Paul Hussey, MA:
I have been a SIP since 2007, working with many (20 to 30 in any one year) schools in Birmingham, Bedford and Milton Keynes (and with one school as a consultant head). I have worked with a variety of primary schools from those in intervention to those that are outstanding, ranging from large urban to small rural.
I retired from Headship in July 2010, from Caroline Haslett Primary (Milton Keynes). I was head there from its opening in 1992 and I have been a primary head since 1980.
I have learned so much from the schools and the enthusiastic Heads I have worked with and continue to work with as SIP. Sharing that wealth of good practice and developing my own school as a result of the stimulating reflective discussions I had with those Heads was rewarding, invigorating and resulted in better outcomes for children (including those at my own school!) I welcome the opportunity to work with you on strengthening outcomes for your children and to share with you a range of ideas, strategies and approaches that help schools to improve their children’s achievements. In that 10 years I have watched approaching 2000 lessons and part lessons, building up a stock of knowledge about excellent practice - which I am enthusiastic about sharing to improve children's life chances.
As a SIP, as well as discussing the usual (and wide ranging) SIP agenda – including that of raising standards – colleague Heads frequently venture ‘off agenda’ to talk about issues that are pressing at the time. They welcome the chance to talk openly and confidentially to someone external, a discussion with someone who may well have been in a similar situation and who listens and offers support, empathy and ideas. Often, that's the most valuable part of the SIP visit.
The recent loss, for many schools, of any external validation and encouragement is, I think, unhelpful because there are aspects of support that schools benefit from that are not available from colleague Heads, Governors or inspections.
Partnerships continue to be valuable. But serving Heads, by definition, have a limited capacity to support colleagues. A school’s own Governing Board must provide both support and strong challenge to their schools, as well as fulfilling their statutory duties. There will be times and there will be issues when neither partnerships nor Governors are the appropriate support for a school. As an experienced former Head, I am confident I can offer that support.