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Course notes

Janice Fletcher, assistant head at Cannock Chase high school, Staffordshire, makes plans

Course Timetable Planning and Construction, by David Griffiths.

Provider Monitor Educational Services (www.monitortimetabling.com).

Venue Longford House, Cannock, Staffs. Autumn 2002.

Cost pound;376 for two days, paid by my school.

How did you find out about it?

Our deputy had been on it.

Why go?

Timetabling had recently become part of my job, and I had been shadowing timetabling staff. This was the next step.

What did it promise?

"The newcomer will experience an extensive but accessible introduction to timetabling issues. The experienced timetabler might find new ways of viewing timetabling."

Did it deliver?

I was hoping for problem-solving and hands-on opportunities - and that's exactly what I got. There wasn't a template to fill in; we had to do the brain work.

Highs and lows

It helped me grasp the structures underlying good timetabling. It was generic training, and you end up with quite a simplistic model that you need to adapt. Some of the principles don't transfer to a big school like mine.

Message, motto or mantra

Be flexible.

Best advice

Use the building blocks, but make them work for your school. Don't rely just on computer packages: be in control of the whole process. Involve heads of department; try to give them ownership of decisions.

Has it made a difference?

My role here has changed and I no longer do timetabling. But it will be useful for the future.

Coming your way?

Dates for this two-day and a shorter one-day course have been set nationwide for 20032004. Check the website for details.

If you've been on a course others should know about, email jill.craven@tes.co.uk

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