Saturday 17th March saw Primary teachers from across the UK head to the beautiful Medlock Primary School in Manchester for one of world’s finest education events: Primary Rocks Live. The sold-out (in under five minutes!) gathering’s attendees enjoyed 24 workshops, two keynotes, a live-streamed performance from the Teachers Rock Youth Choir, and ice cream.
It’s both rare and refreshing to hear the words “intersectionality”, “systemic change”, “call to arms” and “rockets up asses” within the first half an hour of an educational training event. But at headteacher Hannah Wilson’s Flexible Working event at Aureus School on 10th March, we learnt that the education sector must become open to new ways of working if we are to recruit and retain the best staff.
Time and time again, when my colleagues and I speak to schools, they tell us that choosing and buying edtech is an increasingly difficult process. They simply don’t have the time – or the expertise – to create a detailed specification, go out to tender, evaluate lengthy technical proposals, interview suppliers and negotiate the best deals. On top of this process, there’s the ambiguity around financial budgets and the legalities and requirements which must be followed under EU procurement law. Edtech moves so fast, how do they know what they’ll need in three years time?
Until recently, ‘That Boy Can Teach’ was a whisper on the wind of education. Writing under a pseudonym, he quickly became a trusted, popular name in helping teachers and school leaders to reach their full potential (while being humble enough to balk at such a description). Now, however, Iron Man’s helmet has been removed, and Tony Stark - or rather, school leader Aidan Severs - has been revealed to the world.
Schools throughout the world are beginning to plan for the upcoming academic year. The underlining aspect of the improvement process is how it can be achieved on a budget. For instance, if teachers want smaller class sizes, that will come at an increased cost to the district / local authority. If staff want to redesign the front entrance to the school, is it affordable? If the staff identifies curriculum as an issue, can the necessary materials be afforded? These are the tough questions faced in the budgeting season.
Managing the school’s budget is arguably one of the hardest tasks a headteacher has to get to grips with. Children’s education is on the line, and more than that, people’s livelihood is also at risk if the head cannot manage their budget successfully. With ever decreasing funding available to schools, headteachers have had to become increasingly creative in order to fill the gaps in their budget.