Assistant Principal, The Chalfonts Community College (2014 – Present)
As part of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), I work alongside the Principal, Vice Principals and the Governing Body to realise The College’s vision and strategic plan. I maintain a diverse portfolio of responsibilities, including:
- The development and delivery of a modern, engaging and challenging curriculum, which provides our students with personalised learning pathways. This incorporates alternative provision and outreach programmes, as well as working with school partners to ensure that all students acquire the skills and expertise they need to be successful in their future careers.
- Student outcomes: including academic performance at Key Stage Four and Five; the careful monitoring and analysis of student progress; use of data to inform teaching and learning; and the planning of intervention strategies.
- Detailed analysis of school performance data to inform self-evaluation, improvement planning and Ofsted readiness. This includes reporting to the Governing Body and other stakeholders, as well as engagement with external review bodies, such as the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust.
- Strategic oversight of key groups, including students eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant (PPG), students with special educational needs (SEN), and gifted and talented students.
- The administration and delivery of internal and public examinations.
- The monitoring of assessment, data entry and communication with parents – including Academic and Pastoral Reports, and Teacher/Parent Meetings.
- The GCSE Options process, including taster lessons, option selection and timetabling.
- Managing the Middle Leadership Team, as well as maintaining oversight of Administration Support and the College calendar.
- Staff appraisal and performance management reviews.
- The employment of new staff.
- Managing a series of key budgets.
I have also contributed to:
- Transition between Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three.
- Working with primary school partners on shared projects.
- The strategic planning for IT provision across The College, including the use of educational technologies within the curriculum; development and maintenance of The College website and social media presence; as well as the IT infrastructure.
Leader for English and Media Studies, The Chalfonts Community College (2013-2015)
Following the completion of an MA in Education, I was promoted to Leader for English. This afforded me the opportunity to consolidate and improve on the progress the department had made during the previous three years. It also put me in a position of significant responsibility given the status that English holds as a subject within the school curriculum. During the two years that I lead the department, I…
- Introduced the Accelerated Reader programme in Years Seven and Eight (now established across Years Seven through Ten), which has had a significant impact on standards of literacy. Furthermore, this has resulted in greater engagement with reading and supported ‘access’ to learning across the curriculum.
- Made Key Stage Three a higher priority; placing greater emphasis on the teaching of ‘written literacy’ to accelerate progress.
- Managed the English department through a number of significant changes to assessment and examinations at Key Stage Four and Five, including the removal of ‘modular‘ assessment and the introduction of the ‘first entry‘ rule.
- Nurtured and developed the team resulting in a number of promotions, as well as successfully appointing a number of new English teachers – adding strength to the department.
Partway through the 2014/15 academic year, I took on additional responsibilities as an ‘Associate Assistant Principal. This resulted in handing over the leadership of Media Studies and, by the end of the academic year, English, due to my promotion to Assistant Principal with responsibility for ‘Curriculum and Student Outcomes’.
Leader for Media Studies and Key Stage Four English, The Chalfonts Community College (2010-2013)
I was asked to work more closely with the new Head of English, to replicate the success I had in leading the Media Studies Department for the previous six years. Over the course of the next three years I…
- Implemented streaming at Key Stage Three in English.
- Established Year Nine as a ‘Foundation GCSE’ year, expanding the Key Stage Four curriculum in English to three years.
- Drove up results at Key Stage Four in English Language while maintaining outstanding performance in English Literature.
- Lead my colleagues in the planning and implementation of the new GCSE syllabi in English Language and English Literature.
- Supported the Leader for Key Stage Five in the development and implementation of the new A-Level English Literature syllabus.
- Introduced Media Studies as a GCSE option subject.
Moreover, I worked with and mentored trainee and newly qualified teachers. I was closely involved in the process of staff appraisal and performance review.
I also became more involved in the strategic development of The College, working closely with other middle leaders to meet the changing demands of the wider curriculum, as well as changes to assessment and school performance measures. In response to this I worked closely with the Vice Principal to improve the way we reported data to parents, the Governing Body, and other stakeholders.
During this period I also completed an MA in Education.
Leader for Media Studies, The Chalfonts Community College (2004-2010)
Following a successful first year at The College, I was promoted to Leader for Media Studies. In that capacity I…
- Developed new coursework units to better suit the skills and abilities of the staff in the department.
- Established the use of blogging as ‘reflective’ practice and as an e-portfolio. The was complimented by the development of a department blog for the sharing of resources.
- Implemented the teaching and use of professional applications including Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop.
- Increased the level of challenge, drawing upon evolving academic research and theory from degree-level courses.
- Enhanced the students’ learning by bringing in experts from the fields of digital and social media via Skype.
- Raised the performance and progress of students in A-Level Media; consistently achieving 100% A*-C grades.
Moreover, I continued to mature as a classroom practitioner. I developed and refined my skills in enhancing learning through the use of technology. I worked to improve the way that ‘formative assessment’ can be used to drive progress and ensure that feedback is robust and meaningful.
I also took on wider responsibilities both within the English department and across The College, contributing to whole school literacy; cross-curricular project days; the implementation of a school-wide virtual learning environment; and the strategic development of the curriculum.
Teacher of English and Media Studies, The Chalfonts Community College (2003-2004)
I began my teaching career as an NQT at The Chalfonts Community College. In my first year, I taught across all three key stages. This included mixed ability groups at Key Stage Three and two very challenging GCSE classes in Key Stage Four. I also taught A-Level Media Studies to both Year 12 and Year 13.
MA in Education (Distinction), Oxford Brookes University (2010-2013)
During my first year, I undertook a School-based Enquiry investigating the impact online tools like Google Docs can have in terms of fostering collaboration and formative assessment. I also completed units in Assessment for Learning and E-Learning. The former included an Action Research Project testing the use of ‘no-hands up’ in my classroom. The reading material related to the AfL module had a significant impact on both my classroom practice and the direction of the rest of my M.Ed.
My second year began with a stand-alone unit investigating Independent Learning. During the unit, I started to develop a research narrative that linked pedagogical practices related to AfL and Independent Learning. Seeing them as intrinsically linked I sought to develop my understanding further throughout the rest of my M.Ed. Reflective Professional Development afforded me the opportunity to explore each area further in the context of myself as learner and educator. I then built on this in the Educational Research module setting up the premise of my dissertation.
In my third year I completed my Dissertation seeking to answer the following question: To what extent can virtual courses support the development of independent learning beyond ‘real time’ curriculum delivery? The project took the form of an open online course in which I combined the use of collaborative online tools including Google Docs, blogging and Twitter to encourage and develop the skills associated with Independent Learning and AfL.
PGCE (Secondary English), Nottingham Trent University (2002-2003)
Following a year working as a Manager for a well-known retail store, I decided to train to teach. I completed modules in teaching and learning; curriculum design and planning; assessment; and behaviour management. My course included three teaching placements. The first was a two week placement in a Primary School working with a Year 6 class. The second placement lasted six weeks and included a mixture of observation, research and teaching. During this placement, I also passed the QTS Skills Tests in Literacy, Numeracy and ICT. My final placement lasted over twelve weeks. During this placement, I taught a range of groups for the duration, including two GCSE groups.
BA (Hons) American Studies (2:1), University of Northampton (1998-2001)
I studied the history of the USA from the pre-colonial period through to the end of the 20th Century. The course drew upon many key historical writings as well as literature and film. During my second year, I spent six months studying at College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina. In my final year, I undertook units in American Politics, The Vietnam War and Science-Fiction. My dissertation analysed the works of Arthur Miller (The Crucible) and Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront), comparing their opposing responses to the Government’s investigation into screenwriters, directors, actors and others thought to have ties to the Communist Party.
A-Levels: Art and Design, English Literature, General Studies, History
GCSEs: Art and Design, Design and Technology, English Language, English Literature, French, History, ICT, Maths, Science (Double Award)
Open – Connected – Distributed: Learning – A workshop in which I explored three core concepts that have come to define my approach as both a learner and educator. Delivered at the ‘Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference‘ at Berkhamsted School in March 2014.
#crit101 and Open Badges – A presentation about the Open Online Course I developed as part of my M.Ed. dissertation, including an explanation about the way I implemented ‘Open Badges‘ to accredit the learning that took place. Delivered at a University College London Workshop: ‘Documenting achievements using online badges’, in April 2013.
‘Leashes not required’ – The extended version of my most well-known presentation/workshop, exploring the need to develop independent and interdependent learning in students. Delivered at the ‘Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference‘ at Berkhamsted School in March 2013.
Getting Interactive: Moodle in the Secondary Classroom – Delivered at the ‘Study Group Teachers Conference’ in February 2012. Related blog post, including notes.
Blended Learning: How Moodle changed the learning inside and outside my classroom – Delivered at the first: ‘TeachMeet Moodle‘ in July 2010. Related blog post, including a video recording of my presentation.
#MoveMeOn is a crowdsourced book offering tips and ideas for new and experienced teachers to help them develop their teaching practice. Edited by Doug Belshaw, it was created and developed via a Twitter discussion that he kicked off in a blog post on 19th November 2009. The discussion quickly took to life and I, along with many other educators, made a significant contribution to the ideas within the book. It was published via Lulu at cost price and as a free PDF download on 21st December 2009.
Skills and Expertise
- Learning Management Systems: Moodle (extensive use and development), Canvas and Blackboard.
- Massive Open Online Courses: Designed and delivered #crit101, participated in MoocMooc (exploring what MOOCs are), and DS106.
- Collaborative Computing: Google Docs (substantial use for assessment for learning), Google Classroom, Office 365, Basecamp and Slack.
- Social Media: Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Video Conferencing: Adobe Connect, Skype, Google Hangouts, BigBlueButton.
- Image Editing and DTP: Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.
- Video Production and Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, various screen capture programs including Quicktime and Camtasia.
- Office Applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (as well as OSX equivalents)
- Operating Systems: OSX, Windows and Chrome OS.
- Various other educational tools and applications: SIMS, Go4Schools, Show My Homework and Accelerated Reader.
References are available on request.