I started at Churchill a year ago – and what a year it’s been! One of the first things I wanted to do as Headteacher was develop communication between home and school. To help with this, we relaunched the newsletter, redesigned the website, and I started this blog. Here are some of the highlights that have been captured in the Headteacher’s Blog over this first year in charge…
Taking stock and planning
I spent the first few months at Churchill looking, listening and learning around and about the Academy. In March, I gathered my thoughts in What have I learned?. This process led to the planning of the Strategic Priorities for Churchill – our blueprint for the way ahead over the coming years.
How we learn
I have published a series of posts on learning and on developing a growth mindset, including You Can Learn Anything and How to Grow Your Brain. I also showed this really interesting video to families on my meet the Headteacher evenings. It describes some really interesting findings from research into the way in which praise can change students’ attitudes to learning and achievement. Take another look:
How to revise
I’ve also used this blog to help students preparing for exams. I started with How to revise: techniques that work, and I’m now part way through a series of How to revise posts on the six most effective revision techniques from cognitive science research. So far, I’ve outlined retrieval practice, spaced practice and elaboration. Make sure you follow the blog this year for the final three posts in this series!
In January, I attended the Churchill Music! Young Musician of the Year competition, prompting me to write about The Power of Music This year’s event is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to it very much! It was also a production year and I had the chance to review West Side Story – I’m still in awe of the brilliant show that the students and staff put on. The year was rounded off by the fantastic Christmas Concert which inspired me to write about how much I love the Junior Choir!
I’ve taken a few assemblies during the year! I love stitching together quite diverse examples into topics for my assemblies. For example, my assembly on Concentration featured coloured balls, an optical illusion, a cat gif and the dog from the Disney/Pixar film Up; my assembly on being Different featured metronomes, coke cans, Barack Obama and DNA. In Think Before You Speak I used a YouTuber, a tube of toothpaste, some ridiculous safety equipment and a poem by Emily Dickinson. I was relatively restrained before Christmas in discussing The 1960s as I talked about President Kennedy, the moon landings and an incredible mathematician called Katherine Johnson.
There has been so much to enjoy this year! From Activities Week, through Sports Day, the Year 11 and Year 13 Balls, right up to Christmas at Churchill – and it’s all still to come again this year! I even got to go to a day out at Buckingham Palace…
I can honestly say I’ve looked forward to coming into work every single day of the year. It’s a privilege to work with such polite and hardworking young people and such dedicated and expert staff. Here’s to many more years – and weekly blogs! – to come.