Integrity Matters: A Promise to Others

Integrity is one of our 12 values at Aureus School and Aureus Primary School.

It is probably the hardest one as adults for us to define, explain and breakdown for our learners.

A phrase we use a lot to aid understanding is this quote from C.S.Lewis:

integrity 3

When I did an assembly with my Drama Club (yes I am a Headteacher but I run a weekly enrichment after school) last year we came up with a physical gesture for each of our 12 values to bring our Aureus Homily to life in our assemblies.

Our gesture for Integrity took us a while to decide, but our then Year 7s decided that if our values are moral compass that keep us on the right path, then integrity is our compass pointing North. So our gesture is we tap our heart/ our moral compass and we point in front of us as our heart, our values, guide our decisions, our actions.

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Professional Integrity is something I pride myself on. I am an ethical, moralistic person. I work hard for our community, I strive hard for our learners.

As a Headteacher, I do the right thing, I make the hard decisions, I stand up for what is right.

As a Teacher, because yes I still teach, last year 4 (double) lessons a week at the secondary school, this year 2 (double ) lessons at the secondary and cover/ leadership release lessons at the primary, I have these challenging conversations with our learners. Yesterday, in a lesson about Diversity we discussed the Integrity of our society and how we accept and tolerate differences.

A character tribute that some of my peers could do with developing.

My tenacity, my grit, my character, my resilience are what get we through the hard times.  So imagine how I felt when one of my colleagues after congratulating me for being elected on to the Chartered College of Teaching Council as a Fellow, asked me how I felt about Andrew’s Blog. I of course did not know what they meant, as the sub-tweeting and the sub-blogging had not tagged me to discuss, but had been done instead in a surreptitious way so that I could not respond.

integrity 6

I was more than a little taken aback to see that the newly elected CCT Council were under attack. I was more than a little dismayed that someone had painstakingly detailed the professional accomplishments of each of the elected Council Members.

I am going to emphasise, as Natalie Scott did in her tweets on the weekend, that everyone has been elected into this role. Voted for by the 25k strong  CCT community.

A word we focus on in the #womened community is ‘choice’. We collectively challenge the system and affect change to removed the barriers that prohibit choice. We also inspire and empower the community to find and use their voice.

I modelled these values in putting myself forward, I did not expect to be voted in, I was delighted to find out that I had a seat at the table. I would have been as delighted if another one of my peers from the educational world had been elected in. It is an act of courage and being #10%braver to put yourself out there. But as with elections and politics, I believe that if you don’t vote you shouldn’t criticise the outcomes. Perhaps the naysayers and critics of the CCT should instead contribute, constructively to the discussion.

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I personally think that CEOs, University Professors, Chairs of Governors, Consultants who are retired Headteachers, Headteachers, Senior Leaders, Teachers, Coaches, Mentors, Governors all have their place in representing the diversity of our profession.

For me, there is not a hierarchy in teaching. For me I do not judge if you have a contract, or if you are supply teacher; if you work part-time, or if you work full time; if you work in the private sector, or if you work in the state sector; if you work in primary or if you work in secondary; if you work in a grammar school or if you work in an academy.

Teaching is teaching. Schools are schools.

We are all educators. We are all equals.

Our system is broken and needs fixing.  Our profession is fantastic and needs celebrating.

Please can the mud slinging, nit picking, school shaming, sub-tweeting and sub-blogging stop?

We all work too hard and care too much to waste time and energy on being drains. Let’s all be radiators instead. We need to direct our precious time and energy into finding solutions, not problems. Please?

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For the record, last year we had 10 teachers at Aureus, I was 1 of them. We had a small team and Professional Learning was going to be hard to personalise and differentiate. 7 of us were working towards Lead Practitioner accreditation. We encouraged everyone to join the CCT, half had done it independently already. We offered to cover the first year’s membership from our small CPD budget to encourage the others. Many of us went to the inaugural event, some of us spoke at CCT events, we all accessed the research. It was an investment, not a bribe.  Only a few submitted a claim as they all saw the benefit.

For the record, I may be a Headteacher, but I am also a teacher, a Governor, a Trustee, a SLE, a TSA lead, a coach for WLIE, the co-founder of #womened, an advocate of #bameed, #lgbted, #disabilityed, a Fellow of the CCT, a Fellow of the RSA. I am confident I can represent the diversity of our teaching profession and educational community.

For the record, yes two of us were elected from our school, neither of us knew the other was applying, we did not intend to run against each other, we have discussed how we will make the logistics work. I have also said I will be speaking to the CCT about whether they would like to release my seat for someone else to take. Please do not take away from my DHT Julie that she has been elected into this position. She embodies the value of Integrity.

For the record, I don’t like being sub-tweeted about nor sub-blogged about. I have challenged this before. I have asked politely to be left me alone. I believe that we can  co-exist on Twitter without always agreeing.

For the record, I was brought up believing that if you have not got anything nice to say then do not say anything at at all. Moreover, that if you cannot say it to someone’s face then you should not say it behind their back.

For the record, please speak to me, if you have a problem with me.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • The educational professionals who conduct themselves with integrity.

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • I am reading the feedback from our open evening –  we have received some lovely poems from some prospective students and some thoughtful emails from prospective parents about our school and our values.

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • My CCT peers who have put their head above the parapet and who have put themselves forward to affect change.

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