We can learn from icebergs

This week marks another step change at Fir Vale but to an outsider it might sound really simple: we move from three to two lunch sittings.  On the face of it, this is a pretty small thing to do; the reality is somewhat different.  We need to move to two sittings to avoid the disruption to the teaching and learning in Period 4.  A lot of work has been going behind the scenes including:

- looking at dining room capacity with tables and seating;

- reviewing how our catering team can prepare and serve food;

- exploring ways to speed up the queues;

- evaluating our supervision so we can better guide pupils to the right queue;

- educating our pupils about our high dining room expectations;

- helping pupils to think about the best times to top up their accounts;

- ensuring pupils leave their places clear afterwards;

- our pupils to remember to check their balance before they reach the queue; and

- supporting our pupils to think about what they want from the menu before they start queuing.

And I think this iceberg image that I read earlier in the week - what timing! - sums it up:


On the first day of our lunch sitting we could see areas of success and things we need to improve.  Some pupils struggled with the fact there was a change to times; some said the first sitting was too busy; some pupils said it really worked for them and as one girl said to me “I think I’ll learn better now in Lesson 4”.  The iceberg illusion fits this neatly: getting something like lunchtimes improved when you have up to 1035 pupils to feed relies on lots of factors including persistence and hard work.  Perhaps one element that is missing from the iceberg illusion is “Positivity”, something I know is so important in a school.

This week will be big week with our new lunchtime arrangement: thank you to every pupil, every family and every colleague who is working hard, persisting, offering ideas, supporting and being positive to make lunchtime dining (and period 4 teaching and learning) as good as it can be.  With this approach, the top of our iceberg should be gleaming and sparkling white!

Have a good week  Fir Vale and enjoy your lunch.