School leaders are facing greater challenges today than ever before. Schools need to attract, retain, and motivate the best teachers, compete for students in an increasingly competitive market, and provide extraordinary learning within today’s budget realities. Furthermore, all of this needs to be achieved whilst empowering students to shape their own learning journey, preparing them for success in the modern digital world and keeping their parents updated on their progress and challenges. Schools need to juggle all of these issues while, above all, ensuring that each student reaches their full potential.
Jon Tait is an experienced senior leader and current deputy headteacher working in a large and diverse secondary school in Middlesbrough. As a classroom teacher, he has experience of working in 3 different North East schools for over 15 years. He's also an author, speaker, coach, and consultant, with an impressive list of contributions to the education sector. Joining us as a keynote speaker for Lead LIVE Darlington, we caught up with Jon to discuss his work and new book, "Bloomsbury CPD Library: Senior Leadership".
“With frozen school budgets and the media reporting that headteachers are contacting parents with concerns on balancing the books, school finances are again in the spotlight. This impacts all areas of school life, including technology spend - Promenthean reports that the average spend by secondary schools on technology fell 7% last year and primaries were also spending 4% less. At RM Education we work with almost 8,000 schools, helping them put the right technology in place which both helps reduce a school’s overall operating costs, as well as supporting learning, enabling these schools to achieve the best outcomes for their pupils.”
Jayne Davies, Services Director, RM Education
We all agree that education is the primary necessity of our society. Educated people invent new technologies to achieve more comfort in their daily routines, however, both are dependent on each other. I believe that literate people innovate more and more while technology helps to produce well-educated citizens.
The vast majority of school leaders will be familiar with the balancing act of reducing costs while still ensuring that we provide the highest possible quality of education to our students. In the 20 years I have spent working in the education sector – first as a teacher and then as a headteacher, before becoming the Chief Executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust – this challenge has been a key focus for me. I have seen much in the way of innovation and creative thinking to address it – but it is the model that we have introduced at Thinking Schools which I am most proud of.
When dealing with assessment, behaviour, attendance, teacher workload and the rest of daily school life, it can be easy to leave website updates for… tomorrow. However, all it takes is one visit from the Big O for that out-of-date website to become a major issue. But how can you find out exactly what’s expected for your school’s online presence, and how do you go about making this a reality? Thankfully, the team at Schudio - led by the dynamic duo of Nicole and Ian Richardson - have released a one-stop-shop resource to walk you through the process.
For the academic year ahead, you’ll want to have Your School Website Requirements Guide saved to your browser’s favourites. This resource is completely free-of-charge and requires no signup. It’s incredibly in-depth, answering any questions you may have (though the Schudio team are quick to answer any queries sent to [email protected]).
“There are specific requirements for academies, free schools and colleges and this guide covers all the latest changes,” the Guide states. “Every year we see at least two rounds of changes to the current requirements for school websites. They’re usually released at the beginning of September but can crop up at any time. It’s possible that a single requirement change will be released, such as the swimming requirements in autumn 2017. More often than not, a raft of changes is released in one hit.”
This comprehensive checklist explains what content to display on your website, offering suggestions on how to implement them to ensure that you not only meet the current requirements, but exceed them as well. The Schudio team designed this resource for ease-of-use, which allows for a consistent approach as you audit your own website.
“Demonstrate how your school is inclusive
Many schools have lots of EAL students, and how well you engage this part of your school community will most certainly be evaluated by OFSTED. By adding a good translate feature to your website, you will be inclusive of all your users and provide a really useful tool.
Also, your school needs to effectively demonstrate how you care for and educate those with additional needs, and of course there are the statutory requirements around safeguarding.
We’ll cover that in detail in the full Checklist in Chapter 5 but for now, note that these are issues that are right at the top of any inspector’s agenda.”
If you’d like to quickly check your website against the current requirements, Schudio has that covered too. The School Website Requirements Checker presents you with a report and then sends automatic notifications when school website requirements change. Plus, you don't need a Schudio website - it works with every school website!
Make sure that your school’s website is up-to-date: www.schudio.com/school-website-requirements. The Schudio team are keen to answer any questions you may have, so get in touch via [email protected] / 0333 577 0753 to discuss further. You can even book a phone meeting that suits your schedule here.
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It can be difficult to find learning strategies and resources that both tackle of budgetary concerns and teacher workload effectively. In 2018/19, we plan on helping you double your pupils’ rate of learning, while not charging a penny. Our team of educators and scientists know that our new platform works, and we want to bring it to your school this academic year.
With the warmer weather approaching - and the prospect of enjoying the great outdoors becoming more of a reality - schools need to be helping children prepare for the season ahead. Thankfully, Boots are once again bringing their Soltan Sun Ready Schools programme to UK classrooms - minimising workload and budget concerns, while maximising pupil health. This year, the leading pharmacy chain are even going so far as help fund school trips!