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February 28, 2010

Heathfield’s Bus

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 12:17 am
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“Trust me! In three years time, people will be coming to HeathfieldCPS from all over the country to see what we have done to improve!”

These are the words I am desperate to convey to the staff at Heathfield Primary School. I have been Deputy Head Teacher at Heathfield since September 2009 and have loved every minute of it. The question I need to answer is: Have I earned the trust of ALL staff to say the above statement and ensure people not only believe me, but will support the school on the journey it must take to reach its potential.

I was lucky enough to attend the Bolton Leadership Symposium on 25th -26th February 2010. I tweeted updates from the event (these can be found using the hashtag: #boltonsymposium) or you can view this link). To use the analogy of Chris Pickup who spoke during the first morning…

HeathfieldCPS is on a journey, there is a destination sign on the front of the bus which says very clearly where we are going. My Headteacher is driving the bus with our staff are sat in certain seats working extremely hard but where is my seat?

Are all the people sat next to the window happy with their window seats or would they prefer an aisle seat?
Have they ever tried an aisle seat or a window seat?
Have the staff that sit near the back ever sat near the front?

A good leader will ensure the right people are on the bus! A great leader will not only ensure the right people are on the bus but in addition, ensure that each person is sat in the right seat!

I believe we have the right people on the Heathfield bus, my challenge has been and continues to be – How I gain the trust and respect, to lead and share the driving of the bus with the Headteacher?

We have begun the journey of making ICT the vehicle to drive change at HeathfieldCPS. If you have been following our progress, you will know that we are using Web 2.0/3.0 technologies to assist learning and Year 6, 5, 4, 1 and Reception are now showcasing their learning though class blogs. Within a few weeks, Year 3 and Year 2 will launch their blogs. I can not convey enough how much blogging and the use of Web 2.0/3.0 technologies has enthused the pupils in Year 6. You only have to visit their blog to see what fantastic things are taking place. Just listen to their most recent Voicethread on why blogging is so great:

We have only been blogging and using Web 2.0/3.0 technologies for 8 weeks now. In that time, Heathfield have already developed a strong reputation in the world of ICT and our blog is rising up the ranks of search engines. Teachers that are searching for Literacy resources are being directed to our blogs from all over the world. We have over 500 comments in 8 weeks from all over the world too! Things are definitely happening here!

I predict, that in three years: the name of Heathfield will be displayed at the top of many Google searches, ICT will be woven through a new creative curriculum, children will be even more enthused and switch onto their learning right from the 1st day in Reception up until their last day in Year 6, visitors will be coming from all over the country to see first hand what changes have taken place at Heathfield to bring such success and most important of all, children leaving HeathfieldCPS will be prepared for the challenges that they will face in the future.

Mrs Spencer and I were able to spend a significant amount of time talking during our 2 days at the Bolton Leadership Symposium and we both agreed, Awards and high SATs results were not the driving force of future developments, but the need to prepare our pupils for a future that we can’t comprehend. If awards and high status come our way, of course that will be enjoyed by the pupils and staff , however, these are not being sought!

My Headteacher knows where the bus is going! We have the right people on the bus! Me? Well, that’s easy! My aim is to give my Headteacher every opportunity to drive the bus, I’m sat with Mrs Spencer but I can keep my seatbelt off! I can nip back and check if people are in the right places and enjoying their seat, I am able to sit at the front and at the back, at the window and in the aisle!

So, I return to my original statement at the top of this blog post… When is the right time to look staff in the eye, place my hand on their shoulder and say, “Trust me”?

Soon!

4 Comments

  1.   CreativeSTAR — March 3, 2010 @ 9:45 pm    Reply

    Hmm…I think the bus analogy is a dodgy one. You can look staff in the eye, place one hand on their shoulder and talk to them would be breaking all the bus driving regulations! Furthermore, I can imagine a number of staff not taking well to be told to stay sitting in their place!

    Analogies aside, I’ve found there is no perfect time. Some staff will trust you straight away, others never will, some will gradually trust you, etc. Ultimately what others think of you is perhaps none of your business (ouch!). You are not responsible for their emotions, thoughts, actions and reactions, no matter how brilliant you may be at your job.

    So go forth, enjoy and happy blogging too.

    •   Mr Mitchell — March 3, 2010 @ 9:55 pm    Reply

      With a visionary head at the wheel, I’m free to move around and check on how people are! Although I am not responsible for their emotions, as a leader, I am responsible for quality and performance – emotions, thoughts and actions can affect performance directly and indirectly!

      Thanks for the comment! I certainly will enjoy!!

      Thanks

  2.   Mr F — March 1, 2010 @ 9:08 pm    Reply

    Heathfield…

    I am a former Heathfield pupil, left in 1978. By strange coincidence my Dad helped design the school!

    Stumbled on this page. Read it with interest.

    My current school is working hard, along similar lines and developing similar themes to how you describe Heathfield. Our learners have achieved much in the last two years; perhaps their would be mileage in them sharing some of their achievements and learning with your children. They are leading Bradford LAs IT Conference later this year, and do some blogging and videoing of their thoughts.

    Some of our stuff is here

    http://www.handheldlearning2009.com/home

    Carl

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