The School Leadership PodcastMay 11, 2023
Learning with parents
Research suggests that by age 11, a disadvantaged child is on average nine months behind their peers in English and Maths – and that only 14% of this is related to what happens at school, while 49% is related to what happens at home.
But what can schools do differently to engage parents? How can they find out what the barriers facing the most disengaged families really are? And how do power dynamics, time and child enjoyment have a role to play?
Hear Tom Harbour, founder of the charity Learning with Parents, discuss these questions and more with NAHT assistant general secretary James Bowen.
Learning with Parents was set up to help all families have positive learning interactions together. Find out more at learningwithparents.com.
The social model of disability
NAHT supports the social model of disability, which shifts the focus away from individuals, and onto the societal barriers that ‘disable’ people. Through this approach the focus is on trying to remove those barriers, to ensure equality for disabled people.
But what does this model mean in practice? What about the language we use – what’s the difference between ‘disabled’ and ‘impairment’, and what’s the issue with using the term ‘vulnerable’? And what steps can school leaders take to support disabled staff?
Join Emma Kosmin, from the TUC's equalities and strategy department, in conversation with NAHT senior equalities officer Natalie Arnett.
Inspiring Leadership in 2023
From demystifying mindfulness to rethinking resilience, hear thought-provoking conversations with key speakers at this year’s Inspiring Leadership Conference, which took place at the ICC in Birmingham last month.
Best-selling author and former Twitter Europe vice president Bruce Daisley is one of the UK's most influential voices on fixing work. Here, he joins educator and consultant Maggie Farrar, Bedfordshire Schools Trust CEO Alan Lee and NAHT assistant general secretary James Bowen in a series of interviews for the School Leadership Podcast.
See the latest issue of NAHT's Leadership Focus magazine for more on this year's Inspiring Leadership Conference in Birmingham.
Booking is now open for next year’s event – find out more about Inspiring Leadership Conference 2024.
Talking technology: edtech in schools
How can schools decide what education technology (edtech) to invest in? Has the edtech agenda been overrun by technologists – and if so, how can it be reclaimed? And what about AI? Hear edtech experts discuss these issues and more, along with a new Edtech Leadership Briefing Paper aimed at helping school leaders make informed, data-driven decisions about their ICT investment.
In this episode of the School Leadership Podcast, you'll hear Dave Smith, head of partnerships and events at the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), Gavin Hawkins, chair of the board of management at NAACE (the Education Technology Association), and NAHT Life member and edtech consultant David Whyley in conversation with NAHT assistant general secretary James Bowen.
An industrial action special
In this special episode of the School Leadership Podcast, NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman talks about the upcoming industrial action ballot and what it means for school leaders.
What does life-friendly leadership look like in schools? And why do so many women aged 30 to 39 – more than any other group – leave teaching every year? Emma Sheppard, founder of the MaternityTeacher PaternityTeacher (MPTP) Project, explores these questions and more in this conversation with NAHT’s senior equalities officer Natalie Arnett.
Along with networking and support for teachers on maternity/paternity leave, the MPTP Project carries out research, provides case studies, and runs coaching and training sessions for teachers and leaders. It aims to influence organisations to be more equal and inclusive, and to make teaching and schools more life-friendly – find out more at www.mtpt.org.uk. Its book, A Guide to Teaching, Parenting and Creating Family Friendly Schools, is available now.
The picture on pay
NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman gives his analysis of the current dispute over pay for teachers and school leaders, and explains why the government must act now to resolve the recruitment and retention crisis facing the sector.
In this conversation with NAHT’s director of policy James Bowen, he addresses the impact of strike action, the ongoing negotiation with the education secretary and the role of the teachers’ pay review body.
Talking about transition
Experienced school leader and education advisor Dave Harris talks about what good school transition looks like, why it’s the elephant in the room and how it can improve outcomes. You’ll also hear NAHT’s director of policy James Bowen and senior policy advisor Sarah Hannafin share their views on this topic.
Schools and sustainability
How can schools help tackle climate change? Are solar panels, heat pumps and retrofitting realistic solutions – particularly for older school buildings? And what exactly is the government’s plan to help schools reduce their carbon footprint?
NAHT director of policy James Bowen puts school leaders’ key concerns to Sharon McHale, a project director in the Department for Education’s new Sustainability and Climate Change Unit.
A Black History Month special: the anti-racist journey of a Manchester school
Hear Laura Morris, head of religious studies and citizenship at a secondary school in Manchester, reflect honestly on her school’s anti-racist journey over the past two years.
In this conversation with NAHT senior equalities officer Natalie Arnett, Laura talks through the challenges faced and the changes the school made. She explains what’s having the biggest impact, why she welcomes current higher reporting rates, and what the school needs to address next.
Laura is a teacher with 15 years’ experience who has additional whole school responsibilities for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) and anti-discrimination. You can read her blog at diverseeducators.co.uk and her Anti-Racist Action Report at missmorrismanc.co.uk.
Closing the writing gap
How is writing like a game of chess? What difference does improved writing make, and how can teachers be supported to achieve this? Is reading the key to good writing? And do Erasmus’s 500-year-old teachings on writing still apply today? Teacher and author Alex Quigley answers these questions and many more in this conversation with NAHT’s director of policy James Bowen.
Leading on assessment
Effective assessment remains one of the most crucial aspects of high-quality teaching and learning. In this episode, three school leaders speak to NAHT’s director of policy James Bowen about their involvement in a lead assessor support programme and the positive outcomes they are seeing in their schools.
NAHT is working with the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors to encourage every school to have a lead assessor. Find out more about its lead assessor support programme and how NAHT members can register for a discounted place here.
An Inspiring Leadership special
This episode of NAHT’s School Leadership Podcast brings you conversations with some of the key speakers at Inspiring Leadership Conference 2022, which took place in Birmingham last month. You’ll hear Dave Coplin, Steve Munby, Marie-Claire Bretherton and Ed Balls share honest and through-provoking reflections on what makes a great leader, and much more, in a series of interviews recorded during the conference.
Coaching for the classroom
History teacher and coach Sam Moinet speaks to the School Leadership Podcast about his experiences in the classroom and of the mental health challenges faced by a forgotten majority of students in schools. He explains why expressions like ‘just think positive’ can be problematic, why we need to move from a reactive to a preventative model and how coaching can improve mental health. Plus there’s a quick coaching exercise to try for yourself.
Sam set up Student Breakthrough after he witnessed how coaching helps students with attitudes to school, anxiety, confidence, personal growth, exams and relationships with family and friends – so they can become more confident, happy and successful.
Making sense of the metrics
Husham Khan, author of the best-selling book Financial Intelligence for School Business Leaders, speaks to NAHT’s Natalie Arnett about the pressures facing finances in schools, new ways to tackle them and the changing nature of the school business leader (SBL) role – and how the role is vital for dealing with some of the challenges ahead, including soaring energy costs and cybersecurity.
Along with exploring many of the new financial concepts outlined in his book, which schools and trusts can use to enable more informed and effective decision-making, such as the ‘pandemic ratio’, Husham also talks about the importance of considering emotional as well as financial intelligence as part of holistic budget planning in schools.
In conversation with Ed Balls
Former secretary of state for education and cabinet minister Ed Balls reflects on his experiences of – and views on – leadership in this April 2022 episode of NAHT's School Leadership Podcast. Hear him speak with NAHT director of policy James Bowen about his time as education secretary and his memories of working for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at pivotal political moments. Ed is a keynote speaker at this year’s Inspiring Leadership Conference, which takes place on 28 and 29 June in Birmingham.
Ventilation in schools
What is the best way to ventilate a classroom, what do you need to know about CO2 monitors and are air-cleaning machines worth the investment? NAHT’s James Bowen puts these key questions and more to the scientists involved in a critical research project looking at the effectiveness of ventilation and air purifiers in classrooms.
Professor Mark Mon-Williams, chair in cognitive psychology at the University of Leeds and professor of psychology at the Bradford Institute of Health Research, and mechanical engineer Catherine Noakes, professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds, are currently involved in a trial involving 30 primary classrooms to help our understanding of how air-cleaning technologies can help reduce the build-up of covid particles, as well as how they could have advantages in the longer term too.
Just Like Us
As part of LGBT+ History Month in 2022, hear Dominic Arnall, chief executive at LGBT+ young people's charity Just Like Us, in conversation with NAHT’s Natalie Arnett about the role schools play in empowering young people to champion LGBT+ equality, and how the charity can help schools do this.
Plus, there’s more on school mottos – you'll hear from Chilton Primary School in Oxfordshire about their motto and why it was chosen.
For more about Just Like Us, including resources and lesson plans, talks and School Diversity Week, see justlikeus.org.
Talking with Tes
In this episode, Tes editor Jon Severs talks to NAHT’s James Bowen about tackling covid guidance, teachers on Twitter and Tes being a voice the profession can trust.
Plus, following on from last month’s episode, we have more on school mottos.
Doing the sums on school funding
What does this autumn’s budget really mean for school spending? Will schools be better off in 2022, and beyond? And what will changes in the funding formula mean for head teachers? Luke Sibieta, an economist specialising in education policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, answers these questions and more in this conversation with NAHT’s director of policy James Bowen.
Plus: what’s your school’s motto, and why was it chosen? You’ll hear a head teacher talk about her school’s motto and what it means for them, and find out how to get in touch to share – and celebrate – your own school’s motto.
Educating for equality
In this episode, hear primary head teacher and director of Educating for Equality Sabrina Edwards talk about her work supporting leaders on their journey to embedding anti-racism and gender equality in their schools, and the role schools can play in bringing about long-lasting and sustainable change in the world.
Black History Month: Betty Campbell
Geraldine Trotman, Black History Patron for Wales, reflects on the contribution of her lifelong friend, champion of multiculturalism and Wales' first Black head teacher Betty Campbell.
Betty was born in Butetown, Cardiff, in 1934. She qualified as a teacher in the 1960s and later became head teacher at Butetown’s Mount Stuart Primary School, where she made sure her pupils learned about the positive contribution made to British society by people of colour.
An equality, diversity and inclusion special
In this episode, you’ll hear conversations that reflect on student and staff experiences of discrimination and explore how school leaders can take steps to understand and promote the equalities agenda in their schools. Michelle De Leon, founder and CEO of World Afro Day, talks to NAHT’s Natalie Arnett about why she set up the Big Hair Assembly and how schools can get involved, before Iona Jackson, head of research at Edurio, outlines the key findings of a survey looking at the experiences of 16,500 school staff members around equality, diversity and inclusion.
A head teacher’s diary: leading a school through the pandemic
In March 2020, head teacher Alan Garnett decided to start a weekly column for a local paper chronicling the experiences of his school community as it responded to the pandemic. He ended up writing the diary for a whole year, and his articles have now been turned into a book, A Headteacher's Diary: Making it up as we go Along – Trying to lead a school through a pandemic.
Here, Alan shares some of his observations – talking honestly about how stressful it was reacting to last-minute announcements, and explaining why he wanted to tell the stories of “remarkable people doing remarkable things”, as they did in so many school communities across the country.
The science of learning
What does research say about the science of learning, and what does it mean for school leaders? In a conversation that takes in his experience of working with Manchester United and Olympic athletes, plus the impact of high expectations, lack of sleep and mobile phones, registered psychologist Brad Busch talks to NAHT’s James Bowen about how we can start to make sense of the wide range of educational research that exists.
Brad is a co-author of The Science of Learning: 77 Studies That Every Teacher Needs to Know. You can see 30 summaries from the book free at blog.innerdrive.co.uk/studies, and for more about Brad’s work, see www.innerdrive.co.uk.
Speech and language therapy in covid times
In this episode, you'll hear two perspectives on children's speech and language. Speech and language therapist Anna Sellers, who works with children in schools, and Derek Munn, director of policy and public affairs at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, talk about the impact of the pandemic – both negative and positive – on services for young people. They also share their thoughts on what school leaders can do to help tackle the challenges that lie ahead around speech and language support in schools.
Find out more about the work of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: www.rcslt.org.
Swimming and schools with Olympic medalist Steve Parry
Former Olympic swimmer Steve Parry is the co-founder of Total Swimming Academies and believes every child should have the opportunity to learn and enjoy swimming. Recent figures show a worrying number of children leaving primary school not knowing how to swim. Steve outlines Total Swimming Academies' campaign to invest in school facilities to ensure school pools remain viable while helping to maximise their value to the surrounding community.
Find out more about Total Swimming Academies and the £1million School Pool Legacy Fund to improve school pool facilities: https://www.totalswimming.co.uk/school-pool-legacy-fund
Football Beyond Borders
Football Beyond Borders is an education and social inclusion charity which transforms the outcomes for disadvantaged young people who are passionate about football but disengaged at school. In this episode, James Bowen speaks to co-founder and director, Jack Reynolds about the work the charity is doing with supporting young people’s academic and social and emotional learning as they transition to adulthood.
Mental health, well-being and school leadership: tips and tools in covid times
After a year that has seen school leaders “carrying the community” as they steer schools through the pandemic, Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support, speaks with NAHT’s James Bowen about the importance of compassion, connection and showing up in your best shape. Education Support is a UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and well-being of education staff.
Championing equality, diversity and inclusion in schools
Closing gaps, inclusivity and redressing imbalance wherever it may be is at the very core of the Global Equality Collective (GEC). Co-CEO and founder of the GEC, Nic Ponsford talks to James Bowen about the new GEC app which helps organisations track, monitor and embed diversity and inclusion into their day-to-day practices and behaviours. Nic discusses the core functions of the app and the work being done in schools to champion equality and inclusion.
From little acorns mighty oak trees grow
Oak National Academy is the online classroom made for teachers by teachers. Created in April 2020 as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak, Oak Academy offers pre-recorded video lessons as well as quizzes, worksheets and creative activities to support remote learning. In this episode, principal at Oak National Academy, Matt Hood talks about how the online classroom came about, the important role remote learning has played throughout this year and considers what remote learning might look like post-pandemic.
Lockdown, learning and the great outdoors
One of the unavoidable effects of the pandemic has meant that we have been forced to almost renegotiate our relationship with outdoor spaces. For leaders, it's meant careful management of school grounds and for some children outside of school, lockdowns have resulted in a new dynamic where access to the great outdoors has either been severely limited or denied altogether.
Jim Whittaker, chair of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, talks to James Bowen about health, well-being, learning and the importance of outdoor spaces.
What does effective remote learning look like?
When the national lockdown took place earlier this year, many schools quickly turned to technology to bridge the gap and continue learning outside of the school gates. In this episode, director of NAHT policy, James Bowen speaks to author, public speaker and managing director of NetSupport, Al Kingsley about the future of technology to support learning. We also consider the challenges blended and remote learning can cause, including addressing the digital divide and ensuring students are safe online.
Reducing academic anxiety and supporting young people’s mental health
Campaigner, activist and speaker; Natasha Devon MBE talks to James Bowen about the relationship between exam stress and mental health in children and young people. Natasha also talks about the impact the pandemic and lockdown have had on young people’s anxiety levels.
Planning for a full return to school this September – James Bowen answers your FAQs
The past few months have been a rapidly changing picture for schools which hasn’t always been easy to interpret and then act on. It’s been our aim all along to bring as much clarity to school leaders as possible. In this month’s podcast episode, director of policy and NAHT Edge, James Bowen answers your most frequently asked questions about planning for a full return to school this September.
Schools and covid-19: your questions answered with Dr Matt Butler
How can we minimise infection in schools and in the wider community? How can we protect the most at-risk groups? Should staff be wearing PPE? How often should surfaces be wiped down in classrooms?
Dr Matt Butler answers your most pressing questions about the covid-19 pandemic and outlines some practical steps you can take to keep staff and children safe.
Technology in the classroom: a tool for learning or an enormous distraction?
In this episode, NAHT head of policy James Bowen talks to education author and former teacher Daisy Christodoulou about technology in schools.
We consider what the next big ed-tech development is likely to be, whether we should ban mobile devices in schools and why ed-tech hasn’t yet had the transformative impact on education that it has long promised.
Episode 28 - Social mobility with Professor Sonia Blandford
She is the founder and CEO of the award winning educational charity Achievement for All, which provides programmes to improve outcomes for children and young people aged two to 19 years. She is also a visiting professor of education and social enterprise at UCL Institute of Education and the author of numerous books on education.
Edge Director, James Bowen spent some time with Sonia to see if it's possible to change attitudes and outcomes around this perennial challenge.
Episode 27 - Reconsidering resilience and its role in school leadership.
Episode 26 - What can we expect from the new inspection framework? (Part 2)
Matthew gets into the specifics of what the new framework means for schools and what they'll be expecting of subject leaders.
There's also an illuminating conversation with Julie Kelly, the Headteacher at West Meon Church of England Primary School on what it's really like to run a small school.
With 60% of teachers in small schools leading three or more subjects, what will the implications from the deep dives?
To find out more about our work on small schools and the research we've been conducting, please go to www.NAHT.org.uk
Episode 25 - ‘What can we expect from the new inspection framework?’
Earlier this term we saw the launch of an entirely new inspection framework and NAHT members have already begun to experience these new style inspections.
Already we have seen teachers and school leaders taking to social media to share their early experiences and debate some of the phrases being used within the lexicon of inspection.
Our Director of Policy James Bowen met with Ofsted’s deputy director for schools, Matthew Purves and goes further into what you can expect from this latest framework.
Episode 24 - Graham Frost and Lord Redesdale
Our guests are a Headteacher and NAHT member whose school has already started taking action to reduce its own carbon footprint, and from a member of the house of lords who is leading a campaign encouraging schools and pupils to pledge to take their own action to tackle climate change.
Episode 23 - The Difference
The government’s own data suggests the rate of exclusions is rising to almost 7,000 a year in England, the equivalent of more than 35 permanent exclusions every school day.
Rising rates of exclusion not only have a significant impact on the individuals and schools concerned, but it also has a long-term impact on society too.
Research has shown that every cohort of permanently excluded pupils will go on to cost the state an extra £2.1billion in education, health, benefits and criminal justice costs.
A new education charity, The Difference, founded by former teacher Kiran Gill is determined to do something about this alarming trend.
Through their 2 year ‘Difference Leader’ programme, the charity offers existing leaders in mainstream schools the opportunity to work for two years in an Alternative Provision setting. Throughout the programme leaders benefit not only from gaining experience in AP but also from an intensive accredited training programme.
Their hope is that some of this new community of leaders will then return to mainstream schools so that they can share and cascade their knowledge with the ultimate aim of reducing school exclusion.
Our Director of Policy and NAHT Edge Director, James Bowen, meets with Kiran and her colleague Shaun Brown to find out more about the charity’s work and the impact it has.
Episode 22 - Winston's Wish
Shockingly, around 1 in 29 children will be bereaved of a parent or sibling during their time at school and of course many more will experience bereavement of other family members or friends.
Yet, if you’re like most other teachers and school leaders, you have probably received very little, if any, training on this sensitive topic.
Our guest this month is Emma Muirhead from the charity Winston’s Wish.
Episode 21 - David Weston : Attaining the highest quality CPD in schools
Are you confident that the CPD your teachers are engaging in is having a positive impact on outcomes for pupils?
In this episode we talk about the professional learning of teachers, and consider what school leaders can do to ensure that CPD in their school is of the highest quality.
David Weston is the founder and Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust and one of the authors of ‘Unleashing Great Teaching’ – a new book that shines a light on the secrets of effective teacher development.
Episode 20 - H is for Harry - Edward Owles, Jamie Taylor and Ed Vainker
You'll get to hear about one particular school community in London that may just be about to find itself becoming the star of the big screen, as we speak to the makers of a new film, ‘H is for Harry’.
H is for Harry is a coming of age story about Harry, a charismatic 11-year old boy who arrives at secondary school in suburban London unable to read or write. With the help of Sophie, his extremely dedicated teacher, and the unfailing support of his father, he struggles to overcome the illiteracy ingrained across generations of his family.
James Bowen, Edge Director, has an enlightening conversation with the film's co Directors and the Headteacher of the school where the film was made.
Episode 19 - The Shared Headship Network
James Bowen, the Edge Director got some time with two of the leaders behind this exciting project to find out more about their work. Lucy Helan is the co-founder of the network and an Assistant Vice-Principal in London. Amy Brookes is an Assistant Principal, also based in London.
There's also a chance to hear from the co - Headteachers of a Junior school on Hayling Island.
Episode 18 - Panel debate, Edtech Festival.
As you will hear, James is joined on the panel by journalist and founder of Teacher Tapp, Laura McInerney; Ross Morrison McGill, better known to some by his Twitter handle, Teacher Toolkit; and also Rory McGrath, Deputy Head for the New Wave Federation.
Episode 17 - Rob Webster
Edge Director, James Bowen spoke with Rob to find out more about his work and the implications for schools
Episode 16 - Laura Mcinnerney, Becky Allen and Fiona Millar
We start the year with a special double episode. In the first half we’ll hear about an exciting new project that is aiming to gain insights into the lives of teachers through the use of a smartphone app. And in the second half we speak to journalist and school governor Fiona Millar about her new book, which examines how the 1988 education reform act fundamentally transformed the school system.