Outdoor Connections

I’ve taken a day’s leave today. Spent some of the time preparing for a
presentation I've been invited to make at the Outdoor Connections Conference to be held in Dundee tomorrow. Here’s the blurb:

“The conference is part of an outdoor education development programme which the Scottish Executive has asked Learning and Teaching Scotland to take forward. The development programme, Outdoor Connections, is designed to make connections across current and emerging priorities, policies, programmes and people relating to outdoor education. Through research into the current state of outdoor education in Scotland, the aim is to develop and disseminate resources which will continue to improve the quality of outdoor learning experiences and approaches.

Delegates at the conference will have the opportunity to weigh up the benefits of outdoor learning and consider its relevance to the development of young people in twenty-first century Scotland. Young people’s voices will also be heard through presentations by both primary and secondary school groups.”

Systems thinking

Friday 3rd February

8.15-9.30 Education Officers Meeting

9.30-10.45 Sub-group of our authority wide 3-18 Assessment is for Learning Group

Our task is to work out how we capitalise upon the Learning Team and Motivated School initiatives which are proving to be so successful in some of our schools. Some of the barriers facing any attempt to improve teaching and learning can be characterised by the following:

Exclusivity – “I haven’t been asked to participate”

Lack of confidence – “I'm not a good enough teacher to take part”

Overconfidence – “I know I’m a good teacher and I don’t need to get involved in any of that nonsense”

Bandwagon avoidance – “I don’t want to do it that way”

Anti-Sookery – (great Scottish word) Sook – to ingratiate . Someone who sucks up “Yurra wee sook, so ye are” —- “They are only getting involved to sook up to …………..”

Initiative overload – “There are lots if initiatives around, all seeming to do the same thing and we have to be involved in all of them”

Help us develop a strategy to overcome these barriers at our new
Exc-el Wikispace. As you’ll see we’ve identifed a number of alternative “entry points” for teachers. The challenge is to create a strategy which enables people to choose their point of entry. This would give some coherence and shape to the direction we are taking. If we create a series of seemingly discrete teaching and learning developments then there is a risk that they all go off at tangents. We could also create groups of teachers who talk about teaching only from their perspective, e.g. “the only way to improve teaching is to employ our techniques” – sometimes referred to as
“Balkanisation”

The key to developing a successful strategy perhaps lies in the notion of
systems thinking Our challenge is to identify the inter-connections and overlaps which exist beween the various approaches that teachers and schools can use to improve the teaching and learning process.

11.00-11.30 Met with Maureen Jobson

12.30-4.00 I was invited to speak at a
SCSSA event at the Manor House Hotel. The title of my talk was
“External Inspection and Quality Assurance”

I think I tried to cover too much ground, as I explored the topic from two perspectives, i.e. Head Teacher and Head of Education.

Sad Person

My life must be really sad because I had a great day today completing our Service Improvement Plan update and our Standards and Quality Report. Sheila McKendrick and I worked from 9.15-4.00 with the documents projected onto a screen via a projector. We went through everything line by line and made incredible progress.

The process enabled us to tie a number of things together and hopefully people will find both documents useful and informative. We have tried to streamline everything. I think part of the satisfaction comes from just completing a job which had been hanging over me for a few weeks.

Met Kenny Mackay from 4.00-5.30 to provide feedback about his recent interview for the acting HT at Niorth Berwick.

Visiting specialists

9.30-10.30 Met with Les Ritchie from Payroll and Carolyn Walker from Personnel to explore how we might be able to improve the quality of infromation we receive from schools. There is a problem with the accuracy of paperwork coming in from some schools: Are the forms too complex?; are people not taking enough time over completing the forms?; can we reduce workload?

The problem is that payroll and personnel depend on accurate information from schools. It’s impossible to action changes to people’s pay unless it’s based on accurate and timeous information. Some schools feel this work should be doone by someone else but payroll and personnel can’t do anything until information is received I spoke to Rob Lewis this afternoon about the possibility of developing e-learning systems for things like form filling – might ask the admin staff on the 15th Feb.

11.00-12.00 Met the chair of a school board to discuss some issues which were causing concern for the board. I tihink it’s important that parents feel they acan approach the department. This was always my approach at school and I see my job here as being no different, although the first point of contact will always be the school.

12.00-1.00 Managed to get round to see my mum – it’s been nearly two weeks (oops)

1.00 – 1.30 Phonecalls and correspondence

1.30-2.00 Maureen Jobson

2.00-3.15 Ronnie Summers to discuss the draft Musselburgh Inspection Report

3.15-3.45 Alison Wishart

4.00-5.00 Met the visiting specialists. This wasn’t an easy meeting as I had to to explain the actions we were taking to break the link between visiting specialists and classroom teachers, which will enable us to provide the additional non-contact time for teachers in primary schools. This will enable us to make some necessary savings without any job reductions. There are a few benefits – we may have to recruit more specialists; visiting teachers will now be part of a school complement and therefore have more security in times of budget pressures. I’m a great believer in honesty but it doesn’t make some messages any easier to deliver.

January User Stats

Monthly Statistics for January 2006
Total Hits 146600
Total Files 105385
Total Pages 51952
Total Visits 11489
Total KBytes 3114784
Total Unique Sites 2395
Total Unique URLs 456
Total Unique Referrers 1489
Total Unique User Agents 395
. Avg Max
Hits per Hour 197 2951
Hits per Day 4729 9220
Files per Day 3399 7247
Pages per Day 1675 2810
Visits per Day 370 588
KBytes per Day 100477 226782
Hits by Response Code
Code 200 – OK 105385
Code 206 – Partial Content 54
Code 301 – Moved Permanently 116
Code 302 – Found 3344
Code 304 – Not Modified 26475
Code 403 – Forbidden 7293
Code 404 – Not Found 3892
Code 500 – Internal Server Error 41

Top 30 of 47 Total Countries
# Hits Files KBytes Country
1 59648 40.69% 40950 38.86% 1614846 51.84% US Commercial
2 47622 32.48% 36867 34.98% 617885 19.84% United Kingdom
3 28141 19.20% 18569 17.62% 714203 22.93% Unresolved/Unknown
4 8964 6.11% 7179 6.81% 145946 4.69% Network
5 247 0.17% 174 0.17% 1956 0.06% Non-Profit Organization
6 207 0.14% 191 0.18% 2685 0.09% Australia
7 182 0.12% 60 0.06% 1558 0.05% Germany
8 159 0.11% 126 0.12% 1826 0.06% US Educational
9 159 0.11% 150 0.14% 1386 0.04% Canada
10 134 0.09% 130 0.12% 1461 0.05% France
11 90 0.06% 90 0.09% 991 0.03% United States
12 87 0.06% 87 0.08% 940 0.03% Netherlands
13 75 0.05% 72 0.07% 865 0.03% Japan
14 69 0.05% 47 0.04% 509 0.02% Poland
15 62 0.04% 42 0.04% 353 0.01% Italy
16 56 0.04% 54 0.05% 503 0.02% New Zealand (Aotearoa)
17 48 0.03% 47 0.04% 637 0.02% Portugal
18 47 0.03% 47 0.04% 534 0.02% Singapore
19 42 0.03% 42 0.04% 323 0.01% Brazil
20 39 0.03% 17 0.02% 312 0.01% Aruba
21 39 0.03% 39 0.04% 337 0.01% Belgium
22 39 0.03% 36 0.03% 251 0.01% Norway
23 33 0.02% 32 0.03% 374 0.01% Hungary
24 29 0.02% 29 0.03% 309 0.01% US Government
25 28 0.02% 26 0.02% 238 0.01% Austria
26 28 0.02% 24 0.02% 191 0.01% Finland
27 27 0.02% 27 0.03% 253 0.01% India
28 25 0.02% 25 0.02% 230 0.01% CzechRepublic
29 20 0.01% 20 0.02% 292 0.01% Dominican Republic
30 20 0.01% 20 0.02% 293 0.01% Morocco