Summer break 2016

We made it through to summer 2016, but oh what a journey!

SchoolsOut

Last night a number of staff went out to celebrate the end of the school year and the fact that we have all worked damn hard to keep things afloat. A new management team has been in place since June 2015 and the demands of transitioning into one of the best schools in our area whilst undergoing the transformation that was required when becoming a part of a multi academy trust (MAT), has seen a number of good staff promoted and some who decided it was time for a change. Those that have left us will be missed but we look forward to welcoming the new team and some new perspectives.

It’s been a very strange year. Our Headteacher has been absent due to pregnancy and other issues and as a staff we have missed her. She started well and encouraged everyone to put our best foot forward with an open and trusting culture. In her absence a very capable leader has managed to steer this developing academy through the choppy waters and has inspired a number of us to stretch ourselves to show what we are capable of.

 

For me the best part of my job is encouraging and inspiring others to reach their potential. Recently this has been realised when I supported a group of students to achieve their ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence), which is the equivalent of a GCSE. The students are expected to have a sound knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They are tested using an online system which is endorsed by the BCS (British Computer Society). The 2016 cohort exceeded my expectations with a 100% Pass rate and 85% A* – A grades. I am very proud of their achievements and hope that this helps them apply for the courses they wish to study at college.

My plans for the summer are organic in as much that if I chose to have a day out I will, but otherwise there is a mountain of work to do.

  • BTEC Information and Creative Technologies – Resources and planning
  • Business Studies – Scheme of work years 9, 10 and 11
  • Computer Science – New 9-1 course to plan
  • Google Certified Educator level 2 course to complete

Until I write again enjoy your summer break if you can. I am waiting with anticipation for the 25th August and results day.

 

Learning journeys

Since my last post a lot has changed. I left my previous school with a heavy heart but keen to try new things and ready for a challenge as a Head of Department.

The first challenge I encountered were a group of 60 students who needed help to complete a controlled assessment in less than six weeks. By identifying individual needs I was able to focus their attention and the final outcome was 62% A* – C grades across the department. On reflection this is pretty good as many of the students had been left with little hope of an F grade.

Whilst this remedial work was going on I was approached by SLT to see if I thought I could support 14 students with an additional GCSE. Fortunately they had been studying ICT and making use of MS Office, so with a 6 week crash course in advanced MS Office skills they took the ECDL and I am pleased to say all passed.

When I took the post at my new school I was made aware that the school would soon become part of a MAT (Multi Academy Trust). This did not really concern me too much as I was glad to be working in a school where the students genuinely appreciated the help and support I was able to offer.

On results day in 2015, I sent a short message to my previous HoD to enquire about the students I had supported through their OCR Computer Science GCSE (2 controlled assessments). I am pleased to report that the results were good. 78% A* – C and 24% A* – A. I am proud of them all and sorry I left them with 6 weeks to go, but when it is time to go then you must. Education is a tough sector to up sticks and move jobs with the politics and rules of employment, as there are certain periods when you may resign and move to another job. I realise this is important for continuity for the students and planning within the wider school, but some individuals make it harder than it needs to be.

On our return after my first summer break as a Head of Department the Trust had decided that there needed to be a restructure of staff within the school. It was clear that a number of roles within the school needed to be streamlined and others needed more autonomy. The role of Head of ICT was one such role that needed to be consolidated. I applied and was successful in becoming the Head of Faculty for Computing and Vocational Studies. This means I am now responsible for:

  • Business Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Information and Creative Technologies
  • Certificate in Digital Applications
  • ECDL
  • Travel and Tourism
  • E-Systems

Year 11 have had their prom and now we wait for the results in August. Fingers crossed for this group as their success will have an impact on all of us. At least another group have passed their ECDL and if the moderators/assessors are fair our ICT and Computer Science students should do well, as should the CiDA group whose controlled assessment results have been returned already.

As this academic year draws to a close the pressure remains as constant as ever. Our school is working hard to improve outcomes for all it’s students and the staff are doing an amazing job with limited resources. Everyone working in the school is supportive of each other and we learn from one another. To arrive in this school at a time of change for long standing members of staff has at times been difficult, but we are moving ever closer to getting a positive endorsement from OFSTED and our student numbers are growing.

Throughout this journey I have been continually learning: perfecting my teaching; adapting to my new role; engaging with an additional responsibility as a member of the Extended Leadership Team; being part of the Teaching and Curriculum panel; becoming a Google Certified Educator and learning how to train experienced educators in the use of Google Apps for Education. Who knew I could cover so much ground in 15 months. bring on the next promotion!

Here’s to a restful summer and positive health for us all!