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A Letter to the Secretary of State

This totally echoes my feelings, thank you for writing it. I decided to leave the classroom two years ago and became a principal of a private sixth form for a while but nothing could compare to my love for the role I left as a Deputy Head in an RI school which we got out of special measures.  Now I use my strengths to help others as a leadership coach and if I am lucky still get to dabble in the classroom when teachers are unwell. I have been trying really hard to get good physics teachers into some of the schools I work with over the last 2 years. The decision to go either with a great science teacher or a poor physics teacher is always a no brainer for me, but the Governors have often thought differently. We need excellent teachers and we are simply not training enough of the right mindset. This year I cant even get a good science teacher never mind a specialist. How on earth will A ‘level be delivered to a good enough quality? Simple- it won’t be on the timetable if it can’t be delivered well. So it is the visits to other European destinations and the Skype interviews with Canada, South Africa and beyond which just seem a ridiculous substitute for seeing the person interact with your students. The dog eat dog competition, to get a science teacher simply to interview,is not healthy. The incentives then offered to that teacher you want to appoint from their host school then brands the days work a waste of time. @nickymorgan we need you to listen and start to help us with a dire shortage, then we can get back to using our resources and time to do what we do best- inspire our young people

Essex Calling

Dear @nickymorgan01

I sit here contemplating whether writing this is a good idea/a waste of time/a drop in the ocean. I am the Principal of a school where the governors decided to take the option to become an academy and then an academy sponsor. We officially decided to work in partnership (I use these words deliberately rather than ‘take over’ ‘run’ etc) with our two nearest primary schools that had just been deemed to be ‘Special Measures’ (SM) and ‘Requires Improvement’ (RI). One of those two schools was inspected last month and moved to RI with some ‘Good’ at the first time of asking. We all worked hard to achieve that by evolution not revolution (no sacked heads just supporting through extra resources, coaching and teamwork; with the odd challenging question in both directions). We focussed on the needs of the young people, the quality of the staff and tried…

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“An expert in anything was once a beginner”

I feel it is important to acknowledge that we are all learning all of the time.

The term ‘lifelong learner’ has been coined to describe someone who is keen to better themselves and wants to carry on educating themselves.

We can forget sometimes that those around us at work and in the home are learning from us. I saw a really sad picture last week in one of our daily newspapers of a man encouraging his toddler to inhale a cigarette.  I am sure like me, we all have stories about when a word which should not be spoken by children slips out and we think we have gotten away without it being noticed. Sometimes hours or days later however we realise how much our child picks up and learns. What amazes me is how they know exactly which word to use to cause maximum embarrassment!

I was working as a coach with a student teacher who was irritated and losing his self belief because he had not yet been graded as outstanding in a lesson observation. He seemed to feel that he was owed an outstanding grade because he was last to leave the department at night and first to arrive. This quote seemed very apt for this situation.

He will become an outstanding teacher of that I have no doubt at all.