Monthly Archives: November 2013

TeachMeet #SLTcamp

Sometimes the packaging looks great….

But the content does not deliver. TeachMeet (TM) #SLTcamp certainly delivered . . .
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People shared with passion. There was a good range of topics and ideas covered and it set the bar to a high standard, that would be maintained at this level throughout the weekend.

This was my fourth TM and I presented 2 ideas in my brief time slot.

1. An in-house leadership programme
Training/enabling the senior leaders of tomorrow in response to aspirations from middle leaders. The course was open to all (we did not hold anyone back) and 12 middle leaders responded – significant take-up. The participants collectively chose the content of the course, so that it met their needs and priorities, and it gave them ownership of what was to be facilitated. It helped them not just to grow as leaders but also to appreciate the multi-layered dynamics for senior leaders and associated decisions that school has taken in recent years.

2. A community initiative
We value being part of a village community and we are keen to link with the other schools in our neighbourhood on a regular basis to enhance the learning for all our pupils. We are aware that inter-school competition can cause schools to hold back from participation in certain events and we wished to avoid this. We came up with the idea of a debating event where teams had a pupil from each school. This enabled competition between the teams but not between the schools. The pupils in Year 5 had opportunities to develop teamwork, research and public speaking skills. All the pupils in year 5, from all the schools, came together in the afternoon to hear the presentations, to support their peers and celebrate what they had achieved. It was a special day and one that we hope to repeat annually to build community and enhance the skills of all year 5 pupils in our village.


Leadership . . .

This week we facilitated the penultimate session in our in-house leadership training programme. A course that came about in response to significant demand– i.e. 12 colleagues keen to progress to Deputy Head and Headship.

The session addressed being ready for interview and built on from the previous half-termly sessions that have been held over the last year. In the session we explored what was important to know, understand and have in place beforehand as well as the interview experience.

Seeking to embrace multi-media input we then shared 3 videos, initially screened at #SLTcamp and with on-going relevance for those seeking to progress in leadership in schools. After each video course participants were asked what they got from the video (all very different and inspiring in their own ways). Then the challenge was issued; choose a piece of music and apply your own response – words/images/singing (video or e.g. audio boo) – your views on leadership . . . We look forward to staff responses!

Here are the 3 videos we shared and your chance to see what you gain from each of them, enjoy! . . . Sincere thanks to all . . .

1. From @jillberry102

2. From @TeacherToolkit…

3. From @RachelOrr…

The first #SLTcamp

My post is in 3 parts . . .

Part 1 – Written for fellow campers who went on the weekend and/or those considering a SLTcamp in the future
Part 2 – My reflections of the weekend
Part 3 – What I got out of the weekend

Part 1
Roll up, roll up! . . .

Who is up for a weekend away in a youth hostel, in the middle of term, actually in the middle of November! NB you will be sharing a bedroom with up to 4 other people who you have never met before. . . Yes I can see this is grabbing you; images of cold and basic conditions!
Let’s re-frame this so you can appreciate how amazing and positive the weekend was . . .

How it all began
A tweet appeared in the summer promoting the first ever #SLTcamp. An opportunity for senior leaders and aspiring senior leaders to come together to share, reflect and be inspired. Participants would be the driving force in igniting a new phenomenon. Tickets went quickly and the rest is history (legendary?!)

The concept and aims were very compelling, but I will be totally honest, the thought of a youth hostel in November and sharing a small bedroom with 4 complete strangers did not excite me (bad experience in the past on a group holiday tour = grim!). However, the passion of the organisers was tangible and the potential for the weekend unquantifiable, so much so that I signed up without hesitation; even though I knew I would have to leave for an Open Morning at School on the Saturday.

The journey
I was fired up with enthusiasm as I set off after school and that sense that you were going to be part of something special, something unique, as well as a degree of you have got to be mad doing this, you will be exhausted come Monday!

I enjoyed my favourite national car park on route, the M25; always a pleasure especially on a Friday night during the rush hour. My sat. nav. had come up with a very direct route once I exited the A3. I was soon laughing away as the roads got narrower and narrower and I was grateful it was dark so that I could see any approaching cars as I navigated the Surrey Hills. My sat. nav. finally informed me I had arrived, when clearly I had not . . . (always a good one!) but thankfully there was a sign to the youth hostel at this point so I headed up the lane. @SLTcamp was correct about the muddy driveway but our path was clearly marked out and from the word go you knew attention to detail was in place.

Part 2 – Reflections on the weekend
It was about ‘team together’ throughout the weekend – everyone was ‘up for it’/got involved and participated in the sessions and social activities
The presentations from fellow campers were very helpful and inspiring
Excellent food – thank you Phil and Maria
Virtual presentations were fun, with resounding messages. Thank you to all
Sharing a bedroom was not a trial in anyway, great conversations!
Many congratulations and thanks to Stephen and Sarah for dreaming the dream and for making it happen
It was an honour to be a part of the first #SLTcamp. May there be many more!

Part 3 – What I got out of the weekend
The anticipated/hoped for – being with fellow passionate professionals, hearing and sharing great ideas/exemplary practice which was inspiring and motivating
Positive networking – meeting people I regularly tweet with face-to-face was special, as well as adding to my PLN
The challenge – I met outstanding middle and senior leaders, some of whom were questioning if they could step up to the next level and ultimately Headship; some had not had the affirmation they deserved to encourage them in their journey. I was challenged as a Head, not just to continue to provide training and leadership opportunities for my staff but also to ensure that I articulate clearly and often my belief in my staff as emerging senior leaders. Also, I want to ensure that colleagues develop the resilience and adaptability needed to survive at senior leadership level
Something for everyone – There were some key messages that were relevant for all, so during assembly on the Monday after the weekend I referenced the weekend and said: 1) we never stop learning, regardless of our age 2) learning is an adventure, it is fun and motivating and 3) learn to take opportunities (they may never come again)