Preparing for the GDPR: what you need to think about

Guest blog from Fergal Roche:

“Fergal Roche is the Chief Executive of The Key, a company that provides trusted leadership and management support to over 40% of the schools in England and Wales.

Through his work regularly visiting and engaging with some of The Key’s 100,000 members, he has great insight into the world of school leadership and the issues affecting school leaders and governors today. 

He has been headteacher/principal of three schools and currently chairs the board of a multi-academy trust in Guildford.

He holds a BA (QTS) from Exeter University, an MA from the Open University and an MBA from Nottingham University.

Fergal is passionately committed to supporting schools in delivering better outcomes for children and young people. In 2007 he joined Ten Group to set up The Key and realise his vision of a service that would enable school leaders to run their schools with increased confidence, knowledge and capacity.”


Preparing for the GDPR: what you need to think about

It’s now only a few short months before the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force.  From 25 May 2018, the new regulations will affect the way schools process people’s personal data, with the aim of ensuring sensitive data is kept safe and secure.  It’s similar to the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 in many ways – most of the differences involve the GDPR building on or strengthening these principles. If you’re compliant with the DPA now, you’ll be compliant with much of the GDPR already.

If you haven’t already started looking into what you need to do to prepare, there are lots of resources available online to help you quickly get up to speed. Cutting the requirements down into timely and achievable objectives is the simplest way to tackle it – our GDPR roadmap is an example of how you could break down the key milestones.

There are a number of things to think about, but broadly speaking, kick-starting the process with an audit to map out the personal data your school holds, where it came from, and what you do with it, is the first step.  Collating this information aligned against the 6 lawful bases laid out in the new regulations will help you quickly see which areas you’re already compliant in, and where you need to focus your efforts. Doing this will also help you to establish a record of your data processing activities, which you can maintain going forward. It will also enable you to update your privacy notices, to ensure these are compliant. Make sure they are in clear, plain language – especially those that refer to children’s data, so that a child can understand them.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle in these early stages is to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who must be in place by the time the regulation comes into force. Your DPO will be someone in your school, someone you share with other schools, or an external data protection adviser, who takes responsibility for monitoring data protection compliance and has the knowledge, support and authority to do so effectively.

Priorities for March

Having completed these steps, take the rest of March to ensure your data processing procedures are in line with the new requirements. Look at how you honour individuals’ rights and respond to subject access requests, and check you have a robust system for managing consent, where you need to get it.

Think about how you might respond in the case of a data breach, and put procedures in place to demonstrate how you would detect, report and investigate personal data breaches.  

It may seem like a daunting process, especially with limited time! However, splitting the requirements out into manageable chunks and tackling one task at a time will ensure you’re able to get everything done in time, and have one less thing to worry about.  For more information and support, The Key has tonnes of useful resources and templates available to help you along the way.

Maker Difference

A guest blog by Donna Rawling.

“I am Computing Lead at a Primary school in Greater Manchester. I am  aCAS Master Teacher, Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, BCS accredited and a Barefoot Computing presenter. My passion is to encourage as many children as possible to study Computer Science and ultimately pursue a career in the Sciences. I do this through a STEM/STEAM, MakerEd approach wherever possible, with a huge emphasis on Growth Mindset and resilience. I hold daily drop-ins in the school makerspace which I have developed, it’s attended by up to 40 children, where junk modelling, knitting and Coding are all part of the lunchtime sessions”

For much of her life I’ve had a sense of what is important to me, but also very much a feel of many strands of my life, experiences and, dare I say my talents (as I perceive them) to be the raw materials of some as yet unwoven cloth or project.

My ‘lightbulb moment’ (more of the lightbulb later) came when I inherited my Mum’s button tin.

When I sadly lost my Mum 5 years ago, one of the things that I felt really strongly that I wanted to have of hers was her button tin. This tin, full of buttons of every shape, size and texture had been one of the enduring highlights of my childhood. I used to love to sift through it, wondering where each button had started life, what it had been attached to, what it had helped to hold together.

It was my Mum who had taught me to sew; to knit; to crochet. My Mum who had never lost patience in my endless stitch dropping, who casted on and off for me as this for me, in my scarf making stages, was the ‘tricky bit.’ These times of crafting still envoke fond memories of comfort, belonging, social engagement, the finished product being almost an aside.

As I began my career in Education, I keenly recognised this for need belonging in the children in my care, of finding a voice, a way to state one’s identity.

Louise – What is your approach to Education?

Headteacher Louise, from Norbury Primary school, tells us about her approach to Education.

Our support has always been a key part of helping all types of people find work, in the UK and abroad.

It’s our approach to support which starts with a free career planning session no matter your location, experience or role, we believe that quality recruitment begins with helping and understand your unique needs.

Teri-Louise – What has surprised me about teaching

Teri-Louise talks to use about what has surprised her most about being a full-time primary teacher!

Our support has always been a key part of helping all types of people find work, in the UK and abroad.

It’s our approach to support which starts with a free career planning session no matter your location, experience or role, we believe that quality recruitment begins with helping and understand your unique needs.

Daje – How is working with SEN pupils different to mainstream?

Daje tells us more about how she works with her SEN pupils on a one-to-one basis.

Our support has always been a key part of helping all types of people find work, in the UK and abroad.

It’s our approach to support which starts with a free career planning session no matter your location, experience or role, we believe that quality recruitment begins with helping and understand your unique needs.

Let’s get practical: The Seven Principles of Teaching

Let’s get practical: The Seven Principles of Teaching

There are seven principles of teaching that aim to improve standards, teaching and learning. Think of them as your seven commandments, they’re relevant in every learning situation.

Principle one: Encourage contact between students and faculty

Now it might seem obvious but building relationships and rapport with students is important, it’s one of the main factors in ensuring students succeed. There are many ways to open up the communication channels and build relationships between students and yourself, including learning your students’ names, personalising feedback on students work, sharing personal experiences (within reason!) and talking to your students on a personal level.

Principle two: Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students

When you encourage team collaboration and learning, learning is enhanced. Group work improves thinking, collaboration skills as well as social skills. Ways to introduce this into your classroom are cooperative learning groups, encouraging students with different socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in classes and introduce the idea of peer tutoring every now and again.

Principle three: Encourage active learning
It’s quite widely believed that students can only learn so much when they sit in a class and listen to a teacher, students need to make learning a part of their life. Simple ways to introduce active learning in your classroom could be asking students to present their work to the class, using ‘what-if’ situations to make students think about something different and giving students problem-solving tasks to complete.
Principle four: Give prompt feedback

The best time to summarise lessons and give feedback on work is when a subject or lesson is still fresh in your students’ minds. Feedback enhances learning as it helps your students identify what they successfully learned, and what they need to look at again. Great ways to help students reflect and learn on lessons is to follow up lessons with a summary of what should have been learned, Q&A style sessions and returning grades/marking within one week.

Principle five: Emphasise time on task

As we all know, we’re always rushed for time. Lessons range from 40-55 minutes, which means you need to introduce a subject, explore it, set some work around it and summarize it in a short amount of time. Learning should be efficient. Simple ways to ensure tasks are completed efficiently are having realistic expectations, teaching time management skills and helping students set their own goals and timelines for learning and submitting work.

Principle six: Communicate high expectations

Students with little motivation, children unwilling to try and children that exceed all need to be set high expectations. Ways to set high standards are encouraging students to work hard in class, giving positive reinforcement throughout your lessons and working one on one with students that might be struggling to learn something. Encouraging students to focus on doing their best, instead of worrying about grades is a really important way to boost confidence and ensure high standards are set, too.

Principle seven: Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

It’s commonly understood that everyone has different learning styles, no two people learn something the same way. The best practice to ensure every student is covered in your lessons is to offer a range of activities that cover and complement learning styles. Encouraging students to speak up when they don’t understand is a good way to ensure no students are left behind.

These principles not only help you be the best teacher you can be not only for yourself but for your students.

The mental health of teaching

The mental health of teaching

At times being a teacher is a challenging profession, it comes with many rewards in terms of seeing your students develop, it also has difficult moments.

TES wrote about this challenge recently and were focused on the system itself, you can read things like this:

What should be a beautiful profession has been transformed into something ugly and fear-inducing. Teachers are trapped within it, aware of how things ought to be, but powerless to change their fate until they can find a way to reverse the spell.

Full article

It’s an interesting article and our focus today is not the system nor the pupils, it’s about the teacher and their own mental health. The compound challenges of planning, marking and at times the pupils being less than kind is a lot of mental baggage to carry. When we are taught how to teach it is all about the IQ side of the world, the how-to, there is a missing link.

Emotional Intelligence

Alongside your IQ is your EQ, your emotional intelligence and that is where your mental health resides. How you think and how you feel is based on visuals, your imagination and accessing your subconscious mind. The challenge for keeping balancing and feeling good mentally is that all those feelings and thoughts are inside your head, if you leave them there you risk increasing that burden and overbearing pressure from your day to day working life.

Here are some tips to help you lighten the load:

1. Talking is a therapy

When we share how we feel, particularly with colleagues we realise we are not alone and that others feel similar. It’s not about having a moan but it is about shared experiences. The mental release is the same as therapy, talking is good for us, much better than bottling things up.

2. Stilling the mind

If you feel short of time then meditation will not be your first port of call but there are many ways to still the mind and feel more at peace. It’s about having a hobby and focus that is just for you:

– Jogging

– Boxing

– Knitting (becoming very popular again)

– Gardening

– Guilty pleasures like 80’s movies!

It’s not a text, you just follow your heart and instinct and make sure you take time for yourself.

3. Diary

Whilst talking to others is great, you don’t always want to share everything. A diary is still a very positive thing to do, a little-hidden place to share your thoughts and feelings, psychological it helps you feel a sense of release.

4. There’s an app for that

There is a great app called Headspace which is really easy to get into a habit of using and understanding and rewarding yourself with meditation and mindfulness.

It’s easy to feel that teaching is like being a martyr at times, you don’t always feel appreciated for the effort you put in. It’s important you recognise that you are appreciated and having helped place, 102,437 teachers, we know what quality looks like.

Teachers rule! They just need to put themselves first for the sake of their mental wellbeing.

Why were they your favourite teacher?

Who was your favourite teacher?

Understanding your purpose in your working life is not always easy. Like many things in life it needs a mix of things to make sure you make the best decisions possible:

1. Everything needs a little bit of experience.

2. A deep understanding of what makes you happy.

3. Imagining the working day to day that you want to create and why.

Asking yourself Why based questions is always a challenge but also very rewarding. By asking Why questions you are delving into your unconscious mind where your habits and behaviours sit.

For some context, asking What questions is your conscious mind, it’s easier to answer – What movies do you enjoy? Vs Why do you enjoy them? The reason being is that our brains operate with maximum efficiency, 92% of all you do is not conscious, like making a coffee or dressing, you don’t have to think about that or a million other actions every day, if you did you’d never make it out your front door! With this in mind Why questions help you explore the real you.

Try thinking on these for a day or two and see what you can discover:

1. Why do you teach?

2. Why does your student performance matter to you?

3. Why do you want to help educate people?

And one combo questions:

What is the Why of your happiness when it comes to your working life?

Part of this is understanding yourself and knowing what makes you the best version of yourself you can be.

When we asked around our office:

Why were they your favourite teacher?

These were our most common responses from 27 people:

“They helped me understand what I could become in life.”

“They made learning easy and fun.”

“They helped me understand I was wasting my talent.”

“They related to me and made me feel like they care.”

What kind of teacher do you want to be?

Why Engage?
As part of our commitment to our partner schools, Engage Education employs two highly respected former school senior leaders who advise on teaching and learning and behaviour management systems, deliver bespoke CPD, coaching and mentoring programmes, as well as offering in-class support for developing teachers.
Between them, Mike Conaghan and Jay Treloar boast more than 25 years’ teaching experience and a wealth of training expertise. They work collaboratively to provide unrivalled support for the children, teachers and schools they work with.This week’s blog sees Mike take on the challenge of teaching a Year 4 class in order to better understand the needs of a teacher he is currently supporting. A secondary specialist, Mike approaches the moment of truth wondering whether he would be better off coaching from the sidelines..

“With butterflies fluttering furiously in my stomach, I breach the threshold of “Butterfly”, a Year 4 class in a Surrey school with whom we have formed a genuine partnership over the last few months.

Why the trepidation?

Well, this is a school visit with a twist. I am about to teach them!A stroll in the park, I hear you cry! Tiny, timid treasures, treats to teach, wonders to witness, joys to behold!

Hmm… Rewind two weeks to my first encounter with these pupils, and the reality is far from rosy. Ray, their third teacher in as many months, is trying admirably to calm a storm that has been whipped up by the recent deluge of inconsistency. It’s Ray to the rescue, but he is close to being out of his depth.

Ray is a secondary trained Aussie, unfamiliar with the age group, unfamiliar with the curriculum, and struggling to swim in a sea of special needs.”Guess I’ll just have to get on with it, mate, no point bein’ a sook!”, he quips, chin barely above water.

Ray is exactly what these children need: dependable, caring and willing to learn. I’m hoping to support him on this journey. But what do I know? Who am I to preach? As we discuss strategies following the lesson I observe Ray teach, it becomes increasingly apparent that, while I can talk the talk, I’ve not walked the walk. If I am going to provide effective mentoring, I need to know how it feels to be Ray. Well, for an hour, at least….

Into the fray!

I’ve never taught a primary class in my life and it seems an age since I even set foot in a class as a teacher. But as a former (and very recent) senior leader,  behaviour management specialist, not to mention English teacher,  all of a sudden my reputation is on the line. What on earth have I let myself in for?

The knees are weak, the voice a little wobbly, but once I get going, all butterflies settle. Thankfully, over a decade working alongside a string of genuinely outstanding teachers stands me in good stead: I’ve planned meticulously and concentrated on engaging the pupils.

And, in the end, a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so ensues: they listen, they engage, they learn and we have fun. And it would, of course, be nice to think that this was down to my talents as a teacher. Truth is, though, these children have been given a Ray of sunshine in their lives: this is why they are smiling; this is why they are learning.

And this is why I am happy to be on this journey with them.I reflect and find myself confident that it won’t be long before Butterfly’s metamorphosis is complete.

How prepared am I? How Team Teach can help!

How prepared am I? How Team Teach can help!

Team Teach is award-winning ‘positive handling’ training which helps staff support people with challenging behaviour. A teacher that has students with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties or Social, Emotional and Mental Health issues would benefit immensely from Team Teach. It teaches a range of de-escalation and positive handling techniques which promote positive relationships in schools.

The training helps attendees reduce stress, increase security in the classroom and boost staff morale in the workplace. Confidence is key when dealing with EBD (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) or SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) students and Team Teach training can give you the tools to approach these with assurance.

What are the aims?

– Promote the least intrusive positive handling strategy

– Understand how to exhaust all verbal and nonverbal de-escalation strategies before positive handling strategies are used

– To ensure you can respond to disruptive, disturbing or aggressive behaviours which maintain a positive relationship

– To reduce the number of serious incidents involving physical controls by exhausting behaviour management strategies

– Increase staff awareness concerning the importance of recording, reporting, monitoring and evaluating every incident which involves positive handling

– To ensure a process of repair and reflection is in place for both staff and children

Who can benefit?
How can you get involved?

We offer Team Teach to schools, Faye and Mayur work for our SEN division and are both qualified Team Teach trainers.

The course they offer comprises of a mixture of theory and practical elements – course participants will be required to get involved in physical activities, including restraints. It’s all above board, we take health and safety seriously during the training. If you’re interested in discussing Team Teach further, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.