Do not read on if you are expecting the usual report of events at school but I am getting on my soapbox. My class kindly made me one last week in a Technology lesson and it wobbles a bit. Now I am not your run-of-the-mill Headteacher. I came into this profession as a late starter. So yes, when I heard teachers moan I joined the general chant, "You get all these holidays!" Itıs true, we do, but I know very few of my colleagues who do not spend a significant amount of their holiday time on school work. Last week I attended a course after school. It lasted 2½ hours, delivered 37 PowerPoint slides and provided me with ten handouts. It was the final straw.
Following the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988, schools have witnessed an avalanche of initiatives, all with the laudable aim of raising standards. Amen to that! However, it must have struck someone in the Department for Education that a high a price was being paid for the improvements that followed. Itıs only recently that doctors knocked teachers into second place for absence due to stress-related illness. Solution: Workforce Remodelling. It aims to reduce workload and provide teachers with sufficient time to plan and prepare for lessons and Heads to lead and manage. Schools are also required to run a wellbeing programme for staff to support work-life balance. There you are - sorted. Well - not quite. Down the same river sails a raft of new initiatives: Agenda for Change, Every Child Matters, Extended Schools, Healthy Schools, Strategic Leadership in ICT and Network Learning Communities, to list just some of the key ones.
Donıt get me wrong, I will go to the wall to support anything that improves teaching and learning. We answer to a strong vocational calling and are privileged to be working with young, developing minds. I feel especially privileged to be the Headteacher of your school. As a small school we have limited capacity to absorb change. Our river widens only when those involved, and I include parents and governors in this, take on more work. And each raft, with its increased load, still has to negotiate the obstacles that are the vagaries of day to day life in schools.
I have a special request to make. Get involved, support us in any way you can. Recently Charles Wallis came to share his "treasure" with Class 4. These were items he had found locally with his metal detector - it was a fantastic learning experience for the children. Thank you, and thanks to Jane Dix for answering our plea for big logs for the school grounds.
Crack! Oh dear! There goes another soapbox.