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5 Things to Think About This Week

1. Supporting candidates at interview

How do you interview new members of staff, especially less experienced ones who might be nervous? A young teacher at Broadclyst Community Primary in Exeter, Devon, describes how it worked for him.

"The headteacher had a chat with me beforehand, and then during the interview he sat to one side, away from the deputy head and the governors who were running the interview. When he thought I needed a bit of help, he prompted me and supported me."

Peter Hicks, the head, says he wants a positive and humane interview experience that encourages candidates to show their personal strengths: "I want them to do the best they can."

2. Free briefings online

The Teaching Expertise website allows you to sign up for a raft of free e-bulletins that are sent weekly. Titles include Senco Week and Behaviour Matters. The latest one is Legal Expertise, which has a QA review of admissions policies.


3. Every Child Matters: are you covered?

The Training and Development Agency for Schools has a new planning tool called the School Improvement Planning Framework. It is specifically designed to ensure that schools cover all the Every Child Matters agenda. There is a pack with a diagnostic, eight modules, an overview brochure and a DVD. And the good news is that it is free.

Kells Lane Primary in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, a pilot school for the framework, reports: "As part of the planning process we identified the need to set up a maths club and as a result we have made massive gains, with more than 80 per cent of the children making more than expected progress."


The Big 5 ECM series, pages 15-18

4. A welcome for new arrivals

If you have your share of new arrivals to the UK, you will want to see the newly published New Arrivals Excellence Programme: Management Guide. It summarises good practice in a convenient way. Even if you feel you are doing most of what it recommends already, you will probably use the school self-evaluation tool that is included. It can help provide a good body of evidence to feed into your Ofsted self-evaluation form.


5. Take a stance against gay bullying

You have to be detached from reality not to be aware that homophobic bullying, including the use of the word "gay" as a general term of abuse for anyone who seems not to fit in, is worryingly endemic among young people. Stonewall's School Report on the extent of the problem, published last year, is still worth looking at. But consider following it up now with the comprehensive Stance resource pack published by the Leicestershire Anti-Bullying Team.


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

Gerald Haigh's new book 'Inspirational - and cautionary - Tales for Would-be Leaders', based on his writing for The TES, is published by Routledge.

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