Nurture 2013 – 2014 My first ever blog!

Having been inspired by the nurture 1314 posts of others and being encouraged …or would that be coerced …no definitely encouraged to write my own………

Actually, reflecting on the year gone and the year ahead has proved a surprisingly cathartic experience……and one which I would recommend to others considering completing a nurture post…or blogging……

I hope I manage to convey my appreciation of my little life to anyone reading this (hopefully there might be 1 or 2)…

Soooooo…here goes…………….

2013…an eclectic mix of professional and personal reflections…………

1. As a leader…risk taking is often talked about…not always easy to do though….and that is where I am starting! I am risk taking by writing this #nurture1314 blog!!!

2. I am PROUD to still be the headteacher of Camberwell Park School in Manchester (www.camberwellpark.manchester.dbprimary.com) I have been headteacher there since Sept 2006……the longest I have stayed in one place…..The school, it’s community with the children at the heart is very special place and is very important to me. After the children and staff have struggled in a building which is not fit for purpose for many years and spending big chucks of our budget keeping it standing up and safe, it was a great day when I could tell everyone that we have been included in the DfE’s Priority School building programme…yay….we are going to have a brand spanking new building – one which the children deserve!

Purple butterfly thoughts                   Building display                football pitch

3. I KNOW it isn’t the be all and end all…however….in June 2013, we were recognised as Outstanding by Ofsted for the second time (May 2010 and June 13). I believe in the school and its strengths – but having that external endorsement doesn’t do any harm!

4. We exhibited as a school at #RHSTatton this year…it was amazing….we took 5 gardens ( 1 metre x 1 metre) all on the theme of ‘I can’….including I can tell a story…, I can cook a rainbow…..I can play football…….. and the children also did cooking demonstrations. We took a small group of children to the show each day – how great was it to be able to give them the opportunity to participate in something so far out of their normal experiences…soooo proud of them! Our ‘highly commended’ award didn’t’ go amiss either!

Tatton                    certificate and award tatton

5. We were recognised as an ‘Open Futures Centre of Excellence’ this year…. (www.openfutures.com) definitely worth looking at if you are in primary….based on the 4 strands of cookit. Growit, fimit and askit….we have had high quality whole school training from RHS, sapere etc and have embedded the strands into our existing curriculum…it has really enhanced what we were already doing as a school. Our recognition as a Centre of Excellence comes from completion of an Open Futures Quality Mark assessed externally by Professor David Leat from Newcastle University. It was a privilege alongside my deputy and one of my assistant heads to be invited to present some of our work as a school to the open Futures Trustees at the house of Lady Helen Hamilyn who is the philanthropist behind the Helen Hamilyn Trust in November 2013.

6. I was delighted earlier in the year to be contacted by Sean Stockdale @seanismax from NASEN…asking me to write an article about the school for the ‘Special’ Magazine…due to be published in the January edition…look out for it! Thanks Sean!

7. In 2013 I joined twitter!!!!! After being a stalwart sceptic……resisting for a long time…..and then joining and following but not tweeting…..now I have got the bug! Love it! Many things……the sharing of ideas, thoughts, resources, experience and expertise…….the encouragement and support…the laughs and the banter – definitely the laughs and the banter I properly do lol quite often :-))))) It still surprises me what some people do put on there and I am sometimes shocked by the personal nature of what people choose to share very publicly. However…I have made some really good twitter friends – you know who you are – thank you X

8. In 2013 I lost some weight – nuff said!

9. In 2013 I paid off my mortgage – YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now follows a series of swimming related items…all need to be recognised as separate and significant achievements in their own right!

10. I have always enjoyed to swim and when I first started teaching I went regularly before work…….but you know how it is…I started getting promotions at work, putting more hours in, going into work earlier and earlier and the swimming was put to one side…for a loooonnnng time..Years! However, in 2013…I returned to the pool. Only managing small number of lengths at first…think I started at around 30…and built up from there. I discovered @splashpath app and began to do swimming challenges to keep me motivated.

11. Having for a number of weeks arrived on Sat mornings for my swim just as the swimming club was finishing and watching and wondering… I began chatting to ‘coach Alan’…who suggested I should join…..took me a few weeks to be convinced…but join I jolly well did and I am now a fully fledged member of Aquabears Masters! In the slow lane I admit – but I am there!!

12. When I joined the swimming club I did breastroke and that was it…Could swim a length of backstroke but never did do…and CERTAINLY never did any front crawl. HOWEVER….with the guidance (and barracking from the poolside) from Coach Alan…I now swim more crawl than any other stroke – who would have thought! Our swimming club programmes take me right out of my comfort zone…different strokes, timings, etc etc – but definitely the challenge I needed.

And finally and most recently – number 13

13. I have been invited to attend a Royal Garden party! I am really proud to have achieved this through nomination from the work I have done as a headteacher at Camberwell Park and I will be really proud to represent the school on that day.

So what about 2014 then….further eclectic mix of professional and personal musings……..

1. So I have done my #nurture1314…..on the theme of further risk taking….2014 will be the year I will start blogging – on the themes of Special Education, leadership, other school related stuff and you never know maybe on one of my other favourite topics like shopping for shoes / clothes / bags!

2. In Jan 14 Camberwell Park are hosting the awards evening for the 3 other Open Futures schools in the area that have achieved the Centre of Excellence status. John Edwards, the Director of Ed and Skills for Manchester will make the presentations.

3. 2014 will be the year that the plans for the new building are completed….can’t say that the work on this has been without it’s challenges but what a privilege to be a head teacher at this significant time in the life of a school – certainly a huge legacy there! The actual building will start during this year (although we are not due to move in til Easter 15).

4. I am making a strong commitment right here right now to stay strong to the moral purpose that brought me into the job I do. Not always easy with the range of external pressures pulling headteachers this way and that – unfortunately not always in ways that are most helpful to the community we are serving, however, as I said earlier in this blog, the children are at the heart of the school and will always be so. It is a commitment therefore to ensure that whatever comes in the in-tray – the first consideration is will it support our children’s needs and second consideration how or how can we can make sure it does……………

5. I was proud a few years ago for the school to be recognised as a GOLD level Investor in People. 2014 is the year that this award is due for renewal. The staff team are really important to me – the most valuable resource in the school. As a people person myself – the staff are high on my agenda… It has been hard during this last year and will be hard during the coming year to ensure that people feel that they are valued as much as I know they really are when we are in the face of some of the changes that schools have had to face including some of the changes to appraisal, performance related pay etc and when the messages from some politicians and at times the media denigrate the profession and the professionals that work within it. My staff team ARE valued and appreciated though and I will continue to endeavour to make them FEEL it. A couple of years ago we agreed a set of professional behaviours which we all subscribe to as a team of staff, that is to be Passionate, Respectful, Organised, Understanding and Dedicated….I am PROUD to work with a team that exemplify these values and hope I role model them myself each day both inside and outside of work

6. Ok so this one is controversial – no hissing and booing from the back – I am seriously considering training as an Ofsted inspector to the point I have discussed it with my governors so 2014 might be the year! There is a part of me that feels like I am moving to the dark side however, I do not intend in doing loads of inspections but would value the CPD and what it would bring to the school. I also know there are inspectors like @marymyatt who bring balance and sense to the role – hopefully I can be like her with a measured and sensible approach to a difficult scenario for all involved.

7. We are planning to revisit RHS Tatton in July 2014 – on a smaller scale than last year but be there we will

8. Extending the time I am spending at work or working at home during evenings / weekends has meant there are a number of friends I have not seen as much or at all – I will aim to redress this in 2014

9. Work related reading – which I do enjoy but tends to get all consuming – and reading novels for pleasure has lessened – again – need to redress!

10. I will continue to enjoy shopping for clothes, bags, shoes………..

Once again – a series of swimming related items…

11. I will continue to improve my swimming – hopefully improve my swimming strokes and my speed – can swim a long way but am not very fast currently!!

12. There are 4 of us in my lane at the swimming club…I have been content to potter along at the back for most of the time but on the theme of challenging myself – will work towards being lane lead!! Whooo!! (no commitment to moving to the next lane just yet!)

13. I will complete the @splashpath suez challenge – it has been such a long way – but am now on 92% – will finish just into the new year!

And finally no.14 for 2014

14. I will be taking my mum to the Royal Garden party at  Buckingham Palace on May 21st 2014

Hope you are still with me to the end?

Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog!
Mary

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6 thoughts on “Nurture 2013 – 2014 My first ever blog!

  1. Jim McDonald

    Lovely thoughts and intentions, Mary. I did the first two days of Ofsted inspector training – for CPD, but with no intention of going ‘To The Dark Side’ (as you put it). The forst two days are intense and good for knowing what they are looking for. I have strong views on Ofsted that I will not include here, but it was a worthwhile exercise. Jim.

    Reply
  2. Jill Berry

    Enjoyed reading this, Mary – thanks for sharing your thoughts and well done on all you’ve achieved. It’s been quite a year for you and your school!

    I particularly liked your reference to “a strong commitment right here right now to stay strong to the moral purpose that brought me into the job I do.” It’s so important never to lose sight of this when we’re manically busy and lurching from one ‘urgent’ issue to the next, but it’s our moral purpose which gives us the resilience and informs our judgement to cope in the toughest times.

    And re: training as an inspector – I think this is a really good idea and if more committed heads did we might have more ‘Mary Myatts’ out there! I was a deputy and then a head in independent schools and trained as an ISI inspector (their Ofsted equivalent) and used to try to do one inspection each year. It was a privilege to go into other schools and to help them get credit for what they were doing well and focus their thinking on what they wanted to achieve in the future. I also brought back ideas to my own school which I knew could help to strengthen us too. So I hope it goes well, you learn and contribute – am sure you will.

    Hope you’re having a very good Christmas break and a good rest so that you return to school refreshed and re-energised in January! And also hope that 2014 is an excellent year for you.

    Reply
    1. maryisherwood Post author

      I appreciate your kind words and useful feedback Jill. I am very passionate about my work and the ‘moral purpose’ which is at it’s core. I am glad that came through. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read and comment. With my very best wishes, Mary

      Reply
  3. Danielle Malthouse

    Wow Mary!!

    Can I just say ‘I lost some weight in 2012- nuff said’?? You have more than lost some weight well done!!

    As a member of your staff team I can 2nd the PROUD feeling every time you look at one of our children’s faces!! We are an OUTSTANDING team who LOVE our job (as I know you know)

    I have always thought OFSTED would be your natural progression!! As much as we all dread their arrival and can’t wait till they leave but when all said and done, they make sure our children are recieving the education they are entitled to so I don’t think they are that bad really hehe!!

    Well done on the Royal garden party!!

    Danielle xx

    Reply

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