A Week in the Life of…Diane Bate, headteacher at The District CE Primary School

The District CE Primary School in Newton-le-Willows has a vision to create a ‘caring path to achievement’, which is at the heart of each and every child’s unique learning journey. It’s a philosophy that creates a happy and successful primary school experience, based on the school’s core values.

These values of trust, compassion, love and endurance are particularly poignant this term, as the school can finally welcome back headteacher Diane Bate from an extended sick leave. It was the tremendous support from all the staff, children and parents which gave Diane the encouragement and assurance to return to school on a part-time basis, whilst receiving daily radiotherapy treatment.

A year on from her diagnosis and now back fulltime, Diane shares a very special new start to the school term with us, as the school gears up for a busy year together.

At the start of the school week it’s really important for me to lead our whole school worship. As a Church of England school, our worship times are very important as we come together as a school family to learn about our Christian values. This term, we are focusing on Compassion. After worship on a Monday, I take the time to visit all of our classes. I especially enjoy calling into ‘Little Stars’, our provision for 2 year olds.
Monday after school is staff briefing and Continued Professional Development (CPD). This week we are focusing on planning for World Book Day as later on in the term we are having a pirate day and a special visit from author Johnny Duddle.

Today’s focus was a pupil progress meeting for one of our Year 1 classes. I am always delighted to talk about our children and their successes, and look for ways in which we can further support those who may be struggling.
As school ended today, we had a special event for parents to taste the superb quality of our school meals. Andrew the development chef from our local authority came in to cook a variety of dishes for parents and pupils to try. I am pleased to say they were really well received!

One of the most delightful aspects of the job is spending time with the children. Today was one of those days when I took special time at lunch to chat to pupils. It was especially pleasing to chat with one of our Year 6 pupils who had returned to our school after a year in another local authority. It was lovely to see how they had returned as a mature and confident pupil and once again settled well into school life.
We also had a visit from David Thorpe Senior Advisor from Liverpool Diocese. David had come to speak to my RE teaching and learning responsibility holder about delivering CPD on ‘Godly Play’ for teachers in the diocese. We are looking forward to this in the second half of the spring term.
After school I looked in at our extended services afterschool club, run by our own staff. It gives our working parents the security of knowing their children are looked after by staff who have spent time with them during the school day.

This week I accompanied our assistant heads on a learning walk of the school. Our focus this half term is on the learning and progress of those pupils who are in danger of falling behind. This is the first real opportunity I have had since returning from an extended sick leave to join them in this activity.
Our local authority surveyors visited the school to talk with me about plans to upgrade the main entrance to the school to comply with requirements. This is a really exciting development for our school as our Victorian building can look quite austere from the outside.

As it’s the end of the week, I lead KS2 celebration worship. I love being able to reward the children at the end of the week for all their hard work. It’s also a time when staff can get together to reflect on the learning that has gone on in their classes with their support staff and plan for the week ahead. This is something new this term and is in addition to planning, preparation and assessment time.

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