5 Things to think about this week

7th December 2007 at 00:00
1. Lunchtime behaviour

A thread on the TES website staffroom shows concern about lunchtime behaviour and some misunderstandings about lunchtime exclusion. The late, great William Anderson, head of Wardle High in Rochdale, solved this years ago by getting every child to learn a brass instrument during the lunch hour. Wardle High still has a string of award-winning bands. Productive activity always seems to be the answer. Key point: lunchtime exclusion counts officially as fixed-term exclusion, so it can't be casually slipped under the radar.

- www.teachernet.gov.ukcasestudies and www.teachernet.gov.ukwholeschoolbehaviourexclusionguidance2007 www.teachingexpertise.com ('Managing Lunchtime Behaviour').

2. Keep up with 14-19 changes

A good source of fact, commentary and analysis of the changes in post-14 provision is the continuing Nuffield Review. Having produced three annual reports since 2004 (available on its website), it is now producing short "issues papers". The first, on the new diplomas, has just appeared; others will follow in the coming months.

- www.nuffield14-19review.org.uk.

3. So who's managing whom?

Is everyone clear about who is managing whom? The new performance management process is highlighting some confusion, especially where a teacher who is not a departmental head is delegated to act as a performance reviewer. Seek professional association and authority advice if there are doubts, but it seems vital to have lines of responsibility clearly agreed and set down. If performance management roles are included in agreed job descriptions, that should end any confusion.

4. A place for philosophy

Research at Dundee University shows significant long-term gains in verbal, numerical and spatial abilities among children who have studied philosophy at primary school. The people running the Philosophy in Schools programme point to this as evidence that their work cultivates better, more thoughtful, independent learners.

- 'Collaborative philosophical inquiry for schoolchildren: Cognitive gains at 2-year follow-up' by KJ Topping and S Trickey, British Journal of Educational Psychology; 77 (2007).

- thephilosophyshop.co.uk

5. Policy on the children of staff

Does your school have a policy about allowing the staff's children in school? This can happen as part of teachers' childcare juggling. Does it go with being a considerate boss? It can be an eyebrow-raiser: in one case, apparently, a teacher often had her son in all day when he was on holiday from his school. The authority advised against it. What are your thoughts?

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

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