Thursday, 27 August 2009

Magic moments

Now and again in schools we all experience a magic moment. Earlier today I had one of these. The story begins at Lunchtime yesterday when I had lunch with a couple of S1 pupils who started with us last week. Both assured me that they were enjoying High School and were settling in well. I was further pleased to learned that one of the boys, John, described Maths as his favourite subject. Seizing the opportunity I suggested to him that I would give him a maths problem to solve and, should he provide me with a written solution the following day, that i would buy him lunch. I further added that he was not allowed to use a calculator!

At lunch time today, who was waiting for me but John. John, beaming from ear to ear with a smile as wide as the Forth, proudly presented me with an envelop addressed to me, and (diplomatically) demanded that I read his solution. This I did and, to my astonishment, he provided me with the correct answer and a neatly written solution to my maths problem. At the end of his solution he had persuaded a parent to add that he had solved the problem without a calculator, precisely as I had requested. In my 28 years of teaching, I have never had a pupil who solved this particular problem. What is really interesting is that the solution he presented is not one I've seen before. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but I feel sufficiently inspired to set up some kind of Maths problem solving club to find out how many other gifted mathematicians we have in our ranks!

Getting it right for every child in Edinburgh

“Everyone has a responsibility to do the right thing for each child and we must all work towards a unified approach, with less bureaucracy and more freedom to get on and respond to children.
This will mean earlier help and the child getting the right help at the right time packaged for their particular needs.”

I attended an excellent multi-agency conference this afternoon at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh. Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is Edinburgh’s multi-agency response to the Scottish Government’s programme to support every child. The main aim of the conference was to bring together the various support agencies for children with the intention of getting us all to work together in a more structured and coordinated way for the benefit of all our children. At the conference we had representation from:

 Schools - including nursery, primary, secondary special and independent
 Social work
 Police
 Voluntary sector
 Scottish Government and
 National Health Service

In my 28 years of teaching this was the first time that I had attended a conference on this scale (300 delegates) from such a wide range of public service providers. Keynote addresses were delivered by Gillian Tee (Director of Children and Families) and Boyd McAdam. Both delivered what I thought were brilliant and inspiring speeches. I left the conference feeling very positive about the future for working with and supporting young people in Edinburgh. As a Headteacher of a thriving secondary school I am absolutely committed to and excited about contributing to this exciting development.