A New School Year

A new school year and the start of new challenges for millions of young people. For some, it will be their final stage of schooling. For all, there will be some anxious moments, as they will be entering into the unknown. Hopefully there will also be a lot of excitement about taking their next steps.

I have always worked in age 11-18 secondary schools and there were three distinct stages. The eagerness of the year 7s; the ‘coolness’ of the year 10s; and the maturity of year 12s. All had one thing in common – their uniform or business dress was pristine on day one.

I enjoyed being a form tutor and getting to know my tutees, particularly their hopes and ambitions. For some it was clear from the start what they wanted to do, while others were not so certain. Their success – or otherwise – often determined their final direction. The seven years we spent together was meaningful for us both, usually with a number of ups and downs.

Sometimes teachers do not realise how important they are in the lives of the children they teach. Last year, at an SSAT event on assessment, one of the delegates said he remembered me when he was a student and I was headteacher at Monks’ Dyke Technology College. He remembered that I met with all students to issue them with and talk to them about their report.

I hope all the young people in your school will enjoy this year. Our National Conference on 4-5 December focuses on ‘The Learner’. We will be exploring how we can improve the outcomes and experience of every individual learner. We will have contributions from a large number of young people, as well as Pasi Sahlberg, Tony Wagner, Eric Mazur, David McQueen and Sugatra Mitra.

Schools are a place for developing the whole child and the conference will give practical strategies for doing this as well as achieving examination success.

December seems a long time away, but we all know how quickly the school year passes. Do book two days away and recharge your beliefs and passions of schooling.

I hope you get your new term off to an excellent start.

The Eighth Evidence Session of the Education Select Committee

4 September 2014

Aspiring Senior Leaders – An SSAT Case Study

12 September 2014