1. Head overseas for inspiration
Keep in touch with the International Placements for Headteachers programme run by the National College for School Leadership. There is plenty of evidence that these 10-day visits are more than just interesting, fact-finding exercises. Close observation, with colleagues, of how schools in other cultures work often leads heads to reflect deeply on aspects of how things are done in their own schools that they may have taken for granted.
Key point: The programme is being redesigned, after talks with heads who've already done it. The new version will be open to all senior leaders. Register your interest now to be kept up to date.
2. Set up a students' reception
Does your main reception area become crowded at peak times, with children, visitors and parents all wanting the receptionist's attention for different reasons? Harborne Hill School in Birmingham tackled the congestion by setting up and staffing a "students' reception" at a separate entrance. Now children and visitors can be given full attention separately as they arrive with problems and queries.
3. Sharpen up on SEN
Familiarise yourself with the Inclusion Development Programme, a pound;2 million initiative aimed at improving the ability of mainstream teachers to work with special educational needs pupils. Consultant Rona Tutt is raising awareness about it and will be presenting a seminar on the subject at the Education Show in Birmingham in February. "The thrust of the delivery was to local authorities, but it's schools that will make it work," she says.
Key point: You can download "Introducing the Inclusion Development Programme" from the Standards Site. A programme of events for the Education Show is available on its website under "Visiting the Show".
- www.standards.dfes.gov.uk; www.education-show.com
4. Nominate a colleague
Nominations for this year's Teaching Awards close on March 8. If you are even thinking about nominating someone, don't hesitate (and make sure pupils know about it - they're as eligible as anyone to make nominations). There may be only a select band of national winners, but the joy is spread much wider than that, with many regional awards - and it's clear that people are delighted just to be nominated.
5. Quiz parents
Do you conduct an annual survey of parents, measuring their feelings about the school under a range of headings? The head of one remarkably improved school showed me the results of his, which revealed changes in parental attitudes over the past couple of years. "I just wish I'd started right at the beginning. I know what it was like then, but it would be so much more useful to have the evidence."
Gerald Haigh's new book, 'Inspirational - and cautionary - tales for would-be leaders', based on his writing for 'The TES', is published by Routledge
Send your contributions or suggestions for this column to email@example.com.