North West London


there was going to be some additional natural staff turnover. I had appointed a SENCO before my position had started and by September 2017, we were fully staffed and managed to recruit a good balance of experienced teachers and newly qualified teachers. The key message to get across was to come and be part of this journey; my vision had to be clear in order to attract the right candidates. The SLT was expanded to incorporate the views of the phase leaders; their role in general was enhanced – they took part in formal observations, had autonomy over “book looks” and learning walks while being involved in school recruitment. Teaching and learning had to be the core focus, in particular English and maths. Following this, from September 2017 we could address the wider curriculum. A thorough monitoring system was introduced with some necessary formal observations, together with an information gathering of book looks and learning walks but otherwise the key was establishing with staff a genuine system of drop-ins, and the focus was not just formal observations. It quickly became apparent that the all-encompassing phonics system the school had invested in had been only in monetary terms and not in good practice or effectiveness. There were quick fixes and decisions that could be instantly made, but otherwise it was a waiting game; ensuring our replacement would be effective and fully ready by September 2017. I invested in our excellent local south west London maths hub and became part of a teacher research group (TRG). When the opportunity came to watch Shanghai teachers who were over in England, eight of our staff went to watch the teachers over three days. The professional discussion a week later was invaluable: a range of class

The school’s excellent playground facilities

teachers and members of the SLT making an action plan for the best way forward in our journey to mastery. We looked at what would work best and how we could make it our own, which included effective, value-for- money professional development across the curriculum. This involved utilising known connections, initiatives with funding such as the TRG and then investment in local and national courses. Wellbeing Wellbeing of children and staff has been given prominence. The staff have yoga, sessions with a personal trainer and “wellbeing” days to take. We have to be an attractive

The professional discussion was invaluable; a range of class teachers and members of the SLT made an action plan for the best way forward

Children collaborating with their learning


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