Integrated Children’s Services

I’ve been trying to develop some means of representing how integrated children’s services works in East Lothian. The
attached file makes a start but will need considerable amendment before it reallly captures what we are about.

The basic premise is that most children will probably get through their childhood without much need of support from external agencies. The universal service (the service which every person comes into contact with) from 0-3 years of age is the Health Service and once again most children and their familes will have any additional need other than that required for every child. However, there will be some children who are born into circumstances where they, and their families need significant levels of support, e.g. chronic parental substance abuse. In such circumstances our Child Protection teams would be alerted and a range of support mechanisms put into place. Similarly there will be children who require additional support due to their health or physical/mental development.

From 3-18 the universal service is education. Once again most children will only require the basic pastoral care and advice provided by teachers and specialist guidance teachers. However, there will be some children who require significant support due to their family circumstances or their own health of development needs. Where this is complex or severe the child and their family will engage with children's services throughout their educational period. However, there will also abe a number of children who will require additional support at certain points in their lives but who can be helped through these periods to where they are less dependent on support. The key to engaging with children and their familes and to provide a coherent and well focused service is our Staged Assessment and Intervention (SA&I) system.

I look forward to developing this framework over the next few months. Comments welcome

Integration

8.30-9.50am Directorate Meeting. We had missed Monday’s slot due to my attendance at the ICT Summit. Our meeting scheduled for this coming Monday will be focussing upon the four proposed structures for the department – of which more later.

10.00am Department Briefing

10.10 Senior students from Knox Academy, who included my neice BJ raided the department dressed in their pyjamas to raise funds for Children in Need.

10.30-11.30 Meeting with Liz Morriss of the EIS to agree the agenda for the Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers. Number of key issues coming up for consideration including our plans for meeting the additional non-contact time due to come into force next session; management structures; Supervision of NQTs; and Business Managers for primary schools. I also asked Liz to nominate one of her members with a background in ICT and Learning Support to join our ICT group who are due to meet on the 20th December.

My meeting with Phillip Rycroft was then cancelled – he had to attend a funeral – rescheduled for 8th December. The questions we will be addressing at that meeting are as follows:

Will we receive funding for the reduction in class contact time?

Will the pay award of 2% for 2006/2007 be met externally?

Will we receive funding for Chartered Teachers?

Will we receive funding for the planned reduction in class sizes in S1 and S2 Maths and English classes?

I’m also keen to explore what the Executive’s expectations are in relation to monies identified in Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) and what council’s then allocate to education departments.

Met Sheila Ainslie, our Pupil Support Manager and my former SMT colleague from Dunbar Grammar School. Sheila was responsible for creating one of the first integrated pupil support teams in Scotland which included Guidance, Learning Support; Inclusion and external agencies. The success of this development was recognised in Dunbar’s Inspection report from 2004. The current debate in the department is whether or not to bring together our Pupil Support Section and our Integration Team together into a single entity under the line management of the Head of Education.

The Integration Team, started off its existence in Education but migrated to Children’s Service’s for a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that it was deemed not to be working effectively under Education. The team is now well established and (almost) fully staffed. It is well led, by Raymy Boyle and morale within the team has never been better , whilst it links well with the “hard end” of Children’s Services. It is therefore ironic, or should that be unfortunate , that the current debate is undermining that confidence and growing uncertainty is leading some of the team to seek alternative employment.

There are many persuasive arguments to leave things as they are – in fact there is argument to move pupil suppport to Children’s Services. So I thought it might be useful to give my reasons for supporting the eventual bringing together of Pupil Support and the Integration Team. One of the challenges we are addressing is a change in culture within our schools. We want to move towards a notion of our “ownership” of every child in our community. We would like to develop systems which enabled us to “keep” vulnerable children in our communities and provide co-ordinated support to enable them to take their place in society. At the same time we don’t wish to compromise the education of other, less vulnerable children. For this to happen we need to develop systems which are seamless and which have no points where children can either drop through the net or be “handed” on. The current system of schools and their associated school based support systems and associated Integration Teams varies from cluster to cluster. However, there is a dissonance between what schools think they are doing and what Integration Teams think they are doing. We could, and some do, argue, that this will all be resolved in the fullness of time – and they may indeed be right.

One of the challenges often put to schools is that they need to take “ownership” of integration. The problem with this concept is that when Education does say “OK let’s get our hands dirty” it can be construed as a desire to gain control. I see a huge difference between ownership and control. For me ownership is about accountability. Without accountability it is too easy to pass on responsibility to another agency when you feel you have done everything in your power to solve a problem. This, it seems to me, is the core of the problem. If Integration Teams can be perceived, or characterised, as being outwith education then the mental model of handing something over is simply reinforced. This model goes all the way through education – where teachers say to guidance “get this kid out of my class” as opposed to taking some of the responsibility for helping the child to change their behaviour.

Of course, education in this scenario is open to criticism – “so why don’t you tackle your own problem?” – “why should Integration Teams change to help you solve a problem within your own system?” I understand such sentiments but it should be recognised that we are changing . Our recent committment to adopt the concept of Collective Responsibility lies at the core of a changing Education and Children’s Services Department. However, collective responsibility needs some form of collective accountability. For example, if a school cluster suggests that they have not been given the appropriate support from the Integration Team they might complain to me. If an Integration Team decides that a school cluster is not conforming to agreed practice they might complain to Alan Ross (Head Of Children’s Services). The easy response to this is to say that Alan and Don will sort to out but this is to miss the point that the sort of cultural change we are engaged in needs coherent and clear lines of accountability.

The next obvious question is why should Education “take control?” Again we need to explore the mind set in schools. If we agree that there is still a tendency in schools to “Hand on” problem children to other agencies, then by moving school-based pupil support to Children’s Services merely serves to reinforce the perception which must be challenged. The challenge if Pupil Support and Integration Teams come under Education is to ensure Education is held accountable for an integrated system which reinforces the concept of Collective Responsibility.

Finally, if the Integration joins with Pupil Support, will it not not merely serve to increase the gap between education and “hard end” Children’s Services e.g. LAAC, children in residential care, child protection cases?

For me this is the big challenge – we are currently exploring how we might look at the huge amounts of money being spend on care programmes for such children and for us think about how we could use this money for alternative programmes which kept the child in education and within the community.. There is certainly a perception from staff in Children's Services that Education does “abandon” some children. I don’t think I can defend education here but again – we are committed to changing. Instead of looking at how things used to be, we should challenge our own perceptions of our colleagues’ practice and values.

Alan Blackie, Alan Ross, Myself and Clare O’Sullivan (our consultant) will be considering all this on Monday.

Lastly – I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading on the concept of social mobility – you might like to take a look at some of these research papers.

Rob Lewis popped into my office late in the afternoon to suggest that we might like to set up a section in Exc-el for admin’ support staff. Great idea – see
admin support. We have finalised a date for our admin support conference 15th February 2006 in the Brunton Hall.

Exc-el Usage – so far

 

 

Summary by Month

 

Month

Daily Avg

Monthly Totals

Hits

Files

Pages

Visits

Sites

KBytes

Visits

Pages

Files

Hits

 

Nov 2005

3384

2548

1096

349

931

890779

5942

18632

43329

57530

Oct 2005

2597

1901

806

240

823

1134686

7450

24998

58939

80534

Sep 2005

1423

887

424

81

378

515063

2430

12745

26615

42719

Aug 2005

970

523

361

44

175

326509

1380

11209

16226

30079

Jul 2005

192

82

92

26

50

55134

831

2875

2549

5971

Jun 2005

31

27

27

21

28

32093

646

818

819

936

May 2005

29

24

24

18

50

52674

573

746

757

900

Apr 2005

40

35

34

25

26

59060

764

1027

1064

1204

Mar 2005

41

36

34

25

36

97317

783

1080

1140

1290

Feb 2005

50

29

28

20

47

77758

585

803

812

1427

Jan 2005

22

14

16

6

38

60053

195

483

434

676

 

Totals

3301126

21579

75416

152684

223266

 

Budgets – budgets

9.00-10.00 Maureen Grainger and Claire Sime of our Educational Psychology Service showed me some of their work relating to summarising educational theories and learning styles. This section of our website has the potential to provide easily accessible and useful information to teachers about learning theory.

After a brief chat and demo' Claire and Maureen worked on putting up some of information up on the site. Many thanks to them both.

10.00-11.15 Departmental Budget Meeting with Councillors Maureen Talac and John Ross. Agreed to prepare a number of briefing papers relating to issues which we need to resolve prior to setting next years budget.

11.30-12.00 Policy and Procedures Review Panel agenda meeting with Councillor Margaret Libberton. We agreed the agenda for the meeting which enables councillors to scrutinise the business of the department. I'll be making presentations relating to 5-14 results, individual secondary school results, anti-bullying policy and MIDYS standardised test.

12.30-2.00 Finally caught up with my paperwork

2.00-3.00 Met with Alan Borthwick and Derek Haywood to prepare for my meeting tomorrow with Phillip Rycroft Head of Schools division at the Scottish Executive. We are keen to explore a number of budget issues with him. Anthony Gillsepie joined us for part of the meeting to explain more about GAE (Grant Aided Expenditure) – the money which comes into the council from the Executive and its relationship with final budgets allocated to education. I think I'm just starting to get my head around this – it's only taken four months.

3.00pm-4.00pm Department budget meeting with representation from finance, pupil support, early years and schools division. Useful discussion about budget allocations and how various predicted overspends can be covered

4.00 Quick chat with Paul Raffaelli.

4.30pm Pete Gray popped in to discuss exc-el – Pete helped me to enable the comment facility – see below. Without Pete's help and patient advice exc-el would not be in existence.

5.50pm Hometime

5.45pm

ACE: Paradise or Paradox (Part 1)

The Curriculum for Excellence provides the Scottish education community with one of the most exciting and liberating opportunities for developing its practice in since 1945.

The document published in 2004 is notable by its simplicity, common sense and lack of bulk. In a few pages it sets out a vision for the future of education in Scottish schools which is radically different from what children currently experience. More importantly it provides extraordinary freedom for schools to decide how best to fulfill the purposes of education, namely to help children become:

  • Effective contributors
  • Confident individuals
  • Successful learners
  • Responsible citizens

However, running through the rationale for Curriculum for Excellence is a paradox which threatens to undermine its potential effectiveness unless it is properly recognized and considered at this stage.

This paradox can be exemplified by two potentially conflicting purposes of the curriculum contained within the same page of the document:

“(the curriculum) ….must be a stimulus* for personal achievement and, through the broadening of pupils’ experiences of the world, e an encouragement towards informed and responsible citizenship.”

(p11 A Curriculum for Excellence 2004)

“The curriculum….must enable young people to build up a strong foundation* of knowledge and understanding and promote a commitment to considered judgement and ethical action.”

(p11 A Curriculum for Excellence 2004) (*my emphasis)

The first statement suggests that the curriculum is a stimulus for personal achievement, whilst the second proposes that the curriculum provide children with a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding. As both statements make a link with citizenship/responsibility/considered judgement/ ethical action I’d like to focus upon the apparent conflict between the two suggested purposes of the curriculum.

Undoubtedly the easy answer here is to say that the curriculum must fulfil both purposes, but in the interests of promoting a better understanding of what we are trying to do let’s try to decide upon the priority purpose, i.e. which must come first?

Is it possible to achieve one of these purposes without the other? Does the curriculum have to be a stimulus for personal achievement. I think would all agree with this but is it absolutely necessary? For example, if I learn about local geography and find out where my town is situated in relation to other local towns does this have to be worthwhile only because it acts as a stimulus for personal achievement or does that knowledge have worth because it enables me to better understand my world?

My point here is that if the curriculum must always provide a stimulus for personal achievement then we must question the place of some of the knowledge which is currently part of the curriculum. Should we only include content which can be used to provide that stimulus, or is there a place for content which provides a context for us to make sense of world and understand our place in that world? Perhaps it is only when we have sufficient understanding of this world that we can only really truly begin to make ethical, reasoned, responsible and considered judgements which enable us to become global citizens?

Nevertheless, the tension which exists between the notion of the curriculum as a stimulus, or a foundation (through knowledge and understanding), gets to the core of the debate about a Curriculum for Excellence.

Schools are undoubtedly keen to free themselves from the tyranny of preparing children for certification. Certificated syllabi are notoriously full and prescriptive. Yet at the same time schools are being asked to enable children to have a wide range of worthwhile experiences which might not fit with the demands of the certificated syllabus. How do schools ensure that they continue to improve attainment, whilst at the same time fulfil the stated purposes of A Curriculum for Excellence?

I intend to continue to explore this issue over the next few weeks as we engage with with staff at all levels.

Chief Officers’ Group

9.00 – 2.00 Meeting at Musselburgh Racecourse for Chief Officers Group with responsibility for Integrated Children's Services. The focus of the meeting was to reflect upon success in the past year; explore how we have been spending the Changing Childrens Services Fund and identifying priorities for the next few years as the CCSF is gradually withdrawn. Reps at the meeting represent Health, Education, Children's services and the Childrens' Reporter. I enjoyed our seminar session where we were asked to identify two priorities. We agreed that there were two clear priorities for us, these were Supporting parents and families of vulnerable children; and Promoting good mental health for all children. We felt if we had to focus resources then we would choose these two areas, both of which would sit within an integrated service which accepted collective responsibility.

Had a quick chat with Raymy Boyle after the meeting about the restructuring of the department.

Popped into Mussellburgh Grammar School to see how Ronnie Summers was doing. The school is to be inspected week beginning 5th December – preparation appear to be going well and Ronnie appeared relaxed.

Onto Campie Primary School to meet with Patricia MacCall to review the cluster working paper with particular reference to meeting templates, the role of Education Officers and a perfromance indicator to measure the efectiveness of cluster working – similar to cliamte and ethos indicators.

Back to the office for a 4.00pm meeting with a parent.

Started on paperwork at 5.00pm Left office at 6.45pm with a full bag. Are conferences worth it?

ICT Summit – Day 2

Really interesting chat last night with a number of folk – must mention Jim McAlpine, Sally Fulton, Glen Taylor, Anne MacKintosh and Mike McCabe. At the bar – as you do -we explored the notion of status and the importance of status for headteachers and directorate. As I've explored elsewhere in this weblog the concept of conscious awareness of status can provide a real barrier to proper communication, if those in positions of power perceive themselves as their position or role and not as part of a group. It's also a problem in terms of – bottom up ( I hate that phrase) communication , where people feel they cannot approach people “above” them because of perceived differences in status/role. Such traditional relationships only reinforces the opppositional “them” and “us”. Glen raised a really interesting point when he suggested that it is acceptable to enjoy your status if it is linked to being held in a positive regard by those with whom you come into contact. I could subscribe to this when I think of my father. He was a doctor to whom status meant nothing – he treated everyone equally – regardless of rank. However, I think he enjoyed being held in high regard by the community he served – perhaps that's why he found it so difficult to retire- in fact he died visiting a patient at the age of 69. Perhaps if we spent more time trying to emphasise the regard which have for our colleagues then a much more positive ethos could be created?

Today has been interesting. I'll try to summarise some of the points which struck me during the sessions:

1. BBC Digital Curriculum – must be part of any long-term strategy for using ICT

2. How do we unlock the resources in our schools to facilitate new approaches towards leraning and teaching?

Try this out: Take two schools one a primary and another a secondary. Let's say for ease of comparison that they both have 1000 pupils. Even taking the most conservative estimates the difference in staffing costs is at the very least one million pounds – the extra staffing in secondary schools being necessary to facilitate the current curriculum.

I mused whether a secondary school could do without 10 teachers (360,00 pounds with on costs), i.e. 55 teachers as opposed to 65. What could you do with this money? Well how about five of those teachers teachers supporting on-line learning for students at a time outwith school i.e. flexi-working. These teachers could also be supporting students from other schools following their courses. As this builds up a very different picture of the upper school curriculum starts to take shape.

I played around with an S1/2 curriculum which adopted a much more thematic approach, children's timetables would be made up of themes and not subjects – building upon the primary experience. These themes would adopt a problem solving approach where learning is characterised by creativity and teamwork. Glen Taylor told me about middle schools in Michigan where groups of 60 pupils were taught by only four teachers – has this any potential?

The S3/4 curriculum would appear relatively traditional but with a new focus on promoting supported independent study towards certification. This change would provide a foundation/bedrock for future in-depth study using national qualifications.

The S5/6 curriculum would be an open access curriculum. Where a course of study is chosen there may only be up to 20% of face-to-face contact time. The rest of a course could be accessed on-line using video conferencing, pod lessons (downloaded when the student was ready to study), discussion boards, weblogs, collaborative web-based projects, on-line assessments – both formative and summative. Are we ready for something like this? Absolutely not!! We don't have robust enough technology; children haven't been prepared to work this way; traditional ideas of what constitutes teaching and learning haven't moved on; working practices are still too traditional.

And yet how far are we away from this? Would some teachers like a contract which enabled them to work from home? Would teachers like to do their 35 hours without ever visiting the school?

Through such an approach we can also start to blur the edges between school, college and even university.

Picking up a theme I explored yesterday – the school starts to have a very different core, where social contact, teamwork, healthy living and citizenship take the lead.

What would a transition process look like towards such a curriculum? Well – not that many changes in primary schools – from what I saw yesterday kids are going to be bored stiff if they come into secondary schools with the enthusiasm for learning and sophisticated ICT skills – and early certification is not the answer. The key to this is linking the opportunities provided by curriculum for excellence, our ICT infrastructure, SSDN, SQA computer assisted assessment and the influx of newly qualified teachers into the profession over the next ten years.

I think schools could make this shift towards something like this vision over a number of years.

I'm looking forward to our ICT day planned for the 20th December where we are going to look at how we translate our ICT policy into an action plan and link it to our teaching and learning policy and emerging ideas about A Curriculum for Excellence. I'm delighted that Martin Ware from SQA and John Connell, Director of SSDN will be joining us on that day.

DIRECTORS OF EDUCATION:ICT SUMMIT

Stirling Management Centre. left home at 7.00pm – traffic on the bypass bad as ever.

The summit has brought together representatives from almost all of our education authorities with a view to reflecting upon the strategic direction of the implementation of ICT with particular reference to SSDN Scottish schools Digital Network.

As I listened to the presentations a number off issues were raised or triggered in my mind.

SSDN = digital schoolbag for pupils and digital briefcase for teachers

What are the “must haves” for ICT to make the potential impact it should have upon the teaching and learning process? – how about 1. robust connectivity to the internet 2. digital projector in every teaching space (linked to network) 3. Home access for every pupil 4. personal webspace for evry child and teacher . These “must haves” can be linked to a hierarchy of need which strategic decision makers must take into account.

Do teachers want to converse with every other colleague in Scotland? – perhaps we need to build local networks/groups which link to national and then national networks. In my experience people do like to converse with others on-line and share info' but the power of this contact is amplified if they can then meet their colleagues in person.

Resources are obvously a potential stumbling point/barrier – we need to explore the redirection of resources e.g. – Do we need to spend £7000 staffing an advanced higher course for 5 pupils when we coulkd deliver the course on-line to 20 students from a number of schools?

How do we promote SSDN – as I have explored elsewhere in exc-el perhaps we need to make resources “irrestistible” (as someone desrcibed it today) – Google never advertised! I've never seen an advert for Amazon – yet both now dominate our on-line lives – due to the fact that they meet our needs.

Should we ask the teachers? – this is an interesting one – common sense tells us that we should be consumer or user led – yet car companies deliberately don't allow their deisgn teams to be driven by focus groups or consumer research – if they did we would still be driving around in Ford Cortina's as this was one the most popular cars we have ever had. I had never conceived of weblogging until someone showed me it in action – if we limit our ambitions to what people want – which is really the same as what they already know – then our digital dreams are severely compromised. In my experience what people really want are systems which are reliable – after that they are open to new ideas.

2.17pm Just watched a fantastic presentation from Gylemuir Primary School showing how they make use of ICT. What struck me about the children was how their teacher -who was inspirational – introduced them. He didn't say, this is Tom who is 11 and studies geography, history, biology, maths and english- instead he described the children in terms of their interests outwith the classroom – e.g. football, ballet, music, charity work, computers, I wonder if this is really what we should be working to in a Curriculum for Excellence – where we characterise children by what they do as opposed to what they are taught.

How do we change the learning paradigm? – perhaps there is a real opportunity for secondary schools to build upon some of the exciting work which is going on in primary schools by really looking critically at our S1/2 curriculum. The current orthodoxy would suggest that we should be bringing certification further down the school – why not start standard grades at S1? An alternative might to be use the first two years of secondary as a means of synthesising what children have learned in primary school and using it as a launching point for subject specific work but within a more coherent and thematic framework.

The inclusion agenda – do we hesitate from taking forward SSDN because not every child has home access to the web? Are we saying here that it is beyond our capacity to support children and families who don't have web access from being enabled? I am attracted to the notion of SSDN supporting Looked After and Accommodated Children. What about excluded children – schools have real difficulty provinding education for those who have been excluded – are there opportunties here?

Last thought before dinner – is the future core of child's a school experience the extra-curricular opportunities a school provides – with the learning being something which simply permeates every part of child's life – both at school and at home?

Peter Hill

Friday 11th November

8.30-9.45am Education Officers’ Meeting – school based issues were shared and discussed. This meeting is proving very useful in helping us all to keep abreast of what’s happening in our schools. We discussed the issue of long term exclusions from schools and how we can all work together to support the child but enable the school to function. The real challenge is change the mind set as a mentioned yesterday from one of handing on the “problem” to one of continuing to “own” the child. I’m looking forwards to the 25th January when we will try to tackle this issue.

10.00am Department Briefing Meeting – birth notices; relevant school information –i.e. Headteacher absence; Christmas night out to an “establishment” – I’ve just had a thought! Could we organise an Education Christmas social event which would be open to everyone involved in education in East Lothian? – not in time for this year but would such an event bring people together?

11.00-12.30 Out to RossHigh School to meet Willie Carroll, who is acting Headteacher in Helen Alexander’s absence. Helen is likely to be absent for the next couple of months. I did a quick tour of the school with Willie during his interval duty. The pupils were very well behaved. We talked about a number of matters not least of which was the need for the authority to complete a follow up report on the very successful
school inspection undertaken in February 2004. I’ve arranged to visit the school again and interview three groups of staff – Curriculum leaders; principal teachers; and teachers. I’m also due out to the school to undertake the first evaluation visits which will consider the school’s examination results and the school’s standards and quality report. Hopefully these visits will enable me to complete the report which is due for submission by the 13th January. Such was the success of the inspection that the HMIe may sign off the process with our report and not make a return visit.

While I was touring the school I bumped into a former colleague – Peter Hill – a living legend from Dunfermline College of Physical Education, then Scottish Centre for Physical Education and Leisure Studies and now of Edinburgh University, Moray House Institute of Education,
Department of Physical Education. Peter has a had an incredible impact upon countless physical education teachers and was one of the first people to introduce me to the notion of teachers as reflective professionals when I worked with him during my three year secondment to Moray House from 1987-1990. Peter was also one of the first people in Scotland to promote the concept of teaching styles – see
Muska Mosston. When you consider the current emphasis on teaching approaches and preferred learning styles it is interesting to reflect just how far ahead of the game Peter actually was in the late 70s and 80's. Anyway, Peter was in the school supervising a student, Laura Wood,, who just happened to be one of my former pupils at DunbarGrammar School. Rarely, for me, I had some time to spare before my next meeting at 2.00pm. Again, even more rarely for me I took Peter out to lunch (and paid!). We had a grand chat about physical education, the old days and our respective families. Douglas, our eldest, is thinking about becoming a PE teacher – must run in the genes – although he is much brighter than his Dad – as his Highers prove. Nevertheless, Pete had invited us both up to Edinburgh for a tour round the University. Hopefully e can do this before the Christmas break.

Back to the office for a meeting with Caroline Harris of ABEL – Anti Bullying East Lothian. ABEL do tremendous work in East Lothian supporting schools and families who are encountering bullying problems.

3.00-5.00pm Tried to complete all my backlog of work and e mails as I’m out of the office on Monday and Tuesday at Stirling University Management Centre for a seminar on ICT in Education for Directors of Education – Alan Blackie couldn’t make it.

Just read Angus McCrury’s weblog – powerful stuff! Teachers have such power to ruin lives or transform them. I was bottom of the class three years in a row at primary school 36th out of 36. I remember the teacher calling me thick and worse still me believing it. Then in P6 we got Mrs. Simpson – I was transformed by someone believing that I could do things – thanks Mrs. Simpson- wherever you are.

Integrated Community Schools

8.30am meeting cancelled – which gave me the opportunity to meet with a few people in the department which I’ve not been able to do for a few days.

10.00am – 12.00 Education IT Management Group – this is now the most important strategic IT group in the department which will link with the Masterclass group who will drive the development and use of technology to support teaching and learning.

Amongst a number of issues we agreed the following:

The future of technology in schools will be wireless led – we should plan for this in our forthcoming strategies

Rather than seeking to enable teaching staff to take responsibility for uploading software we should review our IT support staff

I circulated a proposal from Alan Cruickshank from IT regarding how we might increase our support staff for IT. The fact that the group is now composed of teaching, management and ICT support staff should ensure that we adopt a much more coherent approach towards the implementation and support of IT in the classroom and in schools.

I am to meet with Anthony Gillespie from Finance to explore how we currently use our budget and how it might be redistributed to meet our strategic direction.

12.00 – 3.00pm Integrated Community Schools review – met with Raymy Boyle, Integration Manager, Marion wood and Robert Swift of Children’s Services and Sheila McKendrick, Education Officer to discuss integrated community schools in East Lothian. We had a very worthwhile meeting which focused upon the place of the integration team in supporting children in East Lothian. We explored the cluster working paper and the idea of 0-18 service with integration teams providing the link between school support teams and child protection services. Raymy made an excellent point when he reinforced that we need to move away from the idea of handing on children when their needs become more complex but that we should instead think of additionality in terms of additional services/agencies becoming involved whilst we still retain involvement/responsibility. There is sometimes a tendency for some of us to think of handing on a “problem child” with the expectation that he/she will be “fixed” by the experts, whereas the reality is that that the further a child is removed from the “normal” learning environment the less likely they are to succeed – with a commensurate negative impact upon their life chances.

3.00 – 3.30pm quick visit to HaddingtonInfant School – very impressed and made me think again about the benefits of a split between nursery/infant and upper primary schools. Liz Ker took me round the school and I met a few staff – hope to get back soon for chat with some of the staff and pupils.

3.30 – 4.00 Met Alex Findlay of Elite Catering to discuss the uptake of free school meals from children who have such an entitlenment.

4.30-5.00 Met a Headteacher to chat about career development issues.

5.00 – 5.45 Met with Ruth Munro to discuss a school pre-inspection report