Primary/Nursery Headtreachers' Executive Meeting. We are determined to make this a more strategically focussed meeting – previously it was overwhelmed with school specific detail. Patricia MacCall, Headteacher Campie Primary School, has put together an excellent set of proposals to ensure that issues are properly filtered and addressed – mainly using the clusters and Education Officers. In this way we can free up the meeting to address how we can improve the quality of primary/nursery education in East Lothian.
We spent a long time discussing isues relating to the attainment action plan. These included: LEADERSHIP – introducing the 360 degree leadership review; coaching programme for Depute Headteachers; challenging Headteacher isolation by using this website; PT seminars; and sharing good practice in management practice (there is arecognition that we all have something to learn from each other in the way in which we handle the administration tasks which face us on a day-to-day basis and have the potential to detract from our ability to lead) – we will be setting up a session at our next HT meeting to enable us all to share examples of such good practice. TEACHING AND LEARNING – SELS – a demo will be given at the next HT meeting; teacher exchange; PERFORMANCE MONITORING – explaining the scorecard and how we (as a collegiate de[artment) are scrutinised by the council; CURRICULUM FLEXIBILITY – decluuttering the curriculum and primary school timetabling.
The feedback from HTs about this discussion was very positive and hopefully we can sustain this level of professional debate and focus. A number of other issues were addressed during the meeting – most notably the idea of how we improve children's ability to learn – I'm going to meet with Ann McLannachan to explore this area further.
Quick bite of lunch before a three and half hour stint interviewing long leet candidates for the Headteacher's position at Stoneyhill Primary School. This is my first involvement in HT interviews and it's good to be able to learn from Alan Blackie who has so much experience in this area. Interviews are a very stressful for the candidates but there are some key points which people should try to bare in mind when preparing: always answer the question (you'd be surpised by how often people drift into some other area); keep referring to your experience and mention children (once again too many people never mention kids); don't keep rambling (I always try to keep to three ponts at the most – some people can try to include up to ten examples in a single question!); check if the school you are applying for has been inspected (it provides very useful background info' and demonstrates that you can explore an issue in depth); try to speak with some passion about your subject – you are going to have to enthuse staff and pupils – if this doesn't come across in interview it might go against you; talk about teams and others; don't say “I'm a good communicator/motivator/organiser/etc, etc – let your actions make it clear that you have these qualities; avoid the unecessary use of jargon – so many people think they have to press all the buttons in interview by mentioning every buzzword/initiative/theory. There are plenty more but these will do for now.
Managed to get to my desk for the first time today at 4.45pm.