Monday, 29 June 2009

To post or not to post...

The comments I have got over the years are really interesting... one moment just last week they are incredibly complementary about my style..... the next day I get a fairly rude negative one telling me to basically not bother to write anything unless I am going to sound off about something of real depth and substance. (It was not published as the writer predicted). The same person even doubted I used to be a Headteacher.

Maybe my slightly non conventional non 'heavy' style is one of the reasons that the schools I led seemed to do so well, including one being very high in the most improved list two years in a row. Many comments, especially the positives do not get published.

I have always stated that this blog is not intended to be a heavyweight or deeply philosophical exposition about educational theory. It is
absolutely no more than my very quick observations or thoughts on things that happen during my working week, or things that make me smile or shudder. It is a form of diary really, when I have time to keep it.

I am extremely fortunate to work all over the place on all sorts of projects,
BSF, Academies as well as a range of international strategic projects.

My blog style will change no doubt as time goes on but right now it is what it is, with thousands of returning readers a year. No apologies.


Anonymous said...


How the hell are my low ability group that are distracted by the school wasp gonna cope with agile learning spaces

Many Y7's struggle with the transiton from the almost home like environment of their primary school to the present senior will they cope with the vastness of a Centre for Learning...

Where do we put all our stuff and how do we carry it around

Gosh the new school does look nice, but i don't like the toilets

Wow all this new technology, i can feel a steep and slippery learning curve heading my way

I'M NOT BEING NEGATIVE...JUST HONEST...i could continue, but wont

Anonymous said...

You said earlier that you were stopping the passive observation bit of the blog. This is of concern to many teachers who feel that because they are in the building, on the other side of a glass wall, there will be a minimum dinnerlady presence. I have spoken to several very conservative teachers who insist they will leave the building if this is the case. We are all entitled to a strees free 30 minutes in the middle of the day.

Gareth Long said...

Passive supervision. To be clear, the increased use of transparency (and therefore increasing opportunities for passive supervision) has never been intended to replace the normal levels of duty staff. All staff are entitled to a quality break - no one has ever said otherwise.

In schools where nooks and crannies and other hidey holes have been designed out, the duty staff remain the same in quantity but the job has got a lot easier. Duty staff can see their 'patch' more easily, and equally students can see staff more frequently and recognise that they are less likely to 'get away' with inappropriate behaviour.

Added to this, staff and others working / sitting / meeting in offices with greater visibility has also contributed to improving behaviour as students know there is the possibility of them being seen even if the staff aren't actually looking. What normally happens is that schools quickly get used to this.

It is also a way for students to be aware that teachers and other staff do work extremely hard outside of the classroom and they can be seen working, meeting, making phone calls, eating, in formal and informal settings. I have heard teachers (not HT's) say that it has helped create/model a more business like environment - this is a working place!

Some schools have found that by having cleverly designed out most hidden areas, slightly fewer duty staff are required on duty, especially after everyone has settled into new buildings. This is usually good news for staff!

In many older schools (including those I was HT of) higher levels of staffing were required than maybe strictly necessary to cover lots of corners, corridors and outside hidden spaces and improve the quality of life for everyone.

So, in a nutshell, passive supervision opportunities do not replace duty staff, do help prevent poor behaviour just by the fact that students are aware staff are around and allow students to see staff working hard in a variety of ways.

It is a different way of working from the traditional school layout but one that is catching on very fast.

Having said that, as in most schools, if there was one of those rare but real emergencies, most staff would support their colleagues.

Hope that this clarification helps.


Anonymous said...

....hmmm, i translate this as

'if there's any trouble everyone will choose to ignore it assuming that someone else is passively sorting it out.....result....utter chaos'

I think i'll be out for lunch!

Anonymous said...

I think one of the problems with this passive supervision is teachers have yet more things to do/be responsible for/ forethink any problems. When I started teaching, H and S wasn't a big issue. I would cringe seeing the footy team being bounced around a minibus up the motorway. Couldn't happen now and rightly so. But, BUT .... well I know I am still a good teacher, having just spoken to recent graduate with siblings in the school. But I am so fed up with the lack of respect for teachers who still do it day after day.
There is an insidious creeping of professional promotion jumping job-title impressed individuals making their way up the ladder. And what a ladder! Job titles for the boys.
If you prove you've done this then that box is ticked. Don't need to do that again.

A really fed up, majority of the time still in the classroom teacher who has a silly title.
Teaching is simple to many of us. Just leave us to it and we will sort out the chaff for you.

Anonymous said...

That sounds so depressing. I don't want to slit my wrists. I just want Balls to back off and trust me. Initiatives! I am sick to death of them. Anyone with any sense would never come into education. Let's try medicine. Oh, same crap , different name to lack of trust. Get the gist?

In any profession there is rubbish. Sledgehammer ... nut?

Anonymous said...

Chaff meaning rubbish teachers. Some of the trainee teachers being passed now worries me. But then we can't fail them as it means the university is at fault .... etc .... up the line.
The pressure to pass anyone, on any course, is unbelievable. not the origin of the blog but .......

Anonymous said...

PS. The chaff is a reference to poor teachers not the children!

Anonymous said...

PPS. Thought I hadn't sent that last chaff bit. Didn't realise you would take so long (not a critisism). I'll finish there shall I? But, still worried about standard of some nqt's.

Gareth Long said...

Sorry for the delay in posting - just moving house - that (and IKEA) seems to be taking time up...

Thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

Is social media going to kill SEO?

Anonymous said...

what is the last post about? what is SEO?