A Week in the Life of… Ken Heaton, headteacher at Florence Melly Community Primary School.
Florence Melly Community Primary School in Liverpool has a vision to ensure each and every child reaches their potential and has as many opportunities in life as possible. Headteacher Ken Heaton attended the school for seven years as a child and brings years of experience to the role, which includes setting up education centres in Everton and Liverpool football clubs and leading the National Year of Reading for the city in 2008. With an ex-pupil at the helm who describes it as his ‘dream job’, we spoke to Ken about his working week and what makes Florence Melly so special.
On most days I am in school from 7.45am until 5.45pm. However, that is not the end of my working day! Taking on the headship of a school in ‘Requires Improvement’ means working at home each night for at least another three hours. My diary is full of a wide range of planned activities and meetings focused on moving the school forward. Every week is different but whatever is happening, the children always come first. Every morning I call in to the breakfast club where over 120 children are given a free breakfast served by our superb support staff.
Assembly is always a fantastic way to start the school day and today was special as I got to thank all the children and staff for the excellent newsletter which was full of exciting events in school. A special Samba performance by Year 4 was a particular highlight as it was great to see a hall full of appreciative parents. Later on in the day, I had a learning walk with the English and maths subject leaders focused on the need to develop greater consistency. By late afternoon, this is usually the time I spend meeting with parents and today I have three scheduled in.
I have been immensely proud seeing our children perform superbly in nativity plays and Christmas productions, which this year included Aladdin and Babushka, and watching our superb choir and orchestra performing to all of our parents! Many years ago I was in the Flo Melly School Choir myself and it’s a great pleasure to join in with the children singing joyful songs and discussing music with our instrumentalists. Today we had an important staff meeting focused on the preparation for meeting with the school improvement partner and the maths and English lead officers.
The day starts with a fantastic performance of Snowman at Sunset by the reception children. Parents are really happy. I get to observe learning every day and today is no different; I love talking to our children about their performance. My days are a balance between school activities and meetings, and today I meet with the chair of governors, business manager and colleagues. Being the boss of a large primary school of 453 pupils requires detailed preparation for a number of challenging meetings perhaps with human resources (HR) on staffing issues, or inspectors or school improvement partners on learning and achievement. I also have to performance manage our teachers and this week has been really positive. I really enjoy giving feedback and advice to our teachers who teach with so much confidence and enthusiasm.
The afternoon nursery nativity was yet another outstanding performance – the children are amazing and so funny! I also meet one of our pupils who has made a miraculous recovery after a serious accident. She is inspirational and I present her with a card and gift from school. Near the end of the day I clear and respond to the day’s 100 office emails and urgent phone calls, before leaving for home. This job is full-on and very demanding, ensuring we do everything we can for every child in our school, but it is intensely rewarding and so much fun working with children who brighten up every day. It has been a week full of amazing achievements by our fabulous pupils.