Monday is a significant day for both myself and those that live in the south of the city of Bath. After years of uncertainty, including the issue of a closure notice that was reversed at 11th hour, the local in this area of Bath finally get what they wanted, the retention of a school within their community for their community.
Culverhay School, which has been an all boys school for over 50 years will close today, and will re-open tomorrow as the co-educational Bath Community Academy (BCA) which is part of the Cabot Learning Federation (CLF).
Having worked at Culverhay for all of my 10 years as a teacher, it is a sad time, especially with so many staff changes being brought about by a restructure. However, there is also excitement for me as I start a new role as one of three community leaders.
The school has within it three communities (similar to houses), which are named after the BCA values of respect, friendship and excellence. You may also realise that these are also the three Olympic values. It’s worth a mention at this point to mention that I have organised a whole school trip to visit the Paralympic Games on the first Friday of term to help embed these values in the new ethos of BCA.
For several years, I have contemplated my future career. Do I pursue challenges and promotion through PE or shift into whole school leadership through senior leadership. The latter inevitably pulling me away from my initial passion of PE, but giving me further leadership opportunities (my more recent passion) to have a greater impact on learning and pupil outcomes.
My new role is a fantastic compromise! The ‘Community leader’ has two main elements:
Pastoral role –
I have a third of the schools pupils in my community, for which I have a pastoral responsibility (similar to a Head of House or Head of Year position). These pupils are split into vertical tutor groups. I have a team of tutors and an achievement mentor (one of five in the school) who will support me in my role, working with the pupils that have particular or complex needs and therefore in need of targeted and specific support.
Despite being a tutor for 10 years, this role is completely new to me – a challenge I really look forward to. Many PE teachers are great at their pastoral responsibilities – this is reflected in the high number of PE staff in senior leader roles (with pastoral responsibilities).
Curriculum Role –
Due to the decreasing roll in recent years, it is not viable to have Heads of Department for each subject. Instead, the subjects have been divided into three communities that will be lead myself and the other two community leaders.
Within my community I have responsibility for:
Technology (including a successful and very popular catering provision)
There has been a programme leader appointed within the community who will support the leadership of the science department.
This is certainly a significant step up from being ‘just’ a Head of PE.
Of the three values the communities are named after, my community is called Excellence, which is a nice link to my blog which celebrates it’s first birthday this week.
The combination of these two elements and the continuation of my role as a Specialist Leader in Education (not to mention my part to play in ensuring the Olympic legacy is realised in education!) will surely provide the greatest leadership challenge of my career to date. It’s a challenge I am ready for and one that I cant wait to get stuck in to.
Finally, my educational philosophy that has been developed through teaching PE, will always form the foundation of any work I undertake in my future career. Inclusion, personalised learning, inspiring each pupil to take responsibility for their own learning and realise their own potential, developing the child as a whole and not just teaching them subject content (among other traits) will remain at the heart of what I do.
I will always be proud to be a #pegeek