Popped into Yester Primary School (Gifford) at 7.45am. The school had been flooded last week due to a leak in the roof. Dorothy Hilsley and her staff have done an excellent job managing the the situation and all classes were back in school today. I will be visiting again before the end of term
Directorate Meeting 8.40am (slightly late due to my visit to Yester) Quick update on the work being done on the restructuring of the department. Alan Ross tabled a paper which I’ll take a look at in more detail this week.
Followed this with a chat with Clare O’Sullivan, the consultant who is helping the department with the restructuring process. Showed Clare this website – hope you find it informativeClare!
10.00am -11.00am Met David Gilmour, one of our bloggers. I am hoping to involve David as main administrator for the exc-el site. We discussed a range of issues: adopting a project management methodology to take forward the site’s development; further develop the marketing of the site – target 1000 visits per day by June; engage up to 50 people as bloggers; involve more schools with the development of the site; taking on the administration of the site from Peter Gray; develop the site as an 'incubator' for ideas which can then be taken forward in a more formal project management format – it is our hope to challenge the existing way in which development planning is done; we discussed a range of other ideas but I'll keep the rest until we can confirm David's involvement. Nevertheless, I see this next stage of moving responsibility for the site from myself to David – a returning teacher – as an important step in developing the site as an organic and sustainable entity which operates outwith the normal management systems encountered in education.
11.-12.15 Meeting with EIS and SSTA regarding management structures in schools. Undertook to complete a four phase exploration of the impact of management restructuring in secondary schools – 1 My meeting with groups of staff in each school; 2. questionnaires for all members of staff – perhaps making use of SELS software; 3. Review from the management perspective from each school and finally 4. A record of a dialogue/debate between SMT and staff about the effectiveness of the management structures.
12.30-1.00 Popped round to my mum's for a bowl of soup.
1.30 Met with Helen Gillanders – PT Longniddry Primary School – Helen is looking to undertake a 2 day placement with a business reviwing their CPD/appraisal systems – I put here in touch with the police who have to operate a system within a public service and with no financial bonuses linked to the system. We also quickly set up a questionnaire about pupil voice using SELS.
2.30 Departmental Management Team Meeting – very positive meeting. We explored the perenial problem of aims and vision. I think I learned a lesson at Dunbar when we developed the three key aims followed by a much more comprehensive statement of intent. If your aims are too complicated then people can't carry them around in their head. I believe we need to simplify things to the point where people can use simple messages to constantly reflect upon our practice.I personally like tri-colons e.g I came . I saw , I conquered. Anthony Gillespie made an excellent suggestion when he proposed that we start off with the Council's aim, pick up a departmental aim then develop shorthand aims, which are then followed by the more comprehensive narrative of a statement of intent. How does the following sound? – remember we are talking about combined aims for education AND children's services
ELC aim - Working together for a better East Lothian
Education and Children's Services aim- Improving children's life chances
What are the outcomes we seek to achieve from our collective practice?
For Children Safe – Engaged – Successful
For Staff Happy – Fulfilled – Valued
For Families Informed – Supported – Involved
I think I could carry this lot around in my head and be able to use them as a useful point of reference for reflecting upon practice – and even changing practice – the narrative contained within plans and suchlike fulfil a different purpose in that they can be used to fill in the detail for those who require clarification about the underlying purpose of our department. I've already had one comment from someone who didn't like the 'happy' outcome for staff – what do you think?