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.
Sorry for starting this article straight into a brag (I am more humble by nature, I promise), but when I was a teacher and ICT coordinator, my school won a number of awards for our use of technology embedded throughout the curriculum. As a larger-than-average Primary school in South East London – a typical inner-city set up – people were surprised by how much we achieved on a very tight budget. I am frugal by nature, and that fed through into my teaching and tech acquisition too.
In Estyn’s 2013 inspection report, there were 355 pupils at St Philip Evans R.C. Primary School. The school is in an English-speaking part of South Wales. About 40% of pupils learn English as an additional language, and speak other languages at home. About a quarter of pupils are entitled to receive free school meals. The school identifies 17% of pupils as having additional learning needs, nearly all of whom have moderate learning difficulties. No pupil has a statement of special educational needs.
For children with special educational needs (SEN), one of the toughest barriers to accessing the curriculum can simply be how intimidating the classroom can feel. With 70 per cent of those permanently excluded from school also being registered for with SEN, we need to do more to engage students to maintain their attendance and ensure that functional skills are developed among all students, no matter what their situation or environment.
To discuss how school leaders can make the most of their roles, we sat down with Eric Sheninger; best-selling author, international keynote speaker and International Center for Leadership in Education senior fellow. Eric is based in Cypress, Texas, and was the award-winning principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey.
When you think of a classroom, what springs to mind? More than likely, a room filled with rows or clusters of tables and chairs facing a desk at the front with a whiteboard. Little has changed since the early 1900s, despite the evolution in technology and amount of resources. So why, then, are we so surprised when children become disengaged or demotivated to learn? It has been proven time and time again that pupils learn better when they can directly interact with resources and experience things first-hand. The likelihood of pupils enjoying their school time - as well as gaining and retaining valuable knowledge - significantly increases when they are allowed to lead themselves to the solutions.
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