5 things to think about this week

30th November 2007 at 00:00
1. Review your swimming teaching

For many primary schools, the responsibility for children being able to swim 25m by the time they go to secondary school is an additional burden, although it is recognised as worthwhile. Ofsted's newly published survey of swimming lessons in primaries makes good points and clearly signals what inspectors want to see. The Amateur Swimming Association's publication School Swimming Guidance is essential reading, too. Secondaries could consider what they might do to help partner primaries with their responsibility.

- www.ofsted.gov.uk, 'Reaching the KS2 standard in Swimming' www.britishswimming.org

2. Is the grass greener elsewhere?

Do you have colleagues who are looking at posts in the private sector? Make sure they do good research and take union advice before they make the leap. The best independent schools are good employers, but as the Association of Teachers and Lecturers says on its website: "It can be the best of worlds and the worse of worlds." The ATL's newly published Working in the Independent Sector is free to members, pound;9.99 to others, or it can be downloaded from www.atl.org.uk

3. Take a look at YouTube

YouTube's new Beat Bullying channel features an array of celebrities from singers Beth Ditto and Sean Kingston to Arsene Wenger. It makes powerful statements and invites responses about aspects of bullying. It won't change the world overnight but it makes a good resource for PSHE.

- YouTube.combeatbullying

4. Look at the Learning Outside of the Classroom movement

This group initiated by the Commons education and skills select committee is formed of organisations promoting high-quality learning outside school, including Learning Through Landscapes, the Council for British Archaeology and the Field Studies Council. As you work towards coming curriculum changes, you may want to sign up.

- www.teachernet.gov.uk, 'Learning outside the classroom'

5. Study Ofsted's Tellus2 survey

This survey of children's experiences and opinions comes from a random sample in every local authority, so you can compare local responses with the national picture. The questions were based on the Every Child Matters agenda and the answers show up predictable worries about drugs and alcohol, but in the main give an essentially heartening picture of people who are thoughtful, engaged and tuned in to what their schools want to do for them.

- www.ofsted.gov.uk, Tellus2

Send your suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh at gerald.haigh@btinternet.com.

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