1. Crack down on nits
Get ready for the first of 2008's national Bug Busting Day on January 31. (Others will be on June 15 and October 31.) Run by Community Hygiene Concern (supported by the Department of Health and the King's Fund), Bug Busting Day aims to promote effective head lice control with special combs and without chemicals. The schools programme has kits and resources for children to take home. CHC's website is full of information with which to support families and perhaps break through some of the myths and social assumptions that can cause friction between parents.
Key point: Any day can be your Bug Busting Day, but co-ordinated days have a better chance of making a dent in the national nit population.
2. Seize the day
Register for the National College for School Leadership's annual conference. Seizing Success, at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, is not until June 18-20 but registration is open. The impressive list of speakers - including Christine Gilbert, the chief inspector of Ofsted, Mick Waters, of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the academic Andy Hargreaves and businessman Sir Gerry Robinson - looks certain to attract a good attendance.
3. Enrol your school in the Go4it scheme
Nearly a year ago Sir Digby Jones, former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, argued in a TES article and in a paper - Cotton Wool Kids, published by Heads, Teachers and Industry (HTI), the independent education leadership enterprise - that today's pupils are over-protected from risk. Picking up the challenge, HTI developed Go4it, awards recognising innovation, creativity and enterprise. Early participating schools are enthusiastic. "Go4it ensured we achieved an 'outstanding' in this key Ofsted area (personal development and well-being)," said Kat Mangham, of Wootton Bassett School in Wiltshire.
4. Recognise Holocaust Memorial Day
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website has lots of background for teachers as well as lesson materials for this event (on January 27). Case studies and survivor stories range beyond the Nazi Holocaust to Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The lessons from history bear constant repetition. As the website notes, hate crimes and attacks against people because of race or ethnicity, sexuality, disability or religion continue to take place. Holocaust Memorial Day acts as a reminder of our responsibility to protect the civil and human rights of all people, in our society and around the world.
5. Get a Zak pack
Do you have a dangerous road near your school where children are at risk? Have you been trying to get a speed limit or a crossing? Then contact Zak the Zebra, mascot of the road safety campaign group Brake, get a Zak pack and enlist the organisation's support. Lambs Lane Primary in Reading made the call last year and the resulting publicity, with a personal appearance by Zak, helped to get a much-needed crossing installed on a nearby road.
www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk (communities) and www.brake.org.uk
Hotline 0800 068 7780
Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to Gerald Haigh at email@example.com.