8.30am-9.30am Met Stuart Hiles of Corporate Development. Stuart told me about the e-learning opportunities for staff and also the project management system he has been developing. I don't think education has ever really mastered the art – or should that read science – of project management. We often just set up groups and say “off you go” without giving them any structure or scaffolding. One of the recognised project management systems is PRINCE2 but Stuart has been develpoping a more user friendly system called PRINCE Lite. Sheila McKendrick joined us for the end of the meeting to explore how we might use the system in education. Great potential.
9.30-10.30 Sometimes things just come along and just knock you over. At least that's how I felt today when Robert Jones from North Berwick High School came into my office to show me the management information system he has developed for his school. Robert showed me a system he has built using open source software, that is software which is freely available on the net. The only stipulation is that any products you develop using the software must be made avauialable for free to anyone else. He's called his system
FreeMIS – it does exactly what is says on the tin!, i.e. a free management information system. The system is web-based, simple to use, intuitive, easily modifiable for different schools and meets all the requirements we have been looking for in such a system. I can't imagine how many hours Robert has spent putting this together but it is an incredible product which beats anything else on the market that I've seen. The only proble I can foresee is that it sounds too good to be true – surely something that good must cost money – and lots of it! but no it is absolutely free!! We are going to look at finding some time for Robert to develop the system for all our schools – at no charge to them. If other other authorities are interested we would be happy to help them – the only fee might be in relation to a support line which Robert would man. Exciting times!
11.45pm – School visit to Pentcaitland Primary School. Freda and Shirely showed me round – Freda reckons the school is due for inspection – if it is I don't think they have anything to fear – in fact probably quite the opposite. Listened to the brass band playing – I couldn't get over the high standard!! Well done Charlie – and thanks.
1.00pm – Visit to Musselburgh Grammar to speak to Ronnie about his forthcoming inspection. Everything seems to be in place and Ronnie and his team were putting together the finishing touches to their HMIe briefing. This is a one hour presentation to the lead inspector and associate inspector on the Thursday prior to the inspection week. It gives the school the opportunity to give their perpsctive on where the school is and where it intends to go.
2.30pm – Stoneyhill Primary School to see Seonaidh McGillivary – the new headteacher who started on Monday. Seonaidh is a very experienced headteacher and will settle into the school very quickly. We are going to put together an induction programme for her which we can repeat with other new haesd as they are appointed.
3.30pm – back to the office. Met a parent at 4.30 to discuss a nursery school issue. Generally tried to catch up with tings and leave a tidy desk. Left the office at 6.45pm out tomorrow and Friday for the ADES conference in Peebles.