Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Enterprising Calderwood Primary

Calderwood Primary are always very keen to take forward enterprise activities and do so very well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to their art exhibition today. Opened by a local artist, there were framed artworks on display from all stages. It was all very impressive and there was a great turnout of parents snapping up the art work.

I had another coaching session the other day and again I am finding the experience of being coached and also that of coaching very worthwhile. One of the things which is interesting me is the depth of trust that I feel towards my coach and how quickly that has been built. It is a different kind of relationship with a colleague than those I have had before and a very powerful one. If this approach was embedded in all our practice we would be moving very much towards the kind of collegiate/sharing and empowering model which could affect real change and improvement in our schools.

This along with the space I now have for reflection at work is a learning experience which I’m finding very useful. Its also making me realise just how much time I have always spent crisis managing and whirring to keep up. There’s an enormous need for us all to stop and really think about the why of what we do in our daily lives in education at every level. This is becoming more and more apparent as I visit establishments and see the amount of activity and work that is going on everywhere. It’s how we harness all of that energy to make an impact that’s the killer question. How much of what we are doing every day is just for the completion of tasks so we can move onto the next one? How much of it is making a positive difference to the lives of the children in our care?

 

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May 28, 2008 Posted by | learning, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

QIO duties

So I’m now three months into this post and have spent much time reflecting on  what I think people would find useful from the role I undertake. This is very much a new and evolving role and I’d be really keen to hear the views on anyone  on what they think a QIO should/could be doing to support schools. Bearing in mind my role is one where the vast majority of my remit is to support 20+ establishments from early years, through primary to secondary with a quality assurance slant. What does that mean for you?

May 21, 2008 Posted by | learning | | Leave a comment

Collaborative working

I work across three different learning communities each one has a secondary and associated primaries and early years establishments, SEN Schools/Bases etc. They are all very different from each other. which is great to see. At the moment we’re in the middle of the learning community development plan reviews and planning for the new improvement plans. What is very evident is the amount of collaborative working going on, which can continue to be built on. Over the past couple of weeks some of the innovative and exciting collaborative activites I’ve heard about at our meetings include the following –

Primary schools working together to develop approaches at the early stages of primary including storyline working, development of active learning in numeracy and reading with fantastic ideas for assessment built in. Primary schools working together to develop personal logs and visiting not just schools within their learning community but going on good practice visits outside the authority. Secondary schools working alongside primaries developing AiFL approaches using science lessons at transition stages involving NQTs in developing active learning, use of award schemes such as ASDAN in the secondary, use of assessment to look a variety of skills at transition stages e.g verbal reasoning etc and target support. Primary schools working on interdisciplinary topics across several stages within the school. Schools developing “enriched tasks”. The list goes on and on. It’s quite mind blowing when all of this is added up together. The head of a secondary today summed it up when he said that in these times of tightened belts and efficiency savings, this collaborative working has to be the way forward. I think Michael Fullan said something along the lines of us becoming dangerous ( in a good way) when we really start to share and work together. The exciting thing about this is seeing the enthusiasm that is there at all levels when people start to talk about the real job of learning and teaching. It’s like the ongoing strains of the tension caused by work that is not to do with learning and teaching falls away when people can talk about what they really love doing.

After one of these LC meetings today I then met the early years group of establishments we work with in our area – where again our theme was about how to share and collaborate more.

So if this is how my  my time can be spent usefully in engaging in meaningful facilitation of dialogue whether its via these groups/meetings, out visiting schools, promoting Glow as a tool etc, I really need to keep a hold on that focus as time goes on and not become too caught up in working on paperwork etc.I don’t think this is rocket science but the hard thing for me has always been no matter what role I’m in , keeping that focus at the forefront at times when it’s easy to become sidelined with bits of paper.

 

May 13, 2008 Posted by | learning | | Leave a comment

More SLC CPD Glow

Jim Reid has been telling me more about the roll out of Glow in SLC. The advisory service manager May Boyd has been demonstrating the use of the SLC CPD Glow Group to SLC CPD Coordinators at their CPD Coordinator meetings. He also tells me Margaret Tracey and Stephanie Farquharson were also part of the team who constructed the Glow group. This is going to be a fantastic collaborative site as people begin to use it across the authority. The SLC glow roll out team are taking a very sensible, measured approach to the roll out of groups – trying out big hitters which can be seen to be useful. This steady drip is showing through as I meet HTs who are in the middle of writing their improvement plans. They too are speaking about a measured approach to rolling this out – getting it right bit by bit and building capacity amongst staff that way rather than a big bang approach.

May 8, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT | , , , | 2 Comments

This and That

I had an interesting outing with a Polish neighbour, to New Lanark at the weekend. We met out the back garden one day recently. I don’t speak Polish or Italian, she doesn’t speak French or much English yet as she’s just learning. So we did one of those pigeon Euro talk things for the day – there seemed to be smatterings of nearly everything with a bit of Latin thrown in for good measure, a notepad and drawings were involved and a Polish/English dictionary. What always amazes me in these situations is how much we can still learn about one another despite language barriers.

At work I’m starting to really enjoy my job and feel I am understanding my role better. This has been quite a difficult adjustment in some ways for me, as not only is it a completely new job but its also very different from being in one school. There’s also the question of autonomy. As HT I had a degree of autonomy within the school setting and freedom to be creative within boundaries. This role also has a degree of autonomy (I can create my own diary for instance) but strangely also less in some ways too – as the tasks I am carrying out are ringfenced and more specific perhaps than the ones I was carrying out as HT. For instance to write a pre-inspection report is something where there’s a set way of writing it, a format already set up – the autonomy comes in how I speak to people in the school, how I look for evidence etc. There is a specific deadline. As an HT something like raising attainment in reading might include a step like implementing a new reading scheme with specific teaching strategies – that can be a very creative task with lots of ways of approaching it and different answers which come out of it. It can also be a very lengthy task with changes occuring over many years and re-adjustments. So there have been lots of adjustments needed in my pace, approach and thinking about how I do things and why.

As part of this role I’m discovering the importance of getting better at asking the right questions at the right time of people, to support and challenge. I was asking the question today of some staff of just how they would measure the impact of a health week of events in a primary school. The attitude to health by the children seems perhaps easiest to look at first with possibly some form of personal learning log of the week with personal targets and comments/evaluations etc. It seemed more difficult to measure  the fitness side – you have to pin down an outcome very carefully as to what you hope the children can show as an improvement after a week. Is it possible to show an outcome after a week? Would it be better to revisit their fitness levels after a longer period of time to see if the week continued to have an impact? What measurements of fitness would it be sensible to use? And so it went on.

So I’m feeling I’m doing a lot of soul searching and personal development of my management and leadership skills.

 

May 6, 2008 Posted by | leadership, learning | , , | Leave a comment

Those pesky cats

The things you find out on a Saturday whilst cleaning… There’s a nasty character in a Haruki Murakami novel who dressed like the Johnny Walker whisky man used to do (he might even have been called Johnny Walker), and he did very, very unpleasant things to cats. After discovering that both my cats, have been getting their revenge on me in sneaky ways today, I’m tempted to strangle the pair of them. My ironing pile has been getting out of hand, this coupled with trimming their claws last week seems to have been the catalyst. It would appear that their entire fur shedding has been taking place in the ironing basket – quite deliberate on their part, I suspect. I did wonder what they were up to this week in the wee room where the ironing and washing machine live. Now I know.

Anyway, on Tuesday the extended team in our area are putting on some Inset training for support assistants in our schools. There will be a variety of input from dealing with difficult behaviour, information about autism, multi sensory spelling etc etc. I’m hoping to take a few photos and post them up here.

PS I’ve been using this site a lot recently and if you haven’t looked at it before, it’s great for inspiration when looking for ideas on displaying pupil work. This classroom display flickr group is also great

May 3, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense | , , | Leave a comment

Herald on Glow

Glow is getting lots of write ups, including this piece in the Glasgow Herald.

May 3, 2008 Posted by | glow, ICT | , , , | Leave a comment

CPD SLC

A new glow group is now up and running which Con Morris from LTS has been working on with Jim Reid and May Boyd from SLC. It’s looking good, and as it takes off will become a useful place for sharing practice and CPD experiences.

Thanks to help from Caroline I’ve managed to embed some video in the area glow group and Jaye helped with setting up a calendar. I’m all pleased with doing this! This is a glow drop which might be useful for those now moving forward with glow – lots of links to what’s being said

It’s a long weekend and I’m glad of some time to gather my thoughts. A couple of those HMIe boxes have landed in our schools over the past weeks and I’m sure the staff there are even more glad of the time off.

Karl Fischer mentioned Darren Draper’s site and I found his sharing of this bit from Carl Glickman’s book thought provoking. I have to agree this should be compulsory reading for all us teachers!

May 3, 2008 Posted by | education, glow, ICT, learning, teaching | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Joining Glow Groups

I was very excited today as I’ve joined a few very useful glow groups. I found the web parts workshop, the glowing potential group and an interdisciplinary group. As I’ve said before I’ve set up an area glow group for the Rutherglen/Cambuslang area which I hope will be a good central resource for all the staff in our area – from support staff to class teachers to managers. I didn’t go to any training but had a wee half hour or so with a glow mentor and so I’ve just been playing with it and working it out as I go along. I can’t say I’m a fabulous ICT expert so if I can do this anyone can! I’m really delighted to see this starting to roll out and it’s all working! Was also playing today with the national content and there’s so much great stuff there already. This is real genie out the bag time and he’s not going back in I’m pleased to say! I sent a web link to one of the HTs I work with today and she e-mailed me back and said she’d saved it into her own glow page. This sounds a little thing but I think its a huge step, as people at all levels are starting to see the uses and beginning to use glow. So tomorrow’s job is to work out how to put up the annual calendar for the area. So far I’ve managed to get most things going, and as I revisit the group I’m making I see a little bit more potential each time. When I show it to other people it’s fantastic as you watch people start to click as they see what it can do and could do for them in the future.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | ICT | , | 3 Comments