Tag Archives: leadership

Respect and an invitation especially for you…

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Once again I have been compelled to offer a two for the price of one reflection as I failed to complete the one I had planned for last week…

The theme for the week was respect and I believe it has 3 stages and ways of living it out in our school community.

  1. Respect for yourself – it is a fundamental thing for us to be able to love and respect ourselves and place some self-worth in what we have to offer. Perhaps at times people can go to either extreme where people believe their own “hype” – a dangerous thing – or alternatively don’t have enough self-respect or worth. Perhaps in the modern world it is easy, especially for young people growing up, to feel the pressures to conform, act or look a certain way. In essence I believe the challenge is to be comfortable in our own skin and to be proud in who we are.
  2. Respect for others – if we can live our lives by showing respect to others I believe we will find that we will be intrinsically happier. We can find joy by building others up and not knocking them down, some of the happiest and most inspiring people I have met have lived selflessly by doing right by others each and every day.
  3. Respect for God – as Christians our respect for God underpins all of this. The example of Jesus lives out a true respect for Himself and all those He met, especially those on the margins of society. If we accept that God is the source of all love we can find ways each day to respect God and be grateful for all that we have in our lives – friends, family, food, housing or an education – perhaps the basic foundations of our lives that we take for granted.

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This week we are reflecting on the theme of invitation and there may be a seamless link to the week before… God loves, cherishes and respects all of us and has created us for a “definite service” and purpose. We are called to become the person that God has created us to be and one of life’s joys is discovering and exploring this every step of the way.

We are invited to;

  • Live life to the full
  • Love one another as God loves us
  • Be full of light, life and hope
  • Build people up and inspire them
  • Bring people closer to God
  • Lead with passion, integrity and faith

If we can do these things I am confident we will be happier, more fulfilled and have deeper relationships with one another and with God.

I feel blessed to lead and live in a community of faith at our school. The work we do has a deeper meaning in that we are not just ticking along, clocking in and out, but in fact doing something that has a far deeper meaning purpose…

As a Christian community we are challenged to simply build up the Kingdom of God in small ways each and every day. If we can do this we must be doing something right.

Have a great week and half term when it comes.

God bless.

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Are you willing to make a sacrifice?

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Teaching and education for me is more than just a job, it is a vocation. We are called to make a deep level of commitment to doing something of purpose in our lives. I am truly grateful for the opportunity each day to live out faith in some small way.

In the Gospel this week Jesus said, “God loved the world so much he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believed in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life.” We know that this went on to demonstrate Jesus’ humanity in his suffering and death and then triumph in the resurrection – at the heart of the Christian message of light and hope.

We are challenged to live this out in some way in the world we live in today. So a few questions worth considering;

  1. How do we offer a message of light and hope in the world around us and here at St Paul’s?
  2. What can we do to show faith in our lives in the way we live, breath and act in the world?
  3. How can we trust God to guide and lead us in the right direction?

The theme of “loyalty” this week helps us to think about how we can support and care for one another, at times this may be trying to put others before our self-interest. We also can reflect on loyalty as a community as we recognise that “we stand stronger together.” As a proud Scottish family I hope this may be a theme we see emerge in this historic week.

I hope we can pray this week that by doing what we do we can all gain a deep-rooted fulfilment in our lives. Let’s also pause for a moment and give thanks for friends, family and colleagues who make it all possible. Perhaps students don’t realise how lucky they really are!

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Time in the helicopter not on the express train…

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A reflection of our College Leadership Team Away Day – January 2014

It’s a busy life for everyone in school.  Thankfully at St Paul’s we are not summoned by bells, but the pace is very fast, and every day is action-packed.    And there is sometimes a risk that in dealing with all the day-to-day stuff we lose sight of the big picture.  That is why Inset days, learning communities, staff meetings and so on are so important – they give us a little bit of breathing space to sit back and reflect on what we are all here for and, hopefully, they re-energise and inspire us.

Being on the College Leadership Team is no different.  We meet every Monday after school and every Wednesday before school but, inevitably, much of this time is spent discussing what is happening now, and planning for things coming up later this week, this term or maybe this year.   It’s a bit like being on a steam train, speeding through the landscape – full of energy and purpose and with a clear sense of direction.  But it’s good to stop now and again to get in a helicopter to check the lie of the land – especially to check we are on the right track!

So that’s what we did on 21st January.  Not in a real helicopter, obviously, but we did go offsite away from the phones, emails and knocks on the door.  We started the day, as we start all our meetings, with a moment of prayer and reflection, then the first item on the agenda (as it usually is) concerned learning and teaching.  There is much to celebrate about everything we are doing here, including the impact of our new Learning Strategy Team.  Our key focus this term is on assessment, but looking ahead we would like to do more with supporting staff through the current changes in the curriculum, engaging parents and creating a love of learning in all our students.

We also reviewed our activities as the lead school in the Inspire Teaching School Alliance.  There are six main areas of focus for teaching schools (the “Big Six”) and we have made great progress in five of them since our designation last April: ITT, CPD, Raising Achievement, Leadership Development and appointing SLEs.  However we haven’t got as far yet with the sixth area, Research, so this will be a focus for future development.

And we wouldn’t be an outstanding school without outstanding staff, so we always spend time on awaydays looking at how we can best support, nurture and develop all our staff.  This includes looking at succession planning and providing opportunities for professional development, as well as taking account of curriculum developments and the practicalities of growing student numbers, Y9 options and 6th form choices.  We also want to use Pupil Premium funding to create more capacity to provide targeted support for relevant students.

And, of course, our students are what we are all here for, so we spend a lot of time talking about them!  Whilst we want them all to do the best they possibly can in their exams, we recognise that learning, achieving their potential, and life in general at St Paul’s is so much more than that.  So we are looking at ways of recording and recognising that breadth and depth of experience and achievement.     More news on this to follow later in the year!

So helicopter back on the pad, and us back on the train – but with some new insights and ideas in our luggage.   We’ll be unpacking them in the weeks and months ahead!

Laurie Perry

Director of Support Services

Twitter @SBMStPauls