I love ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and so, as a Christmas gift this year my husband brought me some dance lessons. Not any old dance lessons oh no, Mr D has decided that 2015 is the year that we learn how to dance the Argentine Tango.
If you are a fan of strictly then you’ll know all too well that it’s that dance with all the leg flicks and complicated twirling.
I suspect that you can picture the scene. In my head Ian and I twirl around in perfect synchronicity to a gorgeous melody from Buenos Aires. In reality a few toes are routinely trampled and we try very hard not to giggle as we mess up yet another routine. Carnage! Some of the other dancers take it so seriously- you just have to laugh! I don’t think I will ever score a ten from Len.
It is great being a learner again and dancing is a fantastic way to unwind after a busy day at school. What was the last thing you learned? Maybe a new language, maybe how to work a fresh app for your phone, perhaps how to check the air in your tyres! We can all learn something new if we set our minds to it.
Many years have passed since I was a pupil but as a headteacher learning has been my core business for nearly two decades. No two learners are alike but I believe that every child deserves to make good progress. All it takes is effective teaching, personalised learning and an exciting curriculum.
Some children find new learning particularly difficult. As an inclusive school, we have spent considerable time strengthening our provision for pupils who have special or additional needs. This term we have held ‘structured conversations’ with many parents so that we can tailor the support we offer children and set challenging but achievable targets for future progress.
Our teachers and teaching assistants are being trained to deliver additional interventions like ‘Fischer Family Trust reading’ and ‘First class @ number’ to help children to rapidly close the gaps in their knowledge and understanding. We also deliver a range of other support programmes both within and beyond the classroom.
Happily there are now many wonderful stories of good progress to share and I am delighted to report that recent feedback from our intensive speech and language interventions across school has been excellent.
This week we were also praised by a representative of the Local Authority for ‘the exceptional’ provision we make for children diagnosed with autism. It is pleasing to see children with the most profound challenge joining in with classroom activity or a regular basis and thriving!
We are determined to be the best we can be for every child and to do this we work closely with parents and carers.
In my view parent partnership is vital. Parents and teachers can then take the lead in turn – just like partners in a well-choreographed dance, giving and receiving information and support to ensure that no child is ever left behind.