Monday, 28 February 2011

More about culture!

People constantly tell me that things are impossible and the more I visit other places the more I realise what we had at Education Leeds. These are more of the things I've learned...

It's all about culture!

People constantly tell me that things are impossible and the more I visit other places the more I realise what we had at Education Leeds. These are the things I learned...

Nottingham again!

I was in Nottingham again today...

There are some great people working in the city; passionate, committed individuals who believe that the cities are special, unique and wonderful places where the real opportunities to make a difference lie and where we can achieve, and are achieving, great things.

What do you want to achieve?

What are your goals? How do you achieve them? Simple; simply believe in yourself...

So how do you see yourself?

"Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself."
George Bernard Shaw

What you think about yourself is the single most important factor in your success...

How do we build great learning places?

I have been doing this for a long time and I still wrestle with many of the same fundamental questions...

What do we have to do to create extraordinary learning places?
What makes a great workplace and a great school?
What makes a great colleague, a great teacher or a great coach?

Sunday, 27 February 2011


 It is simple astonishing to see the investment between Tower Bridge and the Festival Hall in London...

The whole of the South Bank has been transformed into a thriving commercial and residential area full of cafes and shops alongside the replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship the 'Golden Hind'.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

We must incentivise and reward co-operation, teamwork, collaboration, networking and partnering and we must encourage BRILLIANT projects, BRILLIANT challenges and BRILLIANT initiatives like Mathletics, STEPS and Every Child a Reader...

New Beginnings!

Whatever happens this year, it will be a year of new beginnings for many of us… 

New contracts, new colleagues, new challenges, new opportunities where we need to continue to be different, to be creative, to try new things, to learn new tricks and to make a real difference… whatever it takes! 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I was reminded today that what we do is a co-operative and collaborative thing and that brilliantly talented people want and need to be part of something bigger where they are making a real difference...

The Children's Society or Teach First provide a club where extraordinary people can come together and share and learn.

Teach First!

Teach First's mission is to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective, inspirational teachers and leaders in all fields...

The charity Teach First is a movement founded to address the problem of educational disadvantage and modeled on the 'Teach for America' approach in the United States.

Teach First!

I attended a Teach First event at PwC offices on Wellington Street this evening...

I had been approached by Dean Johnstone, Relationship Manager at Carnegie Leaders in Learning Partnership to see if I could attend the session.

LEAP (Listening, Empowerment, Advocacy and Participation)

I visited the LEAP Team base on Stanningley Road in Leeds this afternoon...

LEAP is the local programme of The Children's Society and has worked in Leeds since 2002 benefiting hundreds of children and their families.

Life's Big Prizes

I adapted this from a United Technologies Corporation slogan...

Most of us miss out on life's big prizes; Pulitzers. Nobels. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. OBEs MBEs and the like. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures and these are some of mine...

Keep The Faith!

“You can program yourself to be positive. Being positive is a discipline … and the more adversity you face, the more positive you have to be. Being positive helps build confidence and self-esteem”

Rick Pitino, University of Louisville Head Basketball Coach

I recognise that as we are rapidly approaching the end of the Education Leeds contract and it is easy to forget what we have achieved together over the years.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Children's University

"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in."
Graham Greene 'The Power and the Glory'

The Children's University is a fantastic initiative which will connect with and build on the brilliant work we have done with Study Support, Playing for Success and the Breeze initiative in Leeds...

The Children's University movement, which is now operating in over 50 locations nationally, provides a framework for validated and quality assured activities for 7 to 14 year olds.

Blogging in Europe!

I read from my colleague and friend Roel Röhner's Dalton Blog that Karmele Pereda from Begonaspi Ikastola in Bilbao has started a new Comenius project called Blogging in Europe...

This project is focussed on Kindergarten level, and weblogs are the main instruments to connect schools and children's projects. Schools in Northern-Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain cooperate in this project although I am not sure if the children blog! Must find out more!

Think Family!

There are some really interesting things happening in Nottingham around their support for families...

They are developing a much more holistic approach to supporting families by joining up services within Children's Services

Nottingham Again!

I was in Nottingham again today...

It's always interesting learning about the bits of brilliant practice, the Centres of Excellence, the amazing stories and individuals who are achieving brilliant outcomes often in very challenging circumstances.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Schools Failing Disadvantaged Young People!

It's sad that our school system is blamed for the underachievement of young people on free school meals...

While we all know that schools make an enormous difference we also know that Bernstein said that schools cannot compensate for society! If we want to close the gap and address the issues facing our children we must have great schools but we must also tackle poverty and deprivation.

An Interesting Day!

I spent the day in Nottingham...

It was great talking to colleagues about the opportunities and challenges education is facing.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Bored, Disillusioned and Disengaged!

The opportunities this learning journey provides are exciting and scary at the same time...

We must work together to release the enormous untapped potential, the curiosity, the innovation and the creativity that sits in our offices, our staff rooms, our classrooms. Our greatest resource is our people who sadly are often bored, disillusioned and disengaged.

The Status Quo!

Organisations strive to maintain the status quo...

Everything and everyone works to defend the outcomes they are achieving. Systems, standards, routines and structures work to prevent change. WE must simply change things!

Learning and Learning Places!

I simply love learning and learning places...

Extraordinary places especially when, through brilliant programmes like ‘Mathletics’, ‘STEPS” or ‘Every Child a Reader’, we see magic and potential and extraordinary things happening. We must work together to nurture learning, coach learners and encourage growth through learning networks, learning schools and learning teams.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

I have been to the gym this morning trying to get rid of the knots and giving me time to think...

Unsurprisingly for a Sunday morning, it was really quiet but it was great to exercise and think about the opportunities and challenges we are all facing.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Share and Learn!

We must develop cooperative, collaborative networks that recognise and celebrate, and share and learn together...

Friday, 18 February 2011

Search, find and share!

We need to find places where extraordinary things are happening...

Network and connect!

We need to build networks and connections that collect, share and distribute best practice and build consistently excellent practice...

We need to share our stories and prove through evidence, research and outcomes that we can create excellence, we can deliver world class outcomes. It’s not about good enough anymore everything we do must be outstanding.


Leadership requires passion, energy and ideas and requires us to become deeply aware of how the world we live in works...

We must remember that it’s unique and special features, it’s centres of excellence, its power brokers and it’s blockages. 


It's interesting to read Richard Morrison's review of Nikolaus Lehnhoff's Parsifal at the Coliseum...

"If you only ever see one production of Parsifal - and it's a reasonable life choice - make it this one." Richard Morrison raves about the setting, the orchestra, the singers and the acting. It is at the Coliseum until 12 March.

The Northern Lights!

If we get a clear night over the next few nights make sure that you get out and look if you can catch this rare opportunity to see the Northern Lights...

Make Things Happen!

"People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. 
They went out and happened to things." 
Leonardo Da Vinci

A friend sent me this quote which I think captures something about Education Leeds and the last ten years. There are so many talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful colleagues who even in these tough times must simply go out and make things happen!
Keep the faith!

The British Museum

I moved on to the British Museum...

The British Library

It was great to visit the British Library yesterday...

My favourite area is The Sir John Ritblat Gallery which hosts a permanent display of many of the library's greatest treasures.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


I am in London today after a brilliant night at the opera!

I am planning to visit the British Library and the British Museum so it should be an interesting day.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Parsifal was simply wonderful...

The singing was outstanding despite being in English, the orchestra were magnificent and the staging was austere but hugely effective.

The Apple Store

I am in one of my favourite places...

I am sitting in the Apple Store on the edge of Covent Garden surrounded by iPads, iMacs and iPods and it's magic! These are simply things of beauty!

Can I help!

I know that most help and support is complex and costly but I am here to help anyone and everyone who needs help to release the magic...

I have a unique experience and a unique set of tools, tricks and technique which I am happy to share with you. Just call me!

Rate the Blog!

I am delighted that so many more colleagues are reading the blog...

I want to keep improving and developing it so that you will share it with friends and colleagues.

Share your brilliant stories!

I realise more and more that we need to be great storytellers...

We need to tell and share the stories about brilliant learning: brilliant people, brilliant schools and brilliant learning places.

Think Team: Art in Yorkshire

Those of us who love the arts will be delighted that the Art in Yorkshire initiative is linking Leeds Art Gallery, York Art Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the National Media Museum and Huddersfield Art Gallery into a network of 19 regional arts organisations working together to share and learn...


I love Wagner and I am going to London today to see Nikolaus Lehnhoff's Parsifal which is regarded as one of the greatest operatic stagings of our time...

The production is returning to London for the last time after wonderful performances in San Francisco, Chicago, Baden-Baden and Barcelona.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Are our schools fit for purpose?

I see that the Times is advertising an event at Wilton's Music Hall in London. The discussion starts at 7pm on 8 March with Michael Gove, Estelle Morris and others to consider whether our schools are fit for purpose...

Team Nottingham!

I spent the morning in Nottingham learning about the opportunities and challenges facing the city's schools...

I love cities, having worked in Leeds, York and Wolverhampton over the years,

John Harris

I met an old colleague today on the train to Sheffield...

John Harris was headteacher at Archbishop Holgate CE School in York when I was there and subsequently became a National Leader of Education

What are your goals!

We need passionate commitment to shared goals and an insatiable and unstoppable desire for change...

A passionate commitment to:
  • world class outcomes;
  • every child a reader;
  • every child a brilliant learner;
  • every young person learning;
  • every school a great school. 
... whatever it takes!

If you need any help with any of this please let me know.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Parenting: the hardest job going!

We need to do more to help parents and carers who are the most important element in any child's learning...

Over the last ten years we have established a fantastic team of STEPS facilitators who have worked with around 4000 parents and carers, individuals and teams


I was in Sheffield this afternoon to see my colleague and friend Sonia Sharp, Director of Children's Services...

The Sheffield Town Hall, where Sonia is based, is a hugely impressive building and fittingly on Valentine's Day was hosting a wedding as I arrived.

Sonia Sharp!

I am in Sheffield this afternoon to see my colleague and friend Sonia Sharp, Director of Children's Services for the city...

Sonia was one of the team at Education Leeds releasing the magic

Leeds Art Gallery

I visited Leeds Art Gallery this morning...

It was a wonderful opportunity to walk around the Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery

I am in Leeds again this morning visiting the Art Gallery...

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Coach, nurture and support!

We all know that command and control doesn't work and we all need to wake up to the fact that what really, really matters is the quality of the people working with our children and young people...

So we need to improve and develop the quality of the leadership around our learning teams and the quality of the support we give them.

Switch them on!

The scary thing isn’t what we have achieved, but our potential to achieve so much more if only we can release the magic and switch on those people who are currently switched off...

Switched off by a lack of interest, a lack of motivation, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of energy and drive.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


I am in Liverpool...

I went to see the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic at the Philharmonic Hall. The concert started with Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and finished with Brahms Serenade No 1 with Mahler songs sandwiched in between. The orchestra were generally outstandingand reminded me about the power of teamwork where individual instrumental excellence on a single instrument combines to produce magic!

Our legacy!

Colleagues keep asking me what we've left as our legacy? What traces, remnants and remains will there be of Education Leeds?

Colleagues are looking for the wrong things.

Friday, 11 February 2011

There is no such thing as genius!

Well perhaps a tiny bit if I am pushed, but research shows us that success is 30% coaching, teaching, mentoring and supporting and 70% hard work...

So 'I’m not clever enough' is simply an excuse for the lazy and those not prepared to put in the effort.

Fair Society, Healthy LIves

Today is the first anniversary of the publication of 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives'...

This was the results of a year long independent review into health inequalities in England which Professor Sir Michael Marmot was asked to chair by the Secretary of State for Health. This week the London Health Observatory and the Marmot Review Team published new baseline figures

Releasing the magic!

After nearly fifteen years releasing the magic I know how to deliver outstanding outcomes and build brilliant teams...


I know that we are facing some serious issues with the level of the cuts in local authorities budgets...

Learn, perform and be passionate!

People constantly tell me how hard it is to create brilliant learning places but it's easy...


I recognise that music holds an important place within the school curriculum and the recent review carried out by Darren Henley, who heads Classic FM, will encourage us to carefully consider the support for music in schools...


Let me know what you think!

I have improved the blog so I hope that it is easier to quickly access and get what you want from your visits...

As a learner I know that we are constantly on journeys to improve and develop what we are doing and that every colleague, every school, every team and every workplace has things that are brilliant and things that need to be worked on.  Please let me know what you think of the blog and how I could further improve it for you. If I can help you on your own personal, team or school journey please let me know.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

You can!

Those who believe they can, can and those who believe they can’t, can’t...

It is as simple as that and no longer open to question. People fail and people succeed not because of who they are but because of who they think they are.

Attitude and belief!

We have to help our young people understand that the key to success is your attitude and belief...

The only limitations and barriers in your life are those that you set for yourself.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Learning is a team game

We must continue to develop co-operative and collaborative approaches where we network and share what works and create 'learning zones' where we learn from our own best practice and what works everywhere and anywhere.

Re-imagine learning!

We mustn't go backwards; we need to 're-imagine learning for a digital age'...

As Dan Pink says in his brilliant book 'A Whole New Mind'; "The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind...

What do you believe in?

We must continue to nurture and support our learning teams to ensure that they continue to deliver for our children and young people; so that every child is a reader and can count by seven, every child is a brilliant little learner by eleven and every young person is on a pathway to success by sixteen; whatever it takes! 

Dangerous times!

Sir Ken Robinson constantly reminds us all that these are dangerous times for those of us who understand that learning is a dynamic and creative process

Accountability, learning zones and courage!

We need to continue to reflect, think, focus and stick to what really matters; leadership, vision, positive behaviour, discipline, focus, passion, engagement, creativity, partnerships, relationships, persistence, determination and hard work...

Be brilliant!

Having visited some great schools recently, I know what it takes to build brilliant; it's alive and well and it's not rocket science...


My visit to schools yesterday reminded me of this wonderful quote which I have added to the quotes list at the side of the blog...

Coach, practice and learn...

What is it about our teachers, our colleagues, our schools, our authorities that means that we perform so poorly when compared to the best in Europe let alone the best in the world?

Dirk Gilleard

I caught up with my colleague Dirk Gilleard this evening...

It was great to see Dirk, catch up on the news and hear about how things are going. Dirk is a great coach and a constant learner who has shaped learning provision particularly in secondary schools. He told me that the latest value added results place 62% of Leeds secondary schools in the top two quartiles, 5A*-C results in line with national averages and with 5A*-G and 1A*-G results above national averages; what a transformation when you compare them with where  we were in 2001! We certainly have a lot to be proud of but as always so much more to do to achieve world class outcomes.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Hovingham Primary School

I visited Hovingham Primary School this afternoon...

It is a simply extraordinary learning place and I had been invited to their Mathletics celebrations. Matheletics is a commercial on-line website which aims to help develop maths learning and motivation. The children are set goals and achieve gold, silver and bronze certificates. Jane told me that the children have never been so keen on doing maths and that she is amazed at how excited and motivated the children were by the scheme. You can find out more about the scheme by visiting their website at

Janet Spence, the headteacher, and Jane Fisher, who leads the work on Mathletics, have created an extraordinary culture focused on hard work and positive attitudes. These celebrations brought powerfully alive by the whole school's singing and the positive psychology that surrounds every aspect of their work. Jayne Warburton, the CEO of Mathletics uk had come up from Bristol to award the school with the first Mathletics Center of Excellence award.

She explained that the school had achieved more than any other Mathletics school in Leeds,Yorkshire, England, Europe and the world! What an achievement for a primary school serving this rich, diverse community at the heart of Harehills. A school making a real difference!


Reading Matters!

I met one of the Reading Matters volunteers this morning and he wanted to know if the scheme was making a difference...

The research evidence clearly shows that these one-to-one reading schemes make a huge difference and it's more and more worrying that having supported programmes like Reading Matters we are not continuing to fund these life changing programmes. I understand the thing about making choices about what they spend our resources on but this is not even a starter for ten. The cost of failing to teach a child to read increases incrementally as they move through learning with the latest estimates being that the cost of any remedial programme later on is around ten times more expensive and the ultimate cost of failing to teach anyone to read is scarily huge; just look at the prison ponpulation which is full of them!

Victoria Primary School

I visited a brilliant school this morning...

Victoria Primary School isn't at the top of any league table but it's magic! Alison Carrick, the headteacher at this great little school, showed me her fantastic new block built to accommodate the increasing population in this bit of Leeds.

Alison has built something simply stunning and walking around the school with Alison you realise what a purposeful learning place it is. The children's behaviour and manners are impressive and very obviouslyAlison and her team are doing something wonderful.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Every Child a Reader!

It's more and more worrying that having established, through the National Strategies, brilliant programmes that work like 'Every Child a Reader' we are not continuing to fund these life changing programmes...

OK I understand the thing about headteachers making choices about what they spend their resources on but this is not even a starter for ten. The cost of failing to teach a child to read increases incrementally as they move through learning with the latest estimates being that the cost of any remedial programme later on is around ten times more expensive and the ultimate cost of failing to teach anyone to read is scarily huge; just look at the prison population which is full of them!

Leeds Again!

I am in Leeds again tomorrow visiting two of my favourite schools...

I'll be at Victoria Primary School in the morning and at Hovingham Primary School in the afternoon. These two schools face the challenges most inner city primary schools face - the attendance challenge, the aspiration challenge, the family challenge - but they do a great job and reach the parts other things miss by a mile! The key being relationships, tough love and an uncompromising and unshakeable belief in the children's talents and potential.

Great Colleagues!

It was great to be able to catch up with some of my colleagues this afternoon...

I met up with my colleague Althea Brown who was my PA for the almost ten years I was chief executive of Education Leeds. We made a brilliant team and together we created something really special; a culture of excellence which was infectious and affected everyone whose lives we touched. We were trying to estimate the number of letters we had sent to colleagues and children over the ten years and the answer was thousands! Althea has always been so positive and supportive and can see real opportunities ahead for Children's Services in Leeds to build on the achievements of Education Leeds.

Science in Your World

I had a great morning at the Leeds City Museum...

My session went well and it was wonderful to talk to colleagues who attended and share my passion for science and brilliant learning. It was also great to be able to listen to Dr Emm Barnes, Science Outreach Officer from Royal Holloway College, London University, talking about her work engaging families and school audiences with science in museums and galleries. We also had an engaging set of stories from Mike Benson, Head of the Ryedale Folk Museum, who introduced some innovative and creative ways of engaging audiences. Feedback from colleagues who attended the day was great and Sue Davies, Head of Learning and Audience Development for the Leeds Museums and Galleries had clearly done a wonderful job organising such a good event.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

We need to do more!

We know that schools serving our most challenging communities are doing some incredible things but if we want to achieve significantly better outcomes we need to do things differently...

To deliver significantly better outcomes we must create brilliant learning places that provide young people with more time to learn throughout the year. We should make the most of school and out-of-school time by offering safe, structured, and stimulating environments for school-age children from early morning until late... from breakfast at 7.30 through structured programmes of literacy, numeracy and ICT supported by programmes that develop personal and social skills alongside music, arts and sports programmes. We also understand that young people who are healthy, well-fed, and physically fit can learn better and concentrate in class and we must also promote children's health and wellbeing through improved nutrition and fitness. At the same time we must also aim to treat parents as genuine partners and provide them with information and support they need to be the best possible parents they can be, answering questions about child development, as well as helping them deal with issues around homework, behaviour, and self-esteem through programmes like STEPS.

Is there anyone doing this?

What can we learn from Hong Kong?

Hong Kong finished third in science and maths, and fourth in reading out of 65 education systems in the most recent 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey results...

Interestingly though, as reported in this week's TES, they have a more modern and holistic view of what it takes to build on their success. At the heart of their approach is explicit teaching of learning and thinking skills rather than a content-based curriculum. They have also created more curriculum space by moving away from the traditional curriculum model and abolishing exams at 16. It's what Ken Robinson and Dan Pink say we need to do to build the future and give our children and young people the skills they need in the new conceptual age we are entering.


I went to see the Opera North production of Carmen on Saturday evening...

It was Carmen meets the Mounties in Ohio and personally I struggled with the setting. At least I stayed the course unlike quite a few people who simply gave up and left before the end. The orchestra were brilliant and played the wonderful music with real passion: it's just a shame about the rest of it!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Kung Hei Fat Choi

This weekend Chinese communities around the world celebrate the Chinese New Year...

This year is the year of the rabbit and the festivities run from the new moon this week to the full moon in two weeks time. The system of Chinese astrology divides the years into twelve animals and five elements; a sixty year cycle. 

So happy New Year to all my Chinese followers!


Music plays an important part in my life and I am off to see Carmen at the Leeds Grand Theatre this evening...

Carmen is a wonderful opera full of passion and energy and, although the Opera North production has had mixed reviews, I love the music and I know it will be a great evening.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Gill Ellis

I went to Nottingham to see my colleague and friend Gill Ellis today...

Gill was one of the team in Leeds and headed up our Teaching and Learning Centre on the old Copperfields site where she was deputy and headteacher before it closed. She went off to Sheffield to spread the magic and is now heading up the Schools and Learning side of Children's Services in Nottingham which is another city full of opportunities and challenges. Her passion and enthusiasm is infectious and she brings an extraordinary energy to Nottingham.

Monday's Conference!

I am in Leeds again on Monday where I am providing the keynote session at a conference at the Leeds City Museum...

My colleague Sue Davies, Head of Learning and Audience Development within the Museums Service, asked me to do some work for her. Sue wanted me to do a session on learning, science and museums which touches some of the things I really love and has provided me with a real challenge to try to stimulate more interest and connection with science through the wonderful museums in Leeds. Interestingly, I have learnt so much through this project and it has really sparked my imagination and provided me with an opportunity to be creative and learn at the same time. I'll let you know how the session goes!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

"The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying AND personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity whether its in the arts, sciences or business."
Teresa Amabile

It's always been true that to get the best out of work and life you must love what you do and also stretch yourself to achieve your personal goals. Passion, persistence, practice and hard work leads to great performances whether you are Sylvie Guillem, Usain Bolt or Chris Edwards. 

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mick Waters

I spent a couple of hours this evening with my colleague and friend Mick Waters...

Mick used to be Chief Education Officer in Manchester and before that worked with Tim Brighouse in Birmingham. Mick also led the QCA work on revising the curriculum in Key Stage 2 and 3 before Michael Gove decided to go back to basics. It was wonderful to be able to share ideas and listen to what Mick is doing. He is working on the Black Country Challenge, chairing the Curriculum Foundation and very busy working with schools across the country. We agreed that we need to continue to work on:
  • inspiring teaching and learning;
  • an engaging curriculum;
  • a coaching culture;
  • developing brilliant learning places;
  • alternative approaches to accountability.
It was great spending time with Mick and reassuring that we are thinking in very similar ways about the challenges we face to build world class provision and secure world class outcomes.

Brilliant colleagues!

I had coffee and lunch with two of my colleagues today...

It was great to catch up on the news; especially Simon Flowers appointment as Strategic Leader for Education Integration within Nigel Richardson's new team. Clearly a really good appointment which will build trust with schools and encourage buy in from headteachers. I hope to be able to see more colleagues and visit some schools next week.

Leeds City Museum!

I visited the Leeds City Museum this morning...

It's another of the hidden jewels in this amazing city! and it's free! The museum is the starting point for journeys into the heritage of Leeds and for visits to the other museums across the city.


"One cannot lead a life that is truly excellent without feeling that one 
belongs to something greater and more permanent than oneself."

When I caught up with my colleague Dee Reid she reminded me about Dan Pink's book Drive...

It's a great short read and again reinforces all the key messages about the journey to outstanding. Dan Pink argues that there are simply three keys; autonomy, mastery and purpose! He also argues that the carrot and stick approach has seven deadly flaws; it extinguishes motivation, it diminishes performance, it crushes creativity, it crowds out good behaviour, it encourages short cuts and cheating, it becomes addictive and it fosters short-term thinking.

Keep it simple!

I saw Professor Brian Cox on the BBC this morning talking about science...

tHe was arguing that there still is a perception that a scientific career is only an option for the brightest students. Young people and parents need to know that youngsters do not have to be "Stephen Hawking or Einstein" to become a scientist. A new survey of 3,000 parents, conducted by The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, found that almost a third (31%) have no idea about the jobs available in science and engineering and nearly one in five (19%) find science and engineering too difficult to understand.

The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair was launched in 2009  and is the UK’s biggest single celebration of science and engineering for young people and aims to celebrate and inspire them. The Big Bang 2010 took place in Manchester over three days in March, attracting 22,500 people, including over 15,000 children and young people and 4,000 of their teachers, parents and guardians and involving over 110 organisations from across the private, public and voluntary sectors, and reaching out to schools and students across the country. The Big Bang 2011 will take place at ICC London ExCeL from 10 – 12 March, when 25,000 people are expected to attend.  The headline shows will include Sky 1’s Brainiac Live!,  BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory, and The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust’s Alphabeat show.  The Fair will also feature BBC’s Wallace & Gromit ‘World of Invention’ roadshow. The website for the Big Bang is

Leeds again!

I am in Leeds again today catching up with some colleagues and friends before I go to Mansfield for a meeting...

It is strange not being part of a team any more and I am catching up with some special people today to check that they are OK. I'll also be over in Leeds next Monday for a conference and next Tuesday when I hope to visit some schools to recharge the system and connect with what is really important.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Share, co-operate, collaborate, learn and practice!

"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
Alvin Toffler

If our young people are going to achieve world class outcomes they need to see the magic in this photograph...

If we are going to help young people "to get a foothold on the walls of information, climb the mountains of content and reach the summits of knowledge' we must use all the tools, techniques and tricks we have at our disposal and use them better! We must convince our young people that hard work, persistence and determination conquers all. That things that are hard are good for us and help us grow and learn and develop. We must craft our journeys, create our stories and work with passion, enthusiasm and commitment because it really matters that we get this right. If you need any help with this please let me know.

Share with a friend!

I am amazed at the number of people who look at the blog...

If you are a regular visitor please share it with your friends.
Please also let me know what else I should put on it!

Opinions and perspectives... facts and truths!

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius

I was searching on the internet and if like me you like optical illusions you'll love these two...

It isn't moving... really!

Just move your head and see what happens to the blurry spots. It's true what they say; the brain is such an amazing thing and what we see is not what we get and things are not fixed and unchanging. Always remember that everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth!

Anyone need any help?

I have some spare time at the moment and as you know I like to be busy...

I am going to be very busy after Easter but does any one want me to run a session for them, their staff or cluster or group over the next few weeks. I'd be happy to discuss how I might help especially if you are a follower of the blog!


I discovered this wonderful programme called 'Windle' that creates a word cloud from a selected piece of text...

This is the word cloud from a selection of great quotes... brilliant!

CLC’s Produce film for The Pacific Institute

My colleague Andrew McGlen sent me this which I have taken from the CLC website...

'The City Learning Centres were approached to make a short film for the Pacific institute to document their work with Education Leeds over the years and show how their training courses had changed communities in Leeds for the better.


Working with Chris Bennet and Val Cain of Education Leeds and Joe Askew of The Pacific Institute, Chris Boylan produced the 10 minute film. The video is now being used worldwide to showcase the partnerships successes.

“Our organisation, The Pacific Institute, recently worked with Chris Boylan of the Derek Fatchett City Learning Centre to produce a video testimonial of the work we have been doing with parents in Leeds for the last 10 years through Education Leeds. From the initial contact and supply of a brief of what we wanted to completion of the project, we found working with Chris and the CLC an absolute pleasure. The product we received was of exceptional quality and truly captured the spirit of the initial request. Chris displayed an innate understanding of what we were looking for and really went the extra mile to ensure the video was not merely a display of a series of talking heads, but instead was a distillation of the human stories we were hoping to show. We have had a fantastic response to the video when we have shown it to clients, both existing and prospective, and from international colleagues as well. Our thanks to Chris and the CLC for a fantastic effort.”  Joe Askew: The Pacific Institute'

The Pacific Institute works with Chris Bennett and Val Cain from Education Leeds to provide, support and manage STEPS training courses in Leeds. There are around 400 trained STEPS facilitators in Leeds and these courses have reached over 4000 parents and carers. The courses change lives and are designed to help individuals, parents and carers realise and release their enormous potential. If anyone wants to find out more about STEPS and how you can change your life please let me know.