We could be heroes #magicweaving 

A member of my staff was visibly upset last week by death of David Bowie and this week by the guitarist, Glenn Frey of the well known American band the Eagles. 

Being a child of the 80s, I have vague recollections of David Bowie’s interesting attire on Top of the Pops and a rumour of playing the Eagles tracks backwards to hear encrypted messages. 

It is strange how death can shock us even when we do not know the person on a personal level. I know many who dug out the vinyl records and took time out to reminist over recent days.

David Bowie may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me the line we could be heroes from the song Heroes has resonated with me since hearing the news. 

I wrote a piece a while back hero or hero maker and again I am reminded that as a school leader we need to encourage our staff to be the heroes…even just for one day. 

Teachers are the king or queen of their classroom kingdom and with this position comes responsibility beyond coronation. 

Maybe our school colleagues may never feature on MTV (top of the pops is so last century!) but they will be etched in the memories of their pupils. 

I had a teacher in secondary school, who had a passion for two subjects History and PE. His love of History inspired me to have a subject specialism in the area and to teach it with conviction. He was my form teacher, he showed care …mainly through quick witted humour and defused many tricky discipline issues with the skill of a stateman. He respected us as his pupils and in doing do gained our respect. 

Interestingly, he shared his name with Bryan Adams though spelt differently, the pop star who had a number one with Everything I do… I do it for you…which stayed at number one for 16 consecutive weeks. I’m not sure Mr Adam’s mentra was the same but for me that’s often how it felt. 

I heard he retired recently, in my mind he will always be an educational hero of mine. He inspired me to work hard, he taught  me to play fair and expected me to do well.

As teachers you can leave a legacy in your kingdom. Make sure your pupils remember you for the right reasons.

We could be heroes…

I’m adding the #magicweavers – after listening to Sir John Jones at the Lisburn Principals association conference. Maybe you will seek out your hero or magic weaver…

Stepping Stones Unconference #nieyfs 

After a quick coffee with the lovely @pamelalamela. We decided that a huge area of continuing professional development opportunities were focused on the upper school years. 

Nursery and Foundation stage teachers were often neglected in training or had a small slice of the stage at Teachmeets. So alas without even thinking too hard we had an idea. 

And so … After a cappuccino and a steamed milk the Stepping Stones unconference was born. 

Unconference in that you won’t sit in any one room, it’s not in a posh hotel and we hope teachers will talk, make something, explore and network when they are there. 

It’s in the mid afternoon so allow those who teach nursery full time or foundation to come along without the requirement for cover. 

Seaview Primary School is hosting, so a warm welcome, a few display ideas to creatively borrow and a cup of tea or coffee will be provided. 


We selected people to speak…who are in our opinion great presenters who are passionate about their subject area. 

The first 50 tickets went within 24 hours. Hopefully this highlights the need and desire for collaborative opportunities for teachers to grow in their professional practice.

If you haven’t got a ticket but would like to come sign up here – if we run out of tickets request a place on the waiting list at nieyfs@gmail.com 

Thank you to Cool for School photography for their catering sponsorship. 

The New Year Hangover

You may have woke up this morning trying to piece together the night before. Your head my hurt and you may feel a slight sickness doing the rumba in your stomach occasionally becoming like volcanic ash in your mouth.


I was driving last night…physically I felt fine…but my mind told me different…when I awoke my first thought this morning was school. 

Suddenly, my head hurt thinking of the ‘to do list’ and my stomach was not doing the rumba but the more vigorous flamenco. 

The New Year hangover hit me and the penny dropped. School starts Monday. As I lay there fretting, I realised I have perhaps set impossible goals for myself during the past year. 

Last year, I was tough for me for a variety of reasons. It was mainly because I moved jobs, going from leading a school of 150 to a school of 430. I loved my previous school, it was like leaving my family or putting a child up for a adoption… It was a hard decision. But I knew it was time to go. I had achieved all that I could and I knew someone fresh could move it further forward. 

My new charge presented many challenges – many of them created by myself! 

I look at the children in my care and think of my own. I am the school mummy – I can make or break the future for children in my care. The thought and responsibility I have, is at times overwhelming. 

In my last school, partly due to it’s  size, I knew everything about every child. In my new school, I’ve nearly exhausted myself trying to replicate these high goals. I want each child in my school to know they matter. I want them to know I care. I want them to achieve their potential. 

Before Christmas, I wrote every child in school a Christmas Card. I made it my business to tell as many children that they were good or great. I tried to speak to every parent or grandparent that attended our Christmas festivities to them something positive about their child. 

I want the same relationships with my pupils, my staff and my parents that I enjoyed in my last school. I know I’m getting there and look forward to doing more community based activities in the new term. 

Lying in bed, I realised my good is never good enough. I am my own worst enemy at times – I give myself work! I know I need to address my expectations of my performance. 

So as I think about resolutions for 2016. I have to catch sight of myself, I need to focus more on my family  and friends. Most importantly I need learn to accept that I can only do my best and hope it is good enough. 

Maybe next years hangover won’t be so bad if I do.