5 Things to think about this week

10th October 2008 at 01:00

1. Support for extended schools

Is yours an extended school with lots of things going on? Then you know it's not enough just to list them all on your Ofsted self-evaluation form. Inspectors want to know about the impact on school improvement. The organisation to help you here is the community learning organisation ContinYou. Its website lists courses and workshops that address this issue. It also has tailored one-to-one support for heads. And if you're in a fog about funding, the Department for Children, Schools and Families has just published a downloadable document, "Funding Extended Schools", on the "extended schools" section of Teachernet.

www.continyou.org.uk; www.teachernet.gov.uk

2. Top teachers win a makeover

The finals of the 2008 Teaching Awards will be broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday October 19 at 6pm. It is the event's 10th anniversary. If you know someone who deserves recognition, go to the Teaching Awards website and nominate them for next year. They may end up in Prima magazine, as did 11 of this year's winners from around the country who have won a makeover and are featured in the magazine's October edition. Or they could even get promoted and leave. Mark Lewis and Nick Wergan, both winners of Outstanding New Teacher awards in 2007, have just moved on to assistant headships after four years in the classroom.


3. They're the business

Do you have a school business manager? If you're in primary, perhaps not. And yet, according to the publication "Discover the Benefits of School Business Managers", produced jointly by the Teacher Development Agency and the National College for School Leadership, research shows that the value- for-money case is valid for primary as well as secondary. It is suggested that a good business manager can save a primary school Pounds 18,000 a year


4. Mobile phones as lesson aids

How many positive uses could you think of for a child's mobile phone in class? Researchers at Nottingham University's Learning Sciences Research Institute found 15, including "Photographing development of design models for e-portfolios". The research suggests that instead of banning mobile phones, schools should make them work for their living in class, and deal separately with the discipline issues.


You can download a poster for schools with practical ideas for mobile phones, based on the lsri report, from Merlin John's excellent website.


5. What does `rarely' really mean?

Start thinking now about "rarely cover" - that part of the workforce agreement that says teachers should rarely cover for absent colleagues takes effect from September next year. The assumption is that teachers won't be asked to cover at all in normal circumstances. There may be a need for extra staff, or for changes of job description, so decisions need to be made soon. And inevitably there are some grey areas around "rarely". The Association of School and College Leaders is running a conference, "Preparing for `rarely cover'", which will look at practical and legal issues in three venues during November and December.


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


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