A lot of my time and thoughts over the past few weeks has had a focus on planning for the future. At this time of year throughout educational establishments there is real focus on the future. It is often described as the New Year preparations for the education world.
The exam timetable began on Tuesday 2nd of May and is still in progress. Our S4, S5 and S6 pupils have been taking part in important exams which will impact on their future lives. Across our 10 secondary schools there have been a variety of celebrations as they have been saying goodbye to their S6 pupils and some S5. Over the next few weeks the new timetables will be going into place and there will be much work done with transitions from P7 to S1 and Pre School into P1. This is a real time of looking forward and looking back at success and planning how to make the next stage even more successful.
I have heard about some transition work based around our partners at Benmore Outdoor Centre.
Last week end the P7 schools cluster in Cowal spent some time at Benmore preparing for their move to Secondary and getting to know each other better. This work each year is led by Alison Currie, PT Learning Support and has been a huge success over the years.
Also visiting Benmore recently were the combined cluster of P6 and 7 pupils from Minard and furnace primary schools. They had some great experiences gorge walking and testing themselves on some adventures and succeeded in risk taking. All good skills for their future ahead.
Skills for the future are difficult to predict as life is changing very fast and as more and more technology comes into place skills are developing to meet this area. There are some skills which are always going to be necessary and important whatever field of study or career is ahead. In session 2017/18 there will be a continued focus on literacy and numeracy skills.
In my job planning the future has consisted of staffing updates and planning which posts are required to be filled, discussing with colleagues both in and out of school the need for reviewing posts to future proof. This is often a difficult decision as to go with the same structure or to evolve and meet the new needs of the service. The later has been very much my approach in the last few weeks and this has seen new posts becoming available.
Schools have been busy looking at planning their PEF spend and looking to the future as to what this additional money can do to support the learning for pupils in the schools. The returned application forms regarding PEF have been coming in to the centre and I am pleased to see some innovation and clear thought out strategies in clusters.
On Friday 19th May it was my honour to spend time with the probationer cohort of 2016/17. These newly qualified teachers have had the expert support during their probation year of David Mitchell, Janice McGregor, Sharon Burt and Mairi Livingstone. They have been at each of the support days and co-ordinated the programme for probationer development. The strength of our probationer programme in Argyll and Bute is the support from in school practitioners. We wish them all well in their future careers and do hope many stay in Argyll and secure permanent posts.
Many colleagues are also thinking about moving on to retirement and thinking about a bright future not governed by bells. Whilst it is sad to be losing valued and much respected colleagues it is also an exciting time celebrating their great achievements. Their retirals also provide great opportunities for some new folks to be promoted and enjoy a new challenge. I am very busy at present putting dates into my diary for interviewing for Head Teacher posts before the end of the term.
Whilst we take many positives from the past and our experiences we should never forget that the future is bright. Our Children, Their Future is key to the work we undertake in schools on a daily basis.