2022 Summer Term

The know zone

  • Opportunity for all?
    The long-awaited white paper has been published but will it finally help close the disadvantage gap in primary and will it level up? Tiffnie Harris takes a closer look. More
  • Just how safe is the BTEC now?
    After a softening of the government's language on defunding BTECs, the first list of affected qualifications is now out. Kevin Gilmartin provides an update. More
  • Flexible working
    Hayley Dunn believes schools can successfully recruit and retain business leaders by offering them an opportunity to work from home. More
  • Boost or bust?
    Will the government's new Skills and Post-16 Education Act measure up, deliver growth and boost the economy? Anne Murdoch investigates. More
  • Debunking myths
    Jacques Szemalikowski offers reassurance around changes to the pension scheme. More
  • Nuggets of joy
    ASCL members share their uplifting stories, moments of greatness and little nuggets of joy and laughter More
  • Keep smiling
    In search of some much-needed light relief, Gareth Burton dips into the pages of his journal which records the amusing moments from his two decades as a teacher. More
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ASCL members share their uplifting stories, moments of greatness and little nuggets of joy and laughter

Nuggets of joy

Warmth and kindness 

Two new Ukrainian arrivals have recently joined our primary school. I have always viewed our school and community as one that is accepting, kind and tolerant but it’s great to see it in action and so many curriculum aims come to fruition; it has been incredibly reaffirming to see staff and pupils show off their wonderful selves to our new family. 

The staff have attended additional training and undergone research to make sure we are as up to date as possible. 

More to the point, during lunchtime duty, I came across our Year 3 new arrival with a trail of other Year 3s, each with a homemade pack of Ukrainian–English bilingual phrases and pictures – mirroring what the teacher had put in place in the classroom. However, their resources included phrases such as, ‘Can we be friends?’, ‘What’s your favourite animal?’ and ‘It’s my birthday next week, would you like to come? Please. Also, you don’t need to bring a present.’ So, when the job and the sector get me down, I can at least think about our children treating a new arrival with warmth and kindness, and that our school played a part in providing these children with at least a modicum of positivity in their traumatic times. 

Richard Lian
Deputy and Co-Headteacher, Grenoside Community Primary School, Sheffield 

Week of Action 

As a school, we wanted to counter some of the general bleakness experienced over the last few years. We aimed to capture the joy, hope and possibility of what we could achieve collectively for the benefit of others. Our students’ level of ambition quickly outgrew our expectations and they planned, organised and delivered the most amazing range of activities for our ‘Week of Action’. 

They planted vegetables and seeds, created art, made care packages for refugees and cakes for care homes. They took part in a sleep-out while considering the challenges homeless people face and walked to a memorial discussing the importance of those it commemorated. They collected for food banks, ran sponsored events and book, bake and jewellery sales and raised a substantial sum of money, choosing themselves the charities to donate to. Our students showed one another what a positive impact they can have on the world, and we could not be prouder of them. 

Kate Claydon 
Headteacher, Blatchington Mill School, Hove 

A gem of a letter 

Occasionally, a letter can raise our sights above the clutter of the inbox. I recently received this wonderful gem: 

“Please excuse my writing to you at the start of a busy term. I am the younger daughter of a former headmaster and grew up in School House, of which I have many memories. 

“We were there during the war, and I spent many nights in the cellar during the bombing raids. These I enjoyed immensely, as we were given biscuits and drinks and I could read my book. 

“I behaved pretty badly, I think. I cantered my pony over the cricket pitch, persuaded some of the smaller boys to stay off school to climb trees and hid all the staff mark books in the rhubarb patch.” 

The author, Joy Saunders, went on to become an HMI. What memories our schools contain. 

Dr Chris Pyle 
Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancashire 

You’ve been framed 

The situation was tense. There was me, a Year 9 pupil, let’s call him Sam, and an assistant principal. It was lunchtime and the allegations were flying. An incident had occurred, Sam had been named and a significant bill was coming his way. His parents would not be happy. 

The assistant principal was wearing her game face, with a look of disapproval. 

Sam was in denial, not an unknown disposition in his case, but even so. They both looked at me and the air crackled with expectation. “I wasn’t even there,” said Sam, but the facts were plain. 

“Look, Sam,” I said gravely, “a window has been broken… and you’re in the frame.” 

I looked at the assistant principal. The assistant principal looked at me. We looked at each other. How we managed to get Sam out of the room without collapsing with laughter I will never know. 

Sam remained silent as we both snorted. His parents never got the bill. 

Carl Smith
Principal, Casterton College, Rutland