Taking the Pain out of School Management. Book on CD-Rom Edited by Bill Tagg for the Society of Education Consultants. Price: pound;15 (exc VAT) Not all books can be read at a sitting, feet up by the fire, one hand turning the pages, the other nursing a glass of Zinfandel. You'd expect a head to use a book such as this one on school management, by swinging the swivel chair, flicking through the pages and looking up "truancy" in the index. However, in this case it is not necessary, as the book is sitting in the form of a CD-Rom. So all the head has to do is use the index or just type the word "truancy" into the finder to locate all the references - printing out the relevant ones if necessary.
Is it a good idea? Much depends on the user's mind-set. Many will not be entirely convinced by the disc's extra flexibility. Others - perhaps those who already see the computer as the focus of their office work - will value the opportunity to include it in the range of software that fashions their working environment.
The book itself is comprehensive, with chapters by a range of specialist contributors on all the usual management issues including finance, relationships with governors, staff development, SEN, health and safety, ICT and discipline. A newcomer to the world of school management books pops up in the form of a chapter by the late Bill Tagg on "How to bid for funds". This contains a warning about going for money just because it is there. "Before starting, schools must decide whether to be involved. A good question to ask is if the project achieves its aims, would we be happy to see the proposed exercise continue in the school once funding has ceased? If the answer is not an unqualified 'yes' then go no further."
However, the opposite point of view would say, "If there's money to be had, never mind what it's for, let's go after it. We can work the rest out later." Veterans of the fondly remembered TVEI initiative will know which of these strategies to use.
Published by Tagg Oram Partnership, The Chequers, 28 Whitehorse Street, Baldock, Herts SG7 6QQ.