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Reflections on 2009.

As the year is drawing to a close I record my reflections on this last year. If someone had told me that I was going to be a very happy, very hard working Deputy Headteacher back in January, I would have said they had the wrong man.

This time last year, I was teaching Year 6 at Horwich Parish CE School (Bolton) and very focussed on achieving the very best for those children. The results we got were stunning! By that point (mid May) I had already been appointed as the New Deputy Headteacher at Heathfield Primary but knew I wouldn’t be starting until September.

At Horwich, I was very much an advocate of the Learning Platform. The pupils used it daily to display their work. However, the one drawback was that people outside of school couldn’t see it! On arrival at Heathfield, I again invested tens of hours on the School platform and brought it up to date and attractive to the eye. Something though, wasn’t right yet I couldn’t put my finger on it.

In September I was invited to visit a school in Manchester called Chorlton Park Primary School – this was arranged through SSAT and ESSA Academy. To this date, there has not been another day in my professional career that has impacted my outlook more on education and ICT. Chorlton Park Primary School are an advanced ICT pioneering school. Whilst there, it was apparent that they were doing ‘something different’ with ICT. I could see it in the learning, the teaching and most importantly, the children! Chorlton Park Primary School was a ‘Blogging’ school and I immediately connected with the concept and identified it as the missing piece of the jigsaw at Heathfield.

I was lucky to get chatting to John Sutton whilst on my visit. John is a self employed ICT Consultant with masses of experience setting up schools with blogging. I quickly arranged for my new ‘best friend’ to come to Heathfield and show myself and my Headteacher what he could offer the school. We were really impressed and as a result, Heathfield Primary and Harwood Meadows Primary have signed up with CreativeICT to begin our blogging journey.

Within a week we had the frame of our site set up and I spent some more tens of hours setting up class blogs in addition to my own and one for Mrs. Spencer. The phrase that came to mind whilst setting up these blogs was ‘Lifting the ceiling off our classrooms’.

We are set to begin our class blogs during January 2010 and a few classes will start immediately. Other classes will join throughout the year. One piece of advice that Chorlton Park Primary gave me was to take things slow and that a good blog will take a few years to develop.

Whichever way you look at it, Heathfield Primary School are entering a very exciting phase, curriculum development mixed with a shift in how ICT will support this development means that the next two years will be hard but the most rewarding two years of Heathfield’s history!

We have already seen Twitter develop a Gifted and Talented writing collaboration between Heathfield Primary and a south coast school. We have seen a piece of writing displayed on the Year 6 blog being used by a Year 8 teacher in Hereford. These two opportunities happened within the first week of our blog being up and running. Considering that blogs take 6-12 months to establish, you have to agree – The future is bright!

4 Comments

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  1. Randy Nichols
    December 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Bill Lord
    December 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    A really inspiring post but I suspect that you underplay your role in this.

  3. John Sutton
    December 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Thanks for the positive feedback on my blog service to schools! However, I have to agree totally with Bill Lord, behind every successful school blog project lies an energetic, enthusiastic, committed and inspiring teacher, and Heathfield have found one! I’ve set up multi-user blogsites for around 30 primary schools and the successful projects have, without exception, been led by just such a teacher – I’m merely a facilitator!

  4. Pam Thompson
    December 31, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    Good luck with your journey into blogging in 2010. It seems to me that you have just the right outlook to get it all up & running efficiently and successfully. I was also impressed by Chorlton Park’s blogs & used the Year 1 blog (now the Year 2 blog) as an example to our junior primary teachers.

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