THOSE with a backwoods suspicion of management jargon might be heartened to read a lecture from a professor of educational management called "Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing". The subject matter is "strategic planning and school management" and the occasion was Professor Les Bell's inaugural lecture at the University of Leicester. Entertainment for the cynical and enlightenment for the unsure are both guaranteed. It is on the web at: www.leicester.ac.ukemdudownloadsLes_Bell_Inaugural_2002.pdf Three fallacies are singled out for attention - the myth of the omnipotent superhead, the impossibility of controlling outside circumstances and the poverty of school-effectiveness measures. Professor Bell says: "If it is impossible for the Government ... to implement its own strategic policies, how can those responsible for school management be expected to plan strategically?"
Like asylum-seekers and migrants, gypsy and traveller children present special challenges for schools. But a recent study in Scotland and earlier research for the Department for Education and Skills both conclude that good work can be done with travelling pupils. Successful schools often have a senior advocate for gypsy children to monitor policies, establish good relations with families, and bring staff and governors in on the act.
The Scottish Traveller Education Programme has its beautifully illustrated national guidelines, "Inclusive educational approaches for Gypsies and Travellers", at: www.education.ed.ac.ukstep
The DfES research (from 2000) by Kalwant Bhopal can be downloaded from: www.dfes.gov.ukresearchdatauploadfilesRR238.doc
Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at J.P.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk