5 things to think about this week

9th November 2007 at 00:00
1. Pay high-level attention to low-level class disruption

Many teachers dealing every day with cheek, disobedience, noise and silliness feel abandoned by senior management who, to be fair, are often focused on issues that are not contained in class and seem more important. But low-level disruption is morale-sapping and stressful and breeds a sense of failure in teachers. Consider whether you should have incidents consistently recorded over time so you can look for patterns - which children, which lessons, which teachers. There is software that can help. Ask your local authority's management information systems team and search the Becta site for "behaviour monitoring".


2. Check out the new ethnic minority achievement programme newsletter

The first edition has just been published. Lots of stuff comes into school but this is worth more than a passing glance. It is full of examples of good practice from schools working with new arrivals, travellers and other minorities in various areas of the curriculum in key stages 1-3. Download it from the publications section of the Department for Children, Schools and Families' standards website.


3. Debate your school's use of time

The advent of virtual learning environments, the possibility of off-site working, workforce reform and extended schools are all making it possible to question the notion of having all pupils in school between two fixed times. Thomas Telford City Technology College in Telford, Shropshire, has worked a three-session day for some years. Bridgemary Community Sports College in Gosport, Hampshire, is trying new ideas around the use of time and off-site learning, as is Endeavour High in Hull. There is a tide flowing.

4. Take a look at Curriki

The name is a conflation of "curriculum" and "wiki", which is a particular kind of web software that makes it easy to share content. It is an ambitious attempt to set up a worldwide, open-source, shared curriculum resource and has some major players behind it. So sign up, look at what's on, add some things of your own and see if you can help it to grow. The Department for Children, Schools and Families' innovation unit is interested enough in the idea to be giving it some support.


5. Beware the 'Waterloo Road' effect

The BBC's school drama is causing web-based stirrings among parents and teachers by showing a girl with Asperger's syndrome being thoughtlessly dealt with by staff. Apart from anything else, head Jack Rimmer has naughtily kept back the money allocated to the girl's needs. Is it a coincidence that heads are now fielding requests from the parents of children with special educational needs for details of how the money for their children is being spent? There is a good and often well-informed discussion on how to deal with such requests in the "school management" TES staffroom forum. The topic is "Do parents have the right?"


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

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