Quantifying my great ideas

28th March 2008 at 00:00
Now I am going to treat you to a real secret - an innovation that I have not yet had time to pursue. This could make your career and boost you from middle leader to the upper echelons of power in education. Please note that this information is given to you by the person who thought it would be a great idea to cut off tights in the 1960s, put some elastic around the top and make a stocking sock.

Because I had not benefited from enterprise education at that tender age, it was merely a thought. Days later, Mary Quant introduced the world to the pop sock and my invention was developed worldwide by another. Take heed, I give you parents helping in secondary education.

A few months back I contacted our local authority representative for professional development. I asked him if there was a course for training parent support workers in secondary education, the same way that parents ran reading groups, were called in to mount displays and helped with resource catalogues in primaries. He apologised, but due to sparse resources, neither he nor the Workers' Educational Association, which ran such primary-based courses, could help.

I have begun, single-handedly, to create the course I think could prepare community volunteers to support in secondary schools. It comprises child protection, of course, closely followed by behaviour management of adolescents, and then an options programme on reading for inclusion, study skills, personal finance, the presentation of display work and administration in a year group or department. Honestly, nothing like this has been done before.

Why do we have sparkling, intelligent volunteers helping in primary schools and then shut the door on them once their children reach 11? Perhaps I am naive and there are wonderful programmes working successfully in many secondaries. If you think you are the next Mary Quant to steal my idea, please contact me at leadership@tes.co.uk.

Di Beddow, Deputy head at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

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