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So much has been going on this week that I’m a little bit spoilt for choice with themes for the Headteacher’s blog.

Saturday’s fireworks event was truly magical. It doesn’t get much better than listening to ‘Black Gold of the Sun’ whilst watching the school community soaking up the festival atmosphere – on such an unseasonably warm evening.

But there again, this week’s Harvest Celebrations were every bit as special. I don’t think our children have ever sung with so much enthusiasm, energy and joy. The Soup Share event on Wednesday was another highlight. I can’t think of a better way to end the school day.

However, amongst all this excitement, I thought I’d start off with this week’s announcement from Ofsted…

On Thursday morning, Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman announced that Ofsted would no longer just be basing inspection outcomes on exam results in reading, writing and maths, but instead would be focusing on the breadth of subjects taught. “For a long time, our inspections have looked hardest at outcomes, placing too much weight on test and exam results.” Halleluiah!

It’s just over a year since our lead inspector declined to consider the work we do at Highgate Primary to promote, amongst other things, the arts, languages, music, science and sport. I blogged on this at the time – and vowed to stick to my guns and wait for common sense to prevail. It’s just rather depressing that it takes the first non-teaching Chief Inspector to point out the bleeding obvious. For the first time in my career, I’m looking forward to our next inspection.

It was also nice this week to receive an endorsement with regard to the work we are doing at school from someone whose opinions on education really matter. On Friday, Professor Robert Winston was our guest, delivering a brilliant science lecture on gravity, atmospheric pressure and air resistance. Unsurprisingly, his talk was captivating – inspiring children and staff in equal measure.

The thing that impressed me most was Robert’s genuine interest in how we approach the job of educating our children at Highgate Primary. After the lecture, he spent over an hour talking to children and staff in classrooms, asked questions about pretty much everything and gained an understanding of what we do that extended much further than that of our Ofsted Inspector. And he didn’t ask about our SATs results.

He said that primary education should be about shaping attitudes, generating excitement for learning and getting children asking questions, because if we get this right, everything that comes afterwards will fall into place.

And our children didn’t let us down. At the end of the lecture he asked whether anyone would like to ask a question. Courtney’s hand went up straight away. ‘Why do we have gravity?’, she asked.

I sensed Professor Winston was impressed.


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