Monday, 25 February 2008

HTs' briefing/training

I attended a really helpful and interesting session for headteachers this afternoon at Goodtrees community centre. The meeting began with a welcome from David Wright (Neighbourhood manager) and a brief update on where we are as an Authority in our cost cutting/restructuring programme. Next up was a brief summary on School Safety from PC Steve McGill. It was great to learn that there is a sharp downward trend across our area of Edinburgh in terms of incidences of vandalism. This shows what can be achieved when the relevant groups work together in a cohesive and coordinated manner.

'Closing the gap' was the second item of the agenda and this was a presentation from Jamie Heatherington who works in strategic planning with Edinburgh council. Jamie was keen that each of us thinks about what we can do in our different contexts to 'close the gap'. This is an issue that I am really interested in, particularly, given the very diverse intake we have at Liberton High. The notion of a 'gap' is an interesting one and can mean different things to different people.

The highlight of the afternoon, for me, was a presentation from Christine Knight (HMIe district Inspector) on using 'How Good is our School 3'. I very much liked her practical approach to using the QIs and generally keeping things simple. I agree with her when she says that too many schools and departments can fall into the trap of trying to do too much at once. I look forward to working with Christine again on Friday when she and HMIe colleagues join us for our follow through inspection.

The afternoon closed with two excellent examples of good practice on School Self Evaluation from Rose Islambolipoor (Gracemount Primary School) and Stephen Phee (St Thomas of Aquin's inspection.

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