‘Apologies for the blanket email’ and staff briefing. Will SharePoint 2007 notices bring them to an end.

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Digital Era, SharePoint, Twynham School 

A fairly simple post and perhaps only interesting for education people. Like many schools we have a staff briefing system where all the teachers get together 3 times a week at 8.35 for 5 minutes to give out any notices. All three schools I have worked at have done this on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Alongside this method of communication and unlike my other two schools Twynham uses email voraciously and my inbox will typically get between 40 and 100 emails per day depending on day of week and time in the half term.

Both ways of communicating have positively impacted on the running of the school but both also potentially have their downfall. Every colleague will know what I mean in particular with email and the dreaded ‘Apologies for this blanket email’. This is the email which is often written about a particular child which has 10-14 teachers but is sent to the entire teaching staff of 120 because the sender does not want to undertake the simple task of checking on the gateway who the relevant teachers are. My frustration as I read this sentence in my inbox is perhaps greater than the Angry Technician’s when someone tells him the Internet is broken! Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of email for the way it helps me keep efficient with communication as well as the lack of paper in my tray each day is bliss.

Staff briefing is far more defendable as it brings humans together and you can catch someone you want a face to face with which cannot be done on email. You can even simply say hello to people who otherwise you would rarely see in a 1600 comprehensive. At the same time everyone gathering in a central place minutes before the school day starts can be counterproductive when the following happens. Over the last few months I have turned up at staff briefing and something remarkable has happened- no one has had a notice to give. I haven’t really thought about it at the time and indeed the frequency of notices seems to be declining (more than a dozen times this year there has been just 1-2 notices where typically there can be half a dozen or more). This morning when I logged on to the staff gateway I think I have found the answer to the decline in both- staff notices.

At Twynham we have been using staff notices for three years but often the area would get one or two notices every week or two. During the current year this has increased steadily to the point that it is becoming one of the key communication tools for staff with each other. The screen shot above is evidence of this and looking back to September we have had over 140 notices in 20 weeks. It seems that staff notices has become the primary communication tool which will continue to impact on staff briefing and the dreaded email.

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