Appointing a committed, intelligent, and enthusiastic Head of Maths is my everyday focus. If you get the right person in the role, then the Principal and National Lead of Maths at a Trust are at ease. A lot of this seems like common sense but what gets forgotten is that it’s hard for any prospective candidate to know if your school is right for them. The fit has to go both ways.
I’m incredibly passionate about one school, Ernulf Academy in St Neots, and we are searching for a Head of Maths.
At Astrea, my remit includes four schools in Cambridgeshire, each having its own set of distinctive priorities. I began my journey working with Ernulf Academy. A journey that was supposed to be three weeks in March 2021 became one where I’m an established member of the Department three days a week into this current academic year. This post is to give you an insight into the magical maths department at Ernulf Academy. A school that I would love to be a Head of Maths. A school where we want a phenomenal Head of Maths. Could that be you?
Ernulf Academy is full of potential. An exciting place to be with a visionary and open-minded Principal, driven SLT, welcoming staff and the loveliest children. But why is Ernulf Academy a unique place relative to the schools in the local area or your area?
Here are three of the many reasons.
Adopting a super team!
A prospective Head of Maths would be working with a Maths team eager to learn, adapt their practice and are pumped to talk all things Maths. We have experienced members of staff as well as ECTs (Early Career Teachers) who all are enthusiastic about becoming the best teacher they can be. The dynamic is an open-minded, transparent, and candid one. We watch each other teach, and that’s a regular thing. ECTs observe established members of staff and equally the other way. We can learn from each other, and there isn’t a member of team who behaves with hubris.
The anecdotes to choose from are many, but I here are a few. One member of staff inquired if I’d be teaching any lessons for him so he could observe. I wasn’t, but I offered to teach his next lesson for him to watch. I emailed the Department, and three members also joined in observing. This was possible because of our systems. Next section.
One ECT has me observing in her room frequently – upon her request! There are times she asks me to jump in on delivering a few worked examples to watch. I love when she does this because she is honest about wanting support. Her teacher quality has catalysed this year as a result of our co-teaching.
In summary, the Department is keen to learn. They jump at any CPD opportunity within the school and outside of school hours. We have multiple teachers running the UK Maths Challenge Club and seeking to go on university trips with their classes.
Visionary and open-minded Principal
The changes that I’ve implemented in the school were only possible because the Principal trusted my choices, questioned and listened to me when there were doubts, and stood by the maths team and me all the way.
Raising standards did come with an initial backlash, but we persisted and supported each other. Working with Avin Bissoo, where he is open-minded, trusting, and a great communicator has heavily contributed to the sustained changes.
The number of suggestions accepted on the first hearing is equal to the questioned recommendations – requiring persuasion and compromise. Upon reflection, I wouldn’t want it any other way. He regularly refers to his school as our school with Trust members because we row together.
Our work-smart and systems-based Department
Last academic year, the Department went through a profound transition.
Before, the systems weren’t necessarily inadequate, but it created a great range in teacher quality delivery across the Department. The previous systems had inadvertent second-order consequences such as significant teacher workload, inefficient systems, and unnecessary bureaucracy.
We now work smart.
We are a cohesive team where each teacher, regardless of experience, can teach the subject to a high and consistent quality. We teach from the same booklets, rehearse how to teach procedures’ most effective teaching methods, and use mini whiteboards for AfL.
We all use the school behaviour system.
We are a consistent team. The degrees in which teachers vary are right: their teacher personality in the room and the pace at which they proceed through the curriculum. The latter means that teachers with less knowledgeable pupils can spend more time ensuring pupils master taught concepts than their more knowledgeable pupils. The latter consolidate the basics before moving on. All pupils across the attainment spectrum learn all parts of the booklets – they vary in pace.
Ernulf Academy has come far, but we aren’t complacent. We know the road ahead of us and what our priorities are. We want to find a Head of Maths who wants to work with us, bring great ideas, and sustain the systems we have put in place. Systems that are shared with some of the top-performing Maths departments across the country.
However, the Head of Maths we are looking for needs to be a thinker, reader, work smart and be an excellent decision-maker. Somebody who learns from other successful schools and implements and sustains excellent practice. Somebody prioritises training the Department in teaching better through rehearsal, low-stake observation, co-teaching and frequent feedback.
Are you the Head of Maths we are describing?
If so, then come and visit. Our doors are open. Watch our maths teachers teach. Watch our pupils learn.
Here are the links to apply. Application Deadline 03/10/2021. Please do reach out to me via DM if you’d like to know more about the role, and the school.