A team effort
I remember a wise colleague telling me when I first became a head that the most important thing I would do would be appointing new staff.
This time of year is always very busy for recruitment as we consider timetable needs and seek to replace the valued members of our team who are leaving – generally for reasons of retirement, promotion or relocation. We are fortunate to attract strong fields and I have been especially heartened to see top graduates training for the profession and now seeking employment.
I often ask young recruits whether it is a love of the subject or a love of working with young people which is more important, and whether this is the first of several careers or a vocation. Passion for our subject is of course vital, as we aim to inspire and to challenge, but it is the enjoyment of working with children and seeing their immense potential which trumps everything else. And that, for most teachers, is still a vocation.
As a teacher and headteacher, I have been privileged to work with some very gifted and amazing people (both teaching and support staff) who care deeply for those in their care. Never has this been more apparent than during the last year when so much has been asked and given. A head can have an exciting vision and all sorts of wonderful ideas, but he or she is wholly reliant on the support and dedication of his or her staff for their realisation. I see my role as enabling the best from my staff, whilst also doing my best for them.
The success of a school depends so much on the quality of relationships within its community: between the staff, at all levels; between the staff and the pupils; between the pupils themselves; and with their parents. As staff, we role-model those healthy and productive working relationships, and mutually supportive colleagues in turn support their pupils. Happy staff = happy pupils is no facile equation.
Whether teachers or support staff, we all share a common goal: to make the school experience as good as it can be for our young people and to give them the best possible start in life. We want them to be world-changers! So it is that, alongside the 45 marvellous parent volunteers this weekend, we have teaching staff to welcome the pupils and 24 support staff working alongside the volunteers. That team will ensure testing 8am-8pm Saturday and Sunday, thus enabling the re-opening of school to all our pupils on Monday morning. I am very grateful to them all.