Editor’s note: Were you at this amazing event? If so, share your experiences of the day in the comments below. Be sure to get in touch, as we’re keen to collaborate with as many Primary Rockers as possible!
When I tell my colleagues about Twitter, I often get the eye-roll. ‘Here he goes again, banging on about Social Media.’ ‘I don’t understand a word of what he’s saying.’ Use the words ‘edu-chat’ and I’ve lost them completely.
One of the most difficult things I found as a leader with responsibility for the use of iPads in the school was finding quality CPD for myself, as I was more often than not the person organising or delivering that training. People often ask me where I find out about the latest apps, technologies and other great technological tools. One such place is from great educators such as Joe Moretti, with whom (and several others) I’ll be co-hosting #ATI2017 in Malvern across 10th-12th April.
A couple of weeks back, I went to the first meeting of a new book group. I’d been thinking for ages that I wanted to join one and then, while my little lad Arthur and I sat waiting for our Saturday morning haircuts in the barber’s, one just sort of presented itself to me in a poster stuck to the antique dresser they use as a reception desk. It was for men only, it was to be held in a pub and the first book was a cracker, ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, a shatteringly bleak post-apocalyptic vision I’d taught to some dream Year 9s about 4 years previously – how could I not go?
Effective teacher CPD improves teaching and learning and has one of the largest impact on student outcomes (Hargreaves 1994, Craft 2000). This means that getting it right is crucial. However, when it comes to CPD, how do we know we are getting it right? It’s a topic I discuss regularly, and it’s often the case that the answer I get tallies with research that states that CPD evaluation is often a neglected step and that many school leaders struggle to carry out any sophisticated, in-depth analysis (Porritt 2005, Goodall 2005).
No teachers like being observed when they are teaching; when it comes to schools positioning cameras in classrooms for lesson observations, teachers naturally feel in the spotlight and under pressure. Assessing children is one thing, but while all teachers want professional development, no one is comfortable being reviewed and assessed themselves.
Successful school leaders are those who find ways to reach and exceed the continuously rising expectations of teaching and learning improvement. However, providing students with the very best learning experiences requires an investment in teachers. As educationalists ourselves at Veema, we know the challenges this presents. Budgets, inspections, choice of approach and the requirement to measure impact, all constrain and shape what we do.
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. We need to harness that love of discovery and encourage a passion for Science from a young age. At the heart of this lies inspiring teaching. This is why the free Reach Out CPD programme, a resource from Tigtag and Imperial College London, is invaluable for schools.
Recent research from the Future Leaders Trust, Teach First and Teaching Leaders warns of a serious shortfall in the number of heads and senior leaders required over the next decade, as pupil numbers rise and the present incumbents retire or move on. Many of those currently in headship attest to the rewards and satisfactions of the role, despite its accepted demands and pressures. But how can we encourage those not currently in whole-school leadership roles to take the plunge – to embrace risk and uncertainty and step up to the challenge? How can we encourage, motivate and inspire them to ask: ‘If not me, then who?’, and how can prepare them and then support them throughout their time in the role?
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