2021 Spring Term 1

The know zone

  • Embracing change
    Bob Jackson, Assistant Principal at Goole Academy, on how online lessons have consigned 'snow days' to the past. More
  • Covid keepers
    ASCL Specialist, Hayley Dunn, shares some of the positives that have emerged from the pandemic. More
  • Get your finances in order
    The way you use money in the short-term impacts your future financial freedom. Here, with tips for getting your long-term finances in order, is Joshua May from income protection insurance specialists PG Mutual. More
  • Change must be sustainable
    If FE is to play its full part in the country's recovery from the pandemic, it must be funded realistically, argues ASCL Senior Advisor Anne Murdoch. More
  • Visions of 2020
    There's no doubt that 2020 was a year like no other and one that most of us would like to forget, but among the doom and gloom of the pandemic there have been many stories of positivity, kindness, inspiration and laughter. Here, ASCL members share their views... More
  • SEN-sational!
    Director of Inclusion Dr Nic Crossley says being a member of ASCL Council enables her to be an active voice for the special educational needs (SEN) sector and for women leaders. Here she shares her passion for Council, leadership and... shoes. More
  • Splendid isolation
    What are the rules regarding pandemic social etiquette when it comes to teaching and meetings? Debrett's has yet to pronounce on this delicate issue, so how are we supposed to know how to behave in front of a screen or at a social distance, asks Carl Smith. More
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There’s no doubt that 2020 was a year like no other and one that most of us would like to forget, but among the doom and gloom of the pandemic there have been many stories of positivity, kindness, inspiration and laughter. Here, ASCL members share their views…

Visions of 2020

Grand reopening

My most memorable moment of 2020 was the day we fully reopened to students. So much preparation and planning had gone into creating a ‘new normal’ for our students and we were all nervous and anxious about how many would arrive, how they would manage to travel in and how they would react to returning to school after such a break.

We needn’t have worried. Our attendance in week one was the highest we had ever known, and our students returned in the highest of spirits. Colleagues were reminded of why it is so rewarding to work with young people. Such a great feeling after such a challenging period of isolation in lockdown.

Pepe Di’Iasio
Vice President of the Association of School and College Leaders and Headteacher of Wales High School

Sharing and caring

My marketing colleagues won a national award for some excellent internal communications work. This has focused on keeping us all connected and together during ‘lockdown and restricted bubble time’. Participation has been great throughout the college. Sharing and caring for one another. Culture eating strategy for breakfast … go marketing!

Stuart Laverick
Principal and Chief Executive of Heart of Worcestershire College

Protector of all

While on break duty, I went into a classroom and a Year 9 boy serenaded me on the ukulele: “Here comes Ms Darnton; she’s wearing a face mask; she’s protecting us all.”

Catharine Darnton
Headteacher of Gillotts School

Above and beyond

My Covid experience has taught me once again how fortunate I am to be working in this profession and how privileged I am to be working with the colleagues I have, both in school and beyond. There is no challenge that we can’t overcome together, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do to try to improve our young people’s life chances – going above and beyond is second nature, especially when ‘the chips are down’. I know it’s been the same for so many schools across the country... and we continue in spite of bumptious politicians with sadly not one ounce of humility.

Richard Burke
Principal of St Richard Reynolds Catholic College

Stronger than we think we are

Schools aren’t used to being trusted and they are often treated as though they are part of the problem rather than the solution. A certain body of decision-makers seem to have made up their minds long ago that schools had to be treated like the good children of Victorian England: seen but not heard.

The pandemic changed that. Suddenly, we were trusted because we had to be; there was no one else left.

The pandemic proved to me that no one is more ambitious for the education of our children than our school leaders, and no one cares more deeply about them than us. If only we could be trusted all of the time.

Carl Smith
Principal of Casterton College Rutland

Messages of thanks

My best memory of the year was the full staff meeting on Zoom at the end of the summer term. We had been unable to all be together for some months and it was fantastic to see everyone’s faces. I was able to surprise staff with the hundreds of messages of thanks I had been collecting from students and parents, some for individual staff, some for all. The stories of support, of the difficulties experienced, but the overwhelming gratitude and praise made it all worthwhile. We started our term in September watching it all over again.

David Phillips
Headteacher of Chilwell School