Phil Daniels, headteacher at Springwood Heath Primary School

Phil Daniels, headteacher at Springwood Heath Primary School

Like most headteachers, my week starts on Sunday. I produce notes for staff because I don’t like holding Monday morning meetings.
I share them with my deputy and then email them to staff so they can then spend Monday morning preparing or chatting about their weekends.
I prepare an assembly too because that’s how I begin the week in school.

I spend the morning with the admin officer or business manager and associate headteacher. We share diaries and talk about any staffing issues, forthcoming meetings, staff development that’s going to happen and the effect it’s going to have. It’s a management meeting as opposed to a leadership meeting.
I also hold an assembly with the whole school and it has a well-worn format where I tell the children a story. It’s usually about something we’re thinking about during the week or something that’s happened the week before so the children can relate to a real situation. It could be to awaken their curiosity, make them reflect on something, or to remember something and it’s a part of the week that I know the children look forward to.
On Monday afternoon I pop into classrooms, seeing children working and seeing what’s on display.

It’s a monitoring morning. Depending on what’s happening it could be a lesson observation, discussions with staff about performance management or progress, a look at children’s books, talking to children about what they’re doing, or just sitting in the classroom while children are working.
In the afternoon I try to fit in governors’ business, so there might be meetings about curriculum or building issues – this is a PFI (private finance initiative) school which sees private companies carry out construction and maintenance work, so there may be issues to be dealt with in relation to the maintenance managers of the school.
I regularly visit the dining room at lunch time, talking to children about their dinner and good eating habits, table manners and anything that crops into mind about healthy eating. If I’m really fortunate the cook finds me a bowl of fruit salad. She makes the best fruit salad in Liverpool, and towards the end of lunch I often sit with a group of Year 6s to eat it.

I go into Liverpool Learning Partnership mode. The associate head takes over and I attend a meeting with the partnership’s executive board or one of its strategic groups. As a CEO my role involves leading partnership activity, promoting the partnership to different organisations and making sure schools have their priorities promoted across the city and nationally.
Arriving back at school, I pick up any issues from the associate head. It’s also time to prepare for a meeting after school.

I keep Thursday mornings as free as possible because, usually every fortnight, the local heads meet. As a member of their steering group I like to keep in touch with schools across the city and share what’s going on at Springwood. It’s a great opportunity to network and find out about resources and services that are available.
Thursday afternoon is, again, spent catching up on events. It’s a time when my admin staff can make appointments with parents, reps, and people who want to look around or use school facilities.

In the morning we have an achievement assembly. We look at starred work from each class, and children talk about something they’ve been proud of during the week. Then we present the Springwood Star Award to two pupils from each year and they get a red, green, yellow or blue badge.
The rest of Friday is catching up, planning for the next week and in the afternoon we have golden story time. If I’m free I’ll read a story to a group of children who have won the right to come to golden story time as a reward. It’s a lovely way to end the week.

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