Creative Blogs Newsletter, October 2012

At last, I’ve sat down and written a newsletter!

In this edition

  • Supportdesk: accessing technical support
  • Apps: new Creative Blogs app
  • Conferences and courses
  • New Bloggers
  • New DFE Rules on school websites

 

The Supportdesk

We have set up a new support desk which can be found at http://supportdesk.creativeblogs.net

The purpose of this support blog is twofold. First of all we use it to create a knowledgebase of articles and frequently asked questions. In the knowledgebase you’ll find videos, slideshows and tutorials about commonly asked questions such as:

We are adding to it all the time and you’ll find the latest updates appearing on your dashboard in your blogsite.

The second purpose is to host a ticket system for support requests. We have always been available via email, phone and twitter, but, if you catch us at the wrong time it’s quite possible that we’ll forget the email, phonecall or tweet. To ensure that we follow up all support requests and they are not forgotten, we would ask that everyone uses the supportdesk to raise a ticket. Our aim is still to respond in a timely way and over the next few weeks we will be sending out usernames and passwords to all schools that have not yet received one (please drop us a line if you want one quickly).

Incidentally, if you are a Facebook user we have a very popular Facebook page upon which we post all kinds of interesting resources, websites and articles related to blogging. Please visit and like http://facebook.com/creativeblogsuk

 

Apps Update

We have been working hard on working out the best way to provide an apps service for schools. The idea is that we can create an app for a school that includes updates from all the blogs on the school’s blogsite and from other services that the school might use such as Twitter, video, Flickr, podcasts and so on as well as containing contact details, maps etc. Parents will be able to download the school app for free onto their phone and so be able to keep up with the latest updates from the school wherever they happen to be. Great for parental engagement!

If you are interested and have an Android device you can download our prototype app from the Google Play store here: visit Google Play store This version of the app contains none of the graphics of the finished article but pulls in feeds from our blog, our supportdesk, Twitter feed and so on. We’re also working on an Apple version of the app and hope to launch it shortly.

 

Conferences, Courses and Teachmeets

I will be at the following events in the next few  months:

24th October:                      Teachmeet Preston

5th November:                   Blackpool Primary Partnership Conference, Winter Gardens

12th November:                Blogging in the classroom – free seminar, Waterloo Primary School, Blackpool. Click here for details and booking.

23rd November:                Blogging afternoon at Heathfield (contact @deputymitchell for details)

23rd November:                Teachmeet Bolton

30th Jan to 2nd Feb:           BETT show, Edexcel – big announcement coming soon

13th February:                    National Literacy Trust: Raising standards in writing through innovation, Nottingham: details and booking

14th February:                    National Literacy Trust: Raising standards in writing through innovation, London: details and booking

22nd February:                   Blogging afternoon at Heathfield (contact @deputymitchell for details)

I hope to meet you at one of these events and am always interested in talking at cluster meetings or teachers conferences about blogging. If you want me to talk at your school or are interested in hosting a seminar etc, please get in touch.

 

 New Bloggers

We’ve been busy building new sites:

British International School, Belgrade     Our second international site!

St Francis, Oxford                                            I love the mosaics on the homepage

Layton primary school in Blackpool           Our 9th Blackpool primary – that’s almost one third of Blackpool schools.

Brandlehow Primary, London                     Our 3rd London primary is live

The Bridge School, Telford                           Shropshire is a new area for us.

Merrydale Infants, Leicester                       Launching an interesting early years project using blogs as e-portfolios – more details soon

St Clements Primary,  Birmingham           Involved in the same project as Merrydale

Hillmorton Primary, Rugby                           Another new area for Creative Blogs

 

There are more on the blocks launching soon…

 

DFE rules regarding school websites

There has been recent legislation from the Government about what information MUST be included on a school website. These include the following:

  •  Link to your latest Ofsted report;
  •  Link to school performance tables;
  •  Full contact details including name, address and postcode;
  • Either a link to your LA admission arrangements or full details of your own admission arrangements;
  • Your latest Key Stage 2 (or Key Stage 4) results under the following headings:

a) “% achieving Level 4 or above in English and Maths”;

b) % making expected progress”

c) in relation to English, “% achieving Level 5 or above”;

d)in relation to Maths, “% achieving Level 5 or above”

  • Any phonics scheme in use for Key Stage 1
  • Details of the curriculum for each year group and in each subject;
  • The amount allocated and details of intended expenditure of the pupil premium grant and what impact this has had on the attainment of the recipient group;
  • Reports to the Governors on behaviour and SEN and charging policy.

Here is the full schedule: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1124/made

All of the above must appear on your school website or blog (if that’s your website as well).

If you don’t have the time and inclination to do this, please email me all the relevant links, documents and policies under the 9 headings listed above and I will do it for you for £150

Last thing

My own little monster is really enjoying a website called Teachyourmonstertoread.com and the team behind this free site (a creditable attempt to make phonics fun) have made me a free widget to stick on early years blogs. If you’d like a copy, let me know which blog you want it on and I’ll stick it in.

 

Happy Blogging,

 

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About john sutton

Founder of Creative Blogs.

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Creative Blogs are the UK's leading educational blogging specialists. We build Wordpress Multisite blog platforms for schools.

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