Well! I can’t say I am feeling charged and ready to go after this weekender… as brilliant as it may have been. Something to do with an overwhelming feeling about exactly the amount of knowledge and skills a head teacher needs and at the level of complexity also. I am aware that everything does not need to be in-depth, but having a working knowledge of key areas, the curriculum, finance, HR to name a few of the important strategic aspects, is crucial to the successful leadership of a school and the confidence with which one leads. It is also clear that these very aspects are the ones likely to come up at interview for which the aspirant head teacher had better ensure they have their succinct and compelling response well-rehearsed….. implication, some ‘swatting’ up to do and continuous development in this case really is continuous as the reading, discussing, questioning, never stops to arrive at a fulfilled vision of what one wants to accomplish as a head in all of these areas.
Being one of only 2 people prepared to bring the lamb for the slaughter’ in the form of a semi-prepared presentation to trial beforehand on the task 3 presentation on ‘Journey to successful headship’. Moments of self-doubt led to the unstoppable bubble of butterflies in my stomach as we all know it’s far worse to present to peers than to those more distant from where we sit professionally or personally. Nevertheless, I felt the fear and decided to do this anyway, reaping the benefits of high quality questioning and feedback to further sharpen my presentation. Thanks guys!
One of the best sessions of the weekender was the chance to respond to the ultimate curriculum question for headship interview:
“What is your vision for the curriculum in the 21st century? Given the government’s agenda, the needs of employers and our freedom as an academy from the national curriculum, how would you ensure a curriculum appropriate for the 21st century?”
More about that in my post:Weekender 3 Reflection: Curriculum vision
It was interesting hearing from one newly appointed head who asked a question during panel time about how to keep going in the face of being the most tired she had been during her career to date!. Hang on, we are all supposed to be enthused and passionate about wanting to take the next step, not put off. But isn’t that exactly it? The type of people sitting in this room display the drive and tenacity by staying in the business, hard it may be, of striving for achievement for all children in spite of hearing such comments. We recognise that it is ‘hard’ but we also know the vocation and purpose we have at hand and ultimately the long-serving rewards to gain, not just ourselves, but everyone who ultimately is touched by the success of every young person in our care.
It wasn’t until the section on data that I thought ‘blimey, do we really have grasp on all of these concepts and juggle all of the data as wells as the management of the information it churns out and the managers of this information, including the data manager/ assessment team or whatever they are referred to in your schools? And as I sat there listening to our talk on data, partially thinking about my own situation at school (for instance, having inaccurate data, changes in exam results, attainment and progress 8 not quite at the forefront, teacher consistency of assessing and moderating and standardising) I became overwhelmed with the thought of the conversations I would need to have with individuals if these things were not being done effectively and efficiently.
I also began to think about how well versed, or not, I may be and asked myself the question “does this mean I am not ready?” Well I suppose the answer is of course you are not! How many people apply for jobs they can do already? Admittedly, I know this answer already and considering that this is a ‘course’ in order to develop the skills, knowledge and aptitudes for headship it is probably only natural. Like having a first child, no one prepares you, or can prepare you adequately for what unique experience you will have.
We left with the opportunity to consider what our next steps will be and where our goals like in relation to the headship vision and wrote these on a postcard. I always enjoy this exercise and hope I am doing myself justice by scribing a creative, aspiring vision and goal that will make me get a warm feeling inside and a sense of completion when I look back. Posting these back to ourselves, I look forward to the day it lands on my passage floor from the postman