The First Week Back

Even after all this time I still get nervous about the first day back after the school holidays. This term was worse than usual – there were a number of things hanging over from the end of the autumn term still bubbling around in my head, and I still had the horrible cold that had been with me for ages. I was a headteacher for a long time before I recognised that sometimes there are problems that have no real solutions. You just have to do your best, and try to learn how to stop things from eating away at your confidence. If you get too many at once it can be really difficult to keep being positive and supportive of others, but that is what you absolutely have to try to do.

So the week started a bit shakily, but these three things happened that made me forget those pre-term worries:

The brilliant @sportrelief18k led a discussion about teaching and learning in maths at our non-pupil day on Tuesday morning. It was fabulous to listen as teachers shared their ideas, listened to each other, and focussed on how we can help children learn most effectively. The conversation continued the next day at our staff meeting, with the ideas we had been throwing around the previous day beginning to take on more concrete forms. I was so impressed to walk into the staffroom an hour after our meeting had finished to find a group of teachers still talking passionately about maths, children and learning.

On Friday I was supposed to be going to a meeting in Bristol, but decided not to go and to stay in school instead. I was still not feeling 100%, but even more of a reason was that we had booked an author visit for the day – the fabulous Stan Cullimore – and I didn’t want to miss him. He started by leading a whole school assembly, and watching the children’s faces as they laughed at his silly stories and jokes was a perfect start to the day. He then spent time with each class going through the process of inventing stories, and every child I spoke to loved it. We don’t always get everything right for every child, but it felt so positive and upbeat in the hall and I could see so many happy and excited faces that I think we did a fairly good job on Friday. It really was wonderful.

Finally, during this week I have been reading lots of #teacher5aday #pledge blogs, including those from people writing and sharing for the first time. It’s inspiring to read the thoughts and ideas of teachers deciding to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, and being willing to share those with the wider world. It’s a daunting prospect pressing ‘publish’, but I am really pleased that these lovely people have been brave enough to share. I really enjoyed reading @jamie2034’s upbeat take on the year ahead, and will keep his thoughts in mind when tackling the big things that are coming up in the next few months.


The unresolved issues are still unresolved, but the balance has been put right a bit and I feel more positive and ready for whatever 2017 brings.


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