Talking Heads #5

Education PR

In a bid to counteract the “impossibly perfect” lives often presented to young people on social media, Sally-Anne Huang, head of James Allen’s Girls’ School in London, took to twitter with the hashtag #HeadteachersRealLife, encouraging heads to share a reality check of the imperfections and mundanities of their job.

Many heads have been taking up the mantle:

“I almost didn't make it on time to open my own briefing.... Stuck in traffic” #Headteachersreallife tweeted Gwem Byrom, head of Loughborough High.

“When you look forward to evenings in 'babysitting' the dog because it's fireworks season” #Headteachersreallife shared Vicky Bingham, head of South Hampstead High Schools.

“Walked around the school today showing where signs should be placed. My daughter is sick with a temperature and our children are killing each other at the end of half term. I have three days between next Monday and the end of term when I’m not working” #Headteachersreallife said Gareth Doodes, head of Dover College.

“I love this #Headteachersreallife concept. 7pm last night I was pounding on locked door of Sainsbury's because I had left it too late to buy the one thing I had promised to get after work. We are ALL imperfect and no young person should ever feel compelled to feel anything else” wrote David Morton, Headmaster of the King’s School community.

“Lost those marbles already! Almost gave a Y2 pupil an envelope with £100 cash in during Chapel rather than one with a random act of kindness in for our theme today! Teach me to get a smaller handbag....or new glasses” #headteachersreallife quipped Alexia Bolton, Head of Pennthorpe School.


Off twitter, heads’ musings this month have explored Pupil Referral Units, budget challenges and a debate over the Common Entrance exam.

“We have banned self-deprecating phrases such as ‘This may be wrong but…’ when girls express ideas in lessons,” explained Kirsty von Malaisé, head of Norwich High School for Girls, when contributing to an article on how to raise a confident girl.

Aidan Severs, deputy head at a primary school in the North of England, wrote on the nuances spreadsheet data can’t tell you about a child.

Patrick Derham, head of Westminster, wrote in The Times that Common Entrance was “a burden children don’t need”. In response, a host of heads co-signed a letter in its defence, arguing it gives children a focus, measures success and prepares them for GCSEs.

On the new BBC Two show School which started last week, interim head Angie Browne spoke on struggling to cope with budget reductions.

In defence of pupil referral units, Steve Howell, Head at City of Birmingham School described how PRUs are becoming a scapegoat, but do their best to offer necessary support outside of the classroom and deal with a host of struggles students face.

Daniel Jones, assistant head of Springfield Junior School, shared his school’s principles for improving outcomes for “disadvantaged learners”, which won them the National Pupil Premium Awards last year.


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