Donald Henderson

8.45am meeting with Sheila McKendrick, Derek Haywood and Sheila Ainslie to further develop our cluster-based ideas for the restructuring of services. I hope to finish the paper this week. I had a useful chat with Alan Ross later in the morning about the same issue and I don't think we are a million miles away from each other on this one. I'd left my glasses at home and my wife, Gill, who was coming up to Edinburgh anyway dropped into the office. I showed her round and we managed a quick cup of coffee together. I think it's important for family to have some idea of where you work as so much of your time is spent there and at least now Gill can visualise where I am. John Muir House is an attractive environment and we are lucky to have such a pleasant place in which to work – it's certainly not the case in all council offices.

Visited Tom Brock, Chief Executive Officer at the
Scottish Seabird Centre at 11.00am. I'm to be the council's representative on the Board. The centre really is one of East Lothian's crown jewels and it would be a tragedy if it ever folded. I'm keen to explore ways we can establish a closer link with the centre and our schools. It would seem to me that there is some potential in the eco-school initiative linked to John Muir and an environmental focus in East Lothian. It set me to thinking about what would be the three key characteristics of East Lothian education, in the same way as we might ask a school to identify its characteristics. How about as a first step “connected to our environment” – other suggestions welcome.

Back to the office for a meeting with Donald Henderson, who is Head of Teaching Resources at the Scottish Executive. Donald and his team meet each educatyion department on an annual basis to reflect upon issues arinsing and the impact of executive strategies and policies. We had an interesting chat about the focus upon the lowest attaining 20% of students and what the executive reckoned was the underlying purpose of this focus. I don't think Donald and I disagreed on the purpose but we maybe used different language. I look forward to discussing this point further with Donald at a more suitable time.

I talked through our attainment action plan and they seemed interested in our on-going work in relation to 360 degree evaluation; talent identification; leadership coaching; student evaluation of learning and the exc-el initiative. As I've stated earlier in my weblog it is our hope that we can underatke some research to explore possible relationships between high student evaluation scores and high levels of attainment.

Finished the day with a useful meeting with Ruth Munro to explore the new six point HMIe evaluation scales and what it means for inspections. Home for 6.30pm. As usual about 60-90 minutes work to be completed at the kitchen table. I usually sit down about 9.15 having had a meal with the family, watched some telly and over the past few weeks taken some exercise in our garage where we have a running and rowing machine. I have to admit to being really out of condition but I'm enjoying getting back into some regular exercise.

Time for bed.