22 Nov

A week in the life of a Deputy Head

In this week’s blog, I’d like to give you an insight into what I do in my role as Deputy Head Teacher for the Springboard Project, Key Stage 5 Pathways and Future Finders. For the benefit of those who don’t know too much about me, here’s an insight into my background: I started my role in education 10 years ago by completing a PGCE at the University of Manchester. From there I took my first teaching role at Stockport Academy for 2 years, followed by 3 years at the Radclyffe School. I moved to Spring Brook School in September 2014; this was my first experience of working with SEND pupils and I loved the relationships that we were able to create with pupils and staff. Developing these strong relationships helped pupils, developed their life skills, enhanced their maturity and facilitated their attainment of various valuable qualifications to support them in their futures. Under the guidance of Ms Rodgers and Mrs Tootill I took on more responsibility which gave me the experience to be able to learn about leadership and management in education. From September 2019, I took on the role of Deputy Head Teacher of three colleges at the Medtia campus.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday

Springboard Project’s inaugural Academy Dashboard & Development Overview (ADDO). This is a meeting where the Head Teachers meet with the Executive Team, Governors and Trustees to celebrate their colleges’ achievements and discuss how they could progress to make it even better for our students. We have a made a fantastic start to the academic year at the Springboard Project and students are reaping the rewards of our new site and curriculum offer.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning saw me visit Senior Job Coach Mrs Bell and her students at the Royal Oldham Hospital. Mrs Bell’s students are part of our Bridging the Gap project and work in a variety of roles throughout the hospital. I saw Patrick working in the Laundry; taking laundry out of one of the driers, sorting and folding, and preparing the different garments to be sent to the different functions of the hospital. Dylan was working hard in one of the busiest cafés restocking the fridges ready for lunch. Cherrie was working hard in the shop restocking the shelves after cleaning and refilling the Costa Coffee machine. Nathan was working hard as pharmaceutical porter; a very important and responsible role in distributing the correct medicines around the hospital. The experiences the students are gaining from doing these roles are building their toolkits to help them become even more employable.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was working with the Teaching & Learning School and PSHCE teacher, Miss Brown of the Springboard Project, to observe a development programme for deliverers and teachers at the Medtia campus. We went to observe Moira Thompson and Margaret Lockhead at Seymour Road School on how they facilitated the programme and to learn and discuss how we could implement the programme at our schools. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to improve the learning for our colleagues.

Wednesday

I met Mrs Walton with Mr Wood to discuss how the Key Stage 5 Pathways and Future Finders operate currently and our vision for the future. Mrs Walton and I toured the college and I introduced her to many of the staff and students. We both feel that the college is a fantastic educational facility for our students but that we can make it even better for them. Exciting times ahead!

Thursday

In the morning at the Springboard Project we had a conference call with Smart Schools Council to discuss how we could use their package at our school and within the MAT. We think that this will revolutionise how our School Council runs by allowing all students to voice their opinions enabling our student voice to be heard and valued.

In the afternoon, I met with John Large, artist, designer and maker, to discuss how we could create a portable entertaining space for pupils on the Key Stage 5 Pathways. This was followed by another meeting based at the Springboard Project to discuss how we could add a more practical element to our educational offer. We discussed lots of exciting ideas and opportunities that will start being offered to our students very soon.

Friday

Mr Wood and I completed work towards the Future Finders ADDO. We compiled a portfolio about the students, their experiences and what roles they were undertaking. In the ADDO meeting we celebrated this with the Executive Team, Governors and Trustees and they were all amazed by the stories of what the students are achieving.

What a whirlwind of a week. As you can imagine, my role is very busy but the progress and achievement students are making, and the plans for the future, make it all worth it. I was delighted to receive an update from Nicola Kirkland, one of the job coaches based here at Medtia, who has been supporting two Springboard students on their work experience placement at the Atrium café at First Choice Homes..

Josh and Kien have only been working in the cafe for a few weeks but they have made such a positive impact in the short time they have been there..

Both of the lads have learnt and remembered the health, hygiene and fire safety procedures and use good manual handling techniques when moving and carrying stock and equipment..

They have been learning a number of tasks including counting and collecting the orders for Medtia’s dinners – they know how to layer the desserts and to double check the quantities..

Kien has been making hot beverages and is confident at delivering the meals to the customers..

Both lads have picked up the iPad software very quickly and are great at giving the customers the correct change..

Staff have commented on how polite Josh and Kien are when they serve them but what is most impressing is how they are both quick to volunteer without prompting, asking staff from First Choice Homes if they needed help to move some heavy furniture. We even got them to clean the tables!

Well done lads, keep up the good work.

Can I say a huge thank you to the Key Stage 5 Pathways and Future Finders staff for being so friendly and welcoming. I have learnt so much about the colleges since I’ve started working with you and your commitment to ensuring our young people progress and develop is fantastic.

To the Springboard Project team, keep up the hard work as it is already starting to pay dividends. Your enthusiasm, compassion and dynamism is helping build students into resilient, understanding and mature young people.

Now for the weekend. Swimming lessons. Football managing. Exercising. Soft Play with my boys. Who said weekends were for resting?

Mike Pidlyskyj
Deputy Head of Springboard Project, Key Stage 5 Pathways and Future Finders Employability College

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