Kent and East Sussex Deputy Heads Meeting Notes
Date: 22nd March 2018
Venue: Holmewood House School
- There was much discussion around pupil wellbeing, especially the pressures faced by year 5 & 6s with pre-testing + parental expectations. There was consideration of the emotional support that is given to the children. It was felt that Kathy Weston may be a good person to have to a future meeting to discuss the practicalities of having high expectations, realistic ambitions and not placing undue pressure on children.
- Around this, there was discussion around year group dynamics and the difficulties of teaching for every type of test. This ‘cocktail of school choice’ adds to stress (of pupils, parents and teachers).
- It was also felt that pre-common entrance was leading to a narrowing if the curriculum. DW to explore bringing in Lisa Ashes from Independent Thinking to give a talk on how schools can avoid this. (Awaiting confirmation from Lisa on her availability, but she has agreed in Principle to attend the next meeting on the 10th May).
- Related to this, some colleagues noted that some senior schools had been unhappy with some of the independent thinking skills of pupils they had taken and thought that this was as a result of being ‘taught to the test’. There was discussion around more creative approaches to the curriculum and the challenge of ensuring children were ‘job ready’ in the 21st Century. Colleagues requested a speaker from a senior school to give their perspective at a future meeting. (DW working on this - likely to be the autumn meeting).
- From the wellbeing discussion, there was a wide-ranging debate about how the development of the academics could be managed. There would need to be careful discussions and management of expectations with colleagues and parental (and governing) bodies.
- In addition to a speaker who could deliver practical advice on curriculum development, it was felt that a speaker who could provide advice on influencing and managing all stakeholders through a period of change would be very helpful. Tom Packer, a consultant in this area and an experienced former Head and Governor, is to deliver a practical session at the next Deputy Heads meeting.
- It was agreed that the next meeting would also be held at Holmewood House school. The date for this has been confirmed for Thursday 10th May.
- Ben Purkiss (Bedes) & Tom Gregory (Vinehall School) have offered to host further meetings from Autumn 2018. Dates TBC shortly.