☰ 7.50pm, Wed 3 Feb

7.50pm, Wed 3 Feb

Posted on: February 3rd 2010

I got in around 8am this morning and with my cup of tea set about replying to important messages. I also had quite a few letters to write; one to Haringey Council, another to the Independent Schools Council and a couple of various people.

I usually take an assembly for younger pupils on a Wednesday but Mrs Holt had arranged a group called Pathway to come in and lead an assembly for both our older and younger pupils, so I was off the hook and sat in on their session instead. It was really good. They retold a bible story, but involved the pupils. It was interactive, lively and fun, and the pupils enjoyed it. I like our pupils to hear stories from all religions; they are always thought provoking and also act as reference points for discussion as you get older. A lack of knowledge about them is like having part of your vocabulary missing. Can you imagine not knowing about the Good Samaritan for example?

After assembly Ms Milligan popped up for our daily meeting. We talked about the day ahead and she walked me through meetings I had booked in. She also told me about our spectacular chess result last night – a team of 8 pupils are currently playing in a chess league and they won all their matches. A triumph! We brought in one of London’s leading chess coaches in September last year to teach a handpicked group of pupils who had previously shown ability and interest. He coaches them every Thursday morning and they’re obviously thriving.

At about 10am I took a call from a colleague at ISA. There are some staffing issues and we discussed a plan of action. I hadn’t spoken to him in a while, so it was good to catch up. I then had an admissions meeting with a prospective family at 10.10am. Typically I would have four of these a week (two on Monday and two on Wednesday), but this week I only had two as I wanted a bit more time in my diary for other things. Anyhow, they were a really nice family who already know several of our parents. They were sensible, encouraging and supportive – perfect for us and we will happily offer their child a place for 2011.

I then started working on an idea I’ve had for a while: developing a school intranet, one that is truly innovative. I began sketching out a plan:

The user groups I identified were teachers and assistants, office staff, pupils and parents. Teachers might want interesting and varied teaching ideas and resources, with links and plans. Perhaps discussion forums to discuss new ideas. They would want their staff handbook easily accessible in a manageable way. Perhaps video links of lessons other teachers have taught. Our older pupils already communicate with our teachers via email – so could we move this to the intranet? It would make two-way communication available to all. We could also provide parents with information and forms that are not available on our public main site. And in time parents might be able to access school reports or attendance records.

I’m at the very early stages, but I did some research and sent messages to a few companies.

I then had lunch. Gosh, I was hungry! I read a bit about the new Defence Green Paper launched today (note I didn’t actually read the paper itself). I like this sort of thing I’m afraid. I then met with a Form 6 boy who has an interview at a senior school this week. He is absolutely fine; I just wanted to make sure he felt confident. We are going to meet again tomorrow morning for a final practise.

Our chess team had another fixture this afternoon against Lochinver. Only four players this time, but Lochinver are very good. Mrs Fern had mentioned yesterday that she would quite like to take them. I later found out they won. This is a huge achievement. I’m now thinking about chess on the school timetable. Let’s see.

So as Mrs Fern was out watching us win at chess, I covered her ‘activities’ lesson this afternoon. ‘Activities’ is something we started three years ago for all pupils in Forms 3 – 6. We mix all the pupils together and then split them into six groups. Each group then follows a different activity each half term. It works incredibly well.

Mrs Fern’s activity, I discovered too late to pull out of the whole thing, is weaving. Knowing that my weaving skills were patchy – okay, non existent – I cheated slightly and adapted the weaving concept into a philosophy lesson where we “weaved” ideas together. It was great fun as we played a few mind games initially. We also played a name game and I must say I was impressed with the names they produced: Bob Dillon (Sanjay), David Bowie (Thomas) and Bob Marley (Meg). Their parents have good music taste! This sort of thing is my favourite part of the job. I love the freedom to have these lessons and it’s magical to see such fertile minds work through difficult concepts. That lesson finished at 4pm and then the Form 6 pupils came in and wanted to talk, so we had some fun for another 10 minutes (sorry if you had to wait outside).

I then went back to my office and had a message from Mrs Habgood. She is Mrs Osborn’s mentor through her studies on the Graduate Training Programme and she had just finished visiting the school that Mrs Osborn is to be placed at for six weeks. She seemed really pleased with the setup at the school (I happen to be a governor at the school too).

I finished a few more things off before I left at 4.30pm.

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