Last Thursday saw me travelling to the University of Exeter with staff and students from DHSB to attend the annual South West Academic Trust Teaching and Learning Conference (SWAT).
Travelling by rail gave plenty of time for extended conversations with colleagues, definitely one of the benefits of a day out of school.With over 24 seminars to choose from there really was something for everyone but with a new Headteacher taking up post in September I decided to focus on whole-school issues, hoping to spend some time reflecting and then looking ahead to the new academic year.
A highlight for me was the session led by Paul Mckeown, Headteacher at The Bishop of Winchester Academy, who led us through his school journey from special measures to inspirational.
Although DHSB is judged by Ofsted to be an outstanding school I was able to bring back several ideas from Paul, mainly common-sense approaches, which we will be able to use and develop here.
Many of these involve building the school community and ensuring the wellbeing and success of staff and students.
This school already has initiatives put in place by Kieran Earley, current Headteacher, including the celebration of student success in our Head’s Blog (a digital blog which receives over 1,000 views each week). Also, food is often on the menu with students receiving invitations to a weekly fish and chips ‘Lunch with the Head’ while new staff enjoy an evening meal with colleagues as part of their induction, followed by ‘Christmas Cheer’ with the Headteacher later in the term.
I’m sure there is more we can put in place to ensure ‘Everyone Succeeds’.
Wellbeing became one of the themes of the day and I was impressed with the way in which two university students spoke honestly about their transition to Higher Education.
I should also mention Dan Roberts, DHSB Headteacher Designate, who delivered the conference keynote on ‘Being brave in a climate of change’ in style, and Vikram and Cian, Year 12 students who introduced their research project on ‘Challenging the Most Able’. They spoke eloquently and ably fielded some difficult questions from the teacher audience.
I felt incredibly proud to be part of a school which had such a strong and purposeful presence at the conference.