Friday 27 January 2023 and the BBC announced on the radio this morning that I needed to find an hour over the next 3 days to have a look out for the birds in my back yard. Below is the full RSPB announcement together with a link to their webpage.
Big Garden Birdwatch long weekend is here! There’s still time to sign-up and take part. Just spend one hour between Friday 27 and Sunday 29 January counting the birds, and help monitor how birds are faring. It’s free, fun and a great way to keep an eye on your local wildlife. Wherever you are, whatever you see, it counts!
I’ll add my findings at the close of Sunday, but in the first look out of the Head’s office window today (it was just after first break) over 100 seagulls and 2 Red kites had landed to clear the yard of the discarded Bacon rolls and other breakfast snacks vended through the canteen.Not that I am going to inform the RSPB of this school yard survey, I am mindful that the numbers could be down, because our avian friends have been facing a similar viral epidemic against which they have little resistance, without the help of face masks, hand sanitisers and vaccinations. Whilst I jest really, this is a serous matter and I have my fingers crossed that despite the frost and cold, the song birds do make a decent showing over the Birdwatch period.
Data, Teaching and Relationships are three critical Schoolwatch features that assist me in judging the health, vitality and optimism in my school at this time. We’ve just had to complete both the DfE and ISC census figures, conjoined to ensure our sector is able to get the very best data set to compare contrast and inform its plans for the future. Providing the data is mandatory, and it is pretty granular too, providing bags of evidence to check the 2 sectors against each other, as well as to provide for some useful in-house comparisons. I’ll report back on the census information once it is published in some months time, though I am pretty confident it will show our school in a very good light once more, for the sheer breadth of the provision and services we offer, at a remarkably cost-effective price for a school of such serious, professional standing.
Next week for 10 days is Teacherwatch in our school, with every teacher observing another teacher’s lesson and then giving them feedback on same in swift measure. Of course the observation will have a focus, and there will be good, bad and interesting things seen. To say that my colleagues are excited about it is perhaps stretching the concept, but actually that’s pretty close to the mark – we honestly love teaching and talking about it, and sparing the time to feedback to a colleague in a manic period of 8/9 days when everyone is doing the same will generate a high degree of professional advancement for many if not all. We might have some glitches along the way, and some missed opportunities, but recalling eggs and shells, let’s bring it on!!!
The worst thing about winter for everyone is that, apart from Christmas, the season can get you down. We’ve just waved cheerio to Blue Monday last week, allegedly when individuals in the Northern Hemisphere are at their lowest ebb. Good news of course, because the next Blue Monday is 350+ days away and we have the lengthening days, the lighter mornings & evenings and the sights and sounds of spring to cheer us up. One of the most important tricks in the successful teacher’s hand is to use ruthless and relentless optimism whist children are in their care. “What could possibly go wrong” I am heard to call out at the start of the school day, and verily whilst almost anything could the vast majority of the cogs in the complex wheel of school whirr by without a hiccup. Why even the latest meteorite has just passed us cleanly by “Asteroid 2023 BU: Space rock passes closer than some satellites” without fuss!
To close, schools may be all about work and progress, but actually our institutions are all about building great relationships, created in their best form when individuals know their purpose, understand the key principles of life being a team game, and for the young people in our care, knowing they can enjoy their childhood too. Yes, I am definitely ‘done with January, ‘calling for February’, and in the meantime looking for every sign of a warming of the environment to encourage our bulbs to flower, and perhaps even more importantly, to feel the cockles of our hearts warming too.
And if course my prose hasn’t helped you, here’s a poem, Joy of the Fireplace by Yorkshire Prose that will surely do the trick! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDmXEc1lKDk