1. Are you a shouting school?
It seems there must be some out there, because we've heard about a staffroom where they're in discussion about becoming a no-shouting school. On the face of it, that's not a bad thing. Lots of teachers shout, but it can be counter-productive, and it really does sound awful (you can easily imagine an Ofsted team exchanging glances).
Key point. We asked Jenny Mosley of Quality Circle Time about this. She does training in this area and says straight "don'ts" are usually counter productive. "It would probably be better to have a 'We Are a Calm School' policy," she says.
2. Play and succeed
Do your pupils take part in Playing for Success? Just celebrating its tenth anniversary with a centre at the new Wembley stadium, the scheme provides out-of-hours numeracy, literacy and ICT for 9s to 14s in centres mainly based in soccer clubs. For children in need of a boost, being taken by a club minibus to work in the heart of a well-known stadium can be an effective motivator.
3. Check out what successful leaders are doing
Browse the National College for School Leadership's latest research associate reports. The research associate programme has serving school leaders looking at good practice. The results are always worth reading. Among seven recently published is primary head Ann Gill's "One Step Ahead of the Game", a study of how five fellow primary heads are using ICT to support development in their schools. Also in tune with today's concerns is Elizabeth Moore's "Ringing the Changes", a secondary deputy's take on the role of middle leadership.
See www.ncsl.org.uk (where you can also find out how to be a research associate).
4. Parents and the web
How far on are you with making pupil data - attendance, performance grades - available for parents on the web? Some schools are pretty well there. The message seems to be, have confidence, because all you're doing is giving quick and easy access to existing data that parents are entitled to see anyway. Most management information systems now provide secure password- protected access from any web-enabled device, so it's no big deal. Your MIS supplier or authority knows how it's done. There's a good case study at www.teachernet.gov.ukcasestudiescasestudy.cfmid=215
5. Put your armour on
We've heard from a primary head who's been coaxed back from retirement to take on an urban school in difficulty. (What's that song - "And then a hero comes along ...") He has this thought for us.
"Heads who survive this kind of challenge wear a kind of armour. Things bounce off it, leaving them emotionally unscathed. I hear of heads who, three months into the job, are exhausted because they've let the issues through into their interior lives. It affects their ability to do the job, and a vicious circle starts. That armour is really important. Put it on."
Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh (email@example.com).