Met with David Scott and Donald McGillivary fro the Association of Headteachers Scotland (AHTS) from 8.30 – 10.00am. Very enjoyable meeting and characterised what I hope will be my relationship with unions. We solved a lot of problems and they made some very useful suggestions. One of the key suggestions was that we develop a set of guidelines which would help teachers and headteachers to manage students who have behaviour problems.
Then met Helen McMillan about Early Years budget. We had had a finance meeting when helen had been on holiday and shifted some money from childcare strategy to nursery schools to cover the nursery nurse payrise. I apologised to Helen for not having discussed this with her on her return to work but it had slipped my mind. It reinfroced for me the importance of really getting on top of the budget, as the suggestion had been made during the meeting and had not been properly thought through prior to the meeting.
Out to Prestonpans Primary School for another drop in visit. Florence Brydon took it in her stride and after a cup of coffee and chat showed me round the school. Met some really great kids who had some real spark about themselves. The teachers seemed very committed to their jobs and I got the feel of a place which was determined to give every child the best start in life they could. The school canteen has won awards for healthy eating and I'm sure Jamie Oliver would have been impressed.
Back to office to meet with Pauline Sales about developing a database for recording complaints and incidents of bullying. Pauline will contact Angus, Aberdeenshire, East Renfrewshire and North Lanarkshire Councils to find out about their attainment evaluation procedures. Colin Sutherland, HT North Berwick, Pauline and myself are looking to imrpove our evaluation procedures and these councils are reckoned to be amongst the best in Scotland.
The met Norma Mcpherson – our Maths support officer and Ronnie Summers – HT Musselburgh Grammar – about 5-14 maths results. Norma has done some really interesting analyses of maths results and was able to share that with Ronnie. We agreed that perhaps the most important thing we can do to improve maths attainment is to cincentrate on formative assessment and the creation of an interactove learning environment.
Then 45 mins with Alan Ross about the philosophy behind integrated children's services – once again very stimulating and challenging.
Straight from there to third depute's seminar. Another great session – of course that's my opinion. We reflected again upon the luck involved in gaining promotion. Agreement that we need a proactive means of identifying talent. It was also a common feature that almost everyone had acted up at some stage in their career. Chris Peyton – North Berwick – talked about a system in Beeslack where one of the assistant heads was always an acting appointment – I really liked this idea. The proposed coaching system was also well received.
Back home for a parents' night for my youngest son. Why was I so upset by a teacher who was chewing a sweet as he spoke to us? Must be getting old!
PS I've updated Wednesday's entry by adding my Tuesday weblog