5 things to think about this week

28th November 2008 at 00:00

1. Tidy up pupils' files

Your school is undoubtedly preparing - if it has not already - to give parents online access to your data on their children. To you, that means making sure the data is accurate and defensible.

One school, for example, discovered that an incident recorded on a child's behaviour log named other children who were involved. Those extra names had to be removed before parents were given access.

The same school first piloted its online access with parent governors, gathering lots of feedback from them before giving everyone access.

Key point: Check the website of Becta, the education technology agency, which currently has video case studies of online reporting to parents.


2. Just for dads

Take a look at the Dads' Space website. An offshoot of the Government's Parent Know-How programme, it is a lively, practical online community space for fathers with problems and questions. Recommend it to your worried dads.

Single-parent dads will probably find it particularly useful, but it is by no means just for them: there are sections about supporting a pregnant partner, joining in child care, and generally being a good dad.

The cheesy but funny home page video would, incidentally, make a good start to a key stage 4 personal, social and health education lesson.


3. Hope for headships

The National College for School Leadership's headship index, which measured the appetite for school leadership in September, detected a rise in the number of teachers aspiring to the top job. It is not a big jump, though, and too many schools are without permanent heads.

Creative solutions are called for, and a conference in January for senior leaders in the east - East Anglia, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - and London intends to explore some of them.

Organised by the Eastern Leadership Centre and hosted by broadcaster and high-profile friend of educators Libby Purves, it will look at different patterns, styles and definitions of leadership.

Key point: The ELC conference 2009, "All About Leadership", is being held at Newmarket racecourse on January 21.


4. Life's lessons

Read and enjoy the career stories of headteachers. John West-Burnham, a consultant, has been researching heads' professional life histories for the National College for School Leadership. There is an introductory article, with four case studies, available in the current issue Ldr, the online magazine for schools leaders.

Read about the two heads who were expelled from school, one of whom once taught horticulture to an FE class from a Reader's Digest book of gardening.

There are some interesting and inspirational insights, and it will be well worth watching out for the publication of the full research in the new year.


5. Science support

As a primary head, do you wring your hands a bit when you see one of your design and technology groups enthusiastically cutting and sticking? Just make sure your school is making full use of your local authority's membership of Cleapss (Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services).

Although well known in secondary science circles, this advisory service often falls under the primary radar, and yet the organisation's publications and advice are invaluable and largely free.

New publications for primary include Tools and Techniques in Primary DT, which is about safe handling of tools, including the ubiquitous glue gun, and A Guide for Primary Science Co-ordinators.


Send suggestions for this column to gerald.haigh@btinternet.com.

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