At The Key, we’re always keen to hear from our members about the highs and lows of their day-to-day role. This week we spoke to Brendan Hesketh, headteacher at Fairfield High School for Girls, about fieldwork, exam reform and why Man City can’t win without Yaya Toure.
A good teacher performs well, but a great teacher inspires other people to perform better. Sometimes people raise their game because they know they have other great people in their team. It’s like Man City at the moment – they can’t win seem to win without Yaya Toure.
Once, when I was an assistant head, we took on a permanently excluded pupil from another school. He was in my GCSE geography class, and I mentored him and managed to re-integrate him into school. A few years later he got in touch to say he’d qualified as a geography teacher himself, because I’d inspired him to change. That was a real reminder of the difference we can make.
The best role models I know of are my staff. They model every expectation I could possibly want for the girls in my school and more. We recently achieved flagship status for the Inclusion Quality Mark, and one of the assessors said there’s no limit to how far my staff will go to get the kids everything they need.
Once I’d accepted I wouldn’t be scoring a hat-trick in the FA cup final, I thought I might become a writer or a journalist. I like communicating with people and finding things out.
I wish someone had warned me about how quickly things change in schools for what often seem to be political reasons. It must be incredibly confusing for teachers and parents. For example, soon we'll have some kids getting grades for their GCSEs and others getting numbers, and it’ll be hard for employers to compare them.
We’ve adapted to the linear approach and introduced more examination-style testing. However, this doesn't mean we're going back to traditional, old-fashioned ways of teaching. We see it as an opportunity to review our teaching and make sure it’s as engaging and memorable as possible.
The last one I read was about the new headteachers’ standards.
Further reading to help