Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dirk and I started the day early having breakfast with a small group of headteachers from the Templenewsam Halton Family of Schools...

These headteachers are a great group of colleagues doing some amazing work with children and families. We considered the Key Stage 2 SATs boycott, the new children's services arrangements, 21st Century Schools, special needs and behaviour provision, early years, extended services and talked about the characteristics of brilliant provision.

Headteacher colleagues were concerned about the letter I had sent their chairs. We all recognised that how we handle the Key Stage 2 SATs boycott threatens to undermine the relationships we have struggled so hard to establish over the last nine years. More importantly, we were all concerned about how the boycott will affect the relationships in schools between colleagues, governors, parents and carers and children. Headteachers are struggling with this because while we all understand the impact of the SATs on primary provision and primary schools, we also all recognise that they are statutory and a contractual duty. Sadly, the real outcome of the boycott appears to be that we all lose!

We agreed that we need to maintain our relentless focus on teaching and learning, on the WOW factor, on quality provision and on how we nurture passion, enthusiasm, creativity and imagination. We talked about the importance of improving the quality of what happens in classrooms and invest in workforce development to continue to develop self-critical and reflective children's services workforce who understand how we keep our children and young people happy, helthy, sfe and increasingly successful. We need to work with colleagues from Social Care, Health and the voluntary sector to support families and build healthier and more sustainable communities.

We need to develop brilliant early years practice and to ensure that Every Child is a Reader and Every Child Counts by the time they are seven or eight. And we need to ensure that as far as possible all our children became brilliant little learners by the time they leave primary school and are on a pathway to success by the time they are sixteen. It was a brilliant start to the day with some great colleagues and we need to do more of this; to talk more, to share more, to network more and to celebrate more.

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