Having taught in Primary education in London for nearly twenty five years, the last six of which have been in the role of head teacher at St Leonard’s Church of England Primary School in Streatham, I’ve been encouraged to join the world of education blogging. Specifically, I’ve been asked to focus on school leadership as it is seen from the “front line”.
Never one to duck a challenge, my first task was to decide on a web domain and site name. The phrase, “front line” stuck in my mind, so I decided to search for a list of military terms. A “vedette” is a mounted sentry or outpost, who has the function of bringing information, giving signals or warnings of danger, etc – and so, ladies and gentlemen, “The Primary Vedette” has been born!
Remember the name – for if you forget to put “primary” in your internet search, you could be faced with reaching a shapewear site, which will do nothing for either your educational enlightenment or your self esteem! The best way to avoid such trouble is to add this page to your favourites.
This blog is designed to interest school leaders and all those with a passion for developing teaching, learning and school leadership within our schools.
To be clear, whilst the term, “vedette” is a military one, I have no intention of falling into the trap of consistently writing from a political perspective. It would be counter productive to consider government of any political colour as the enemy. As a serving head teacher, it is not for me to publicly support or oppose any particular party in relation to its education policy or wider philosophy. Indeed, to do so in my view would be to afford politicians a power which they do not have. It is those of us on the “front line” whose job it is to “go on the offensive” in order to try and make a difference to the quality of children’s learning and to positively influence, encourage and support other school leaders.
This year, the school which I lead has opened a Nursery, taken its first two form entry cohort, had several audits ranging from finance to safeguarding and also engaged in a highly positive Ofsted inspection.
A key aspect of our school is that we teach the International Primary Curriculum (IPC -part of Fieldwork Education). We achieved accredited IPC school status in March of this year. I look forward to presenting assessment workshops at the IPC Festival of Learning in London this week alongside our school’s curriculum leader.
It is the challenge and privilege of developing future school leaders though that inspires me most. The overwhelming majority of teachers at St Leonard’s are in the early stages of their careers. Bucking the national trend by keeping them within the teaching profession – fulfilled, challenged and supported whilst achieving highly, is my primary leadership challenge.
This blog will always try to focus on promoting the hope that can be found within our country’s best schools. I’m sure that, on occasions, I might express frustration. However, I’ll leave complaining and confrontation to those organisations which are paid to do both. The first task for any school leader is to always portray a vision of a brighter future and this, dear reader, is where the Primary Vedette will always be looking to from his sentry post.