Being a school leader can be stressful - this is probably stating the obvious, especially given the time of year. In the Innovate My School Guide 2017/18, four authors from different backgrounds discuss various aspects of school leadership. Here are their thoughts on wellbeing.
Christmas is a great opportunity to take the time to be thankful for those who are part of our learning community, and to channel our festive spirit and cheer into contributing to a positive environment full of thought and goodwill. At our school, all of our members of staff (teaching and non-teaching) are invited to take part in our ‘Advent Angel’ initiative. After signing up, volunteers are secretly and randomly given the name of another member of staff who is also taking part. Our only caveat is that we aim to make sure that it is not someone with the same department or office, so colleagues across the school have the opportunity to learn something new about someone, which builds into our community ethos.
Hot on the heels of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week (13th- 19th November), alcohol education charity Drinkaware is highlighting the benefits of alcohol education in schools. Research from the charity’s Drinkaware Monitor 2016, in conjunction with Ipsos Mori, found that only one in four young people have received helpful information about alcohol from teachers, and 56% of young people who were drinking said that they drank alcohol to fit in.
When we asked our Twitter followers whom we ought to interview, Jean-Louis Dutaut threw his and Lucy Rycroft-Smith’s hat into the ring. Self-deprecatingly referring to this suggestion as “shameless self-promotion”, it quickly became evident that their project - Flip The System UK - was something our readers should know about.
Christmas for our very special children has to be the most magical time that we can possibly make it. Some of our children are so poorly that they may not be able to celebrate when Christmas day finally dawns. In other families, parents and carers may be so tired from the constant regime of looking after their profoundly poorly children that they may not have enough energy left to celebrate at home. At Highfurlong we make it our mission to create a party atmosphere for all our children, and ensure that everyone has a taste of a perfect Christmas day.
Primary schools leaders are being encouraged to take pupil health and wellbeing digital in a bid to boost healthy eating. Discovery Education Espresso, the leading digital learning service, have joined forces with Switzerland’s Alimentarium Foundation to launch an exciting new range of resources which take a fresh approach to Science and nutrition teaching.
“What do you want to achieve as a school leader? What traits will you focus on?” For me, when considering the traits that foster good leadership, you need to start by really considering the people you work with. I saw this quote on Dr. Marcia Tate’s Twitter feed yesterday, and I think it says it all. Good leadership needs to have an outward focus where we as school leaders are always looking to empower and encourage others.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Daily Mirror’s front page headline grabbing declaration which stated very boldly ’50 kids a week sent to Sex Change clinics’ with a subheading ‘Record number of referrals as parents seek help for children as young as four’ (23rd October 2017). It certainly wasn’t the most sensitive headline, but it did highlight the fact young people are accessing the Gender Identity Development Service in increasing numbers.
Gary King is deputy headteacher at Devon’s Isca Academy, as well as a blogger and frequent TeachMeet speaker. As his school goes from strength-to-strength, we pick the mind of one of the UK’s most enthusiastic educators.