5. Things to think about next term
1. Arm against Ofsted
Read one of the most effective of all Ofsted-proofing documents - the fourth, completely updated edition of Tony Thornley's Practical Whole-School Self-Evaluation has just been published.
Mr Thornley, a former head, inspector and local authority adviser, is the right person to give this kind of advice. Of this latest version, he says: "I have updated and revised the guidance to incorporate changes to the self-evaluation forms and inspection this year. For example, there is new guidance on community cohesion, personal developmen, wellbeing and target-setting."
Download a copy from the Recap education consultancy for Pounds 8 - all of which goes to charity.
2. Enlist ICT agents
Engage pupils in your ICT policy. You know perfectly well that they often know more about it than many of the staff, so it's the logical next step to include them in training, development and support.
Marsh Academy in Kent has 14 pupils, chosen by application and interview, who are trained as IT agents. They attend staff training sessions, are frequently called upon for trouble-shooting, and are fast becoming indispensable to the planning and running of the school's ICT policy.
3. Laptop tips
Are you thinking of giving laptops to all your pupils to use at home and school? Here are just two lessons from schools that have done this. One is that children aren't keen on lugging full-size laptops around and tend to "forget" them, so it's probably worth investigating the mini versions.
Second, make sure you get the right insurance deal. Read the small print and make sure the devices are insured for being dropped at home as well as in school. It'll cost more, but it's necessary.
4. Download Mr Wolf
Remember playing "What's the time, Mr Wolf?" in the playground? Many years on, I can easily relive the mounting surge of excitement as we worked our way through various times of the clock, all the time anticipating the scary cry of "Dinner time!"
Do primary children still play traditional games? Some do, but in many cases neither they nor their parents know them any more.
But you can now download 10 traditional games, including Mr Wolf, free from the Teaching Expertise website. They are taken from Therese Hoyle's just published 101 Playground Games, a photocopiable book with CD-Rom that is available for Pounds 35 from the same site.
5. A nod to disability
Toys, depending on exactly how you define them, are important to all of us. In the more conventional sense, however, they are particularly important for early years pupils. And if your early years unit is going to be truly inclusive, you need to think about whether you have toys suitable for children with special needs.
AbilityNet, the charity that works to bring technology to adults and children with disabilities, has just brought out a range of specially adapted toys, including racing cars that are controlled by head movements with the aid of a special baseball cap, which can also control a PlayStation.
Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh at email@example.com.