Thursday, 8 March 2012

Meetings galore

The first meeting of the day was with my senior team. Starting the day like this provides an opportunity to share updates on key areas and also allows us to pool our efforts where this is needed. I also gave an update on key points from yesterdays' secondary headteachers' meeting.

At 0900 I met with Alex and Bethany to get feedback from the pupil council meeting and to discuss fundraising plans for the coming weeks. Other areas discussed included: Schoolbags, venues for pupil council meetings, access to email, quiet areas for seniors to study and proposed changes to our use of ICT when wifi is installed later this year. I was really interested in the view expressed by some of our pupils that they would prefer to continue with jotters and pens/pencils rather than more than use portable computers in classrooms. This is something that we will need to consider very carefully as the costs involved in providing a portable electronic device for all pupils could be considerable. Based on this (limited) feedback from our pupil council the limited finances we have may be better spent on more traditional resources.

One of the frustrations reported to me by pupils is the number of websites that are currently blocked by the council firewall. Pupils would, for example, like to be able to transfer essays from home to school by email, rather than using pen drives. Current firewall configurations prevent pupils from accessing Hotmail, Gmail, Virgin Media etc. During the next ICT upgrade will be an opportunity for the Council to reflect on and possibly revise current levels of filtering. Most pupils now have access to their emails on their phones so why make life more complicated by denying access to them on school computers?

After further meetings with various colleagues I particularly enjoyed a meeting I had with Professor Muneer from Napier University. Amongst various possible collaborative projects with Napier University we will be exploring how some of our students can learn more about Prof Muneer's pioneering work in the area of renewable engineering.

In the afternoon I met with headteachers from our associated primary schools. At this meeting the main item on the agenda was planning towards how best we can support the current P7s who will join us in S1 at JGHS in August later this year.

Whilst I was driving home after writing up my notes from all of today's 8 meetings I was reminded of a 'PS' on an email I once received from a colleague after I'd invited her to meet with me. It read: 'Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings, they did it by killing all those who opposed them.' Perhaps I'll suggest we should meet up to reflect on this.

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