What’s our mission?

WorkinginSchool.net has been set up to give a voice to all who work in schools. It aims to improve your quality of life by enabling conversation, mutual exchange of ideas, inspiration, relaxation and entertainment.

In case anyone’s wondering, we’ve been inspired by two things in particular:

  • A piece of writing by Nicola Owen, a young London teacher, in Craig Taylor’s book “Londoners” (Granta, 2011). For those of you no longer in the classroom, you’ll wonder how you ever left;
  • Mumsnet. Thanks to Mumsnet, we’ve put an idea into a practical format.

Why now?

Those of us who work in and with schools are experiencing an unparalleled period of turmoil. Not only are the structures, ownership and governance of schools undergoing seismic change, in a way that would have been thought impossible just a few years ago, but the very terms and conditions of our employment can no longer be taken for granted.

Pay, pensions, holidays, hours of work are all subject to transformation without consultation. Recently, people working in schools have been criticised by politicians and the press for protesting against changes to pension arrangements and mooted changes to working hours, including longer contracted hours and shorter holidays.

This site aims to give a voice to all who work in schools, whether you look forward with anticipation or trepidation to the future. Teachers, classroom assistants, office staff, premises staff, volunteers, school governors – all are welcome here if your work is concerned with making things better for children and young people through school.

This is, in effect, a virtual staffroom. So come in, put your feet up, make yourself a cup of coffee (or something else), and join in conversations about every aspect of school life, and a whole lot more besides.

What are we here for?

Our hope is that using this site will help you to feel good about the work you do. Working in schools must be one of the most important jobs that there is in society.

Some people, when times get tough, say, “We need to look after ourselves”. This site, now times are tough, says, “Now we need to look after each other.”

Our ambition is that WorkingInSchool.net will help us to develop the strengths of schoolworking as a profession, its collegiality, its mutual supportiveness, its concern for the children and young people, and its stubborn bloody-mindedness, in the face of challenges from some politicians and some of the media. This is, therefore, a solutions-focused site. We hope members and visitors will come here not just to moan, but to look for – and find – ways of doing things better.

What’s here

  • News – frequent updates of news of interest to school workers. This will be collected from the daily press, educational press, educational organisation updates, government and other official websites, research papers and reports. We hope to bring this to you in a digestible format, suitable for people who may have spent their whole day working with youngsters. You’ll be invited to offer your own stories and add your comments;
  • Wellbeing tips – one of our aims is to support the wellbeing of all who work in schools. We are linked with Worklife Support (www.worklifesupport.com)  – a non-profit-making organisation which helps “schools and other public and not-for-profit organisations  achieve their full potential by focusing on the wellbeing and motivation of their staff . . .”. we’ll be offering regular wellbeing tips, provided by members and visitors, as well as longer wellbeing stories;
  • Blogs – we’re offering a range of blogs, by teachers, classroom assistants, office staff and a parent. There’ll be guest blogs with interesting perspectives on schools and the life that goes on in them;
  • Forums; ask a question, lead a discussion on a contemporary topic, raise an issue;
  • Advertising – carrying adverts is the main way the site will be paid for. We won’t be accepting just any advertising. We expect the goods and services we help to sell will as far as possible be ethically produced and fairly traded
  • Moving on – a place where you can post your tributes to colleagues who are moving on to other workplaces or leaving the profession. Tell your best stories about them , as you might at their leaving do;
  • Celebrating school lives – a place where you can celebrate the lives of those who have moved on to the great classroom in the sky;
  • Stories of school life and your life in schools;
  • Holiday stories – post your best – and worst – and funniest – holiday stories and recommend the best places to go;
  • Book of the month – we’ll feature a book that may be of interest to you – maybe sometimes a scholarly work shedding light on your work – maybe sometimes just a good light read to help you relax at the end of the day;
  • Reviews – of books, websites, theatre, music that may be of interest.

Who are we?

The site was founded by Nigel Gann and Cathy Wood, co-directors of Hamdon Education Ltd, a consultancy in education and community development. Nigel and Cathy have both spent the greater part of their working lives in schools. We are supported by Sinclaire Knight, a Website Design & Development Consultancy and much more, and Edge Media, a marketing, public relations and design agency.