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5 Things to think about this week

1. New ways to ease pupils' transition

Primary-secondary transition is always somewhere on the agenda. One way to address the issues is for secondaries to run Year 7 differently, perhaps with a small group of teachers in their own part of the building. One school doing this is South Barnfield Academy in Luton. It has a "foundation academy" for Year 7 in a separate building with its own teaching team and, one day a week, a modified curriculum, with optional activities. The plan is eventually to extend this approach to include Year 8, with key stage 4 then starting in Year 9.

2. Let's hear it for voice training

Anyone off school with a bad throat at the moment? Teachers suffer more than other workers from throat and voice problems. In a recent French study, half the female teachers and a quarter of the men said they often, or always, had voice problems. There are several routes for improvement. One is to run quieter classrooms - but you knew that already. Another is to make sure voice care is part of teachers' initial and inservice training. To that end, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has launched a campaign, together with Voice Care Network UK, the speech and language charity, calling for voice training to be included in teacher training. The third way is to look at amplification. Modern systems are much better than you think. Google will find them for you, and at least one, Lightspeed Classroom Audio, will be at the Education Show, at the Birmingham NEC, today and tomorrow.

3. Help for bullies - and their parents

You're fully aware of strategies for helping bullied children, but what about counselling children who are doing the bullying. And help for their parents? That's often a knottier problem. A new leaflet from Parentline Plus - "She simply snapped - She'd had enough!" is about the parents' view of bullying and being bullied. And do you recognise this? "Some parents openly said they worked against the school and were in conflict with it ... ".

4. Calling budding scriptwriters

Anyone in your school fancy themselves as a television scriptwriter? Teachers TV is running its successful Staffroom Monologues competition again. My favourite last year was Locked Stockroom and Two Smoking Gerbils - an executive headteacher is locked in the stockroom. This is a real opportunity. Entries by March 25. The judging panel is led by TV writer Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, Wild at Heart). has more information

5. TV looks at violence in schools

Do you want to help a TV company that's working on a Dispatches programme? True Vision Productions is following the work of the charity Eighteen and Under, which works with schools on reducing violence and violent attitudes and wants to film teachers at work in a school. Quite apart from the film-making, Eighteen and Under is worth looking into. It does excellent work with young people who are victims of violence and abuse. Its sister site, Violence is Preventable, has lots of resources, including some DVDs for young people. (for True Vision's appeal for help)

Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh at

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