5. Things to think about this week

Gerald Haigh

1. Eyes on what's new at the Bett show

The big educational technology show will take place at London's Olympia, January 14-17.

Don't assume it's only for ICT specialists. If there are outstanding questions on your school improvement agenda - assessment, behaviour, attendance, online reporting, special needs teaching - the chances are you'll find something or someone worth your attention.

Study the website - exhibitors and the seminar programme - and plan who should go, and when, and what their focus is going to be.


2. What Year 6 really think of Sats

Read the collection of Year 6 pupils' impressions of their final primary year published by the National Association of Head Teachers.

Their views on Sats in particular are thought-provoking. For example: "Everyone was dreading Sats, including me. We worked ever so hard and I was fed up by the end of the week and could not look at a test ever again."

It may inspire you to make a similar collection of your own - student voice, after all, is on the agenda in most schools. And aren't we all pledged to take children's views seriously?


3. Popular courses on data analysis

When you look at your pupil assessment data, do you fully understand the story it's telling about the quality of teaching and learning and the effectiveness of your policies?

If you're unsure, the National College for School Leadership knows you're not the only one. Last school year, the college ran a popular series of one-day courses on Using and Analysing Data. This autumn and spring, there are two one-day courses available: Making Sense of Data, and Joining up the Data.


4. Getting to grips with sustainability

How are you on sustainability? Ofsted said earlier this year: "... most of the schools visited had limited knowledge of sustainability and work in this area tended to be unco-ordinated".

If that's your school, a good starting point is Stan Terry's refreshingly passionate book The Green School (Adamson Publishing). It's packed with facts and figures, as well as offering lots of practical low-cost advice.

Stan, who lobbies hard to keep sustainability on the agenda of Building Schools for the Future, is the environmental consultant for the Heads, Teachers and Industry (HTI) national leadership centre. Its programmes and services include some for school leaders on sustainability.


5. Time and resources for children in care

Keep looked-after children high on your agenda. That means making sure your school's designated teacher has time and resources to do the job. You may need to make sure governors understand that role, too.

First stop for information is The Who Cares? Trust which has a website with excellent links to resources. The trust is running a conference on November 25 for heads, teachers and others working in this area. It is also about to issue a free CD-Rom, Teachers in the Know, about the needs, experiences and views of children in care.


On the same subject, teachernet.gov.uk has available for download: Supporting looked-after learners: a practical guide for school governors.

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Gerald Haigh

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