Head Teacher Of The Week: Jo Corrigan, Eastlands Primary School

Published: April 21, 2014

This week, we head over to Rugby in the West Midlands for our Head Teacher of the Week. Jo Corrigan (back, far left in our picture, with Year 6 children celebrating winning the Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award at the BBC),  regularly receives comments about how good Eastlands Primary School’s website is. So, we’ve picked her brain about technology, Ofsted in schools and what it takes to be a great teacher…

Why did you choose to become a Headteacher?
As a child I never spoke about being a teacher but being a headteacher.  I have been inspired by my own teachers and realised it was such a privilege position to be in.

How important is technology in improving learning outcomes?

The children we currently teach have grown up with a wide range of technology and I am sure new technologies will emerge in the future which they will require in the career paths they choose.

What are you tips for preparing for Ofsted?

Clearly being prepared for Ofsted is very important and there is lots of documentation provided to support this. However, as a school we have never done things just to satisfy Ofsted. We believe in providing a high quality education for our children and are always looking to improve.

How do you motivate your staff?

By proving to them that the outcomes for the children make all of the hard work worthwhile.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date is getting through an extremely challenging first year as a headteacher and receiving external validation that I had made a positive impact on the outcomes for the children at my school. This enables me to focus on the creation of exciting teaching and learning resources for e-safety with a group of children in my school which have received national and intonation all awards.

What do you think makes a great teacher?

A great teacher understands that children only get one chance at education and that a great deal of trust is put in their professionalism to get it right.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Keeping up with the amount of changes taking place and the short timescale provided to implement them.

Head Teacher Of The Week: Azita Zohhadi, Nelson Mandela School

Category: Breaking News

Published: April 14, 2014

This week’s Head Teacher of the Week is Azita Zohhadi, of Nelson Mandela School, Birmingham. As we discovered, becoming a highly-regarded school in your area starts with having a great leader…

Why did you get into teaching?
I loved going to school when I was younger and my favourite game as a child was being a teacher. I used to make my own register and plan lessons for my toys, teddy bears and younger sister! My mum was a teacher and my grandparents were Heads of schools in Iran so I think it must be in my blood too!
What do you think  makes a good leader?
A good leader to me is someone who can empower others and move people forward without needing to be the person at the front. A good leader needs to see things from many perspectives and needs to recognise that you need to work with others as you do not have all of the answers.

How important is technology in improving learning outcomes?
Technology is incredibly important as it can support children in so many ways and it can bring the outside world and the knowledge of the world into the classroom.
What are your tips for preparing for Ofsted?
Make sure your website is welcoming and up to date as this is the first place Ofsted look prior to a visit. Then all of the obvious – know your school and sell it!
What tips would you give to other senior leaders who aspire to becoming a head teacher?
Get involved in all aspects of school life, do as many whole school projects as you can to drive forward school improvement and making sure that you are well read and up to date with local and national educational issues.
How do you motivate and manage your staff?
You’ll need to ask them that! Hopefully by continuing to value them and caring for their well-being. Also by providing a stimulating place to work and giving them the opportunities to develop their roles within the school.
What do you think makes a great teacher?
A great teacher is someone who feels passionately about improving children’s life chances and a person who thinks carefully about all interactions with children so that they get the best from them. A great teacher needs to be caring, approachable and fair.
How do you feel education is changing?
I think schools have to make more links with each other and share things more. We feel far more of a collective responsibility to support children no matter which school they may be attending. This is a good thing.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
My biggest challenge at the moment is the economy and the knock on effects on our budget. Cost are going up and there are far more services that we have to buy into which used to be provided for us.
Think you or your Head Teacher deserve to be our Head Teacher of the Week? Email us – info@webanywhere.co.uk – and tell us why!

Head Teacher Of The Week: Roy Hepplestone, Whitehill Community Academy

Category: Breaking News

Published: April 7, 2014

This week, we are introducing a brand new weekly blog post: Head Teacher of the Week. Each Monday, we’ll profile a head teacher from an influential primary school, finding out their knowledge, experiences and passing on their tips for others. Our first Head Teacher of the Week is Roy Hepplestone, of Whitehill Community Academy, Halifax, West Yorkshire.

“Being a head teacher is the best job in the world,” says Whitehill Academy’s Roy Hepplestone (pictured above). With 19 years’ experience, Roy is suitably qualified to make such a judgement.
It’s this passion for the job and his commitment to Whitehill Academy that has made the school not just a teaching school, but winner of the Investor In People Gold award this year. “Relationships are key,” says Roy. “We are a very supportive team. The Whitehill ethos and team spirit has seen us through the hard times.”
The ‘can do’ culture is also important at Whitehill, and it has helped them become an over-subscribed school. Enjoying the support of the local community, Roy says making a difference to children’s lives is what makes it all worthwhile. “Commitment, drive and knowing the children is what makes a great teacher,” says Roy.

When it comes to technology, Whitehill is one of the most forward-thinking establishments we’ve ever worked with. “Technology is a vital tool to ensure that schools, academies and organisations run effectively. We have always placed ICT as a major driver within the curriculum and also throughout the Whitehill Academy MAT,” comments Roy.
Finally, Roy believes a good leader needs to be able to listen, build effective teams, be a good communicator, develop relationships, nurture talent and take risks. “Stay at the forefront of new developments, communicate early, always aim high… And enjoy!” he says. From a head teacher who’s seen his school gain an Outstanding Ofsted, and become an Academy, a National Leader and achieve Teaching School status, this is sound advice.
Find out more about Whitehill Community Academy here.