Educating Essex… a lesson for Nicky Morgan?

downloadI love this series. And Educating Essex was my favourite one so far. I had so much respect for Vic Goddard, the Principal and Mr Drew, his Deputy. In fact I saw Steven Drew speak recently at the Southend Primary Heads Conference and was equally impressed with what he had to say about collaboration in his new role as a headteacher in Brentwood.

I am a keen follower of both on Twitter. More on that in a moment.

I have been keeping up to date with the latest news from the DfE since the general election to get a sense of what may lay ahead for schools in the next five years. A good summary can be found here in this interview with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan:

https://www.tes.co.uk/news/school-news/breaking-news/nicky-morgan-answers-teachers-questions-live-tes-webchat

This provoked an almost immediate response from the National Association of Headteachers:

http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/news-and-media/key-topics/government-policy/naht-clarifies-government-position-on-intervention-and-coasting-schools/

Now this blog isn’t for political purposes. It is more perhaps me thinking out loud and also sharing stimulating, useful and perhaps sometimes controversial weblinks, resources and videos. However there are perhaps two points I would like to make. The first is a simple one. I have never been to a coasting school, anywhere. I have only ever worked with or worked in schools where the staff work tirelessly and complacency is non-existent.

The second is more a comment about the difficulties we currently face in recruiting not just teachers but leaders. Our latest teacher advertisement attracted only one applicant and we were unable to shortlist. This is a similar trend across all Southend schools and indeed nationally. It’s a similar story with recruiting teachers to leadership roles, especially headship. Any government needs to consider how to make the profession more attractive to ensure that high calibre graduates do consider teaching as a really positive option.

I for one love the work I do and the opportunity to help the young people in our care, which takes me back to Twitter and to Vic Goddard. He tweeted a link to an open letter he has written to Nicky Morgan. The letter is  about how he is currently feeling about the work he does in school.  Let me know what you think:

https://passmorespedagogy.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/a-letter-to-the-secretary-of-state/

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Our values and the absolute link to success…

“It is vital that when educating our children’s brains we do not neglect to educate their hearts.” ~ Dalai Lama

I wrote last week about the Pygmalion Effect. primarily this links very closely to the Greenways value of Aspire. However, we can have the highest possible expectations of children but unless they feel respected and nurtured it means nothing. Respect and nurture are therefore the essential foundations from which we can build children up to aspire and inspire.

Respect and nurture are essentially about behaviour and so this blog will look at how we can best foster amazing behaviours across our learning community.

What is interesting is that children primarily copy what we do, not what we say.

https://www.tes.co.uk/news/school-news/breaking-news/pupils-do-teachers-do-not-they-say-research-finds

We are developing a school-wide approach to growth mindsets and this will encourage children and teachers to always better themselves in every way. Part of this has to be about taking the time to get to know individuals and build relationships with children

With this in mind, the conscious and sub-conscious behaviours that adults in schools model are essential. It’s why we don’t shout at children; it’s why we welcome them with a smile; it’s why we always talk respectfully to each other and to children regardless of how we might be feeling; it’s why we go the extra mile with those vulnerable children who frequently present the most challenging behaviours. This isn’t about ‘one rule for some’ or necessarily about being ‘fair’. It’s also not about being ‘soft’ when behaviour is not good enough.

It is about understanding that unless children feel liked and respected by those around them they will never succeed.We need to make sure we connect with the learners.

Rita Pierson perhaps sums this up best:

And if you want a child’s perspective, then just listen to the amazing Dalton Sherman:

Consistency is at the heart of every successful classroom and here are some useful tips from @teachertookit

http://teachertoolkit.me/2015/05/12/sweat-the-small-stuff-by-teachertoolkit-sss/?r

There are also some useful tips here:

http://www.teacherswithapps.com/blog-best-behavior-mod-tips-that-wont-let-you-down/

However at the heart of our approach needs to be the love and compassion we demonstrate for every child. The understanding that all behaviour is a form of communication; and that every single thing we do, it matters.