What was on your holiday to do list?
As a teacher, then headteacher, holidays were always a time for me to catch up but what was on your holiday list this summer? I asked a group of senior leaders what was on theirs and was surprised at what the list contained.
The SENCo (Inco) Award
If you are not familiar with Inco it stands for inclusion co-ordinator which is an extension of the familiar SENCo referring to special needs. A couple were using the summer to complete their National SENCo Qualification and it also helped with assessing the systems the school uses. This is a Master’s level requirement that all teachers in this post have to complete within 3 years of appointment. It is a high level piece of work and is clearly a massive commitment when working full time as well so perhaps the holiday is the only time to do it. One commented:
There have been weeks when I have had about 10 lots of reading, plus journal/blog activities and it has felt overwhelming. I was being very studious and reading everything that was suggested for the first two modules. Now that it’s the summer hols I really feel like my brain needs a break, so I am writing the assignment and only reading the relevant stuff – so no reading around the subject area.
As usual, when you talk with teachers, data will come into the conversation. Many senior leaders will give some quality time to interrogating data in order to group children and arrange suitable support for intervention groups. Of course, parents will have been told which class their child is to be in at their beginning of September but the holiday work allows for a more in-depth regard for what the data is saying.
This may result in a re-write or improvement in the programmes to support children beyond the day to day classroom curriculum. If research is required it is great to google away wiothout a bell to interupt you!
I can hear the groan go up with this one. Policies! The bane of all SLTs and governors. They are THE necessary evil and as they can take up an inordinate amount of time are often dispatched to the long break. They are the insurance that schools must have ‘just in case’. Because they are not used every day, it is easy to just keep them in a file on a shelf so it is important to set aside some quality review time so that if the worst comes, you know you are covered.
Some leaders who responded mentioned that it was an opportunity to look closely at a policy, to check that it linked with guidelines and to research other new resources like some safeguarding software that has recently come on the market.
Not only will there be new children at the start of term but September is the traditional time that staff move to a new school. It is also the start of the career of those students who have finally finished their university courses. They are now ‘Miss’ or ‘ Sir’ to their pupils and in true education parlance, will be referred to as NQTs to school leaders. So, in response to the question ‘What was on your holiday list’ the staffing jobs included:
- Planning inset for the first day back
- Rotas such as assemblies, playground duties.
- Induction for NQTs and new subject leaders
- Resources such as ‘meeting files’ which help to embed a consistent approach across the school.
All the other stuff!
Many members of SLT (senior leader team) are also classroom practitioners which mean they also have to do the basic ‘stuff’ of a teacher. This will be sorting their own resources, being clear of the curriculum they have to teach, looking at their planning, and of course sorting out their classrooms.
I loved school during the holidays when all your boards were bare and you had time to make sure that backing paper was straight! Some mentioned building works taking place over the summer, so a check on progress would have been needed I’m sure. Not even the best site manager / caretaker can replace a member of staff when it comes to changes to the school building.
What about holidays?
Remember that the question was ‘What was on your holiday to do list?’ and not one of them said anything about having a holiday! I think it is essential that everyone has a break from their daily work when it is their holiday and I shall be looking at wellbeing later in the term, but for some, getting things clear, having time to really digest and question, is a way to relax and you can only do that away from school.
So, what was on your holiday to do list & did you achieve it?