Fever Dreams (wide awake at 2 am)

My head is fizzing!

I’m sat here at 2 in the morning. Sleep is evading me. My head is full and I’m just fed up.

I’m fed up with the Department for Education playing the hard man. I fed up with a DfE that consistently wants to work against the profession rather than with it. I’m fed up at the lack of professional trust. Playing to their audience with a narrative of feckless lazy teachers who they need to act tough on.

I’m tired of Ofsted and their increasingly detached arrogance and lack of perspective. Their unrealistic drive for perfection, their desperation to reestablish themselves. Ofsted more than ever in my career are dictating what schools do. As Paul Watson put it, they are literally “the tail wagging the dog.” Anybody who says don’t do it for Ofsted hasn’t looked at the framework or what’s happening in schools.

I’m sick of research being used as a blunt weapon rather than a nuanced tool. With one size fits all generalities hurled across sectors without real evidence to suggest it works beyond its original domains.

I’m angry at the destructive high stakes accountability systems that do not create improvement and in some cases are truly damaging.

I’m jaded by the constant fight to get support for the children that need it. SEND is in crisis. Mental health support for young people is practically non-existent. I tear my lack of hair out at at the increasing vacuum that is early help and social care. I find ourselves stretched thinner and thinner trying to paper over the ever-widening gaps.

Yet, I’m still in love with my job, the day today in the building, working with our teachers. The commitment and the passion they have for improving what we do. Their relentless energy to get it right for the children in their care.

I still marvel at the skill and expertise of the staff in our school. Utterly brilliant. They make me proud every day.

I still get a buzz from seeing children so excited by their learning that they almost explode just trying to get it out when you sit with them

I still laugh from the joy of sitting having lunch with year 3, them telling me the worst jokes in the world most without even coming close to a punchline.

I adore the warmth and trust of the relationships in our school. They are in the most unscientific terms…magical.

I’m proud of how we’ve supported our community and equally how they support us. We are in the truest sense a community school. We are their school.

The everyday positives still outweigh the negatives. I’m lucky to have got my buzz and my drive back (it was definitely waning a couple of years ago)

I am grateful to work for a trust that is committed to us, supports us and trusts us. I know we are very lucky on that count.

Time to close my eyes, breath out, switch off. Increasingly I feel voiceless in the system. I keep my head down and crack on.

I however have to believe and I truly hope that there are better ways than this and that we can find a system that truly supports schools to be great. Rather than the deficit model we currently have.

The eternal optimist in me, that ultimately drowns out my negativity, has to believe.