Working in partnership to deliver the ACM: a head teacher’s perspective

I am sure as you read this, many of you will be saying to yourself, “What a week this has been!” I think “That thought” could apply to quite a few weeks or months recently.

On this wet Scottish Thursday morning, I have the challenge of writing this blog. I am actually finding it quite cathartic as I reflect on what we have done and achieved in our delivery of the Alternative Certification Model (ACM).

Each day, I think it is essential that we remind ourselves as Headteachers, and Heads of Centre that we have worked tirelessly and thoughtfully in implementing ACM in our schools and centres. Every decision we have taken has been made with our young people in our hearts and minds. We have been entrusted with this huge undertaking, but have risen to the challenge and should be confident in our work.

I have found that my professional networks have never been so important. Sharing ideas, thoughts and concerns has led to well informed decisions in my school. The collaboration of secondary Headteachers in Scotland is built on shared values, trust and camaraderie – this collaboration has never been so important to us all.

Operationally, like you, we are now well underway in our processes. We have a clear ACM policy at school and local authority level. I am finding that the most important ingredient that underpins our policy is the ongoing dialogue we are having with colleagues. No question or issue is too difficult to explore together. My Deputy Head Teachers have held link meetings with all faculty heads  – “Provisional Results QA Meeting 1” – to ensure that our processes are being followed across the school and that we are maintaining national standards. The Scottish Borders Council programme of quality assurance is also heavily supporting our colleagues and creating a much-needed supportive subject network.

Do not get me wrong, this has been tough. However, I have never been more proud to call myself a Scottish teacher. Our staff are a credit to our profession and we should continue to shout about and celebrate all that they are doing for every young person in Scotland.

Justin Sinclair
Head Teacher, Earlston High School
School Leaders Scotland Representative for Scottish Borders Council