Interested in becoming a Headteacher?

The guardian have kindly pulled the standards for headteachers in 2015 in their blog Standards for headteachers 2015 . If you are interested in further reading the standards can be found on the DfE website – Standards for Headteachers 2015  So if you are an aspiring head this a good place to start as it is next reviewed in 2020.

It includes;

The Four Domains The National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers are set out in four domains.
• Qualities and knowledge
• Pupils and staff
• Systems and process
• The self-improving school system
Within each domain there are six key characteristics expected of the nation’s headteachers.

Domain One

Excellent headteachers: qualities and knowledge 

Headteachers:

1. Hold and articulate clear values and moral purpose, focused on providing a worldclass education for the pupils they serve.

2. Demonstrate optimistic personal behaviour, positive relationships and attitudes towards their pupils and staff, and towards parents, governors and members of the local community. 3. Lead by example – with integrity, creativity, resilience, and clarity – drawing on their own scholarship, expertise and skills, and that of those around them.

4. Sustain wide, current knowledge and understanding of education and school systems locally, nationally and globally, and pursue continuous professional development.

5. Work with political and financial astuteness, within a clear set of principles centred on the school’s vision, ably translating local and national policy into the school’s context.

6. Communicate compellingly the school’s vision and drive the strategic leadership, empowering all pupils and staff to excel.

 

Domain Two

Excellent headteachers: pupils and staff

Headteachers:

1. Demand ambitious standards for all pupils, overcoming disadvantage and advancing equality, instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ outcomes.

2. Secure excellent teaching through an analytical understanding of how pupils learn and of the core features of successful classroom practice and curriculum design, leading to rich curriculum opportunities and pupils’ well-being.

3. Establish an educational culture of ‘open classrooms’ as a basis for sharing best practice within and between schools, drawing on and conducting relevant research and robust data analysis.

4. Create an ethos within which all staff are motivated and supported to develop their own skills and subject knowledge, and to support each other.

5. Identify emerging talents, coaching current and aspiring leaders in a climate where excellence is the standard, leading to clear succession planning.

6. Hold all staff to account for their professional conduct and practice.
Domain Three

Excellent headteachers: systems and process

Headteachers:

1. Ensure that the school’s systems, organisation and processes are well considered, efficient and fit for purpose, upholding the principles of transparency, integrity and probity.

2. Provide a safe, calm and well-ordered environment for all pupils and staff, focused on safeguarding pupils and developing their exemplary behaviour in school and in the wider society.

3. Establish rigorous, fair and transparent systems and measures for managing the performance of all staff, addressing any under-performance, supporting staff to improve and valuing excellent practice.

4. Welcome strong governance and actively support the governing board to understand its role and deliver its functions effectively – in particular its functions to set school strategy and hold the headteacher to account for pupil, staff and financial performance.
5. Exercise strategic, curriculum-led financial planning to ensure the equitable deployment of budgets and resources, in the best interests of pupils’ achievements and the school’s sustainability.

6. Distribute leadership throughout the organisation, forging teams of colleagues who have distinct roles and responsibilities and hold each other to account for their decision making.
Domain Four

Excellent headteachers: the self-improving school system

Headteachers:

1. Create outward-facing schools which work with other schools and organisations – in a climate of mutual challenge – to champion best practice and secure excellent achievements for all pupils.

2. Develop effective relationships with fellow professionals and colleagues in other public services to improve academic and social outcomes for all pupils.

3. Challenge educational orthodoxies in the best interests of achieving excellence, harnessing the findings of well evidenced research to frame self-regulating and selfimproving schools.

4. Shape the current and future quality of the teaching profession through high quality training and sustained professional development for all staff.

5. Model entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to school improvement, leadership and governance, confident of the vital contribution of internal and external accountability.

6. Inspire and influence others – within and beyond schools – to believe in the fundamental importance of education in young people’s lives and to promote the value of education.

 

 

Lessons to be learnt – How much trust should we give EAL TAs?

Lessons to be learnt How much trust do we give EAL TAs?

After observing some planning and teacher training in London last week the following occurred to me not as way of criticism but more as reflective practice and moving learning in the classroom along.

Clearly we should not give any teacher or TA (Teaching Assistant) 100% trust until we have assured ourselves that they are giving 100% correct instruction. As no teacher is a super teacher i.e.  never needing support, mentoring or guidance then why should we give EAL TAs (English as a second language Teaching Assistants) this trust and change policies to suit them?
Don’t  get me wrong I think TA’s and EAL TA’s in particular are great but we should not implicitly trust them to guide our youngsters in the ETHOS of the school, the teaching of academic concepts and language and assessment without having an overview of their abilities and skills ourselves as senior managers and governors.
I watched a situation recently where a group of excellent teachers were planning and talking about the use of technology available to support maths teaching. They were thinking really creatively about how they could teach in their classrooms (and not looking at a withdrawal group) a mathematical concept that the rest of the year were  learning. For me it was brilliant they were marrying their skills with technology to save time for them when planning and delivering, but increasing the children’s learning ability whilst making it interesting.

All went well until the TA that supports them became part of the discussion and within no time suddenly the TA had convinced them the group needed to be withdrawn and that it could take time for the children to learn it. What struck me most as an observer was that I had been in that situation many times but could see now that the TA  was steering our teaching. Today seeing it this way made me wonder what made these excellent practitioners take another persons word and run with it?

Why didn’t they question or try out their theory and review it if it didn’t work? They had built a translation requirement in, their practice was excellent, their topic was interesting, their own personal understanding of the concept was excellent and yet they let someone without the same or better credentials influence them and their decisions.

Something worth pondering on.

Study shows bilingual students have better attention – USA

This is really interesting the research shows that again being bilingual is of great value.  Instinctively I know this but it is great to see that there are people out there researching it to give us the evidence base. This should help pupils all over the world as education establishments realise it is unfair to almost block out the pupils first langauge but instead embrace it, celebrate it and use it as the cornerstone for integrating into their establishment and for teaching the pupil their preffered establishments language.

It reminds me of when I moved from Wales to England and taught in London where there was a predominantly Greek Cypriot Community both at school and in the surrounding area and being really surprised when the then HeadTeacher stood in Assembly and said I have done  a survey and in this school we have 37 langauges but the schools langauge is English and I expect everyone to comply with this.  This was great for me as a new teacher because it made it easier for all, and she had the balance right becasue we also had a cultural day which was almost unheard of at the time run by the parents. The pupils were able to dress in their clothes, eat their food, and generally share their customs.  It was the first time I got to try and understand the Greek style of Meze eating -and I was an adult, but loved it.

This is the article that dug out that lovely memory.

Speaking two languages fluently helps improve attention, according to new Northwestern research findings.
The research, which was published April 30 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied 25 monolingual and 23 bilingual incoming high school freshmen.

Viorica Marian, NU department chair of communication sciences and disorders and the study’s author, said researchers believe that in bilingual people’s brains, both languages are constantly active.

When bilingual people speak or listen, they have to learn to subconsciously block out the other language processing center. In everyday life, this translates to better attention.

Researchers first measured the subjects’ proficiency to confirm their language fluency. All monolinguals spoke only English and all bilinguals spoke only English and Spanish.

Researchers connected the subjects’ brains to electrodes that measured the sound waves generated in the brain stem, a part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord. Subjects listened to a simple sound, the syllable “Da” repeated several times. For this part, both groups’ brain waves looked similar, Marian said.
However, when researchers added background noise in addition to the sounds, they found that bilinguals were better able to block out the extra noise.

“When a background noise was incorporated, like in a noisy restaurant, bilinguals showed an advantage over monolinguals, suggesting that bilingualism helps individuals process sounds better,” Marian said.

Marian said that recently, other researchers have shown similar effects in other sections of the brain, but she said the brain stem is different. Because it is a primitive structure in the brain, this research also indicates that these abilities may be one of the brain’s natural and basic functions.

In addition to the sound tests, researchers also gave participants cognitive tests of attention. Marian said the participants whose brains were the best at blocking excess noise also showed the best attention.

“So it seems to be this highly interrelated system,” Marian said. “The biological system influences function and the function influences the biology.”

She added that new research has shown that with each language someone learns, it becomes easier to learn a further language.

Marian, who grew up speaking Romanian and Russian and later learned English, said her future research will focus on people who have become bilingual later in life, such as during high school or college. She said she hopes that demographic changes in the United States will make bilingualism more common.

dschlessinger@u.northwestern.edu