Primary schoolchildren in the class

Secret Teacher: The hours spent writing up action plans in schools is time wasted
This period between the Easter/Spring break up to around June is, for me, the golden period in a primary school. Relationships within classes are usually at their most settled as the classes and their teachers have a strong understanding of each other and the routines of each other. Behaviour management at this point in the year usually becomes more straight forward as all the players involved know each inside out at this point. In theory this would continue to the end of the year. However, we find that by June the tiredness starts to creep in from both staff and kids as we all start to look ahead to the following year. Teachers start mentally preparing for their next class or role and start the planning for this in their head. Children start trying to guess who their next teacher is going to be. If they are in a smaller school there is a strong chance their class will be changed as they move between composite classes. Excitement and trepidation about who is going to be in their class next year creep into their interactions with each other as some children get upset thinking their friend won’t be in the class next year or perhaps someone they previously didn’t like in the class is going to be with them again. This uncertainty usually leads to a slightly more difficult end to the year meaning sadly, June isn’t all sports days and school trips. From a school staff point of view, this term is the one where conversations with management start to drift ahead to next year – not only your new class or role, but the school improvement plan. Staff meetings around this tend to do two things, start to think about next years priorities, while trying to frantically tick off everything we said we would do to complete this year’s school improvement plan. As part of discussions about the school improvement plan, I have noticed that in recent years, accreditations are becoming a bigger draw for schools to work towards. These are awards given by an external body recognising that your school has met some higher standard for an area. The first big one, that most school felt they had to complete was the ‘Eco-Schools Green Flag’ award. For those readers who don’t come from a school setting and are unaware of what this is, this is an accreditation scheme run by Keep Scotland Beautiful and aims to improve the sustainability of schools and their communities. The process to earn a Green Flag involves having an Eco committee or pupil leaders, creating an action plan and then evidencing said action plan has been completed. There is usually a reflection part as well where you consider your next steps. Accreditations have exploded over the last 5-10 years with you being able to get accredited for all manner of things. A focus on children’s rights? UNICEF have a Right Respecting School award. Embracing digital technology? There’s a Digital School Scotland award. Does your school try to provide quality PE and physical activity opportunities? SportScotland’s Gold School of Sport award is for you!

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