……..When I write these blog updates I have a few basic intentions – to give you info, to get the odd comment back so I know what you think (though if I’m honest you’re generally pretty reticent on this bit!), to amuse myself (yes I’m easily amused I know) and to share my love of music and books and football with you for the very simple reason that my family are utterly bored with me rambling on at home so they won’t listen. You are all on the other hand the perfect solution for a “Johnny-No-Mates” with much to say and nobody to say it too – for you are of course a captive audience!
When I write whatever nonsense I do, I’ve suddenly realised that I’ve got no idea what might come from the simplest thing I refer to. So when I wrote in the last blog of my love for the band Turin Brakes I wasn’t prepared for the comment I got back. It turned out that Nadia, who works for the STARS Tuition Service is good friends with the wife of Olly Knights – who is the lead singer with Turin Brakes!!!!! Now to most of you that may not mean that much, but to me, a proper, serious, mad Turin Brakes fan…..I am simply starstruck! It was wonderful to know and I am so glad Nadia told me. I even shared the news at home, and for a moment, fleeting as it was, there was still a moment, when my family were actually INTERESTED in something I had to say. So my thanks to Nadia for making my day, my week, my month and for giving me a few seconds of being semi-cool at home!
But now I’m thinking it’s not just the friend-of-the-wife-of-Olly-Knights who is part of our division – there are probably lots of you connected to bands/footballers/authors I like. And above all, I have a sneaky feel that the best mate of Guy Garvey of Elbow’s brother, Marcus, is out there, in our division – I just know he is! (Yes I know it’s a bit scary that I know the name of Guy Garvey’s brother……but what would you expect from the man who is the oldest member of the official Elbow fan club!). So if you know Guy Garvey’s brother, or even Guy Garvey, please make my day and let me know!
Anyway, now to the serious and useful bits…..(well some useful bits!)
Strategy and Resources Committee
We contributed to a paper to this members committee focused on the one year pilot project we’ve just done with the ChelseaFC Foundation. They ran a series of activities through our schools, Sutton Life Centre and our Youth Offending Team. A large part of the project focused on “reach” and building relationships. However in a couple of our primary schools, it included some work targeting children with poor attendance rates. In both schools the results after 10/12 weeks were very encouraging with the two schools seeing average improvements of 8% in school and 14% in the other. By anybody’s standards these are impressive changes in a short time. In addition, in one of the two schools, where we also targeted latecomers, we saw a 72% improvement in timeliness for school over the term. Elected members agreed to exend the work with the Chelsea FC Foundation for a further 3 months, while we jointly commission a longer term project between CYPLD and Public Health
A Better Class Of Singer On The Glasgow Underground
Up until Monday night, I always thought that there was only one real advantage in the Glasgow Underground compared to London’s. The key advantage was that, no matter how tired you get, even perhaps if you are ‘as tired as a newt!’ as we say in Scotland, you can’t miss your stop – for Glasgow Underground is just a circle that goes round and round and round. Missed your stop in Glasgow? No worries!!! Just lie back, close your eyes and maybe you’ll wake up at the right stop next time round!! However on Monday on my way home from Strategy and Resources, after a long, long, day, we had a singer on the Central Line – or rather a moaning mumbler with a sort of tune in the background. I think he was singing but it was hard to tell if it was that or a musical rumbling tummy he had! Now in Glasgow, there is no reticence in our singers on the Underground – they belt it out and aren’t averse to encouraging their fellow passengers to sing along! It’s nothing if not entertaining! So the moral is if you want to get anywhere then use the Tube in London. But……………..IF you want to go round in circles, to the strains of “Rhinestone Cowboy”, with inebriated 3 part harmonies, then Saturday nights in Glasgow are definitely for you!
Here’s a small “soupcon” of Glaswegian Underground Entertainment!
Post14 Employability Board.
We had the inaugural meeting of this new group which has been created from the old 14-19 Strategy Board. It includes employers, college and training providers and a number of Council officers including Chris Jones and Alan Dean from Advisory and Inspection and Sara Foulsham from Integrated Services For Young People. Among the key actions will be the development of a new Apprenticeship Strategy, a focus on matching employer led demands with young peoples skills acquisition and promoting better engagement between our schools, colleges and training providers, and local employers.
Literacy Volunteering Project
I am now fully signed up to this having mentioned it in my last blog update. Our Family Info Service tell me that some of you have followed suit – but we need more support. Please sign up if you can and give 6 hours of your time to support a Family Literacy. And as for all the jokes about Scottish people and literacy teaching, save them as I’ve probably heard them all before! When I was a teacher in a British School in Spain many years ago I was greeted at the end of my first term with a parent telling me that she was withdrawing her children from the school as she didn’t want them taught English by someone with a ‘common regional accent!’. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that if she thought what I did to the teaching of English was bad, she didn’t want to see what my accent did to the teaching of Spanish!!! So, if you can spare a few hours between January and March next year please contact Jenny Kelly on email@example.com or Caroline Watson on firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Not Easy Being A Man – Part 1
This morning I cut myself while shaving. Nothing unusual in that you may think. But the cut was on the end of my nose. A lot of claret – yes! An explanation – no! I’ve no idea what I was doing but if it was meant to be shaving my top lip I missed by quite a long way!
The second stage of the consultation is underway and I met some staff from CYPLD and also Environment and Neighbourhoods when I was involved in one of the sessions last Friday. I’d encourage managers and staff involved to continue to contribute your views on the proposals, whether you are commenting on one of the draft job descriptions, or on whether a role should or shouldn’t be in scope or on proposals about location for the support staff once the project reaches that phase.
Children’s Services Improvement Board
This board met yesterday and among the papers was confirmation of the very positive findings from the latest DfE review. I know that Tolis has written separately to all staff but again, to everyone, and especially to those more directly involved in areas across ISYC and ISYP, (particularly areas like JAS, EIPs, Sutton Family Centre and YOT) my thanks for all the work and commitment you’ve put in which has contributed to yet another very positive and very encouraging assessment of our improvement.
I will try and get these out regularly – or at least semi-regularly. I also try and tweet a little most days. However I have a few requests to help – firstly if you are minded in the least, please get yourself a Twitter account and sign up to follow up. Secondly please sign up to “follow” the blog by clicking on the button on this page – I’m keen to reduce our relaince on e-mail cascade. And thirdly, if you want to leave a comment or a query, or if you want to simply let me know that YOU are Guy Garvey’s brothers best friend, please get back to me using the comments box at the bottom of the page – I will respond (eventually!)
…………………………………………….It’s Not Easy Being A Man Part 2
I had a haircut a few weeks ago. The hairdresser commented on the fact that I had a centre parting in my hair. She suggested I move to a side parting as centre parting’s were in her words ‘a bit 1970’s!’. It’s taken me decades to get my hair to do this – now I have to contemplate a change. I’d ask my family but doubt they’d care! So to give you the chance, I’ve set up this poll below which gives you the chance to vote. The response statements weren’t written by me but were drafted by an independent panel of hair industry experts – honest! Please vote and tell me what you think (and honestly I’m also using this as a “test” to see if the polling software works!)