5 Things to think about this week

3rd October 2008 at 01:00

1. Get the children outside and active

What happens out of doors at your primary school? The Local Government Association wants more flab-fighting games such as British Bulldog - but there's more to the outdoors than that.

You could link with a university course, as Graiseley Primary in Wolverhampton did, ending up with magical "transforming" play equipment designed by engineering students.

Or you could have a jogging trail with stops for mental and physical tasks, like the one at Greswold Primary in Solihull, designed by John King, National Teacher of the Year in 2001.

Or you could register now for the January conference of the charity Learning Through Landscapes, which has a lot of experience in helping schools with outdoor spaces.


2. Foster managers' intelligent feedback

Your middle leaders are good teachers or they would not be in the positions they now occupy, but how good are they are at observing colleagues and offering them well-judged feedback?

It is a tricky business, new to many, where the best motives can be undone by misunderstandings or clumsiness.

A course called Teaching and Learning, to be run by the National Association of Head Teachers in November and December, is aimed at helping middle leaders in supporting classroom practice.

One element - "providing emotionally intelligent feedback" - will strike a chord with many.


3. Find a model for distributed leadership

Headship is a less and less lonely job. Not so much of the buck stops here. It is ever more likely that you have an associate head, executive head, or other heads in the local primary cluster or 14-19 collaborative to consider.

The National College for School Leadership has followed this trend from the start, with research, policy advice and publications. All this work now has its own space - Models of Leadership - on the college's website.

You can also contribute by helping Josephine Smith, an NCSL research associate and deputy head, who is working on leadership styles in collaborative settings. If you are willing to be interviewed, contact her at smithj22@longfield.leics.sch.uk


4. Tap into expertise on classroom control

TES Connect's online staffroom forums remind us that for many teachers classroom misbehaviour is the biggest worry. A quick internet search reveals endless courses and resources designed to bring about happy and controlled classrooms.

But do they work?

An article on the Teaching Expertise website looks at continuing professional development in behaviour management, suggesting that some is disappointing and expensive, and that there is no substitute for a sustained whole-school effort, tailored to individual needs.


5. Draw inspiration from national project

Is your school taking part in The Big Draw? Now in its ninth year, the project, which is organised by the Campaign for Drawing, runs throughout October, with a special focus on Saturday 11.

At a school I visited recently, the project was being run as a lunchtime activity by a sixth former, who planned to get as many pupils and staff as possible contributing to a huge communal drawing on a chosen theme.

Key point: Schools increasingly encourage pupils to lead and coach lunchtime activities or to act as assistants to staff. This increases the participation rate and has clear educational and social benefits for everyone.



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