I am currently Head of EYFS & KS1 at Whitehill Community Academy, Halifax, a post I have held since April 2021. Prior to this I held the role of Vice Principal at Whitehill. I also completed a one-term secondment as Interim Head Teacher at All Saints’ CE (VA) Primary School in the Autumn Term 2016.
I have completed my NPQH training and qualified in July 2015.
My personal visions and values strongly align with your vision statement, I am also passionate about ensuring that all children have full access to an inclusive education and range of experiences, regardless of their background. This means I am fully committed to delivering a curriculum and range of learning opportunities, both academic and pastoral, which will enrich and prepare all children for their life ahead. I am a keen advocate for music in the school.
Having carefully considered the Job Description and Person Specification, I believe I am the ideal candidate to embrace this amazing opportunity, I have detailed how I feel I my experience, attributes, skills and knowledge match the criteria for this role below:
Current Leadership Experience
My leadership position at Whitehill gives me direct responsibility for Early Years and Key Stage 1, although much of my role also covers KS2, my main responsibilities include:
· Being the Senior Mentor for all ECT staff.
· Promoting effective relationships between staff, pupils and parents.
· Managing behavioural issues through the implementation of successful strategies such as the Restorative Justice system.
· Writing, developing and implementing our new creative, thematic curriculum (writing Programmes of Study which are cross-referenced to the National Curriculum and supporting Knowledge Organisers).
· Timetabling; Teaching & Learning monitoring (including introducing the new Deep-dive monitoring process); Staff and student placement and Induction.
· Being line manager for the lunchtime team.
· Writing policies for numerous subject and areas of school life.
In our most recent Ofsted Inspection (January 2020) our school was judged as ‘Good’, with many of the areas I am directly responsible for being highly praised. These included ‘Delivering a Broad, Balanced Curriculum’ and our Early Years Provision.
The areas which were highlighted for improvement were areas I had already identified and had started work on with the subject teams, but were not at full implementation stage at the time of inspection. This included our phonics and reading programme, which were not fully aligned at the time of inspection, but had already been identified during a deep dive in reading only a few weeks prior to the inspection. Following the inspection, I wrote a RAP for reading and Phonics, which had been actioned within just a few weeks.
I introduced a new tracking and assessment programme, DCPro in September 2018, which has helped to reduce workload both for the Tracking and Assessment Manager and for class teachers.
I have also had the opportunity to lead parent workshops on Mathematics and Assessment/ SATs preparation. I have been involved in the school’s Performance Management programme, using BlueSky.
I am the Senior Mentor for all Early Career Teachers and teacher-training students in the school, I ensure that the performance of ECT staff is monitored and reviewed through lesson observation with regular feedback given. I work in close partnership with Huddersfield University, Leeds Beckett, Trinity TSA and Teamworks.
I have also delivered ITT in Music to Huddersfield University students. I organise and often lead weekly assemblies for both Key Stages and regularly lead Achievement Assembly, which I always thoroughly enjoy. In the assembly organisation, I introduced ‘The Big Question’ linked to the assembly themes and to British Values and I ensure that all religious festivals and SMSC significant dates are covered in the assembly programme. In 2019, I also introduced Picture News to our assembly resources. During lockdown, I developed and recorded ‘Newsround’ assemblies, covering all aspects of World Religion, SMSC and current affairs. The assemblies have been so popular that I have continued recording them for use as a class-based assembly.
Previous Leadership Experience
In my role as Interim Head Teacher at All Saints in 2016 I met weekly with the Chair of Governors and I sat on all governing body committees, reviewing and writing policies and producing Head Teacher Reports. My responsibilities and achievements included:
· Ensuring that the school website was compliant and regularly up-dated. I led on staff training and staff meetings, carried out performance management appraisals for the staff team, scheduled lesson observations, work scrutinies and worked alongside the school business manager and the LA to develop the school budget.
· Successfully leading the school through its re-accreditation of the Basic Skills Quality Mark.
· Developing and leading on the school’s church ethos through Collective Worship and led on a highly successful Harvest Festival, Macmillan Coffee Morning and a series of events in church to celebrate Christmas, including Nativity performances, Carol Services and a musical concert.
· I am a firm believer in building and maintaining positive relationships with parents and the community and made it a priority to be a visible presence to parents by being on gate duty every morning and home-time to greet the children and parents.
· Working closely with the LA (including the Safeguarding team and the Health & Safety team), attending training and Calderdale Primary Head meetings, plus cluster meetings of the 12 schools within the Elland Cluster.
· I completed Whole-School Safeguarding Training and additional training for Designated Safeguarding Lead, which I have renewed for my role as Deputy DSL at Whitehill. I worked hard during my term as Head to develop an active role with the governing body and with the Senior Management Team and staff team, children and parents and also with the church. I worked hard to improve safeguarding and health and safety throughout the school.
Following my successful secondment at All Saints in January 2017, I returned to my post as Deputy Head Teacher at Whitehill. My role changed to Vice Principal in January 2018, following the retirement of our Executive Principal, changing again to Head of EYFS & KS1 in 2021. The school expanded in 2015 to give the potential for three-form entry throughout. We currently have 705 pupils on roll.
I played a key role in the expansion of the school, organising class register placements (to ensure an equal range of abilities and needs across each new class. I also played a key role, working closely with EYFS lead, in the planning and development of our new Early Years facilities, including designs of rooms, purchasing furniture, classroom resources and outdoor provision.
I was also involved in the recruitment of additional staff following the expansion, including short-listing and interviewing teachers and TAs / SEN Supports. I worked in close partnership with Wainstalls Primary School, which is part of I-Trust MAT, sharing many of my policies, schemes of work, curriculum documents and templates for Teaching & Learning / Deep-dive monitoring, many of which they have adapted to suit the needs of their individual school and adopted.
Continuing Professional Development
To ensure that my knowledge of curriculum and strategies are up to date, I have attended online National College training in the new EYFS Framework, the new Ofsted Framework, Deep-dives, Early Years practice, Baseline Assessments in Foundation Stage, Team Teach, Annual Safeguarding (plus DSL training), Safer Recruitment Training, PREVENT, White Rose Maths / Power Maths and The Write Stuff, plus RWI Phonics training and Epi-pen training.
Classroom Teaching Experience
I have substantial experience in primary education, having taught in every year group from Y1 through to Y6, plus cover in both Nursery and Reception. I have a high track record for results in the school at both key stages. In my role as subject leader, I have taken responsibility for Maths, Music and www.*** I play a key role in the school’s celebrations, included leading our Harvest Festivals alongside clergy from the local churches (Illingworth Methodist Church and St. John’s, Bradshaw) and holding our annual Christmas Carol service and Lessons, for almost 1000 children, teachers, parents and friends at Halifax Minster or Mount Zion Church. I have also musically directed and produced the Y6 end-of-year musicals, including ‘Joseph’ and ‘Oliver’, I also direct and accompany the school choir, who have participated in numerous concerts and for our elderly residents in the school’s catchment area as part of our Community Cohesion. As a very keen musician, I believe passionately that it should play a key part in school life. In 2019, I introduced The Rocksteady Music School to Whitehill and we currently have 10 rock bands involving children from Y1 to Y6.
As a classroom practitioner I always strived to set high standards in classroom organisation, discipline, planning and teaching. I continued with this same commitment to me leadership role. I work hard to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible to gain results and hit deadlines. I have worked closely with the Pastoral team to ensure that the needs of vulnerable children are met, helping our school to achieve Investors in People Gold Award and Inclusion Quality Mark. In 2007 I had the opportunity to visit one of our Comenius Link schools in Denmark to look at how the school systems work, and I also visited the Kandy schools group in Sri Lanka in 2011.
In an out-of-school context, I also bring sixteen years of leadership experience through my past work for Calderdale Youth Service. I am a strong believer in work-life balance and have a number of interests. I am also a member of my local Amateur Operatic Society, along with being a regular Musical Director / pianist for a 12-piece singing group called ‘Encore’. I have also been Musical Director for local amateur pantomimes and was also MD for a 100th Anniversary production of ‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’ in 2018. I am also pianist for Bradford Accordion Band. In 1998, I also qualified with the IDTA as a dance teacher in Ballroom, Latin and Modern. I was also church organist for eleven years in a small village church in Bradford and have recently played for services at my local village church (including playing for our late Queen’s memorial service, the pop-up Nativity service and the St Valentine’s family service). All of my ‘hobbies’ are very flexible to allow full commitment to my work in school.