Thursday, 20 October 2016

Nomadic Staff Meetings

Where do you hold your staff meetings? School hall? Staff room? Meeting room? The person leading the meeting's classroom?

How about visiting a different classroom each week. We have 16 classrooms and therefore can visit each class about twice a year. So the staff meeting gains an extra focus. Everyone attending can learn about what is being delivered, but also can look at displays, classroom organisation and more.

Not got a system for where the staff meeting is held? Have a think...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Grounds Treasure Hunt

Want to get your staff looking at how they can make use of all parts of the school grounds? Set up a treasure hunt. In each location you want them to visit, ask them what the area could be used for and include a riddle for them to solve. Engage them in the process? Prizes for those who are first back, with the most correct riddle answers.

When we did this, we placed a QR Code in each location that linked to a Padlet wall. The staff entered their ideas onto the Padlet wall and we've been able to read the responses since.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Art of Delegation

You can't do it all yourself! You can't. You can try. It won't work! 

I became a Head of Year at the start of a spring term. In the April of that year, I lead a brand new residential trip for four days with ninety odd children and twelve members of staff. Trip Leader? Yep, me. 

The day after that trip, I woke up at 14:30. Not got out of bed at, but woke up at! About 17 hours sleep...

I thought nothing of it. I'd been tired after every residential trip I'd been on and, this time, I had more responsibility. Of course, I needed more sleep.


It was earlier this year that I realised what had happened. For the fourth time, I lead that same trip. I returned home, cuddled toddler daughter, checked heavily pregnant wife was ok, slept and got up (07:00) - the same time as the rest of my family.


In the first trip, I checked every seat belt and counted every child every time we got on a bus, I spoke at every meal time, always ate last, was at the forefront of every activity. I've since learned how and what to delegate to others. 

And, like me, I think this is unfortunately just something that comes with experience...

Thursday, 8 September 2016

TeachMeets at home

We love a good TeachMeet. The people, the ideas and the sharing all add up to fast, in depth and engaging CPD.

We have taken the model, stripped it back and are using it for a few staff meetings each term. Firstly, we decide on the topic (most recently formative assessment tools), put out a sign up sheet to avoid repetition of ideas and then set the stage.

The great thing about this method is that every member of staff can contribute. This week, we had ideas from our most seasoned staff and our newest, three-days-on-the-job NQTs. Every participant got something out of it even if it was only a reminder of a tool they had neglected, every member of staff was listened to and clapped and, as it was so fast-paced, we were all able to stay engaged throughout the meeting.

Bring a TeachMeet to your staff meetings and watch the ideas roll in.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

What's Open For Discussion?

As a leader with an agenda of items to delver to a team of colleagues, I've often found it useful to look ahead and decide in advance what is open for discussion within that agenda and what is not. It is vital that a team don't feel they have no voice, but at the same time it's the leader's job to lead. Don't just direct those who 'work for you' - they'll feel like they don't have a say. At the same time, don't open everything up to discussion: meetings will take too long, you'll lose your lead and, well, not everything is up for discussion! 

Thinking about this in advance may help. I found it does.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Google Drive for Admin

Here's what we've done:

Set up yourself and members of your team a Google account using your school email address. Use this Google Drive to store agendas and minutes of meetings, collaborative documents, data and more.

This will allow all that 'team information' to be available any time on any device. It will allow everyone to contribute to all those documents.

It makes the admin easier! We've developed our used of it over the past four years.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


For nearly five years now, we've been posting to the Primary Ideas blog. In that time, we've written about 200 blog posts and heard from teachers and educators around the globe about how useful those posts have been. In that time, we've worked as full-time class teachers who have also held a Head of Year position in a junior school. 

From 1st September 2016, we'll both begin a new venture as assistant heads in that same junior school. We will still maintain a class teacher role and therefore still contribute to the Primary Ideas blog (affectionately referred to by some as the 'PI Blog'), but we'll use this space to write specifically about leadership within the primary education setting. 

We've lead teams and played an active role in our school's SLT for a number of years. This next step will involve a greater leadership role. As always (with the PI Blog), as and when we get chance, we will share our thoughts and ideas for leadership within the primary setting Deep breath and here we go...