DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: WELLBEING

Following on from her presentation at BETT, entitled ‘Using dance fitness to improve student wellbeing’, Dame Darcey Bussell is delighted to share her passion to get more children into dance fitness to improve overall wellbeing.

I was talking with a friend the other day. He runs his own business, so needs to be creative in his daily thinking. He offered a great nugget of wisdom, which was this: if you are going online, just do one thing. 

My friends in Scotland are already back at school, which can only mean one thing - it will soon be our turn in England.

How can part time and flexible working help wellbeing, recruitment and retention in schools? Do ALL schools embrace the practice? If not, why not? It is the way forward – make 2019-2020 the year your school takes note (and well done if you are already truly on board).

Now, more than ever before, young people are highly prone to experiencing a mental health disorder, a statement that was confirmed by a recent NHS digital report into the mental health of young people in the UK. Katharine Sadler, Director at the National Centre for Social Research and contributor to the report, has also commented on the prevalence of mental health challenges in youth, describing the statistics as “significant.”

Was there ever a time where teachers worked 35-hour weeks? I doubt it. Whether you’re working 40, 50 or 60 hours a week, we all know, it needs to be reduced, as teachers deserve a positive work-life balance.

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".

In recent years we’ve seen a positive shift in attitudes towards mental health. It’s being talked about by everyone from the royal family to Justin Bieber: little by little, the taboo is being broken.

Taking on an ‘acting’ role can be a great way to try out a new role with the safety of knowing it is for a finite amount of time. If you are thinking about moving into leadership, then it can be a perfect way to dip your toe.

The thing about acting positions is that their timing is rarely predictable. In my career, I have acted up twice and gone on secondment twice. The first time, my phase leader damaged her knee and was unable to walk for a term. The most recent time, my head gained a much-deserved role as an SIP (school improvement partner) in a neighbouring county. I was tasked by the governors to take the helm while an experienced replacement could be found.

The main differences between a secondment and acting up are that with a secondment you are able to choose whether to apply. It will be in a different school and usually takes the form of a fixed term contract. With acting up, you may not have a choice! If you are in school leadership and your line manager is absent for any reason, then tag - you’re it!

It’s June 2018, and we’re due a teaching and learning observation week. Gauging the temperature in the staff room, after a hectic year, I felt that another round of observations from senior and middle leaders would have finished our teachers off! I wanted to boost morale, to create a feelgood factor in our last month. I wanted to encourage all to take risks in the classroom, to observe one-another, and come away with something tangible to use in our lessons the next day. This is how the BDB Dollar Challenge came about here at Bishop David Brown School.

 

 

Staff needed to feel empowered. In discussions with Darren Gould, my deputy head of school, we developed the notion of a low-threat, rewards-based system: Staff highlight an area they want to showcase, develop resources, plan the lesson and advertise their activities. In a staff briefing, everyone was given the opportunity to sign up to attend each other’s lesson. If cover was required, a member of SLT would cover for them.

 

The week arrived and we all visited one-anothers’ lessons, armed with our BDB dollars (pictured top). It was up to each individual to determine how many dollars they would pay in response to the lesson they had seen. Staff observed the delivery, looked at resources, and questioned students about the activity. The impact was palpable across the school, with 75% of students questioned highlighting that they felt lessons were more engaging. Additionally, many students responded to a survey stating they enjoyed the fact that other classroom teachers were showing an interest in their lessons.

 

 

 

“The Dollar Challenge helped me to focus on and showcase the strengths of my teaching. For me, it was an opportunity to display elements that I believe are fundamental to the foundations of 'outstanding' teaching, and share that vision with my colleagues. As a viewer of others, I saw it as a chance to witness lessons that are completely different to English, like Food Tech, and 'steal' ideas from the more practical subjects. I'm actually looking forward to doing it again!” - Jamie Foster, head of English

 

 

 

When we reflected on the week we knew we had made the right decision to change our practice. The whole school was really feeling the effect of a busy year, and that was not my aim in September. The Dollar Challenge created a buzz in the staff room, one which carried us right through to the end of term and made everyone excited for what was ahead. I was proud and hugely impressed by the level of creativity displayed, and the feedback from students and staff alike was great.

 

So what have we learnt? The key lesson, for 2018/19 and beyond, is that we need to do more to empower staff to visit each other’s lessons, encourage them to take risks, and give them the confidence to know that if it fails, no judgments will be made.

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