What is worrying teachers and heads?

05 Jan 2010

 Unable to switch off? Work worries keeping you awake at night? Well it seems school leaders find it hard to stop thinking about their duties even when they are meant to be on holiday.

While anyone who knows a teacher will not be surprised by this finding, they may be alarmed by the extent to which some school leaders cannot stop worrying about educational matters, even on Christmas Day. 

 According to figures released by 'The Key' - a practical information service for school leaders - more than 140 school leaders accessed their website between December 24 2009 and January 1 2010. Some of these even logged-onto the site on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day -- which probably didn't go down too well with their families. 

 An interesting picture of the key concerns for school leaders emerges from an analysis of the issues pursued on the site. Not surprisingly, the nature of classroom monitoring by Ofsted under the new framework is the top concern. The issue of allegations against staff also figures highly. 

 The top 5 issues for primary school leaders, during the final month of last term were:

1. Ofsted lesson observations

2. Allegations against staff

3. Parents' forums in action

4. Using assessment focuses in maths

5. Lesson observation framework

For secondary school leaders, the top concerns were:

1. Ofsted lesson observations

2. Linking FMIS to school development plan

3. Parents' forums in action

4. Allegations against staff

5. Gifted and talented provision

'The Key' was developed as a pilot service by the TDA and the NCSL but it now operates as an independent, subscription-funded service. There are over 3,500 registered users, from almost 1,300 schools. The cost is £600 a year per school.

 While it is perhaps a shame that the cost of the service is no longer covered by government, there would appear to be a demand from those who find the advice available on the site more practical and easily accessible than trawling through government websites.

However, 'The Key' needs to ensure it keeps its site up to date. I had a trawl on 5th January 2010 to see if I could find the latest guidance on Safeguarding and the requirements of the Vetting and Barring Scheme. I found it had not yet been updated with the new guidance issued on 14th December. To be fair, Christmas and New Year may have got in the way of up-dating the site, but  - there again - we know school leaders don't stop worrying about such things just because it's the school holidays. 

 You can find out more at: http://www.usethekey.org.uk/ 

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