helped to shape many of its ideas and the Welsh Government’s acceptance of all 68 recommendations was greeted positively. First, and most importantly, this is because learners appear to be at the centre of the planned changes. As any effective school leader knows, when looking to implement something new, the

question should always be asked: ‘will the change have a positive impact upon our learners?’ Unless the answer is yes, we need to question its merit. At this early stage, the signs remain positive and school leaders will need to ensure the needs of learners are kept central to any implementation of the new recommendations. Second, the profession is being trusted to shape the new arrangements. As education minister Huw Lewis explained, politicians will not be the ones raising standards in our schools; it will be the profession that makes the real impact. There is also the recognition that the current assessment processes are potentially distorted by the high stakes accountability system. Removing the need for all schools to report end-of-phase teacher assessments to the Welsh Government should help to reduce the pressure on schools to reach unhelpful target ceilings of ‘performance’ by certain ages. Teacher assessment should remain the main vehicle for assessment of progress and achievement before qualifications. Finally, the timescales proposed for the changes will also be a cause for satisfaction. The deliberate timetable ambiguity – eight years at least – recognises the aim of the process is not to get things completed by a deadline, but to ensure that any changes made are the right ones, however long that may take. The ‘New Deal’ proposal from Welsh Government is also to be welcomed. Recognising that staff are the greatest resource in any learning organisation and that every one of them deserves

EE “The deliberate timetable ambiguity – eight years at least – recognises the aim of the process is to ensure any changes made are the right ones” 28


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high quality professional learning is hard to dispute. The challenge now is for the authorities – and schools themselves – to provide truly effective professional learning opportunities for every member of the registered workforce. It will also require space within the school day for professional reflection and refinement of teaching and learning skills. The continuing reduction in training budgets also means schools will need assistance. Investment in the profession in this way is nonnegotiable if the Welsh Government is serious about empowering the profession to have the desired impact upon learners.

Workload concerns The new ALN bill – out for consultation until December – has huge implications. So much so that NAHT Cymru’s Wales committee has agreed to a call an executive meeting early in the new academic year. One of the most significant additional issues for school leaders will be workload concerns. It is clear that extra staff time will be required in order to compile and review the specific plans. This is clearly a challenge for special schools but may be an even more radical change for mainstream schools. There is recognition from all that, as a result of improvements in healthcare (particularly relating to premature babies), increasing numbers of pupils with additional needs are arriving in schools. Placed against the backdrop of decreasing school-based budgets, an impact on standards appears almost inevitable. The political timetable within Wales means that 2015-2016 will be a very interesting year. Welsh Government elections on 5 May next year will create a degree of uncertainty in terms of possible changes of personnel. Compounding this are the proposals for potential changes to local authorities.


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The suggestion is that the current 22 be reduced to as few as eight through amalgamations and partnerships. For school leaders, the changing political map in Wales brings even greater ambiguity. Since 2012, four regional consortia have undertaken the challenge and support role for the local authorities with varying degrees of success. School leaders have sought to establish new relationships as school improvement services have moved across to the consortia model. Inconsistency appears to be the greatest issue, both within and between regional consortia. It has resulted in a number of school leaders feeling increasingly isolated with little real support. We believe the desired model should be earned autonomy, with clarity on roles and expectations on both sides and where judgements about performance lie within areas upon which school leaders and staff do actually have an impact. Nor can we forget funding – it continues to provide some of the biggest challenges and highest levels of stress for school leaders. There has been a commitment for some time from Welsh Government to protect school budgets, but cuts are having a detrimental impact upon teaching and learning. Local authorities are cutting costs and services, which creates an indirect cut to school budgets and reduces school leaders’ ability to ensure support for pupil learning is optimised. Levels of redundancy, particularly of support staff who would be supporting ALN interventions, are at an all time high. Statistics show that we have an increasing pupil population with a decreasing teaching population. Taking into account the previous reference to increasing numbers of pupils with ALN, it is clear that the stakes for schools and school leaders are at an all time high. It is little wonder, then, that recruitment and retention of all school staff, but most especially school leaders, is also under the greatest of pressure. Increasing numbers of governing bodies struggle to fill headships, even within schools otherwise viewed as desirable. It has been exacerbated by the delay in relaunching the National Professional Qualification for Headship but some deputy heads are now viewing headship as something to which they previously aspired but no longer want. This is particularly sad given that headship can also be the most rewarding and enjoyable of roles. NAHT Cymru believes school leadership in Wales should be an attractive, challenging and rewarding job. The wellbeing of all school staff is critical and we need to work with all interested stakeholders in Wales to ensure the current group of school leaders is valued, supported and cared for in a way that nurtures their talents and enables them to focus upon what really matters, the rounded progress, achievement and development of all our learners. If you would like to find out more, then get in touch – school leadership in Wales is anything but boring.



25/08/2015 13:06




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Ahead of the game Assessment without levels is a brave new world but deputy head Karen Palmer and assistant head Jennifer Ellison are piloting a new system at the Barclay School in Hertfordshire PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM CAMPBELL

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LEVELS ARE THE ONLY METHOD OF ASSESSMENT most teachers (and parents) have known, having been introduced with the new national curriculum in 1988. So why did The Barclay School in Hertfordshire develop a new system ahead of the game and before Ofsted expected us to; despite the avalanche of other change and uncertainties we’re expected to contend with? As a ‘requires improvement’ secondary school contending with the level of scrutiny and pressure this entails, the sensible decision might have been to see what was produced at a national or county level but we decided to seize the opportunity to develop an assessment model that was right for our school. The reason? This was a chance to invigorate our key stage three curriculum to strengthen student outcomes. Buoyed by being graded ‘good’ for leadership and management, we felt confident to make this change and that we had the expertise at all levels to do so. We knew the journey would be long and challenging but it would allow us to build on our strengths as a school and put assessment where it belongs: in the hands of the classroom teachers. In making the transition, one of our main priorities was to protect our already change-weary staff and ensure their buy-in – no easy feat when the final stage of the journey was far from clear in terms of the new GCSE specifications on the horizon in 2015. More than that, the system needed to keep what mattered most to us as a school – the students – at the forefront. It was essential that any model rested upon the highest expectations for all and allowed students the space to develop a growth mindset, while still being underpinned by a rigorous assessment model. Another big challenge was to ensure we had something that could be implemented consistently and effectively across the curriculum, yet with sufficient flexibility to be suitable for all subjects. It needed to give staff, parents and students a clear picture of current progress and next steps and, at a whole school level, allow us to identify any student falling behind, allowing for swift intervention to take place. It felt like we were on the edge of the Grand Canyon knowing we needed to get to the other side. We needed to build a bridge – with the staff ’s help – one plank at a time. And so our journey began a little over 18 months ago with year seven.

Flight paths and mastery The foundation of our no-levels world is the Solo (‘structure of observed learning outcomes’) model, and with it the idea of mastery, which was already central to learning and teaching at Barclay. We wanted to combine it with the concept of ‘flight paths’ (see panel, page 32) to scaffold the learning E



25/08/2015 11:26

ASSESSMENT WE Assigning student flight paths

journey that students would undertake in each subject and throughout their education with us. To take the model to a subject level, we held a number of meetings and workshops with our middle leaders to explore the following key areas: • The ‘big ideas’ (a mix of key skills and central knowledge) in each subject; • What students needed to master in order to be successful in key stage four; • What the Solo thresholds would look like for all subjects in key stage three; • What Solo thresholds would look like  for each data-collection point for year seven; and • The development and implementation of new schemes of learning and with it the first wave of assessments in line with the new model. To ensure we gave departments ample time to introduce assessment without levels, our first report to parents was on the assignment of the flight paths and students’ attitude to learning. Over a Saturday and Monday in November members of the senior leadership team and the head of year seven met parents and their children individually to introduce the model and explain where their child sat within it. These meetings were a resounding success; parental feedback showed they had understood the model and enabled us to further develop the report. Another interesting factor was that parents were much more focused on their children’s attitude to learning using this model than in previous parent consultations where levels had been used. We continued to work with middle leaders to develop the rigour behind the model including developing the moderation slots that were already in place and carrying out learning walks and work scrutiny to guarantee full triangulation of staff assessment of students at a classroom level. Moderation was used to check that


The initial allocation of student flight paths was central to the success of the model. Using the key stage two levels (both teacher-assessed and Sats), cognitive abilities test (Cat) scores, information from feeder schools, reading tests (and other internal tests) and any internal baseline assessment, students were placed onto one of four flight paths. To show the bigger learning journey these were then linked to future GCSE grades. The beauty of this as a model is that prior data and final outcomes may change over time in response to national directives at all key stages, but the model itself doesn’t have to. It also carries through the same language used in our feeder primary schools in terms of age-related expectation, making it easier for parents and carers to make the transition to our assessment system. The Solo taxonomy was first developed in New Zealand and is all about the mastery of learning or going from shallow to deep learning. The symbols are another way of representing the names – the single line means ‘I know one fact or can do one thing’. Three lines means ‘I know several key facts/ideas or can do several things.’ Three lines joined together means ‘I can relate the key ideas together’ and the three lines joined together with an extra symbol attached means ‘I can use my knowledge in a new context.’

KS2 level (current)


KS3 threshold

GCSE (current)

GCSE (new)

Relative ability

In class provision

5b+ Average point score (APS) 34+ Cognitive abilities tests (Cat) >110

Excelling (Ex)



Students are performing at the top end of this cohort and above age related expectation.

Students need continual stretch and challenge. Some additional resources or strategies may be needed.

5c-4c APS 25-31 Cat 90-110

Securing (Se)



Students are performing at the middle of the cohort and at age related expectation.

This is the core driving group. The main thrust of the resources must be suitable for these students without ever limiting them.

3a-2a APS 19-24 Cat 75-90

Developing D-E (De)


Students are performing towards the lower end of the cohort and below age related expectation.

This group may struggle with the core material. Anticipate support.

<2 APS <18 Cat <75

Foundation F-G (Fo)


Students are working below age related expectation and often with complex needs.

This group will almost certainly need additional support materials.


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WE 10 tips for introducing

assessment with no levels 1 Clearly identify what is at the heart of your assessment model. everyone was marking to the same level 2 Plan the introduction and implementation of your new model to within a department. Work scrutiny take staff with you. checked that what was being reported 3 Ensure the new model fits with any existing strategies you know to was actually happening in books and be successful. that students were making progress 4 Recognise some departments will need to have levels sitting over time. We wanted an assessment behind any new model in the short term – they may need the added structure that was scaffolded by extra security. constructive feedback that challenged 5 Remember to stand back and view the bigger picture – this is students to make improvements and not just about assessment but the whole package that surrounds make rapid gains. Although this took learning in our classrooms. a lot of time and energy it was key to embedding the model. 6 Research the work of other schools in this area – visit them, use In our second report to parents (see Twitter, attend Teachmeets and use NAHT’s resources (see page 34). panel below) we wanted to ensure we 7 Consult with parents and students. Take the time to explain to them were embedding the concepts that lay what you are trying to achieve. at the heart of our model – the highest 8 Seek opportunities to get as much feedback as possible from all expectations of our students and stakeholders. encouraging a growth mindset. 9 Accept the fact that this will take time – you cannot introduce such Consequently, we devoted extra a change overnight. meeting time to subject teams on the progress targets that would scaffold and 10 Be brave and go for it! challenge students to progress further. This was to be a defining moment for in school across all key stages, namely our termly RAP us. The richness of the conversations, the buzz around the (raising achievement priority) meetings and context sheets school, the quality of the feedback from staff and the targets (our way of recording teachers’ notes on interventions for themselves were a timely reminder that the decision to build individual students). Having the whole system run through the ‘assessment with no levels’ bridge might have been brave but it was the right call. our management information system (which all staff are used It was at this point we integrated the new model with to) further enabled us to collect and monitor data efficiently. the tracking and intervention systems we use routinely Reviewing the outcomes of the data collection and E

WE Year seven – example report card Subject

Flightpath Attitude to target learning

Attitude to learning target

Progress on flightpath

Progress target




You need to develop your ability to work well with others


You should aim to expand explanations to clarify your opinions when responding to topics and texts




You should look to challenge yourself further through questioning and extension tasks


You should aim to attempt enrichment questions on a regular basis




You demonstrate an excellent attitude to your learning. Keep it up!


You need to ensure you link scientific ideas to explain processes

Religious studies



You should look to develop more confidence in working independently on tasks

Working towards expected

You need to describe various processes using key words and show the use of some evidence in your work




You need to ensure all work is completed to a good standard


You need to use Point/Evidence/ Explanation effectively to explain a range of factors and processes


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ASSESSMENT WE NAHT’s pioneering work on

assessment without levels analysing the students it had identified as needing further intervention (at school and classroom level) was the next defining moment. Although this had always been a simple task with levels, it was less clear how this would work in the new model. However, we needn’t have worried as the key names we’d have expected to see were there. More importantly, the names of some more borderline students came to light.

Using levels in relation to the new curriculum can only be a temporary arrangement as you develop, implement and embed a robust new framework for assessment. This is because the new curriculum does not align with the old national curriculum levels. To help schools, NAHT’s Commission on Assessment put forward a series of recommendations while the website contains a wealth of advice and information (see link). 1 Review your assessment practice against the checklist set out in the 2014 NAHT Commission on Assessment report on the NAHT website. 2 Staff should be involved in the evaluation of existing practice and the development of a new, rigorous assessment system and procedures to enable the school to promote high-quality teaching and learning. 3 All schools should have clear assessment principles and practices to which all staff are committed and which are implemented. These principles should be supported by school governors and accessible to parents, other stakeholders and the wider school community. 4 Assessment should be part of all school development plans and should be reviewed regularly. In the review, schools should identify their own learning and development needs for assessment. Then allocate specific time and resources for professional development. 5 Pupils should be assessed against objective and agreed criteria rather than ranked against each other. 6 Pupil progress and achievement should be communicated in terms of descriptive profiles rather than condensed to numerical summaries (although you may wish to use data for internal purposes).

Triangulating this evidence against students’ workbooks revealed they needed support. The personalisation that came as a consequence of the new model was far beyond what we had seen in previous year seven cohorts.

Gains across the year

7 Use consistent criteria for assessment and work in collaboration, for example in clusters, to ensure a consistent approach to assessment. 8 External moderation is an essential element in producing teacher assessment that is reliable and comparable over time, and all schools should take part in such moderation. 9 Schools should identify a trained assessment lead, who will work with other local leads and nationally accredited assessment experts on moderation activities.

As we review the final round of assessment data and with it the implementation 10 All those responsible for children’s learning should undertake of assessment with no levels, there are rigorous training in formative, diagnostic and summative assessment, some pleasing conclusions to be drawn. which covers how assessment can be used to support teaching and Progress data for all subjects shows gains learning for all pupils, including those with SEND. across the year and in comparison with previous years, as does the ‘attitude to learning’ data. We were also heartened on the last day of term when one of our middle leaders, who had been particularly reluctant to move from and then to year nine the following year. Although the journey levels, sought us out to talk confidently about plans to develop is far from complete and our model isn’t yet perfect, we know the model with year eight. It showed just how empowering we have a strong foundation on which to build over the next this model has been. academic year and beyond. We may not be there yet but we’re From September we will roll out the system to year eight closer than we were.



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October brings the chance for primary schools to raise the aspirations of their students by introducing them to people who work in healthcare. Carly Chynoweth reports on Primary Futures’ latest initiative

Who’s in health? WHO CAN BE A DOCTOR? OR, COME TO THAT, a consultant, paramedic, midwife, pharmacist, medical scientist or other health professional? The answer, of course, should be ‘anyone with the aptitude and determination’, but all too often young children rule themselves out of rewarding, valuable careers because they assume they don’t have what it takes. This means assumptions made in primary school go on to shape choices made when selecting subjects at secondary school and when applying to university – which in turn limits young people’s options. But now universities, employers and doctors are joining forces with schools to help persuade children to keep an open mind about a career in medicine, through the ‘Who’s in health?’ campaign, which invites health professionals to visit primary schools. “The original working title was ‘Medics’ Month’,” says NAHT


past president Steve Iredale. “We changed it because we want children to be aware of the huge range of roles open to them, from hospital porter to brain surgeon and dentist to dramatherapist.” The idea has its roots in a 2014 report by the Medical Schools Council (MSC) called Selecting for excellence, which found the majority of students who study medicine are from either a selective school or a top 20 per cent state school. “One of the report’s recommendations was that the MSC should look at ways to access primary schools so they could influence potential recruits at a much earlier stage,” says Steve, who runs NAHT’s Primary Futures team (see panel, right). “We realised we could help them and they could help us, because it is all about aspiration on both sides.” Selecting for excellence was produced after the medical profession was criticised heavily for its lack of progression in widening participation, explains Clare Owen, a policy adviser at the MSC. “Female and ethnic minority representation is quite good currently, but what isn’t good enough is


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WE Primary Futures

Raising attainment and aspiration Primary Futures is a joint initiative between NAHT and the Education and Employers Taskforce charity, which runs Inspiring the Future – a similar initiative aimed at secondary schools. Between them they have a database of more than 23,000 people who have registered their willingness to spend an hour a year visiting schools to raise aspirations by talking about their jobs and how what they learned at primary school is still important to them today. Nick Chambers, director of the charity, says: “When we started the Inspiring the Future programme to give young people insights into the world of work, it became clear that a lot of them had formed strong views and perceptions long before secondary school. “We also had a lot of demand from primary schools seeking volunteers… so we talked to NAHT and came up with Primary Futures, which is tailored to their needs.” The nationwide scheme will celebrate its first anniversary in October. NAHT past president Steve Iredale says: “It’s going extremely well so far. The next step is to secure more funding so we can place Primary Futures representatives in different parts of the country and reach even more schools and more young people. “When school leaders tell me they love the idea but it is not a priority given all the pressure they are under, I usually respond with: ‘Surely aspiration has to be a priority.’ “We are looking to undertake research to show the programme is raising attainment as well as aspiration as a way to prove to funding bodies that it works, but as a professional I can say that when you see a kid’s eyes light up, you know it works.” the representation of people from a lower socioeconomic background, so we set up this project to look at it.” “It’s a complex issue, but one thing we discovered was the importance of raising aspirations and offering outreach to talk about health careers. A lot of people Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce. just think of doctors and nurses in the NHS but there is a huge “We found they were switching off early, saying: ‘I can’t do this range of scientists and health professionals,” she says. because I am this gender or from this background.’ One thing the MSC research revealed was outreach work Clare adds: “The NHS needs the biggest talent pool it can get. needs to be handled differently at different stages. Secondary No one should rule themselves out of a career in the NHS. It is a school students who are preparing to apply for medical fantastic employer with wonderful careers on offer; it needs and school need access to people with a high degree of insight wants to take advantage of all the talent that is available.” It’s and knowledge into that process, but at the early stages it is for this reason that the NHS has turned to the Primary Futures matchmaking service. much more about inspiring children and helping them see the Steve has two goals for the campaign. “We want more breadth of opportunity available to them. “What we are saying schools to get involved in Primary Futures and we want to to young people is ‘the profession and the health service want raise young peoples’ aspirations so they understand more people like you’,” says Clare. about the opportunities available to them in health and other “Who’s in health? is about broadening horizons and raising professions. We want them to realise learning in primary aspirations so children see all the options open to them and don’t school isn’t just about doing well in national tests but E start closing doors while they are at primary school,” adds Nick


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Your questions answered What is it? A national campaign to get thousands of people who W building the foundation for careers.” work in healthcare to visit primary schools. This part is very important, adds Nick. “Our What will the volunteers do? Talk informally about their jobs, experience shows that helping children to see enthuse children about a possible career in healthcare and explain the relevance of what they are learning in the the relevance of what they are learning at key stage two. classroom helps bring learning to life in the key stages,” he says. When does it start? October. Making the most of Who’s in health? – or Who’s behind the initiative? NAHT, the Medical Schools Council, indeed Primary Futures – does require schools the Education and Employers Taskforce charity and the NHS. to sign up, but once they have registered they I’d like my school to get involved. Where can we sign up to find have automatic access to a database of potential local volunteers? Just follow the link below. volunteers from a wide variety of professions and sectors. However, Steve stresses that coaching the volunteers is a critical component of getting the scheme to work. “Schools can prepare them so they can talk not just about how medical students, encouraging them to interesting their job is, but also how come up with creative ways to engage it links back to their grasp of English with young people. The results will and maths.” then be shared with other volunteers. He suggests school leaders treat the One idea has been to teach children scheme as a development opportunity how to make a working stethoscope – for middle leaders. “Some of the most thus linking science and health, says successful Primary Futures events Clare. “But the real strength of this have been run by middle leaders. In programme is that it allows schools many instances they are looking at the whole-school curriculum and thinking to work with volunteers to decide about how to bring other volunteers what sort of messages they want their back across the year.” students to hear.” The way schools prepare their Fourth-year medical student and volunteers varies, adds Steve. Some future GP Clare Pearson (pictured, simply get them to come a bit early so left) combined her medical studies that they can have a look around and see with a Teaching in Medicine BMSc, the school, others invite them to visit from which she recently graduated. beforehand to ‘meet the kids and staff , The one-year course, which doctorsto-be can take between their third and then have tea and buns’; the important fourth years, is designed to prepare thing for schools is to find an approach graduates for the teaching that they that suits them and their volunteers. “If will do as doctors. It also gave Clare you treat them well and with respect plenty of time to spend with primary they will want to come back,” he says. school pupils. Nick also suggests encouraging “My partner and I worked with volunteers to develop interactive two year six classes once a week for sessions rather than simply standing six weeks to run sessions on being a up and talking. For instance, several doctor and keeping healthy,” she says. volunteers could join in on a ‘speed-networking’ session that “The children were genuinely interested in what we did. It gives small groups of children the chance to spend 10 minutes may never have crossed their minds that healthcare offers them with each volunteer. the opportunity of a great career and we might be the ones to “Another thing we find works well is when volunteers take in a prop,” he adds. “That could be a stethoscope, an x-ray, a bloodtrigger that spark in them. One boy in the class who had been a pressure cuff... once we had someone take in an anatomical bit rowdy initially came to speak to us at the end of the session skeleton of how the body works, which went down really well.” to find out exactly what he had to do to be a surgeon. You never Meanwhile, the MSC has been running a competition for know, he may very well go on to pursue that.”



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Complexity and the curriculum Chailey Heritage School is reassessing how it identifies and shows progress. Susan Young reports SAM IS 11 AND STRUGGLES WITH A long list of profound and complex disabilities, which includes quadriplegia, impaired vision, severe learning difficulties and epilepsy. Emily is six: she has locked-in syndrome but can use a joystick. Kezia is five, can’t move from a trolley and has the responses of a newborn. Each of these children has unique and complex challenges putting them at the extreme end of SEND. Simon Yates, their head teacher at Chailey Heritage School in East Sussex, has spent much of the past year developing a unique curriculum for each of his 75 pupils, putting their needs for life at the heart of what they learn and achieve. This fulfils the spirit of the new SEND code of practice, which says each child’s needs and outcomes should underpin education and support plans. But Simon fears he is on a collision course with Ofsted because creating a ‘meaningful’ curriculum for these pupils makes comparative progress almost impossible. He argues that SEND progress datasets are meaningless in the context of Chailey Heritage School’s exceptionally challenged pupils and entail following a curriculum that is irrelevant and dispiriting to most. He became a man on a mission as a result of last year’s Ofsted inspection – which found the school ‘outstanding’ – and discussions around Sam’s P-level targets. Simon says: “I was resentful about the spurious data E



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CURRICULUM REFORM WE The Chailey Heritage Individual

Learner Driven Curriculum (CHILD) Every learner has their own curriculum, based on their needs, skills and desired outcomes. It is broad, covering all aspects of development, and it’s balanced, weighing inspectors wanted to see W up what input each child needs. It includes creative and flexible timetabling, diverse before looking at what we topics, themed events and teaching subjects where appropriate. were actually doing. Then, for the third year running, Each child has core profiles in communication, access technology (communication aids), Sam’s teacher was saying he physical, social and emotional wellbeing, and engagement support (which includes had to be able to tell the attention and concentration, postural management and sensory). There is also a difference between twofunctional skills profile, which includes literacy, maths, life skills, independent mobility dimensional shapes to move and accreditation. Students may also achieve nationally-recognised certificates. up a P level. There is nothing The thick files include detail on what each child can do, aspirations and next steps. life-enhancing for Sam in it. There are also ‘All about me’ and ‘My next steps’ pictographs, with headings like There isn’t any point at all, yet ‘My favourite things’, ‘What can make my day bad’, and ‘What you can do to help me’. he can’t move up a level Simon says: “The starting point is: these are children, what do they need? They without it and he’s been stuck can do that and that, and to move forwards they need to do this and this. Everyone there for ages. involved with the children – including teachers, therapists, parents and taxi drivers – “There are so many things use it. The problem is, it’s descriptive and I have no numbers to put on it.” that make a real difference to our children’s lives that aren’t in P levels and we need to While such achievements are enormously significant for capture them,” he says. So, one pupil has graduated from a baby’s bottle to a more age-appropriate ‘sippy’ cup while persistent Chailey pupils, they don’t lend themselves to comparison on the gentle work enabled another girl to overcome her extreme fear CASPA (comparison and analysis of special pupil attainment) of dogs, allowing family outings to the park. The aspiration for dataset. “National statistics aren’t for children like ours; you can every child is to be able to understand and use a switch, manually only really compare them with themselves. They have to be out of their chair on the floor for so much time, toileting takes or visually, which opens up a world of expressing choices and forever, they might be in pain, or having seizures, they’re on the ability to drive a powered chair.

WE Character and the curriculum

By Professor Bill Lucas A broad and balanced curriculum can’t be defined in terms of a narrow set of subjects. Professor Bill Lucas argues the ‘seven Cs’ are just as important. In our new book Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn, Guy Claxton and I explore a world in which schools are asked to focus on subjects and capabilities in equal measure. We imagine a pupil called Ruby. She’s the granddaughter of the feisty heroine of Educating Rita. She has gone to the kind of school that values both character and academic success, so she is brimming with confidence and will be happy and successful whatever she chooses in life.


But the power of Ofsted and the DfE at the moment is such that it is easy for their combined gravitational pull to overwhelm the common sense of some school leaders with regard to what children need to learn. Many heads have confided to us that they are fearful of the rapidity with which a school that is successful in both approaches can retreat to an over-emphasis on the small set of subjects required by Ebacc – English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language. Often, this is a consequence of an Ofsted inspection where, through a quirk of data, the school finds itself going down a category. Yes, literacy,

Guy Claxton Bill Lucas

with forewords by Professor Tanya Byron and Octavius Black



numeracy and the Ebacc what our children really subjects are need to learn important (as are the arts, citizenship and sustainable development), but so are many other outcomes of education. Research shows that many of these other outcomes are what tend to be called character strengths, soft skills or habits of mind. They are capabilities like the ‘seven Cs’ of character – confidence, curiosity, collaboration, communication, creativity, commitment and craftsmanship. All these character ‘skills’ are capable of being cultivated and confidence, curiosity , collaboration, commun ication, creativity, commitm ent and craftsmanship


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drugs, all of which have an impact on learning. As I explained to the inspectors, it’s not one thing adding to another, it’s multipliers. If you are blind, non-verbal and non-ambulant they factor together to make it so much harder to learn.” Aspirations for most pupils in Chailey’s new CHILD curriculum (see panel above) are person-centred and include P levels only if appropriate. “It’s all to do with being able to choose, being able to be heard,” says Simon. “The children are not going to have independence as we know it: they are not going to be independent physically. But some will be able to communicate using various tools and have some mobility. “It’s about being able to explain what they want, even if they can’t have it. Some won’t be able to communicate for themselves and it’s our job to be their advocates for transition. We can explain what works for them; what they like; how to care for them; what they’ll respond to; what they will react badly to; and we can set them up in their future life as best as we can. It’s a head start. Whereas two-dimensional shapes… well, that’s not really going to help some of them.

strengthened in school irrespective of a child’s background or perceived academic ability. Teachers may even be doing it without realising. The way they set up their classrooms will encourage pupils to be curious, collaborative and creative or passively accepting, distanced and even deadbeat. Pupils can be obsessive about getting good marks and fearful of making mistakes or resilient, determined and keen to learn from things that don’t go right first time. There is much that school leaders can do. 1. Talk explicitly about the character curriculum Tell parents, staff and students which capabilities your school is cultivating and why. Our seven Cs are a starting point; much better if it is developed and owned locally with clear explanations.


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“Long-term outcomes for our children, therefore, tend to be along the lines of being able to enjoy things. With technology, for example, the outcome might be: ‘To be able to ask for my audio books which I love.’ Another might be: ‘To be able to be pain-free and have people understand my physical needs.’ A lot of it is building structures so in future they can have their choices heard. “Instead of saying: ‘This is a school, this is what we are supposed to teach’, it is: ‘You are the child and these things are holding you back. To have more enjoyment of your life and a bit more control, we could teach you to do these useful things.’” Medical advances mean more severely disabled babies are surviving their first weeks and as a result Chailey’s pre-primary

2. Explain the twin tracks Be clear with all that the idea that you either teach subjects or you develop character is plain silly, a false opposite. Share the research that shows how teaching students how to develop character – all the research into soft skills and learning habits – will lead to better results and happier young people. 3. Model your own enquiring mind Talk about why character matters to you. Start a wider debate about what children need to learn today and how best everyone can support them in doing this. Debate the future capabilities young people will need in an open and exploratory way. Be prepared to challenge the status quo. 4. Align your school’s reward system to the twin-track approach In reports to parents, in school

assemblies, on corridor and classroom walls and in the commendations you give out, both formal and informal, be sure you are noticing, depicting and celebrating success in both tracks. 5. Use CPD to support your commitment to character Equip staff to deliver the character curriculum imaginatively and rigorously. It can be taught badly just as traditional teaching can be. Identify pedagogies that are likely to cultivate capabilities and ensure staff are confident and inquiring as they put them into practice. Professor Bill Lucas is director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester. With Guy Claxton he is the author of Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn and the creator of the Expansive Education Network


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CURRICULUM REFORM WE P scales P scales are performance targets and descriptors for children aged five to 16 with SEND who cannot access the national curriculum. “The difficulty is,” says Simon “there’s a whole load you can rule out if you can’t see, can’t hear, or haven’t got fine- or even gross-motor skills, or if you’re nonverbal. I am checking the remaining ones against a random selection of our children to work out if there is any point in them.”

department has children with ‘amazingly’ complex needs, many on trolleys, ventilated and suctioned. “An increasing number are multisensory impaired, never mind the usual underlying conditions like epilepsy and cerebral palsy,” says Simon, who’s been working in special schools for more than two decades. “They need so much care Performance-related pay has brought challenges: children may not make but can make progress in meaningful expected progress for reasons such as a degenerative disease, surgery, ways as long as we’re not constraining or parental divorce. Last year, Simon replaced a data approach with them and imposing another set of values lengthy interviews with each teacher, “really checking out they had done and expectations from outside. It just everything they could have to satisfy me and the governors that learner doesn’t make sense to do that.” progress was as good as you could hope. I know the teachers found that Each child has long and medium-term much more responsive and understanding, but also far more rigorous plans – and their next steps. A class of and developmental.” eight might share a lesson at the pond, learning different things. “For Emily it might be to drive herself on the platform safely, for Kezia to smile if she is enjoying herself – we have no way of knowing at a story behind every one, requiring the moment. It might be tolerating the personal individual examination. company of another child, or accepting “The worry is that I haven’t got an touch without recoil and screaming. All assessment tool that can measure Kezia these have come from very intensive versus Emily and tell me if they’re making profiling. We might be doing cooking or equally good progress. It’s more than art, but each child is learning different likely I will end up having to adopt some things in different ways.” off-the-peg system of assessment For some children, P levels remain approved by Ofsted, but I don’t think it’s useful. “There’s a point at which you want right.” academic progress noted. I wouldn’t be surprised if Emily could He adds: “It’s not about avoiding scrutiny – there’s an absolute do GCSEs, using whatever technology we have then. It won’t need for special schools to be scrutinised every bit as rigorously limit what children do, it’s just that we aren’t imposing as every other type of school – but it’s the method. The data is expectations of academic or linear progress.” meaningless.” Again and again, Simon returns to the problem of Ofsted and Simon points at Chailey’s vision statement, which concludes: its desire for comparative data. He is talking to the inspectorate “We will never, ever give up looking for ways to support our and encouraging special schools to debate the issue “to see how young people to make their own choices in life and to achieve many of us are thinking the same way, and get our arguments their own desired destinations.” together”. He has organised a mini-conference at Chailey in He says: “The thing about our curriculum is it has no limits, September and is hosting a roundtable discussion at another because who knows what the child might suddenly do? The conference in London in October. pupil who inspired that vision had profound and multiple “I want to engage Ofsted in discussions about examining the learning disabilities, but he learned to drive at 17, having been processes and quality of what’s going on in a special school. trying since he was five. Along with that he started to verbalise and can communicate now – not speaking as such, but we They should be able to come in and sample randomly across the know what he means and he’s got some words and nobody school, looking at processes, and make judgements. The children would have predicted it. This system would have put a whole are getting every opportunity to make progress and if some of new emphasis on it – with P scales we were just looking for them aren’t, we’ll know why. Even with the P scales, I had seven him to react to something.” or eight achieving below expectations according to the database. We’d examine our interventions but it was always the kids you knew about, with degenerative conditions, spinal operations, parents going through divorce, or medication changes. There’s

WE Performance-related pay



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17/08/2015 14:15


United Schools are required to promote British values. But what are they and how do you teach them? Carly Chynoweth investigates 46


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LAST YEAR’S ‘TROJAN HORSE’ SCANDAL, WHICH SAW attempts to impose an Islamist agenda on 21 schools in Birmingham, shocked both politicians and educators. Part of the response, announced by the then education secretary Michael Gove, was the decision that maintained schools in England would be required to ‘promote British values’. This means schools have to teach democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. A year later chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw told radio station LBC any school failing to do this could fail their Ofsted inspection. He said: “It’s really important that all schools, whether they are faith or non-faith schools, in monocultural communities or not, teach British values: the importance of tolerance, the importance of understanding other cultures and faiths. And if they don’t do that, and they don’t promote


25/08/2015 08:15

WE What are British values and where

do they fit into the curriculum? Schools are required to teach British values as part of their responsibility for promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural tolerance, then we will mark them down (SMSC) development of their pupils. In doing this, they can also and we will fail them, as we have done show that they are “actively promoting fundamental British values”, in some cases,” reported the Daily Mail. according to DfE guidelines published last year. But what exactly does ‘promoting This means that pupils are expected to understand that people can British values’ mean given that Ofsted have different views about right and wrong, but that everyone living has not yet published official best in England is subject to its law; that the school’s ethos and teaching practice guidance (see panel, right)? should support the rule of law, and that it should make parents aware For  Pete Weir, head at Birmingham’s of this; and, if schools teach about religious law, ‘particular care should Saltley Academy, it’s about getting be taken to explore the relationship between state and religious law’. the 1,014 students at his mixed comprehensive thinking. The document goes on to describe democracy, the rule of law, “We focus on exam success because individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with that is the gateway to kids’ futures but different faiths and beliefs as ‘fundamental British values’. Promoting we also make sure that we prepare them these values, it says, ‘means challenging opinions or behaviours in to be part of the community,” he says. school that are contrary’ to these values. “For me, the concept of British values is It lists a number of examples of actions that school could take to do a springboard for students to explore, to this, including: reflect, to be creative.” • Discussing the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy Part of that is getting the students, in contrast to other forms of government in appropriate parts of the aged 11 to 16 and from a diverse, curriculum; multinational set of backgrounds, to • Using opportunities such as local elections to hold mock elections think about how those values came and give pupils the chance to learn how to argue and defend points about. For example, year seven worked of view; and with the Stan’s Café theatre company to create scenes from British history – • Using a wide variety of teaching resources to help pupils understand including the Gunpowder Plot and the different faiths. protests by suffragettes – as part of a performance art installation held on St George’s day and shared with parents and other students. Pete is determined that British values are not presented “It challenged them to explore the concept of British values as something fixed, or even something that is necessarily in its historical context,” says Pete, whose school – under uniquely British. Instead, the school treats the topic as a different leadership and a different name – was one of the way to stimulate discussion and deeper thought about the Trojan horse schools. “One of the students’ favourites was a whole area. He says: “It was important to establish there are scene where they used stickers on walls and floors to explore values we share and to explore what, if anything, is distinctly the incident in which Emily Davison, the suffragette, was British, and how it developed. It is not ‘British values are killed by the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby. That opened up this… this is what we must do…’ Hand-me-down values would the idea that, quite recently in historical terms, British values never work for anyone. “I have no qualms in saying we have standards and shared were very different to now. Then the majority would have seen beliefs in the school community that reflect wider society the suffragettes as attacking British values, whereas today we but  the majority of those values are not limited to Britain. see them as bringing them about. That has led to some very E For example, we share a lot of values with France, but they interesting conversations for both pupils and adults.”

EE “It was important to establish there are values we share and to explore what, if anything, is distinctly British and how it developed”


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EE “This is a challenging area for schools to develop but I have found it stimulating as a head to really think deeply about it” W have rules about what people can and cannot wear in a secular context.” Schools should take care not to make non-British pupils feel excluded by the discussion, warns Rae Aldous, head teacher at Westwood Primary School at Lowestoft in Suffolk. Her school, which serves a mixed catchment area and has 48 per cent pupil premium, has only a few children who speak English as an additional language. Most of them are from elsewhere in Europe, while a small number are from India, she says. She found some of her older pupils felt slightly excluded by the discussion. “One bright boy from Lithuania said: ‘I am not British, I have my own culture which I have to follow,’ and he said he felt a bit isolated, like he was being singled out as not being an English person,” she says. “We had to be very careful while doing British values to take the time to explore other

cultures’ values too, so the class teacher did lots of work on his culture and helping other children understand it and looking at some of the shared values.” Parkfield Community School head teacher Hazel Pulley and assistant head Andrew Moffat, who has responsibility for pastoral care and equality, treat promoting British values as a celebration of diversity (both are pictured, right). “We encourage children to enjoy – and celebrate – difference and tolerance,” says Andrew. This can be challenging when it comes to issues such as sexuality, as many of the school’s children – 99 per cent of whom come from an ethnic minority background – hold a faith that may hold contrary views. “For instance, we teach about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and different families. We have to be open and honest. Their faith does create a tension and we can’t say ‘your religion is wrong’. Instead, we say we understand there is a conflict, but living in the UK and following the A student at Saltley Academy echoes the guidance set down in the Equality Act, this is thoughts of the pupil something we believe.” who said it’s ‘the coolest experience ever’ This involves engaging parents as well as children. For example, when working on challenging homophobia, the school displayed all the books that the pupils would be reading so that parents could look at them, says Andrew. “We met some parents but we did not feel we met enough, so we arranged workshops with each class in small groups to meet parents and discuss the book and the issues that came out of it. Through that open, transparent approach some parents told us: ‘I don’t like this, I don’t know what to say to my child, it is against my faith.’ But some came to three or four workshops and told us: ‘You have really moved my thinking,’ and they have become advocates for us. “One parent said she was walking in the park with her child when they went past two men holding hands. The parent looked to the child to see what response the child would have and the child said: ‘It’s okay mum, they are different and that’s normal.’ The mother said that it was wonderful for her and enlightening that the school had opened the discussion.” At Saltley, part of the St George’s Day project involved sharing it with the wider school community, including parents and pupils from nearby Billesley primary school. “One year five pupil wrote a thank-you letter and described it as: ‘The coolest experience ever,’” says Pete.



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WE What does Ofsted have to say? As LF went to press, there was no best practice advice available from the inspectorate; instead, its spokesperson referred NAHT members to the school inspection handbook, where British values are discussed as an aspect of pupils’ social development. The handbook says: “Inspectors should consider how well leadership and management ensures the curriculum… actively promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

In retrospect James Yarker, the artistic director and cofounder of Stan’s Café, wishes more visitors could have seen it. “The one thing we might have missed out on was that we didn’t get families and the local community in to experience it plenty of detail about how as much as we might have,” he it promoted British values. says. “People are busy but, in It was this, she thinks, retrospect, I would have allowed which made this part of the more time. The children were so inspection straightforward. proud of it that they would have “To be honest, the inspector loved the chance to show it off a didn’t ask about it. It was bit more.” mentioned in the report but Parkfield’s 741 pupils are also it was included with spiritual, having a great time applying the moral, social and cultural British value of democracy to development. The thing they were most keen to talk about their Birmingham primary school, was progress and attainment says Hazel. It recently broadcast and that was the focus of the a ‘live stream’ of a school vote on inspection. how to spend £1,000 on the school “However, our school playground. “It was amazing,” website has a page on British says Hazel. “We had exit polls, values giving examples of returning officers and a week of how we take it seriously, lobbying prior to the event. Our so a lot of the information pupils are now hooked on voting, was there for them to look realise the power behind it and at beforehand. So maybe he want more, which is great.” didn’t need to ask questions Parkfield incorporates British because the information was values into teaching about things there for all to see.” such as being a good citizen and Hazel is expecting Ofsted learning how to behave socially in to visit Parkfield soon – and the UK. Most of it is already built A global perspective she is looking forward to it. into the PSHE curriculum and for Parkfield students the school’s own values, which “I want to show them how we have become the foundation for do and how we are taking our most of the work. “It is about integrating it into the school’s values and vision outside with things like the Ambassadors ethos rather than having it as a separate thing,” she says. Club. This is an extremely popular school club through which Last year, however, she took a rather more full-on approach pupils take part in excursions and activities designed to help to British values in preparation for an Ofsted inspection in them see that Birmingham is a diverse city – and that they can March. Hazel says: “First we launched it through assemblies get along with anyone in it,” she says. and displays in the hall with all the different aspects. “This is a challenging area for schools to develop but I have “Then we held key stage assemblies so we could explain it found it stimulating as a head to really think deeply about it. at age-appropriate levels. That second part was important as I would say to heads who might be hesitant about starting or developing this work that British values are really about good teachers found some of the ‘heavier bits’ about democracy and ways of living. Democracy, tolerance, respect for others. Once elections went over younger pupils’ heads.” you have that as a mantra the rest follows.” Alongside this, she ensured the school’s website had


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WE T E L L U S A B O U T Y O U R S C H O O L We ’d l ove to share your stories with LF re a d e rs . Ema il Su s a n E


emember the living, moving portraits on the walls of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films? With the help of technology and imagination, children at a Somerset junior school have created a similar effect on their own walls. The portraits, of which more later, are just one way in which children’s learning is supported by the latest technology at St Paul’s Junior School in Shepton Mallett, Somerset. Much of the credit goes to the enterprising attitude of head Chris Partridge and ICT leader David Fingleton, who share a simple philosophy. Chris explains: “The iPad has transformed some people’s teaching styles and we need to tap into new hardware and software to give the children as many experiences as possible, because we don’t know what the future is going to hold for them.” Technology is used to support writing by bringing a subject to life or prompting memories, enabling work to be presented in different ways and helping with research. Significantly, writing levels have risen dramatically during the past three years. While David is always on the lookout for new kit, ideas and inspiration also come from pupils and colleagues. Staff meetings include demonstrations of new purchases, the opportunity to request new technology and decisions about whether a resource is useful enough to use in more classes. Some children are digital leaders who teach groups, classes and even teachers, both inside and outside St Paul’s, but anyone can get involved. “We learn a lot from the children. They talk about things they are doing at home and, if something piques our interest, we introduce it to a class to see how it works, run a larger trial and then roll it out across the school,” says David. Successes include the visualprogramming tool Kodu and the Minecraft game (pictured), both used to program imaginary worlds. “We’ve been creating a virtual world to extend their writing. Sometimes children don’t have experiences beyond the town. If we want to talk about the woods or the sea or the moon, we have access to resources to tap into these.



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LITERACY ON TAP You would never stop taking children to the beach but using ICT and media can bring it to the classroom,” he says. “It’s a natural part of their learning. If they have a problem, they have many options, whether it’s looking something up on the iPad or in the library; it’s a rich environment and the child is making those choices. Technology is not just a couple of boxes sat in the corner. We’re trying to promote independence and maturity, and get the children to make choices.” So, research done, pupils choose how to present their work, create displays and perhaps record a story or a finding, making their video accessible via QR codes on posters or on the trails that criss-cross the school grounds. Activities vary from coding and filming robots to instantly embedding investigations into their work via a permanently fixed microscope, tailoring work to different audiences and enjoying feedback. Unlike some schools, parents’ evenings welcome smartphones. Chris sometimes rubs his eyes in disbelief, for instance at a year three class creating suspenseful voiceovers. “One lad showed me his draft. He’d thought carefully and had taken all his techniques from literature, using short sentences and so on. When he’d finished he popped it onto the video-sharing website Vimeo so his parents could see. “We like to bring outside experiences in, like when an actor played Henry VIII: we videoed him, put his picture on the wall let the children use iPads to link to the video. We’re creating a Harry Potter headmaster’s office with all those pictures and the children scan them to bring them back to life again. The constant ‘drip, drip, drip’ helps them to embed it into their learning. To be honest, it’s a bit of a privilege working here.” PHOTOGRAPH: ALAMY

25/08/2015 13:06

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We understand how hard you work. So we think it’s only fair that you’re rewarded. We offer great value car insurance so you can relax outside of work. With prices from £186 – that’s all 10% of our customers paid for our standard cover* – plus a £30 Gift Certificate when you take out a new policy online, we look after our customers. We were the first car insurer to share our customer claim reviews on our website. So now you don’t need to make a claim to find out how good your insurance is. Plus, you could save up to 20% online – 30% of our customers are expected to receive the maximum saving***.

Get a quote online in five minutes^ at and quote nahtcar when you buy to claim your Gift Certificate**. Full terms and conditions at *10% of customers buying comprehensive car insurance with us from February to April 2015 paid this price or less for our standard cover (excluding optional extras). The price you will pay depends on individual circumstances, cover chosen and payment method. ** is not a sponsor of this promotion. Gift Certificates (“GCs”) may be redeemed on the website towards the purchase of eligible products listed in our online catalogue and sold by or any other seller selling through GCs cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash or applied to any other account. is not responsible if a GC is lost, stolen, destroyed or used without permission. See for complete terms and conditions. GCs are issued by Amazon EU S.à r.l. All Amazon ®™ & © are IP of, Inc. or its affiliates. ***Discount depends on individual circumstances and does not apply to optional extras. Minimum price applies. ^Source: average online quote times April – October 2014. Insurance underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. Registered in Scotland No. 2116. Registered office: Pitheavlis, Perth, PH2 0NH. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. CFPOCA0090 06.2015

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Leadership Focus magazine Sept/Oct 2015  
Leadership Focus magazine Sept/Oct 2015  

Leadership Focus magazine (September/October 2015), for members of the NAHT. Published by Redactive Publishing.