I had a fantastic day yesterday! I went to a course in London called ‘Winning the H Factor, the secrets of happy schools’ and it was brilliant.

The speakers were Alistair Smith (of Accelerated Learning/thinking skills fame) and Sir John Jones (knighted for his services to education). Apart from the fact that their double act was funny, entertaining and inspiring, I came home with loads of ideas for making our school an even happier place.

At first sight, I was worried that this course might have just been about keeping everyone’s chins up and being nice to staff and pupils, possibly at the expense of learning. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The key thing that they wanted us to do was to find our school’s core purpose – that is, what are we there for? Then to keep this core purpose in the front of our minds in everything we do. So, if our core purpose is to make every lesson so fantastic that children are inspired every time, then we should look at what is getting in the way of us doing this and remove any obstacles. Then we were given plenty of tips as to how to do this. A few of these are below:

Have the hard conversations (ie deal with staff who don’t fit in with the school culture that you want.)

Involve staff in deciding what may be getting in the way of them providing brilliant lessons  – ask them!

Some schools have provided ironing services/MOT services etc to come into school so that teachers don’t have to spend time doing this and can instead spend time preparing fantastic lessons.

Have a vulnerability register – get staff to say what times of year they are most vulnerable because of particular aspects of their work, then work as a team to protect those members of staff at these key times.

There was loads more, but what this wasn’t was a wishy washy “ah, make the kids into softies who can’t cope with the real world” type of course. Instead it was about preparing children for a world that is changing faster than we can possibly imagine and giving them the skills to cope with the things that life will throw at them.

If you want more information, you can go to the Alite website.

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