I am off to fresh woods and pastures new.

I am in my eighteenth and final year as a secondary school headteacher. In September, for the first time in over three decades, I will not be a member of school staff.

So, many people get to my position and attempt to articulate what they have learnt about leading schools. Why should I be any different? This is the sixth in a series of brief posts over the last few weeks of the school year, in which I explain a number of things I have learnt about headship.

When it comes to being a headteacher, try to find a school where you feel aligned with its values. There is nothing worse than having to contort the way you behave and think to fit in with your school’s culture.

One of the most enjoyable things I have been doing these past few weeks is reffing lunchtime football. I have even had the DT department make me made acrylic yellow and red cards. I love it.

Back in mid-November, I gave a penalty for handball on the tennis courts (the very same tennis courts where Guy Mowbray began his career commentating on his fellow Year 9s having a kick-about). The offender, Abu, turned to me with his arms out wide and a wet, ball-shaped mark on his grey sweat-shirt in the middle of his chest.

I had clearly made an error. What on earth could I do? I blew the whistle, ran over to the litter bin, held my hand to my ear, waited a few seconds, turned around, made the VAR hand gesture, blew my whistle and declared “No goal!” The students were amused and amazed.

Ever since, when I make a difficult decision, VAR is definitive and the students play along, humouring their grey-haired headteacher who is having as much fun as them.

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