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S1 E1: Inclusive Curriculum, Action Planning and Curriculum in MFL with Emily Griffin

Updated: May 16, 2023

The first episode of my new podcast The Subject Leaders Podcast features Emily Griffin, an assistant head, curriculum leader, teaching and learning lead and subject leader for English and MFL. She talks about curriculum inclusivity, action planning and her recent experience of an Ofsted inspection including a deep dive into MFL.

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Below you can find the transcript for this episode of The Subject Leaders Podcast:


Aidan: Hello, Emily.

Emily: Hi.

Aidan: Thanks for joining us today.

Emily: No problem.

Aidan: Could you first of all, tell us a little bit about you, who are you? Where can we get in touch with you and so on.

Emily: No problem. So. My name is Emily Griffin. I'm assistant head teacher at Haslam Park Primary School in Bolton. I've been teaching 13 years, all in all, specialism’s English, really, but I lead on many different things, which we'll discuss later. If you want to find me, to contact me, you can find me at my school, Twitter, which is @haslamparkprim1.

Aidan: Great, thank you. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a primary teacher and subject leader and the other leadership roles you have as well?

Emily: Yeah, sure. So I've been teaching 13 years. All of my 13 years have been spent in primary schools in Bolton, three different schools. But my current school have been this is this is my 11th year, started as an RQT here and sort of just gained much experience over the years. Most of my years have been spent teaching year six. I did have a little hiatus off the old year six treadmill for two years, went to year four, missed that treadmill a little bit and went back in. But throughout that time, I've had a couple of leadership roles. I started off as the poison chalice computing lead as an RQT, where it was, “can you please unplug and plug the computer back in again?” But then over the years, my responsibility grew. I've done a short stint as art lead, but the biggest chunk of my leadership has been English leadership. So that's the whole of reading, writing, and also key stage two phonics for children who are still needing that phonics intervention. And more recently so the last two and a half years have been MFL lead at my school. And in the last 18 months, I've also had the pleasure of being assistant headteacher with the overarching responsibility of curriculum lead and teaching and learning lead.

Aidan: So quite a lot at the moment. Wow. Yeah, loads of experience, which I know is going to be great for the listeners of this podcast. So thank you for agreeing to talk to us today.

Emily: No problem at all.

Aidan: I know you've mentioned that English is probably your subject specialism. Is that something you did at Uni? Is that something that you find as your favourite thing to teach, or are there other subjects that take that mantle?

Emily: A little bit of everything you've just said, really. So my degree was English Language and Creative Writing at Salford University, which has always given me an interest in language, semantics, grammar, how sentences are constructed, which in many ways has led me into being an MFL lead as well, because that obviously features very heavily in the teaching of modern foreign languages. But, yeah, I would say English is my favourite, particularly writing. It's my favourite lesson or subject to teach closely followed by art. I really, really enjoy teaching art and design as well.

Aidan: Brilliant. And if this curriculum were being slimmed down, not that we want it to be, which subject would you fight hard to keep?

Emily: I would fight hard to keep PSHE. I feel it might be an unpopular opinion, but I just feel with the way our children live their lives now, not so much outdoor, lots indoor, their personal safety, it should take priority. And I do wonder if lots of our iPad generation, our computer generation, when they come to be in the big outside world, will they have all that personal safety understanding? If we were to take PSHE out of the curriculum and on another level as well. Through PSHE you do teach a lot of online safety and how to be a good digital citizen. So I just think the current state of the world and what childhood looks like for a lot of children, I think I would insist that PSHE be a huge part of the curriculum.

Aidan: Great answer.

Emily: Thank you.

Aidan: What do you love about being a subject leader?

Emily: I love... and this isn't immediate, so if there are any new subject leaders out there, don't panic if you've not seen this yet... I love the impact, the tangible impact of being a leader. You don't always get it right, but when you do, and it's obvious, it's so satisfying. It's as satisfying as when you're teaching the children. Those are moments of I’ve got this now. So when you've done that for an adult who perhaps has found teaching a specific subject a little bit difficult or a little bit uncomfortable, or they don't feel like they've got the knowledge, when you've had the impact and that's seen in the adults and the children, it's hugely satisfying. And on another level, as a parent, I often think in the back of my head, what would I want my children to experience in this specific subject? So I like to come at it from two points of view, trying to help as many people as I can with subject leadership. So I think the impact is the most satisfying part.

How can subject leaders ensure that their subject's curriculum is inclusive?

How can subject leaders ensure that their action planning will actually lead to their subject goals being met?

What does your MFL curriculum look like (and how did Ofsted help you)?

Closing words





Subject Leadership

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