Vocabulary

Welcome to my first blog post of 2019.  I hope you all had a happy and restful Christmas and New Year.  Alongside time with family and friends I was also able to sit and enjoy reading a few books over the Christmas break.  One that struck me was ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’ by Alex Quigley.  This had been recommended by colleagues and is a book that emphasises the power of words to narrow gaps between the advantaged and disadvantaged and address social mobility

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Energy!

Our school has been fortunate this year to secure a place on the Herts for Learning ‘Great Expectations’ programme. This is a year-long course for good schools identified as demonstrating the necessary drive and ambition to become truly great education establishments. 

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The Grinch

Every year I continue to perfect my impression of the lovable, but grumpy, Christmas Scrooge, the Grinch.  Long-suffering staff will be able to predict my early December announcement about the run up to Christmas. 

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Great Gatsby! Careers Education

This week I was delighted to be given an opportunity to talk to Enterprise Advisors from across Hertfordshire about Careers Education.  The network of Enterprise Advisors have been established by the Careers and Enterprise Company to provide schools with links to business to help develop the careers advice and guidance on offer to students.

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The New Ofsted Framework

It has been refreshing to read the recent comments made by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, about planned changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools from September 2019.  We finally seem to have a Chief Inspector who acknowledges the negative contribution previous inspection models have made to excessive workload in schools.

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Creating Chaos (and Restoring Calm!)

I’ve been on a number of leadership courses during my time as headteacher. Every single one, without fail, has emphasised the important role that a headteacher plays in setting the culture and climate of a school.  I see it as vitally important that I maintain a sense of calm and purpose, no matter how frantically I am paddling underneath the surface

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Year 11 Mentoring

One of the highlights of my week is my morning meeting with my Year 11 mentoring group.  I’ve worked with the eleven members of our group for almost a year now. During Year 10 they were identified as students with significant potential, who had the confidence and resilience to develop leadership skills, but who lacked focus and direction. 

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Using External Support

The discussions taking place amongst our senior team this week caused me to reflect on our changing approach towards external support.  This week senior leaders fed back on a range of external programmes and support packages that we had been researching.

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Trips and Visits

I was extremely fortunate to attend a school that believed in the value of a broad curriculum that was enriched by a range of experiences.  During my secondary education I travelled on residential visits in Derbyshire, Shropshire, France, Belgium, Russia and Italy. 

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Open Evening

Whilst the prospect of a 15 hour working day, culminating in the delivery of three of the most important speeches of the academic year may fill some with dread, our annual open evening is one of my favourite events of the school year.

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