I can’t actually go any further with this image. I like a nautical vision, but lack the knowledge to back it up. I know there’s a flag combination that says ‘stop carrying out your intentions and follow my instructions immediately’ which is just the kind of thing that Headteachers like. I might have it made into a hat.
How were the results? Sixth form first. We’re pleased with them, and have got a bumper crop into university, art college and onto apprenticeships. Seven into Oxford and Cambridge and 2 into Central St Martins, lots of others on really competitive courses, into sought-after universities and where they wanted to go. We enrolled nearly 280-ish into year 12, which is jolly nice.
GCSE is hard to tell until we get our nationally-determined progress score in September. We hope to improve on last year’s. Some areas did super-well, some improved, some still need to improve, some were hit by misfortune. We have a plan for all of it. Jane Austen wisely warns that Pride and Prejudice doesn’t give a description of the geography of Derbyshire and similarly this blog doesn’t go into detail about results. Look on our website for more.
We have 18 new teachers (our total teaching force is about 120) and 22 new support staff and we all know each other now. Some works needed doing over the holidays which were done and some which weren’t done. We hit a PFI-related contractual problem with getting some ICT upgrades to classrooms and we’re sorry about that. I’ll keep you informed. There’s lots of shiny new paint about, some of it on me.
Yesterday we met as a staff and looked at the things we stand for, what we believe and how we try to do them. Our Leadership Group is one smaller so we explained how the roles are shared out. We remembered that we want our young people to use our habits and be inquisitive, collaborative, persistent, disciplined and imaginative. We committed ourselves again to our characteristics of being kind, fair, honest, respectful and optimistic. I talked about the work I’ve been doing on ethical leadership and the public service values of selflessness, honesty, openness, objectivity, integrity, accountability and leadership. I committed us to the ethical leadership virtues of trust, wisdom, kindness, justice, service, courage and optimism. And we remembered how to use the data-collection system and met some of the PTFA. Curriculum teams spent time together planning and sorting.
Today we’ve done nuts-and-bolts stuff on classroom practice and expectations and systems, met as year teams, renewed our safeguarding training and looked again at GPDR. We are martyrs to excitement. New staff have tried to work out our frankly peculiar room numbering system and who everyone is. Planner, postcards, posters and lots of other things beginning with other letters have been gathered and squirreled away. Timetables have been printed and reprinted and all the lunchtime staff had first aid training.
Outside, education storms still buffet us all. We don’t have enough money. I did a phone interview for the Jeremy Vine show about mobile phones. Again. There’s a panic in the press about high rates of exclusion and schools’ internal exclusion methods. There’s panic about off-rolling year 11s, high rates of self-harm and London knife crime. Couldn’t we link those things? Schools without money can’t afford support services to help young people cope with themselves. That’s harder for them because all anyone talks about is results, as if that’s all childhood is for. Shrinking police numbers and disappearing youth and outreach services leave struggling young people to chance and the market forces of the streets. As a nation we don’t care enough about them to spend enough money on them. But we care enough about Brexit, it seems, to spend our all on it.
And meanwhile the biggest injustice goes unaddressed. What do 22% of shadow cabinet ministers, 33% of MPs and Russell Group university Vice-Chancellors, 43% of newspaper columnists, 44% of the Rich List, 50% of the cabinet and the House of Lords, 55% of Whitehall Permanent Secretaries, 67% of Oscar winners, 71% of senior officers in the armed forces and 74% of senior judges have in common? All privately educated. The 7% keeping its stranglehold on the 93%. How do we fix this?
Storm cones hoisted. Time to understand the world, and change it for the better.