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#Nurture 1415

Five positives from 2014 and five wishes for 2015


Twitter I say it every year; Twitter is invaluable for all working in education! The conversations and the sharing of ideas, research, initiatives and developments that this form of social media enables through linking with people in the UK and globally is significant, rich and should not be underestimated. I continue to learn new things and explore new ideas, much of which I seek to share with colleagues. The teaching and learning at our school continues to benefit as a result of others sharing without being precious about great initiatives and ideas. I respect fellow professionals for their views, their honesty and at times their very deep vulnerability in being real about their experiences and challenges which they share via Twitter. My sincere thanks to fellow Tweeters – it is a community that I value greatly, not just in the ‘virtual’, but also when we meet in person at events.

National TeachMeet Day 2014 It was great to link with a good number of educationalists and sponsors across the UK to facilitate more that 1000 teachers coming together for a National TeachMeet Day in February. It was a very special day and really good to see a number of people running their first TeachMeets. Many thanks to everyone who got involved and contributed, in particular to @ICTmagic! Please use the following link to read more and see associated resources TeachMeet UK

Developments at school Two areas that have been particularly enjoyable and beneficial for the children have been: The on-going progress of Forest School (including a parents and pupils’ bush craft weekend). The growing scope of involvement/pupil leadership of Digital Leaders – supporting pupils and staff, contributing to assemblies and our first KidsMeet. Also, blogging by each year group weekly (by pupils from Year 3 upwards) has become embedded increasingly, although there is scope for this to develop more.

Amazing colleagues Without the commitment, energy and ideas of colleagues, school would not continue to develop in the positive way it does year on year. There are always ‘challenges’/’opportunities’, this goes without saying, but a strong team with a high level of collegiality enables much to be achieved. I do not take this for granted and I am grateful for everyone in our staff team, across all areas of the school, they give so much!

#PairandShare This is an initiative I came across via Twitter, set up by Steve Taylor @tambotaylor – ‘linking schools together to share good practice’ and ‘collaboration between schools to improve pupil outcomes’. It was refreshing to take time out away from school and reflect . . . We visited a school that shared many of the things that are fundamentally important to us too, yet a very different school. It was a very positive experience and I very much recommend this imitative to fellow Heads.

Five wishes for 2015 I have gone for – quality time with family and friends – passion in all I do – enabling and supporting others – encouraging greater risk taking and resilience in our pupils – and a commitment to continuing to build community.

Wishing you good health and happiness in 2015!


Global Adventure 2015

We live in such a diverse and interesting world. One of things that I am very passionate about is that we enable children to widen their horizons globally. Through links we can not only gain knowledge, but also develop greater understanding of cultures and faith groups, and hopefully have an increased awareness of issues around the world and have a greater sense of care towards other as a result.

In 2015 we will be linking our school (a primary school for 4 – 11 year olds) with several scientists/research projects, museums/galleries and hopefully a number of schools around the world.

My initial thought was to achieve one link a month, with opportunities across the continents. I quickly realised that this would be too much and would be impractical, so I refined my thinking. Currently, we have 3 key link opportunities in place.

The links will enable learning and enrichment opportunities for the students and/or the staff.

Through a link one of more of the following will be facilitated:
• sharing knowledge/ideas/resources
• setting a challenge
• carrying out research
• a shared project
• a charity initiative
A link could be during one day, across a month or something that is initiated and completed within the year. The technology used to achieve this could be any of the following blogs, video conferencing, Twitter or email, depending on what is accessible to you and most practical.

Engagement will initially be via School Committee, so that the children can be involved in discussions and decisions at form group level and feedback ideas and questions in a whole school forum. I am very conscious of teachers’ workloads and hopefully this will help to keep the initiative manageable and not too much additional work for colleagues.

The tashtag we are going to use is #GobalAdventure2015

Currently, we will link with 2 scientific research projects and have a museum/galleries month. Our scientific research projects are located in 2 different continents (more of these anon) and our adventure will spread even further worldwide when linked with museum/galleries. We hope to add one or two schools as the year progresses too.

Our first link arrived on the day we set up the project, via @AshleyMNaranjo a museum educator @SmithsonianEdu who has shared their Quests offering a variety of challenge prompts for students. We will promote the Quests to students in our museum month. Hopefully it will encourage them to explore American history and culture as well as science, nature and art. Thank you to Ashley for responding so quickly!

TeachMeetHerts #TMHerts 6 February – National TeachMeet Day 2014

A huge thank you to all who came to our TeachMeet #TMHerts!

It was good to see teachers, TAs, Headteachers, IT advisers, educational specialists, Year 6 Digital Leaders and a university lecturer come together for #TMHerts! Our event also linked into National TeachMeet Day 2014, which saw approximately 1000 people gather at 18 venues across the UK to promote and celebrate TeachMeets.

TeachMeets are all about CPD and networking – sharing ideas and best practice, with no charge to attend. We had promoted the event via the LA (thank you to Shelagh Mackenzie and Sue Collins – Computing/ICT Curriculum Advisers for primary schools in Hertfordshire – for your help via the HGfL), IAPS and GSA networks as well as Twitter and attendees came from across north London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Surrey and Kent. Two thirds of the 65 attendees had never been to a TeachMeet before so that was very positive too.

Our focus was on primary education, 4 – 13 and it was fundamentally important to us that the event should be inclusive of all and we were delighted that early years, infant, junior, middle school, secondary and higher education staff from state maintained, academies, free schools, independent schools and a university came to the event.

65 attendees was a very encouraging number, especially given the weather. Many drove/’canoed’ through floods to be there and coped with very heavy traffic due to an accident in the area, as well as increased road traffic related to the Underground strike. Even local journeys of 20 minutes turned into one and a half – two hour crawls, yet people persevered and made it!

The evening including a keynote presentation from @mberry former Naace Chair and Principal Lecturer at Roehampton Uni.exploring the primary PoS for the new curriculum The new curriculum

Five of the Year 6 Digital Leaders at Wheathampstead House, the Prep School of ST Albans High School for Girls, explained how they are contribution to ICT developments at the school; showing links and example videos.

@ICTmagic shared A brief history of TeachMeets and later in the evening Resources to bring the outside, inside (the classroom)

Videos were shared by @ThisIsLiamM Windows for displays and @mrlockyer Drop everything and read

@neiljones spoke about Education for Social Responsibility

‏@DepHeadPrep shared a range of online resources, including Voki and Google Earth.

@IETFaraday shared about the IET Faraday programme which has been developed by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, to promote engineering in schools through resources, challenge days and various programmes.

@PrepSchHead spoke about green screening and shared a video produced by children using this technique.

@Starbucks very kindly contributed the refreshments at the event and these were appreciated greatly by all, as well as the prizes! Thank you to Starbucks for keeping everyone’s energy levels up! Thank you to Ola the Manager from Chiswell Green and her colleague Megan, who came with the St Albans Store manager Jelina to serve the refreshments! We really appreciated your time and support, especially after your challenging journey!

‘Party bags’ were made up for everyone to take home, with leaflets, flyers, and/or discount vouchers from the educational sponsors and a box of biscuits from @BahlsenBiscuits which were a real hit!

We are very grateful to all our #TMHerts sponsors @BahlsenBiscuits @Starbucks and Frog @ClareBull_Frog and a surprise prize gift from PTA Social, plus the national sponsors for their support and the range of prizes they provided. A good number of schools now have new resources/services to aid teaching and learning and a significant number of practitioners, across all sectors of education, have become aware of products, resources and services that they may not have known about before. A huge thank you to: @twinklresources @zondle @CrownHousePub @edgymusicals @OneDayCreative and @YesProgramme For more information about the national sponsors please view

Tweets from the evening can be viewed via #TMHerts and @TeachMeetHerts and for the National TeachMeet Day as a whole via #TMUK. Links to presentations from other #TMUK events can be viewed via Presentations on National TeachMeet Day 2014

A special thanks to @ICTmagic for his support and encouragement to me to ‘go for the event’ and for being MC on the evening. Martin we appreciate all you do on-going to support teachers, schools and all in education! Thank you to my colleagues at school, in particular Sarah and Jon for all you contributed, for your support generally and specifically your support and time with our Digital Leaders and to Sarah and Luke, for the setting up the IT technical side of things needed for the event.

The feedback on the day and since has been very positive indeed regarding the CPD, networking, refreshments and prizes. We are considering a future event next year. Thank you again to all who contributed to the success of the event!

Gill Bradnam

National TeachMeet Day 6 February

Thursday 6 February has been launched as National TeachMeet (TM) Day 2014! The idea being that across the UK:
1. As many TMs as possible are held. The hashtag for the day is #TMUK
2. In addition a blog will run for the day so that people can post comments, link articles, as well as links to favourite videos from previously TMs and TMs videos on the day

The aim is to achieve strong coverage across the UK to promote TMs and their value to all in education, and to share good ideas and best practice.

Please comment and/or re-tweet the link to this post to help publicise this initiative.

Let’s make it happen!

Many supporting today’s launch including @mrlockyer @PrepSchHead @ICTmagic @MrsPTeach @SwayGrantham @ICTEvangelist @paulyb37

With thanks to @ICTmagic who generated our amazing logo

TeachMeet #SLTcamp

Sometimes the packaging looks great….

But the content does not deliver. TeachMeet (TM) #SLTcamp certainly delivered . . .
choc 2

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)