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!

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