Head's Blog - Working At St. Helen's College

Posted on: 15/02/2019

 

Working in the independent sector is a privilege for many teachers and support staff. Here at St. Helen’s College we have an incredibly supportive parent body, pupils who are eager to learn and it is the journey which home and school take together which ensures that we get the best from each child.

This may not always be the picture some schools are facing. For those of you who have been keeping an eye on the education news, it can often be quite a depressing read; teacher recruitment and retention sits high on the agenda.

Damian Hinds, education secretary, said: “I think teachers work too many hours – aggravated by unnecessary tasks like excessive marking and data entry, spending more than half their time on non-teaching tasks.”

I make it my job to keep in touch with what is going on in the maintained sector and regularly meet up and interact with colleagues from both the independent and maintained sector.  On a Sunday evening I regularly contribute to an online discussions platform, ‘SLTChat’, which is both enlightening and refreshing as I am able to reflect on the good practice happening at our school.  

At St. Helen’s College we have an incredibly dedicated staff who all work for the common interest in giving your children the most interesting experiences in our  curriculum. We use smart assessment methods which are effective and involve the pupils in the process and our data is used effectively to plan the next steps for the children’s learning.  

Parents from Year 1 upwards will have received the children’s Learning Logs this week as part of our reporting process. These Learning Logs were noted in our last school inspection as an exceptional aspect of our teaching and learning process and the inspectors were showing so much interest in these that I have become very protective of these unique logs as they are totally bespoke for our school, being the brainchild of Mr. Lewis. The subject leaders have ownership of their subject logs and work closely with the class teachers to ensure that each statement is appropriate for the children but that pupils will all be stretched and challenged, often aspiring to targets in the year above or adapting to targets which still need to be consolidated from the previous year.  The pupils take ownership of their learning and visit these logs often to reflect on their progress and set their targets.

For our younger pupils from Ducklings to Reception their learning is tracked and monitored via our online platform ‘Tapestry’ which I know that all the parents also have access to. This assists us in building up the profile of the children’s progress and development as they work within the Early Years Framework.

Our staff have the freedom to be creative with our curriculum and have the time to research and plan for inspirational lessons to engage your children.  

We have not felt the backlash of teacher recruitment which many schools face and it is with confidence and pride that we have a very low turnover of staff here at St. Helen’s College.  When teachers do decide to move on to pastures new or retire (sadly we will bid Mrs. Stark farewell in due course), we are inundated with applications from ambitious and inspiring teachers and other staff  who would like to join our team to make their contributions to your children’s learning.

To say that that I am proud of our school is an understatement.  As we approach the mid-year point in our school calendar, I can hardly believe that we have already completed a term and a half of the 2018 - 2019 academic year.  Enjoy the half term break with your children. Continue to enrich their learning - talk to them about the world around them, play games and puzzles, read books together, visit interesting places!

Happy Half Term!

Mrs. Drummond