Silent Mentors

Diary: Met our District HMIe Phil Denning this mrining with Alan Blackie. We try to schedule these meetings each term to reflect on a range of issues: today's agenda included: recent inspections; learning and teaching policy; our plans for curriculum for excellence; our standards and quality report; Teaching Profession for the 21st Century – our response to the consultation; and communication between HMIe and LA. Followed this with a visit to East Linton for Richard Wilson's ED&R. I had another ED&R scheduled for later in the afternoon but this was cancelled. This enabled me to pop into Dunbar Grammar School to say farewell to two former colleagues who are leaving on Friday. Then out to North Berwick Nursery and back to the office.

In the course of our meeting with Phil Denning we explored the flexibility afforded to local authorities in relation to Integrated Children's Services Plans (as I've said previously on this blog I have volunteered to co-ordinate the plan for next session. Phil made a very useful point when he suggested that we might use the six questions from
Journey to Excellence, these being:

The framework of quality indicators and performance measures included in Part 3 of this resource, How good are we now?, provides a complete set of tools for evaluating the key outcomes of your school and the extent to which it is meeting the needs of its stakeholders: children and young people, parents and families, the staff who work in and with the school, and the community it serves. You can use these indicators to answer six key questions about your school, questions which are also used by other organisations to evaluate their work. The questions provide a common framework for evaluation shared by all staff who provide services for children. The six questions are:

  • What have we achieved?
  • How well do we meet the needs of our school community?
  • How good is the education we provide?
  • How good is our management?
  • How good is our leadership?

And finally

  • What is our capacity for improvement?

I also think this might be the format we could use for next year's Standards and Quality Report – schools should also be considering this approach.

The title of this post is silent mentoring. This has been an idea I've been playing around with for a few weeks and it goes something like this. If you are prepared to keep a blog (you need not be a current blogger) and you would like me to comment on it as a “critical friend” via confidential e-mail then contact me. I'll promise to comment on your blog on a weekly basis – first six volunteers will be accepted. One place is already taken. Any other willing silent mentors out there?

Last point – check out
Ewan MacIntosh's blog and the dialogue he is generating about exc-el – please comment there.