An enthusiastic teacher may come through the door with ambitious plans for a school trip. Are you grateful someone's up for the challenge? Or do you quail at the planning and responsibility? The good news is that there's support for planning and risk assessment. Look, for example, at Schooltrip.com. It's a rapidly expanding website for advice and planning that originated as a business venture by Denefield School in Reading. And the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is running a course on April 17 called Safety Management of School Trips (at Brooklands Hotel in Barnsley, South Yorkshire). Top speakers are Nick Everard, global operations director for World Challenge, and Chris Lowe, former president of the Secondary Heads Association and The TES expert on education law.
2. From little acorns ...
How are you on eating the elephant? Yes, it's a well-worn cliche, but it was last used on me by a member of the Building Schools for the Future team in Sheffield. The point she made was that the scheme is coming; it's huge; and you won't swallow it all at once. So the thing to do is, start right now, in your tired old building, with small changes that will eventually make the whole animal easier to digest. There are bite-size projects all over the country - mini-laptops in one Sandwell school, Promethean Activclassroom in another, a flexible Learning Plaza in the old assembly hall in a Maidstone academy - all in existing buildings.
3. Get physical, but safely
If you're in primary, think about school membership of the Association for Physical Education. From this school year, it has a primary membership category. It's always been a lively and active organisation. It's now concerned about the the lack of preparation for PE in primary teachers' initial training (see TES, November 16, 2007). The association is a valuable pressure group and source of support. For instance, it has just published a new guide to safety in PE and sport, and there's also a video, produced by a primary school, on preventing and coping with head injuries.
4. Discover the other Olympics
In Olympic year, with the London Games around the corner, teachers will be planning all sorts of curriculum links and projects. Martin Mansell, education manager for the British Paralympic Association and the NASUWT union partnership says, "Don't forget there are two Olympics. It's too easy to forget the Paralympics." The BPANASUWT already have a comprehensive resource pack for schools - "Ability vs Ability". It's now being updated with new material for Olympic year.
5. Aim for excellence
If you're good at ICT, enter your school for a Becta ICT Excellence award. The 2008 event is now open (closing date April 30). There are lots of good things, such as the several categories and sub-categories across all phases from early years to secondary. There are cash prizes, too, and the award carries considerable "letter-heading" kudos. Becta's ICT Self Review Framework is a good guide to whether you're a contender, but by no means an essential prerequisite.
Gerald Haigh's new book 'Inspirational - and cautionary - tales for would-be leaders', based on his writing for 'The TES', is published by Routledge.
Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh (firstname.lastname@example.org).