5 things to think about this week

23rd May 2008 at 01:00
1. Look into pupil perspectives
1. Look into pupil perspectives

Consider appointing pupil researchers to gain a different perspective on life in your school. In 2007 Bowring Community Sports College on Merseyside, joined other Knowsley schools in appointing some Year 7s and training them in interview and analytical skills. The scheme was so effective that this year it was extended to all year groups. The pupils have submitted reports on issues such as bullying, attitudes to modern foreign languages, the use of ICT, and the school's approach to disability equality. It goes without saying that they have tackled their work with enthusiasm and serious intent, providing valuable insight into important areas of school life.

Key point: This is not something to embark upon lightly. Visit Bowring's website and click on "student research" to see what's involved.

www.bowring.knowsley.sch.uk

2. Not everyone's the next Clooney

Are your pupils under the spell of the "cool careers culture"? That's the phrase used by Tania Kuveljic, of B-live.com, a careers advice website, to describe pupils' tendency to aspire to glamorous, rather than more practical careers. In an interview with Personnel Today, she says: "There is a strong preference for jobs that receive a high profile on TV and in films - doctors, vets, paramedics, lawyers, the police, and chefs."

Key point: The truth is young people simply don't know enough about the range of careers out there. B-live.com, already familiar in a number of colleges and local authorities, can help with that. It's easy to see it in action at any of the work-related learning departments that are growing fast in our secondary schools.

www.b-live.com; www.personneltoday.com

3. Check out cyber-support

Be aware of the new secondary frameworks website. It provides lots of new support materials for English, maths, science and ICT at key stages 3 and 4. The emphasis is on ensuring effective progression, including transition across key stages. Its electronic format provides links to existing national strategies - a boon for teachers, who increasingly plan electronically and collaboratively.

www.standards.dcsf.gov.uksecondaryframeworks

4. Feed young minds

A Year 10 school council member, describing his work on school meals, lunch queues, and organic produce to me the other day, said: "I seem to be attracted to food-related subjects." He's not alone. Young people are extremely aware of issues concerning food and health. That being so, they will undoubtedly support you if you decide to enrol your school in the Food for Life Partnership, which aims to raise awareness of, and transform attitudes to, food and farming. Schools can win awards - gold, silver, and bronze - and some successful ones will be selected as regional flagships.

www.foodforlife.org.uk

5. Don't miss leadership deadlines

Two important National College for School Leadership deadlines are fast approaching. The window for National Professional Qualification for Headship applications is quite a narrow one, running from today to June 9. The placing of half-term doesn't help, so it's skates on for anyone who has not already embarked on their application. Then there's June 20, the closing date for applications for the research associate programme, which supports senior leaders in pursuing research in a chosen area of professional practice.

www.ncsl.org.uk

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

Inspirational - and Cautionary - Tales for Would-be School Leaders, Gerald Haigh's latest book based on his weekly TES column, is published by Routledge, price pound;15.99.

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