Some weeks as a headteacher you feel that you barely get to see the children that you work so hard for. The past week has been one of those weeks. Life as a headteacher can be extremely varied and you need to complete many diverse tasks. It is a skill to make sure you only do the tasks that are important to the teaching and learning of our pupils.
We are currently working through the process of appointing two new teachers at the School. I want to make sure that the new staff we appoint are the very best possible people for the job. I spent a good portion of last week shortlisting candidates from the 80+ applications and over two days this week I have observed several candidates teaching in our School. This was only the first part of the process and on Friday myself and the rest of the panel interviewed some of the candidates. However, the process is still not finished and the early part of next week will also involve lesson observations and interviews. Mrs Knuckey has been supporting me in observing some of the candidates. Although the process is time consuming, I have a responsibility to ensure we are appointing teachers which match our high expectations and have a mindset that ‘Together we can all succeed‘.
Another responsibility I have is to ensure our School has the most up to date information about education in Cardiff, South Wales and Wales as a whole. On Thursday I attended the termly Cardiff Headteacher’s meeting with the Director of Education for Cardiff, Nick Batchelor. It was pleasing to hear how Cardiff is progress in line with or above most other authorities in Wales. I was also lucky to hear about some of the successes in individual schools across the city from their Headteachers. This provided me with ideas and inspiration for our School.
My other big responsibility this week was to ensure that the School Budget is being spent as planned and that we are keeping within our spending limits. The method of funding schools is complex and it is important that myself and the Governing Body understand where we are financially. This week I met with a Council Finance Officer and also presented to the Governing Body about current spending this financial year. Mrs Battle in the School Office is a vital member of staff in ensuring the School Budget is closely adhered to and we work closely together to manage the budget. Again this is time consuming but is essential to ensure money is well spent on our pupils and their learning.
I am pleased to say though that the children’s learning has continued in earnest this week and I have been fortunate to hear about many pupils and their successes. Year 4 pupils travelled to Hampton Court Palace this week and thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience which included meeting some of the Namibian rugby team who will be playing against the All Blacks this week at the Rugby World Cup. The awe and wonder our children experienced at the building and its grounds demonstrated the importance of school trips to enhance pupils’ learning.
The children were also treated to an excellent assembly to inform our children about the Muslim festival of Eid and listened to a visitor speak about their Hajj journey to Mecca. The pupils were fascinated by the story and many enjoyed the cakes and savouries on sale made by many members of the School Community.
Mr Jenkins took our girls football team to a tournament at Bryn Hafod Primary School – their first of the year. We already have more fixtures lined up. We are determined that this year we will provide greater opportunities for our children to take part in sporting competitions against other schools. Playing competitive sport develops you as an individual in ways that conventional classroom lessons might not. We have already entered a swimming gala, a canoeing festival and a cross country running competition later this term.
The challenge for me this coming week is to see as many pupils as possible and to visit classrooms to witness all the exciting learning that is taking place. When you work all day and only have a handful of conversations with pupils it can be rather strange. After all, I became a teacher because I like teaching and speaking to children. It can sometimes be frustrating having many meetings but knowing that the work undertaken within them helps to support the teaching and learning in our School provides huge professional satisfaction for me. I will look forward to having both formal and informal chats with our wonderful pupils over the next days.