All the plans to do the exciting things that we do in the summer are all going to waste...
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Monday, 25 June 2007
In the last few weeks we are trialling SEAL - Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning. We are paying particular attention to the changes unit.
It just seems to me that it will be really hard to do this justice in such a busy curriculum. We have allocated a 25 minute slot to do this. How do others fit it in?
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Primary schools are to get extra cash to become specialist centres for the teaching of arts, science, music, sport and languages. Ministers hope the scheme will replicate the success of specialist secondary schools, where GCSE scores have risen by at least one grade across the board. Specialist schools get extra funding to spend on staff, training and equipment in their specialist area and must develop a strategy for raising standards in that particular field. Experience has shown that this usually has the knock-on effect of raising standards in other curriculum areas, as teachers in other subjects copy the successful strategies used by colleagues teaching specialist subjects.
34 pilot schools in Devon will test the idea to see if the same effect happens in primary schools.
Doesn't this sound exciting! I hope this idea goes national so that primary schools can really work towards achieving specialst status. I applaud the idea!
Friday, 22 June 2007
One of the reasons that I haven't been posting much recently is because I have spent so much time planning something which I think is really exciting - Wistonia University.
Wistonia University is a brilliant way to bring the children, staff and community together to share skills and interests. The idea is that staff and volunteers run a course in something that they have a skill or have an interest. The children choose which courses they'd like to attend and then they are allocated a course from their top three. The courses will have a mixture of children from Year Three to Year Six. The intention of the courses is that they should be vocational - to give the children a skill they can use in the future.
All in all there are 25 course on offer: advertising, bricklaying, cake decorating, card making, clothes designing, dancing, floristry, hair styling, knitting, Italian, model painting, Paper crafts, Photo Story, Plant propagation, preparing a three-course mea, speech and drama, sports coaching, teaching, textiles, upholstery designing, water safety and basic first aid and woodwork.
I was really proud today to see Wistonia University in action. The adults were all pleased to be working with such a mix of pupils, delivering a course in something which isn't always possible to teach in the normal curriculum. The children enjoyed making friends in different year groups and learning something different.
If anyone is interested, I will put the Prospectus in the downloads section so you can have a look!
Monday, 18 June 2007
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
So this year's Apprentice comes to a close. What a final. You could really see that both the final two had huge potential and it would be a hard decision to make. My favourite is Simon. He has proved through the whole series to be a character. He should have gone, however, in the TV selling challenge. When he didn't, it proved to me how much Sir Alan rates him. Kristina is also a worthy finalist. She has been strong all the way through. When she was in the losing team, it was never because of her. How did Sir Alan go in the end?...
Sir Alan gave the candidates four days to come up with conceptual ideas for a new building, and as usual - it's got to make money. Some of the candidates from earlier in the series returned to help them. Kristina picks Natalie, Naomi, Adam and old rival Paul to her team. Simon's back with his best mate Tre, Lohit, Jadine and Rory.
As with all the tasks, it's never a smooth ride. Going with the idea for a phoenix building, Kristina's focusing on the figures, while Paul's left in charge of the designs. But Paul mucks up the measurements, losing Kristina a potential £53 million! Natalie and Adam are sent to pick up props for their display. With classy in mind, they come back with bags of tat - creating what Kristina feels is a 'brothel' like display. She tells them to change it!
On the other team, Simon and Tre come up with an idea for a boat-shaped building, only to have it slammed by Rory, who wants to make a 'spunky' looking building with guts. Rory's inspired by organic shapes and draws out a wave shaped building. Fair play to Rory - whilst he was a drip in the show, his design and ideas in this week's challenge were good. Unfortunately, Simon didn't take Rory to the architects and somewhere along the design process, the building starts to look a bit phallic!
Tensions are rising. Rory and Tre clash over his ideas for dancers and Jadine takes Simon aside for a pep talk, advising him to watch his back. By now morale's so low Simon takes desperate measures, offering his team an all-expenses-paid holiday in Barcelona if he wins. This fails to motivate Tre, who'd 'rather stab himself in the eye' than go on holiday with his team mates. Tre has a real way with words!
It all comes together on the night and both candidates give impressive presentations. Simon takes to the podium pitching the wave as a 'radical development' that will 'transform the skyline' Kristina's up next with her phoenix, 'an inspirational building that makes business sense'.
Back in the boardroom, Sir Alan faces the two finalists alone. His dilemma is visible. Both are asked why they should be hired. Kristina's response is practical - 'I'm focused, determined' but Simon's is more emotional - 'I'll work my cotton socks off'. (Cottons socks?)
'It's a tough decision. There's only one job... I've got someone very experienced, someone enthusiastic.' 'Do I need to be the headmaster again?' But in a final surprise move, he says, 'Bloody old fool that I am, I'm going to take the risk - Simon you're hired!'
So what should I do now? Lost isn't back until February and The Apprentice won't be back until March. There's nothing left that's any good on the telly. Hopefully Peter Jones' Apprentice rip off Tycoon might be worth watching. There's no way I'm going to watch Big Brother. I guess I'll just have to find something else to do!
Saturday, 9 June 2007
Thursday, 7 June 2007
We have just returned from a day at Alton Towers. What a fantastic day out! I am lucky enough to have 2 weeks off for half-term and I would definitely recommend people to go in the second week - it was really quiet. The longest queue was 20 minutes for Air!
- The Spinball Whizzer: Thought this was brilliant!
- Oblivion: Always scary, but this time I DIDN'T look down, and it helped!
- Hex: I don't know why I bother with this. Not very exciting.
- Rita: Queen of Speed: Why is it called Rita? Incredible! The way it shoots off at the beginning really takes your breath away!
- Corkscrew: An oldie, but a goodie!
- Air: Last time I went on this (when it first opened), we had to queue for 3 hours. This meant that the ride itself was never going to impress me. Today, however, 20 minutes queuing. Ride - awesome!
- Nemesis: Still the best, but Air and Rita gave it a run for its money!
- Duel: Great fun! My first score was 22000. My second was 58800. Impressive. At least I think so.
- Runaway Mine Train: Always really good fun. I believe it only re-opened in April after an accident. The first time we went on it the girl let us all stay on for 4 goes! The second time we stayed on for 3!
- Congo River Rapids: Not wet enough!
- The Flume: Very wet! Hilarious!
We also went on the Extraordinary Golf. This was really good, but you have to pay £5 each to go on this.
A fun day!
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
'I don't know how to be shy', boasts Tre, but cracks in his armour start to show during his interview with the ferocious Paul. Tre's empire baffles Paul. 'So in your spare time you're running an international conglomerate from your bedroom?' asks Paul. 'No', snaps Tre, 'from my home office'.
Katie's not stumped by personal questions, admitting she doesn't like to think of herself as a mum and that she lied and cheated, 'to get someone else's husband because I wanted him'. Awarding herself eight out of ten for ruthlessness for this steal, Bordan winces. 'So you can be more ruthless than that?'
After three hours of intense interviews the consultants report back to Sir Alan. Lohit is ruled out as 'boring' and Tre as an aggressive 'fantasist'.
Katie poses the biggest dilemma: 'a powerful, aggressive lady' says Paul with a glint of recognition in his eyes. Bordan wonders if the Apprentice is just a 'leap frog' to somewhere else. But Claude is the least impressed, writing Katie off as a show-off, 'flashing her eyelashes', a performer who gets by turning on the feminine charm.
It's decision time for Sir Alan. Mr Nice-Guy Lohit is fast put out of his misery and fired. Turning on Katie, Sir Alan tells her he's bothered by her, asking her 'if she's for real?', but then offers her a place in the final. Tre makes a last attempt to convince Sir Alan he's right for the job, but Sir Alan doesn't like his aggression so the seven-times winner is the next head to roll.
Then it's the final three. Location is bothering Sir Alan. Would Kristina move from Harrogate? Would Katie up sticks with her two small children and move from Devon to London? Katie's already in, but doesn't look too happy. In a shock move, she steps down! 'I don't want to make a fool of you or me...', she says, but without discussing her plans with the people who care for her children, she can't stay in the competition. Thanking Sir Alan, Katie dramatically leaves the boardroom. The finalists remain - Simon and Kristina have made it to the final...
The Times reports that school governors often lack the necessary financial and managerial expertise and are not qualified to assess staff, research suggests.
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
The Department for Education is funding the experiment where pupils can start lessons at 7.45am or 11 am. In the Southernway Federation, around 30 children have opted for the 7.45 to 1pm run at Southway School and around 20 chose 11am to 4.30pm at Tamerton Vale Primary.
All groups will be tested before and after the trial to assess whether learning capacities have been enhanced by working at different times. Parents will keep diaries to record any problems.
Mark Lees, head teacher at Southway Primary said, "Research says different children learn better at different times of the day. And many parents are shift workers and have problems getting children to school in the morning too."
Last night I stumbled upon a superb school website - Kew Woods School in Southport.
I've gained lots of ideas for things to try in school. For instance, the introduction of a Parents Council. There's also some good ideas to use on our school's website. We need to add more information about what we do to meet the Every Child Matters agenda.
Definitely worth a look!
Monday, 4 June 2007
Matt Chappel runs Thornhill School in Islington, North London. He said, "Thornhill promtes and values high quality learning - and I aim to lead by example. I want to show pupils that learning is not something that stops when they leave school, and that even as adults there is still plenty to learn. So I see this new title as a better reflection of my role and purpose."
The president of the NAHT, David Tuck, disagreed with the change of job title. "Our view is that every school should have a head teacher and that no other title should be used. One person needs to be the leader and to take responsibility, even if it's a shared vision."
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Friday, 1 June 2007
Ofsted inspectors have revealed that the number of schools found to be failing has risen. During the spring term 5% more primary schools were put in special measures. However, the number of schools given 'notices to improve' because they are at rish of failing fell by 4% to 352.
David Willets, Tory education spokesman, said, "This is yet more evidence of the pressing need to focus on raising standards in our state schools."
Thank you to everyone who voted in May's poll. 31 votes were cast in total.
You were asked to show which SATs papers were the most challenging for the children this year.
By an overwhelming majority, the English Long Writing Task was voted most challenging. 51.6% of the voters thought this was tough. It wasn't an easy paper in terms of getting the tone right. I did think, though, that the content of the writing was at least something the children were aware of.
- English Long Writing Paper 51.6%
- Maths Paper B (Calculator) 38.7%
- English Reading Paper 35.5%
- Science Paper B 25.8%
- English Spelling Test 22.6%
- English Short Writing Paper 16.1%
- Science Paper A 12.9%
- Maths Mental Test 9.7%
- Maths Paper A (Non-calculator) 9.7%
Some interesting results there...
This month I'd like to find out how often people teach English and Maths, on average, AFTER the SATs.