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- Year 2 - Jenner Class
- Year 3 - Lister Class
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- Head Teacher For The Day
Head Teacher For The Day
Head Teacher For The Day
8 May 2015
Whilst election fever has gripped the land over the last few weeks, at The Wells Free School, plans for revolution have been underway, culminating in an election on Thursday 7 May to elect a Head Teacher for the Day. In preparation, all the pupils in Year 3 formed themselves into four new political parties, and decided on their manifestos to ensure they were the chosen team to lead the school on Friday 8 May.
The four parties, The Tweeters, The Freedom for Children Party, the Fun and Games Party and the Dragon Tae Kwando Party decided on three promises they would make to the pupils in the school, and created their campaign literature around these. The parties promised the following:
- Extra 10 minutes on playtimes
- My day as a head teacher will be an enrichment day
- Maths assessments whenever we choose
- Own clothes day
- Make reading and literacy shorter
- Make maths and playtime longer
Freedom for the Children Party
- Charity sale to support Water Aid and the school
- Outside are for board games and drawing
- Set and complete your own research project instead of afternoon learning
Fun and Games Party
- Teachers wear school uniform
- A longer playtime
- Children to choose any class/teacher for lesson
As Election Day drew closer, the parties held a series of party political broadcasts in the lunch hall (with a captive audience) to try and gain support. Click on the video.
A fervent poster campaign took place throughout the day before the election – with some posters even making their way into the staff loo!
The political parties worked tirelessly throughout that final day of campaigning to ensure that, should they be elected, they could deliver on their promises within less than 24 hours. No mean feat for some groups, who had to take a hurried look at what they had said to see if things could be adapted for practicality (school uniforms for teachers anyone?!)
Thursday 7 May saw an eager bunch of young pollsters queuing for their turn in the ballot booths.
Lister class undertook exit polls and recorded their first findings under the TWFS Swingometer (who needs Jon Snow??)
Jenner Class (Year 2) took on the role of Returning Officers, checking off names of voters in case of cheating, and ensuring the voting followed all rules. At 12.30pm the polling stations closed, and it was time for the count.
Election Counters pledge to keep the results a secret until formally announced in assembly at 2pm.
Counting begins – there are a lot of checks to ensure we are right!
At 2.00, following Seacole’s Class Assembly, the winning party was announced to the school and parents. On Friday, the Freedom for Children Party, led by Madeleine, will be head teacher and assistants for the day!
Friday 8 May
Head Teacher for the Day….
Friday 8 May dawned early for members of the Freedom for Children party, who arrived at 7.30am to set up for their day in charge.
Their tasks for the day included:
- Greeting pupils and parents at the beginning of the day;
- Hosting the parent’s coffee morning between 8 and 9 am
- Meeting with the Chair and Vice Chair of governors
- Preparing for and setting up playtime games as promised in the manifesto
- Undertaking lesson observations in each class
- Dealing with emails and phone calls
- Supervising lunchtime
- Writing the school newsletter
- Supervising the afternoon research activities which formed part of the manifesto
- Taking the celebration assembly from beginning to end, including giving out certificates, presenting to parents and writing and saying the prayer at the end
- Hosting a cake sale at the end of the day as the final manifesto pledge.
Serving at the coffee morning
Perfectly poised, cup of tea in hand as they engage parents in early morning chat
Setting up for playtime
Smiles all round
If in doubt, ask Mrs Smith. She makes great orange squash too...
An important phone call to Jude O'Connor (COG)
A special email account was set up for the party, and some of the queries they received were extremely complicated! (A huge thank you to the head teachers, staff and friends who sent in made up emails especially for our team. Rest assured that Frant and Mark Cross aren’t really trying to poach our best pupils for their Ofsted inspections!!! But we’re very glad the team responded in the way they did!)
Out of the mouths of babes and infants….(fortunately Eric Buttle is a figment of Miss Jeanes’ imagination!)
Following an exhaustive lesson observation schedule, where every teacher was scrutinised for the quality of teaching and learning in their lesson, the party readied themselves for assembly, whilst Leo wrote the newsletter, the text of which is replicated below.
2pm saw Madeleine and her team taking the celebration assembly for the school and around 30 parents and carers who had come in to watch. Giving out certificates, using signing to welcome the school, ensuring the buttons were counted by the house elves and writing and reciting a prayer at the end, the assembly was marked by a sense of utter joyfulness, laughter and the feeling that, in front of us, a little bit of history was being made.
The day was topped off by a cake and craft sale, which raised £95.55 for water aid and the school. The cake and craft sale had been organised by the eight members of the Freedom for Children party the evening before, following the announcement of the results of the election. In a school of just 95 pupils, to raise this much money, in such a short time, totally arranged by the group completely unaided by staff, is nothing short of incredible.
At around 3pm, the group made their way, one by one, back home – exhausted but proud of what they had achieved.
So what have we all learned from this experience? The views of the children involved have yet to be written down, but after a weekend to think it through, we’ve learnt that:
- There is no child too young to achieve something truly astonishing if they are given the chance;
- Children as young as four can demonstrate an understanding of, and engagement in, democratic processes, setting them up as citizens for the future (one of our reception children, who was too sick to come in on the day of the election, sent in a postal vote with her big sister. Democracy in action!);
- Our pupils are thoughtful, measured and responsible way beyond their years;
- We have a school community who have a hunger for responsibility, for being given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and skills;
- Taking a risk often pays off. We were all very nervous about giving over the running of the school entirely to a group of seven and eight year olds, but we were confident that their attitude and determination would ensure the day was a success;
- We are inordinately proud of the pupils at The Wells Free School. Every single one of them. The Head teacher for the Day experience confirmed for us that we are working with a truly astonishing bunch of young people. As a staff, we are immensely proud to be able to be a part of what these children are going to achieve as they grow older.
As part of the legacy from the day, we are already investigating ways in which we can introduce a quiet area in the playground with board games, and are planning how we can incorporate more opportunities for entirely self directed learning into the pupils’ working week. This week, the leaders of all four parties will be attending our staff meeting to contribute to the development of our marking and feedback policy – one of our most important documents. This is pupils voice at its most real and most exciting.
So, to Madeleine, Beatriz, Leo, Clara, Lily, Daisy, Ella and Suzy – you did yourselves, and your school proud. Well done. You tackled the real life challenges of running a school with organisation and determination and we want to thank you for looking after our school so well. Oh – and the black and white cat that Mr Bristow saw on the roof? The one that had you all looking for a ladder, which didn’t exist, in order to rescue it, like any good head teacher would do? Well, we might have been pulling your legs with that one!