A Week in the Life of… Karen Hutchings, headteacher at New Park Primary School
Headteacher Karen Hutchings has a vision to ensure that all pupils are safe, loved and learning at New Park Primary School in Liverpool. An ethos which the school lives and breathes, according to their Outstanding Ofsted status. So it’s no surprise that the school was recently shortlisted for two TES Schools Awards in the highly coveted Primary School of the Year and Headteacher of the Year categories. We spoke to Karen about her busy working week and the school’s uncompromising drive for excellence.
Monday morning started with a reception parents letter and sounds workshop. I attended this as the headteacher and as a parent, as my daughter is in reception at New Park. This was very beneficial for all the parents who attended, as learning about phonics is the stepping-stone to reading. I am very passionate about children reading for enjoyment at school and at home and this was very much in my thought process when planning the design of our school library. The children in Year 5 also had bike ability training, which was lots of fun!
I met with the assessment working party all morning discussing the evolving picture of assessing without levels at our school. My afternoon was spent at another school that New Park is working in partnership with to assist them in their development.
We also had our weekly Open the Book assembly today, where members from the local church come into school to lead workshops based on the teachings of the Bible.
My day started in a meeting with the inclusion officer from the local authority to discuss the admission of new children into our behaviour modification programme (G2BG). Elsewhere, it was a very sporty day at New Park today – some of our girls in Years 5 and 6 attended the Liverpool School Sports Partnership (LSSP) volleyball tournament and children from Years 4 and 5 took part in a multi skills event. In the afternoon I watched the Year 4 children perform a special guitar concert in the hall based on what they have been learning all year. We are so proud of all our pupils at New Park Primary School as they always give 100% commitment and dedication in all they do.
We had lots of teachers from other schools visiting us today to observe outstanding practice. They then had the opportunity to meet with my teachers to discuss and share the daily practice that happens at New Park. We also had our final reading workshop for parents; this has been a very successful initiative as they are now trained to become volunteer readers in school. As I am the safeguarding lead co-ordinator I attended a child protection conference, which lasted all afternoon.
Our KS2 choir paid their weekly visit to Notre Dame High School where they joined children from many other schools as part of the ‘Resonate Singers’. This is a fantastic opportunity for the children as they are developing their vocal ability as well as taking part in live performances.
This morning started with me waving the reception children off as they visited Tesco, Old Swan to learn about the Farm to Fork programme. They really enjoyed themselves and were allowed to use the tills! Friday afternoon the teachers had their weekly Team New Park meeting to discuss our current planning format and how we can take it forward. Our Team New Park meetings give my staff an opportunity to share good practice and moderate on a weekly basis. It is also the time when we celebrate the achievements of our children in assembly. There are certificates and prizes for pupil of the week, attendance and class dojo champion. Each class teacher nominates a pupil of the week and it can be awarded to a child for a variety of reasons: good manners and behavior, an amazing piece of work, being a kind friend or their attitude to learning. After assembly I had a leadership team meeting to discuss the agenda and diary for the forthcoming week.