Last Week/Next Week:19.1.08

This is my first attempt to pick out some of what I have done and to look ahead to next week. Let’s give it a try and see how it evolves.

Some stuff from last week
Straighforward week after spending so much time in London the previous week – 3 days in Glasgow and 2 in Dundee.
• Had a great meeting at BBC Scotland with their Learning team. Despite the loss (for the moment) of the long promised and potentially wonderful BBC Jam offering the BBC continues to set a very high quality threshold. The Reithian aspiration of ‘Educate, Inform and Entertain’ (my order) provides an excellent platform for innovation and public service. The BBC in my view continues to be a world class institution. LTS has had a great relationship with the BBC over many years and the meeting continued the conversation around mutual areas of interest and in particular support for the Scottish Curriculum in the context of Curriculum for Excellence and Glow.
• Presented to a delegation from the Singaporean Ministry of Education on the Scottish Education system. The delegation were particularly interested in innovation and change, how to foster creativity and of course Glow the world’s first national schools intranet.
• Chaired a LTS Dundee Office staff meeting – nailed my colours to the mast with definite moving dates to our new Distribution Centre (Tom Johnston Road) and to our temporary office (Overgate House). Dealt with all the usual stuff about what can be taken, what has to be left behind, parking, opening hours etc. Minor concerns at one level but important to deal with properly and professionally.
• Met with Polly Purvis of ScotlandIS the Scottish IT industry trade association to discuss everything from skills, curriculum and qualifications to the gender profile and image of the IT industry. The number of school leavers taking computer science courses in HE is in decline and the gender balance is also very poor. So what might schools do? Are Computing Studies courses fit for purpose in the 21st century? Are they a good preparation for HE or for work in a fast changing sector of the economy? What can the IT industry do to help attract school leavers?
• The loss of personal data by HMRC (and the more recent loss by the MoD over the weekend) has put the spotlight on all public bodies to ensure that we have robust procedures for handling sensitive and personal data. LTS was already reviewing its policies and I met with our IT manager to monitor progress. We don’t hold a lot of sensitive data and most of what we do hold is subject to Freedom of Information. Nonetheless this is important work and we have a duty to our public responsibilities very seriously.
• Met with my senior colleagues within LTS to explore programme structures for next year. Over the last 6 years I have been closely involved in moving the organisation from an approach that involved moving large numbers of disparate projects into coherent programmes (using the Government’s Managing Successful Programmes methodology). This has involved closing many projects down, moving work from project and programme to business-as-usual and trying to establish some work as core function rather than short-term project funded.

Some Stuff Happening Next Week
Looks like 2 days in Glasgow, 1.5 days in Dundee, 0.5 days in Edinburgh and 1 day in Stirling – so a fair amount of travelling especially as the 1.5 in Dundee is over 3 days! The week starts with a 0900 in Glasgow so the 0636 train for me on Monday morning.
• First meeting is our Corporate Management Team with Michael Cross and his team from the Scottish Government to look at joint work around More Choices, More Chances
• Supporting our CEO Bernard for a meeting with an opposition spokesperson on education in the Scottish Parliament
• Meeting Greg Dempster, General Secretary of AHDS, the primary heads and deputes association to consult on the LTS Corporate Plan (ie what should LTS be doing to support primary schools) and to look at structures for the Scottish Learning Festival 2008 and beyond.
• Representing LTS at the Scottish Government Glow Executive Board chaired by Liz Lewis, Director of Schools. The main item on the agenda will be the roll-out of Glow. We now have 19 local authorities signed-up to the Customer Agreement with 2 more ready to sign so getting close to critical mass. Last week 40,000 users had been ‘provisioned’ and over the next few weeks the numbers move into 6 figures.
• Meeting Michael Kowbel of e-Skills UK with a similar agenda to that with ScotlandIS last week.
• Catching up with former Glow Programme Director John Connell
• Meeting Sally Fulton of Stirling Council. Sally is just about to take up a secondment with LTS and HMIe to work on the next phase of Journey to Excellence.
Jim Buchan the LTS Chief Technology Adviser is just about to leave to join CISCO and I hope to able to buy him a pint and thank him for the support he has given me and for the wonderful work he has done to get Glow to where it is today.
• Ace blogger Ollie Bray from Musselburgh Grammar is coming in on Tuesday to do some work with us.
• Finish the week at a seminar on ‘New Technologies’ organised by my colleague John Low for local authority representatives.


  1. That is one very busy schedule!

    It is great to hear what you are up to.

    Tess 🙂

  2. Looks like a fun week – looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday. OB

  3. Good Afternoon Laurie!

    What a brilliant idea! I see that you are in the process of moving to new office accomodation.

    We would be interested in speaking to you about this, can you please advise who would be the best person to speak to and how we go about introducing ourself’s?

    Thanks for your time, I can see your a very busy guy!



  4. Would be good to hook up around Michael Kowbell and Polly Purvis. We’ve been working on vocational part of this
    but must be more synergies we can apply to this for Scottish Learners.