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Showing posts from February, 2008

Off to the palace.

Nice random picture - the view out of my window at home! Ahhh. Never one to do things by halves, as well as turning 30 this weekend (on St David's day you know) and having an Ofsted subject inspection on Monday and Tuesday, I found myself in St James' Palace on Wednesday. I was acting as a Marshall for a Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award presentation. It was great to see some of the young people I have helped through the Award pick up their certificates from the Prince.

Over 6000 young people achieve Gold each year and the only thing that stops the Award expanding is a lack of adult volunteers! So why not give it a go!

Right, I'm off to have some wine and clear my diary.

The Ofsted menace!

Well, Ofsted is over! First of all I'd like to thank all of those that offered help and advice! I am very pleased with the results.

The key to the process was a very honest self evaluation and an action plan linked to the SEF, school and other action plans. Coupled with some mega impact since January meant that the Leadership category was rated as good. To be so honest was a little soul destroying, but eventually meant that there were no surprises! It has also resulted in the possibility that the department would be 'put up' for further scrutiny during a full inspection visit. Nice.

Having gone through this process I welcome Ofsted as I feel that as teachers we should be accountable. What went on in the department I have taken over was shocking. But we'll end it there as tomorrow dawns a brand new day!

Glen Coe 2008

It's time to catch up on the blog! This shot was taken at the end of a very long day traversing some of the Mammores range near Fort William. The range has a lovely ridge that stretches for miles. The great thing was the fact the we saw no one all day! This is us looking over a lovely loch. I really enjoy our trips into Scotland and this time I was allowed to turn my back on the looming Ofsted menace! What better way that 3 great hill days, a day on the mountain bike and a day inside the Ice Factor (it decided the rain that day!) I've also been keeping an eye on the SAIS blog for the area. I have been using the images and news to show classes just how quickly the weather can change in our upland areas!

The call....

Well, as I'm sat here in Lancaster services waiting for my climbing partner it seems that blogger won't allow me to upload images today. They were going to be great too!

Anyhow, with Ofsted a half term away I've been reflecting on the events since the 13th Feb. I'll write about the KS3 Geography Conference at a later date! That is if the Ofsted fairies don't melt my mind first! I'm sharing my feelings here as I think that others will be able to learn from my experience of the inspection.

The first lovely picture shows me grappling with a multitude of ropes during crevasse rescue training in the Alps. The first feeling after the news that Ofsted would be carrying out a 2 day subject inspection of my department led me to panic about how to pull all of the threads together. Things have been moving slowly, but as a new head of department (6 weeks into the job) I wondered how I was going to get all of the threads together. However, the point of training is that things…

Scotland's one day closer!

Finalised the plans last night for the annual venture to Scotland. I hope to get a good trip in this year. This blog will be of interest to Geography teachers. It compliments to excellent Scottish Avalanche Information Service site and includes some excellent pictures and information for teaching about hazards and weather! Includes a picture of an avalache on Ben Nevis on the weekend.

There are a number of other blogs covering the main climbing areas!

Richter Scale

This week I found a new way to convey the logarithmic nature of the Richter Scale. always remember sitting in a geography lesson as a youngster learning about earthquakes just as a small earthquake shook the building. As my new classroom is on the second floor we created a 3.0 (ish) magnitude quake. This causes little damage. I then showed images from 5, 6 and 7 quakes. How did we create the quake? Well (and this was of course fully risk assessed) I asked a couple of students to stand carefully on a table and jump off. This made the floor shake just enough for it to be felt. The class seemed to engage in this demonstration and displayed a better understanding of how the Richter Scale works. Of course, this technique could only work in classrooms that have a shakeable floor! The only other tip is to warn the teacher below!