Headteacher blog 29th April 2016
What a difference a week makes! Last week we felt like we were really welcoming the warmer weather and the school grounds were thronging with children enjoying themselves and learning outdoors. We have been outdoors a lot this week too – Reception and Nursery on the farm, 1GJ at Rodley Nature Reserve, 5T cycle coaching, Y6 cricket coaching plus our regular farming and PE – but this week we have been shivering and it feels like winter again. No wonder British people talk about the weather so much. Nevertheless, children and staff have shown good resilience and warmer times must be coming soon.
A personal favourite anecdote from this week were the reports of a little girl in Nursery learning to plant seeds in individual pots whilst on Farfield Farm. The instructions were tricky for a three year old:
- Half fill the pot with soil
- Place the seed in the centre of the pot
- Fill the pot to the top
The little girl (not necessarily a girl in the photo) did very well following the instructions, but each time she finished filling a pot, she immediately turned it upside down and made a ‘compost castle’ – time and time again. Perfectly age-appropriate activity if you ask me!
This week, I led a discussion amongst teachers about marking and feedback. We are trying to focus on what really makes a difference whilst at the same time putting in systems that are reasonable in terms of a work/life balance. My staff put huge effort into marking, and much of it is exemplary, but it can come at a cost of reducing time spent preparing lessons or spending time with their own family. Some teachers felt that they sometimes write the comments that they think the headteacher, OFSTED or even parents might want to see whereas the child often benefitted most from immediate verbal feedback individually or in a group. We do live in a world where we are constantly seeking to evidence things – we need to get the balance right. Perhaps we should ask the children what they think about the written feedback they get?