Many meetings

I’ve been in post for four weeks. In that time I’ve been meeting all of the staff within the Department. These meetings have proved very useful. My over-riding impression is that we are fortunate to have so many committed and professional staff at all levels. I think the opinion in schools can sometimes be that people in the “centre” sit around drinking coffee all day and don't know what it's like in schools. This is completely mistaken and the staff here are determined to ensure that they provide a quality service to schools. If there is one problem it might be that people often work in isolation of their peers but this is easily resolved and I will be chairing a communication working group over the next few weeks.

I'm keen that I don't become overwhelmed with the job and have set up a number of systems and procedures with the help of our admin staff. One of the key elements of this strategy is how I intend to deal with e-mails. Too often someone in my position can spend all their time reading and responding to e mails. Given that my typing skills are limited – to say the least – it normally takes me 5 -10 minutes to read and respond to a single email. People deserve a response to e mails but too often that response is expected almost instantaneously. My system involves my admin support intercepting my e mails and printing them off. I then work on all the mails at the end of the day, dictating my responses onto a digital recorder. These files are downloaded onto my secretary's computer in the morning and all my e mails are typed and sent off on my behalf. In this way I can deal with the strategic aspect of my job whilst ensuring that all e mails enquiries are dealt with logically and timeously – usually within 24 hours. In this way I can deal with all my mails in under an hour wheas if I was typing a response to each I might be engaged in the process for up to three hours a day. We will be reviewing the success of this system after a couple of months.