Integration

9.00am Pre-agenda meeting for Council Committee for Education was cancelled. This enabled me to complete the paper I had been working on since yesterday relating to communication between nursery/primary headteachers and directorate. I've chosen the term directorate because people in schools often refer to communication with the council. I know it's only semantics but such terminology reinforces the erroneous notion that schools are not part of the council. Bounced it off a few headteachers and received a positive response. It will be a major item for discussion at next week's full HT meeting.

10.30 met with Karen Robertson to discuss her ideas about the future of ICT in East Lothian. Karen had written a very good paper on the matter but I wanted to challenge her on a number of points – most particularly on how ICT might relate to the proposed Attainment Action Plan. Karen was more than a match for me and demonstrated an excellent grasp of the issues and the needs of teachers and the authority.

11.00 meeting with Marion Wood, Chis Clarke and Sean Rafferty of Children's Services. This was another learning session for me and we covered a lot of ground in an hour and half. Most significantly we discussed how you manage a budegt over which you have no control over the demand in relation to resources available. For example if 10 young people suddenly needed to secure accommodation it would cost £500 per week for every child. This an extreme example but it gives an indication of the problem. Pupil Support face a similar situation with children who have additional learning needs which cannot be met in mainstream schooling. We discussed how we could look at better integrating our services for vulnerable children – particularly in relation to transport. I'm going to have a go at writing a paper on this topic.

Out for a quick visit to Law primary School. Neil Barnes gave me a tour of the school and I met a few staff. Couldn't help but be impressed with the atmosphere in the school. I had a chat with Neil about the advantages of large primary schools. I've never throught abut it before as I think I've always verged towards seeing the benefits of small schools but there are opportunities that a large school can offer children which a small school would struggle to match.

Then on to North Berwick Nursery for a chat with Sue Leach. Very interesting meeting where we discussed the role of the leader in schools. Sue is an inspirational teacher and is highly regarded by parents in North Berwick.

Popped into North Berwick High School on my way back. Quick chat with Colin Sutherland – he has agreed to help us out in developing our attainment evaluation strategy – we will be visiting another authrority in the next few weeks.

Back to the office for a meeting with Ian Reid – our School Travel Co-ordinator. Ian is having some problems convincing schools to particpate. I pointed out it does not really feature on the Service Improvement Plan so it will be very much up to schools if they wish to engage with the programme. We will consider putting it onto the updated SIP which comes out in December. It seems a very sensible initiative in that it links with Healthy living, Eco-Schools and Health and Safety.

E mail and correspondence until 6.15.