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.
Having worked as a teacher, middle leader and a coach within education, I have seen various performance management processes with a wide range of line managers and staff. I have had the pleasure of working with experienced teachers, NQTs, underperformers, outstanding staff, coasting staff and ambitious professionals. Each have proved to be excellent learning opportunities!
Having taught now since 2008, and having been a subject lead since 2010, I have seen through a fair share of changes to the History curriculum. When I first arrived, my school was teaching a traditional KS3 system (think Romans, 1066 and all that, Medieval life in Year 7) before a GCSE and A-Level that bore no link or pathway to the GCSE. Since then, “what sort of curriculum?” has become a key part of the historical debate.
I come to write this piece after a brief Twitter exchange, a shared appreciation of the 1998 Coen brothers cult classic The Big Lebowski, with Innovate My School editor James Cain, Emerging from our ensuing conversation was the idea of an article to explore what lessons in leadership, if any, might be gleaned from Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski. Despite my love of the movie, and my interest in leadership lessons from art as well as life, at first it felt a little like scraping the bottom of the metaphor barrel. However, after some reflection, I came to the conclusion that perhaps there is something in the movie that may be worth sharing...
Christalla Jamil is very proud of her school, and it’s easy to see why. All evidence points to London’s Eastfield Primary being a tremendously happy, vibrant place, with a real emphasis on developing each pupil as a healthy individual. Christalla was kind enough to take some time to talk school leadership and how ‘Easty’ achieves excellence.
Leadership – an interesting word with many connotations. Throughout my teaching career, I have experienced a range of leadership styles. Holistic. Volatile. Aggressive. Manipulative. The one thing they all had in common was the fact they were not role models. They didn’t inspire any interest for me to become, or in fact, believe I could be a leader. I didn’t fit the mould:
To say that meaningful technology integration is hard work is like saying that climbing Mt. Everest might leave you a little bit winded. Today’s school leaders have a Herculean number of obstacles to overcome transforming schools. As Benjamin Herold of Education Week comments:
Both as a teacher, and then as a school leader, at the beginning of each new year I used to identify what I would be trying to achieve over the course of the year to come. In both roles, my focus was always around how I would be working to improve my understanding and my practice so that I was better able to meet the holistic needs of all my learners.