A teacher’s primary role?

I was interested in the recent headline from the Scotland on Sunday: 

TEACHERS have been told that their “primary responsibility above all others” is the wellbeing of children, rather than teaching.The comments by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) have been met with disbelief and anger by parents’ groups and teachers, with one union leader saying they defied description.

In the convention’s submission to the McCormac Review into teaching pay and conditions, the authors wrote: “Teachers are part of the children’s services workforce. Their terms and conditions need to stress that a teacher’s primary responsibility above all others is the wellbeing of children within their care, and they have a duty to work in a collegiate way.”

Jim Docherty, depute general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA), branded the remarks “stupid”.

He told Scotland on Sunday: “Cosla is so far off the beam it does defy description. The role of a teacher is to teach.

I won’t get drawn into the rights and wrongs of the  CoSLA submission to the McCormac Review into teachers’ pay and conditions and you could argue that its line of argument could have been more nuanced.

However, as a teacher (I still describe myself as that when anyone asks me what I do) I’ve always believed that the job entails so much more than just “teaching”.  I’ve seen too many teachers throughout my career who were masters of  their subject, had a grasp of pedagogy but couldn’t “teach” because the young people in their care knew that their teacher didn’t have an interest in them as human beings.  
For me the care and welfare of the child must always be the priority.  If a child comes to school unfed, sleep deprived and frightened due to domestic violence, unkempt because their parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs – then how can you expect them to learn?  The best teachers – and we have so, so many of them in East Lothian do care about the whole child.  They do work with colleagues in other services, they are sensitive about child protection issues, and above all they are committed to the well being of all of the children in their care.  None of that means that they don’t care deeply about the teaching and learning process.
I’ve always subscribed to the principle of  “in loco parentis” – when I teach I am in place of the parent.  As a parent my prime concern is – always – the well being of my child.  I expected nothing less from the teachers who taught my children – as  its only from that foundation that any productive learning can take place.  I expect nothing less from the teachers who work in East Lothian schools.

Solution Focused Budget Planning

The challenge of providing a high quality education service at a time when expenditure is growing faster than the available budget means that change, in some form, must take place.

There is a tendency in education to always reflect upon such an issue from the moral high-ground and simply state that more money must be forthcoming! As the person who is charged with responsibility for a budget of nearly £85 million to deliver education and children’s services for 15,000 children in East Lothian it’s a topic which is constantly at the forefront of my mind.

One of the key factors in managing such a budget is to ensure that everything is absolutely transparent. In East Lothian we have spent a huge amount of time and effort in “opening up” our books – there are no black holes, no smoke or mirrors, no hidden funds. What you see is what we get. When such information is treated as confidential it only goes to feed the suspicion that some groups are being treated more favourably than others.  When everyone can see the entire “pot” it becomes very clear that an increase in one area in education must be subsidised from another area within education.

It was with this in mind that we had our first meeting of a Strategic Finance Group for Education. The group has union representatives from  the EIS, HAS, AHDS, Unison, SSSTA; three parent representatives from East Lothian Parents’ Councils; three senior elected members; three members of the Education Department management team (including me); and a Finance Department Representative. I had hoped to get a couple of pupil representatives – but perhaps next time.

The group spent all morning reviewing the available budget for the coming two years (2009-2010/2010-2011); identifying and discussing possible areas where savings could be made; and planning for our next meeting.  The traditional approach to this process is for management to sit in a darkened room – consider the options, present these options to the administration and then implement them across the authority. This alternative approach turns this on its head by involving the stakeholders at the outset of the process and ensuring that there are no sacred cows such as central services which cannot be offered up for savings. The meeting was exceptionally enlightening as we approached each suggestion with true professionalism and objectivity. As stated earlier we have to make savings if we are to work within our available budget – the challenge is where these savings might be made. By involving those who are closest to the “chalk-face” we begin to build up a picture of how we might work together to ensure that any negative impact upon children is minimised.

The ideas which flowed from the meeting will be followed up over the next three months by firstly identifying the amount of money that can be saved by each option and an associated impact assessment for each option.  When we reconvene after the summer we will have produced a list with quantitative and qualitative impacts – this list will then be further considered by the group to identify preferences and recommendations which can then be considered by the administration. The bottom-line -as I reinforced yesterday – is that nothing is off the table in terms of making savings.

One of the key points to emerge was that the process is not as simple as it might seem.  Although some areas seem ripe for savings the knock-on impact they have beyond the immediately obvious makes it all the more important that the stakeholders present on the group have an opportunity to have their say.

League Table approach and too much Testing remains Harmful to Education, says EIS


The Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) – the  biggest teaching union in the Scotland have issued a number of press releases over the holiday period.

The last of these was entitled League Table approach and too much Testing remains Harmful to Education, say EIS

“The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has called for a radical rethink on the over-use of testing in schools and the damaging construction of ‘league tables’ with the data collected. The EIS believes that too many local authorities continue to place too much emphasis on narrow testing and the collation of associated data which brings little or no benefit to schools, teachers and pupils.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said,

“Despite the end of National Tests some five years ago, many authorities seem unable to cure their addiction to excessive testing in schools and continue to favour the flawed ‘league-table’ approach to measuring school success. This is in direct contradiction to current national educational priorities and has a negative impact on learning and teaching in schools. The use of such widespread testing places additional pressure on pupils and teachers to perform well in these tests – this has the inevitable result of narrowing the scope for teachers to use their professional judgement in what they teach, with considerable pressure to ‘teach to the test’ to avoid criticism of the school when league tables are constructed. This tick-box approach to measuring school success is of little value, and serves only to provide figures for education authority statisticians to crunch while simultaneously demoralising pupils and teachers.”

I found this an interesting perspective, particularly given the direction we are taking in respect to outcome agreements. Certainly from an East Lothian point of view we have never presented school assessment data in a league table format – and I can’t think of any other authority which adopts such a “league-table” approach.

I agree with Ronnie when he warns of the danger of solely focusing upon attainment as the only means of judging the success of a school but the new HGIOS3 makes it clear that pupil achievement is just as important.

However, I have to challenge his assertion that testing and the collation of associated data brings little or no benefit to schools, teachers and pupils. Firstly, schools need to have some way of judging their progress against an external benchmark.  Testing provides that benchmark.  I recently wrote about the “King o’ the midden” complex whereby it’s possible for a school, an authority, and even a country to delude itself about it’s progress, unless it collected data,  compared itself with its peers, and then interpreted how that that information can be used to shape its practice. For example, from the PIRLS data it is apparent that children’s reading in Scotland is not making the same rate of progress as in other countries.  Such knowledge initiates a question about how we currently teach reading and might have a direct impact upon schools, teachers and pupils.

A school can only objectively reflect upon how children are making progress throughout their school careers if they have access to  valid and reliable summative test data.  At an authority level such data helps to provide a means of judging a school’s performance in a particular area. For example, if a school’s attainment in maths is significantly below maths attainment in neighbouring schools, of a similar pupil composition, then it is legitimate to ask questions about the teaching of maths in that school.  Once again summative data leads directly back to the learning and teaching process.

I actually think the key point which Ronnie Smith is making is about how such data is used and the culture which underpins its collection, interpretation and use. My hope is that the culture we aspire to in East Lothian actually helps us to collect and use summative data where our ultimate focus is always upon the learning and teaching process, where formative assesment plays a crucial part.  The trick will be to ensure that such a balance is always achieved.

Last thought, Ronnie Smith refers to the needs of schools, teachers and pupils, but makes no mention of parents…..mmm?

Statements of intent

8.00-9.00 Met with Donald McGillivary and David Scott who represent the Association of Headteachers Scotland. Went through a varied agenda – most action points had been covered from the previous meeting. We looked at the proposals for development planning and I was delighted that two of our most experienced headteachers were generally in favour of the general direction we hope to take.

10-2.00 Departmental Management Team meeting. This was an extended meeting as we considered how well we manage change as a group. We all agreed that we need to improve upon our ability to: give direction; consider the impact of the change process on individuals; and be more aware of the the process of change management. One of the the things we looked at was the potential of developing a statement of intent to support our aims and visions which are included in our service improvement plan. Someone raised a concern about “another document” but I've found statements of intent to be incredibly helpful in providing a context for the change process. A statement of intent sets out to provide a narrative description of what it is you inend to do. It pulls together the aims and visions into a inter-connected whole which allows the reader to understand what it is you attempting to achieve. A statement of intent should avoid jargon and should be intelligible to anyone. You know you’ve got it right when teachers or pupils come up to you and quote a section of the statement of intent – of course – it can cut both ways!

2.-4.00 School Liaison Group – This is our strategic meeting as managers and education officers. We had a very productive discussion on the draft development guidelines and folk have agreed to take on bits of work to give it a better shape and form. But do they have to give me such a hard time. It was good to have an ally in the meeting in the form of Mr Ted. We also looked at the task management tracker (TMT!!) which will enable us to track progress.

4.00-5.00 Tidied up my desk and left for home early. Today has been pretty intense but I feel it’s been worthwhile – you can’t ask for anything more. Parents night tonight at Earlston High School – it’s funny to be on the other side of the desk.


8.30-9.45am Met with Jennifer Tulloch who runs “The Shed” our pre-vocational centre for S3 and S4 pupils. Jennnifer has done a wonderful job getting this centre up and running with over 200 pupils accessing the facility during the year. However, there is a need for us to reflect upon the future of pre-vocational work in East Lothian for a number of reasons.These reasons are as follows: the lease on the facility runs out in 2008; the drop out rate for S3 students is very high; schools are reporting that S3 students are finding it very difficult to catch up on the work they have missed when attending the centre; transport costs are exceptionally high – for a relatively small number of students – could this public money be better spent for a larger number of students?; the courses are bolted-on to the curriculum, as opposed to being built-in; the links between colleges; schools and employers are not explicit under the current arrangements.

Taking these points into consideration the following decisions have been taken: a strategic group has been convened chaired by Paul Raffaelli to devise a long-term sustainable strategy for pre-vocational work in schools; we are proposing to drop the S3 element of the provision; Jennifer Tulloch will use the time freed by this to explore the potential of establishing a couple of pilot satellite pre-vocational programmes in a two of our towns by linking with local employers and using college staff – it would be our hope that these opportunities would link more with the school curriculum and perhaps articulate with serial work placement; we will reconsider how we are making use of the budget available for pre-vocational work with a view to supporting this long-term strategy over a three year period with a view to ensuring that pre-vocational opportunities are in place in all our towns by the time the lease runs out on “The Shed”. We are having a meeting on the 19th December where a variety of people with an interest and responsibility for this area will discuss these proposals in more detail.

10.00-11.00 I chaired a capability hearing. One of my duties is to sit in judgement on capability matters. Of course I cannot go into the details of the case but it is a significant responsibility to have to decide upon the future of a teaching colleague. I was reminded during the process how important it is for everyone to have supportive and well informed union representation.

11.00-12.45pm Child Protection Inspection Briefing – came in late to the breifing due to the hearing. Two HMI were providing information about the new child protection inspection regime which we will probably undergo in the next couple of years. It's always better to be forewarned. I was impresssed with the quality of the briefing and appreciated the common sense and practiocal approach being taken.

1.00-2.00 Caught up on correspondence.

2.00-4.00pm JCG Joint Consultative Group on Education. This is a more meeting between unions and management about a range of on-going issues are raised by the unions. They included: long-term absence; budget issues; PPP; FE staff teaching in schools – or not as the case will be; curriculum for excellence; better behaviour – better learning; and others. I'm a great believer in transparency and I hope that this approach is helping to promote good working relationships between the unions and employers.

4.00-5.00 Quick chat with a few people I needed to catch up with and then home early.


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.

Collective responsibility

Some domestic/family duties meant that I arrived late – 10.30 am – at Penston House for a combined union/employer meeting aimed at improving the way we work in East Lothian. I think our 5Cs culture will go a long way towards developing the kind of culture which people seemd to be aspiring to in the meeting.

Back to the office for 1.00pm meeting with secondary HTs and Jimmy McGuinnes to discuss PPP issues. Frustration probably sums up people's feelings most accurately.

Then onto the full agenda until 5.00pm. Good progress was made on a number of fronts – most notably with the cluster-based working paper, which Heads will take back to their schools for further discussion. I think people recognise the need for us all to start to work differently together in order to meet the needs of all children. We will be having a full HT meeting in January – to which I'd also like to invite key figures from children's services to discuss how we turn this into a reality – no doubt some hard talking yet to take place!

Packed my bag with two days of correspondence and headed for home at 6.00.

Sport and Education

Popped into Ross High School at 8.00am to check on Helen Alexander's room which had been flooded out before the holidays. With all the rain over the weekend I thought things might have been just as bad again. Fortunately there was repeat of flooding in her office – although there were problems elsewhere in the school.

8.30am Directorate Meeting. As usual a fairly full agenda. Good discussion about the restructuring of the department, particlarly with reference to cluster working which will help me with the paper I'm writing.

Straight out of there into meeting with Marina Naylor re' the 360 degree feedback system for headteachers. We are going to intoduce the system for all HTs prior to Christmas whch will enable a much more focused form of Employee and Development and review meeting to take place in the new year.

Then cleared a backlog over 100 e mails due to my days off last week. Met Mike Whiton – Drugs Education worker – to discuss communication issues in the department. This is my last such interview since taking up post.

Met with reps from EIS and SSTA at 1.30pm – 3.30pm to discuss management structures in secondary schools. We will be gathering some information about what is happening in schools and associated rationales prior to our next meeting.

After this I thought I had a few hours clear until hometime but an appointment had been made for me at the end of last week. As things turned out the meeting with Eamonn John and Beth Stewart proved very worthwhile. The new secondary school sports co-ordinators are going to make a significant impact upon the authority and we spent some time preparing for the Sport in Education Meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Left office at 6.00pm I've got a fair bit to prepare tonight for tomorrow's curriculum/timetabling meeting.


9.00 – 1030am Chief Officers Group for Children's Services – this is a multi-agency group of lead officers in education, health and social work. A lot of the meeting was taken up with information giving sessions but I raised a couple of points in the course of the morning. Firstly, a paper was tabled about developing a parental support strategy. There seem to be lots of audits, reviews and strategy meetings but I wasn't able to see a clear rationale underpinning the purpose of parental support. I suppose it's because this is an issue I'm really struggling with myself at the moment – but what do we seek to acheive when we support parents. I know this seems an obvious question – and it should have an obvious answer – but all too often we do things because they seem like a good idea and forget – or at least fail to clarify – the underlying purpose. I recognise that some children have additional support needs which place demands upon parents to the extent that they require support from networks and professionals throughout their childs development and beyond. I also recognise that some parents will require support due to exceptional circumstances, or short-term support in reponse to an unforseen event. However, there are also some parents do not have the skills, family support systems or wherewithall to give their children enough support to make the progress one might normally expect in terms of social, emotional, academic or behavioural development. Now I know this seems pretty stark when you commit this to paper – or virtual paper as it is in this case. However, there are some parents who need guidance, support, engagement and regular monitoring if we are to ensure that their children break free from a cycle of deprivation, academic failure and social exclusion. I'm minded here to refer to Alan Ross's concept of “social police” and obviously in cases of child protection I suppose that this would be the case. But there are many more cases where parents would benefit from early proactive intervention and support to enable their child to have equivalent life chances to other children of the same age in different circumstances. Reading over this piece I'm uncomfortable – why? Well – I don't hear many people talk like this -yet it seems to me that this is the unspoken assumptions which govern our actions yet due to some implicit form of “political correctness” we all nod but never express the point. I might take this off the site in the next few days when I read in the cold light of day.

Lunch meeting with Ian Metcalf – deputy editor, East Lothian Courier. I'd met Ian at last week's Education Committee and had invited him for lunch to explore ways in which we could work together. Ian has an interesting background and has worked on most of Scotland's main newspapers as a crime reporter. I enjoyed listening to him and learned something about the idea of “off the record briefings”. Then we got to talking about this weeks copy of the paper, which I hadn't yet read. Ian showed me the leader which suggested that headteachers often “sweep bullying under the carpet”. I took exception to that phrase as it runs completely counter to my experience of schools. I stressed to Ian that our starting point in schools, even more importantly than teaching and learning, is that children must feel safe and secure. Nothing takes precedence over this I know how important this is for all our headteachers and staff in schools.

I showed Ian our draft anti-bullying policy and went over a few parts. To be fair Ian pushed hard on what schools actually do to stop bullying not what a policy might be. I made it clear that the starting point is an ethos in the school which reinforces that bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Children have to be encouraged to speak up immediately they feel bullied and that the school has to take action immediately. One the problem facing schools is when children – for whatever reason – don't inform anyone. The challenge for us is to create an environment where children are confident that positive action will be taken to stop the bullying. I used a number of examples from my own experience to highlight what schools can do to stop bullying and that this can be exceptionally effective. I also made it clear that schools don't draw a line at the school gates when dealing with bullying and that I had excluded pupils for acts of bullying which had taken place outside schools and outwith the school day. All schools – everywhere – have bullying problems – if one child is being bullied then that is a problem – the important point to make here is that schools never lose sight of the dangers of bullying and are constantly vigilant and aware.

The new policy will be going out to schools, student councils and parents group with a view to consolidating and confriming the good practice that already happens in our schools.

LNCT meeting at 2.00pm. Very positive meeting – I'm looking forwards to working with our union colleagues. I'm a great believer in the importance of employee representation and I hope to build up a similar relationship as the one I enjoyed at Dunbar – which relied upon openess, trust and honesty.

Meeting finished early so I popped over to Kings Meadow Primary for 45 minutes. Quick tour of the school with Donald McGillivary – very impressive place!

4.30pm Gordon Brown's leaving do. Followed by a meeting with a headteacher until 6.20pm A very varied but satisfying day – I'm having a day off tomorrow and am looking forward to the weekend.


In early to make up for not being in on Friday. However, the fact that I can access my e mail at home had enabled me to respond to all my emails last night. There was still plenty to clear.

Meeting of Management Team at 8.30am. Alan Blackie has been on holiday for the past two weeks so we had a fair bit to catch up with. Fortunately there hadn't been to many problems over this period.

10.00 Met with Patricia MacCall, Secretary of the Primary Nursery Headteachers' executuve. Patrica had a response to the communications paper which we talked through. It's obvious that there is still a great deal of sensitivity relating to the fact that primary schools have not been given business managers. Rightly or wrongly there is an impression that secondary schools have been advantaged in this matter. I don't intend to get into an argument about whether the perception is right or wrong but to focus upon the need of schools if it will benefit the teaching and learning process. As I mentioned on Thursday I'd like to explore what would rectify the matter; cost it and try to put into place a strategic plan which would enable us to move towards that position over a three year period. I did warn Patrica that in the event of there being no new money that we would have to consider finding the resources from within our own budget which might necessitate some form of cut elsewhere.

12.00 Out to Longniddry Primary to have chat with Ann McLanachan. The school had its familiar buzz of energy and activity. Ann is doing some very interesting work with her team in relation to Learning Teams which we will be posting under the Research heading on this website. 1.00 Then on to Aberlady Primary school to meet Jackie MacKinnon. The school has been very sympathetically extended over the last few years and Jackie took me round to meet the staff. A very purposeful environment with a strong fucus on rasing attainment.

2.00 Back to the office for the JCG Joint Consultative Group – which meets every few months to enable the unions and department to share information. I shared our budget statement and described the attainment action plan. Other items included Additional Support for Learning; links with colleges; long term absence.

4.00 Spent the rest of the day trying to clear my desk. Patricia had commented this morning how I appear to have a paperless office – that wasn't the case this afternoon!