5. Things to think about this week

11th July 2008 at 01:00
1. You're never too young to forge links
1. You're never too young to forge links

Do you see much of the manager of your local supermarket? Tony Kavanagh, who runs Waitrose in Wolverhampton, was in nearby Graiseley Primary when I visited. He's an old friend and well known to the children, who regularly go across to the store to learn about percentages and interview the staff. It's one of many partnerships by which Graiseley demonstrates that enterprise links aren't just for secondary pupils. "Employers are crying out for people with good communication skills, imagination and the ability to solve problems," says Wendy Briscoe, the head. "You can't start too early with that."

Key point: Wendy Briscoe, Graiseley's head, works hard at partnerships, and suggests contacting not just the businesses but the local "umbrella" organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Partnership and Business in the Community. (Graiseley is the only primary school member of Wolverhampton Chamber.)

2. Keep watch for walk-in thieves

My home authority, Warwickshire, can't be the only one to have issued a warning like this: "A number of schools in the area have been targets of walk-in thefts. Handbags and credit cards have been taken by a smartly dressed man." Coincidentally, a recent survey of over 400 schools, carried out by Hamilton House PR on behalf of equipment supply company SG World, shows that 40 per cent of schools have 20 or more visitors a day, and a startling 74 per cent have lost equipment to walk-in thieves.

Key point: A trawl on the web will reveal various systems for keeping tabs on visitors. What's equally important, though, is to develop a school-wide culture which is both welcoming to genuine visitors and alert to the more unwelcome guests.


3. Get the children snapping

Here's a good summer project for secondary schools. The charity Sightsavers is running a photography competition for three age groups between 11 and 18, with a closing date of September 5. Prizes include an SLR camera and a workshop with a professional photographer. Start the ball rolling now and, even if you don't win, you'll be able to welcome children and parents next term with an inspirational and possibly hilarious display of summer holiday pictures.

Key point: Sightsavers treats more than 20 million people a year for eye problems in the developing world.


4. Look after your middle leaders

In "Five Things" on November 29 last year, I suggested that schools should clarify their lines of management - who's responsible to whom and for what - now that middle leaders are involved in reviewing the performance of staff. Further emphasising the growing importance of middle leadership, the Association of School and College Leaders is running a course, Performance management for middle leaders; the new role of the reviewer, at four venues during the autumn term. It looks certain to be oversubscribed, so book early. And don't forget new people who'll start in September.


5. Don't miss out on pre-school project

Do you have responsibility for, or contact with, an early years setting? If so, make sure they know about Play at It, a Big Lottery-funded project providing adaptive technology for pre-school children with special needs. Play at It "intends to enhance the play options of children with physical, visual and learning disabilities". It's run by the charity AbilityNet, which is actively looking for participants.


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

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