Exploring what matters

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guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing

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TeacherTales: 6 Tips I wish I’d known before becoming head of department

Posted by Ash Drury on 23 August, 2019

Guest blog written by Ash Drury, Head of Science, York High School.

As I sit here looking around my empty classroom during the final week of term, a lot goes through my mind. 

Most of those thoughts are looking ahead – we have a great teaching team and wonderful pupils, and I am incredibly excited to be working with them in the next academic year. But some of my thoughts invariably drift backwards to the year that is coming to a close, and I reflect (as all teachers do) on the wonderful year I’ve had, but also on the lows, the maybes and the what-ifs. 

If you are anything like me, you will spend the final few months before starting a new teaching or leadership position frantically googling things like, “How to be a good leader”, “What to do before starting as HOD”, or “top tips for new heads of department”. Maybe that is how you found this blog. 

So, below are a number of things I wish I had been told a year ago which would have made my first year as a HOD that little bit smoother.

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5 recommendations for retaining your teachers

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 2 April, 2019

As a school leader, great teachers are your most important asset. But we all know that teachers are notoriously under-compensated and underappreciated. While the work is incredibly rewarding, it can also require more than a 40-hour workweek and excessive workloads, meaning great teachers are choosing to leave for professions that pay more and demand less.  In fact in 2015 social media was buzzing with the news that more than 50% of teachers in England 'plan to quit in the next two years'.

As a result, schools and school leaders are having to work hard at replacing, attracting, and retaining excellent educators. Here are five ways to make your school the kind of place that great teachers want to stay in:

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10 tips for school leaders on handling difficult conversations

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 11 March, 2019

There are some conversations you’d probably rather not have, particularly if it means delivering unpleasant news, discussing a delicate subject, or talking about something that needs to change or has gone wrong. But, as a school leader, these conversations can crop up fairly regularly so feeling confident about knowing how to handle them is essential.

It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious or nervous at the thought of a difficult discussion, whether it’s with a teacher, parent or child. However, there are a few simple techniques that can help to make them productive and as painless as possible.


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Money matters - 3 ideas to help your school's CPD budget go further

Posted by Liam Collins on 25 February, 2019

Guest blog by Liam Collins, Director of Curriculum and Learning at GLF Schools. He also worked for six years as head of a comprehensive school in East Sussex.  He can be found on twitter here @liamhcollins


 

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Teacher confidence (efficacy): Why does it matter and how can SLT increase it?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 21 January, 2019

 Efficacy - or a teacher’s level of confidence in their abilities - can be highly influenced by past experiences or your current school culture. For example, a bad classroom experience or negative work environment can quickly diminish a teacher’s confidence.

Interestingly, seeing students grow and working in a collaborative environment can boost a teacher’s belief in their ability and improve performance. Research also suggests that teachers with a strong sense of self-efficacy tend to be better planners, more resilient through failure, and more open-minded and supportive with students.

 

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Hitting the right notes: improving teaching practice with the Chartered Teacher Programme

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 18 January, 2019

Guest blog from Dr Steven Berryman, Director of Music at City of London School for Girls and Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. Also, Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching.

As a musician, practice is part of daily life. Or I tell my pupils that it is. We practice to maintain our facility at our instrument (or voice), often using exercises to keep certain aspects in good health (such as sound production) because we want our instrumental/vocal skills to be ready when we need them.

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