Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Growth and Development!

I am not into change management any more...

The trouble with the term change management is that it implies that we are tearing things up and starting again; giving up on the last experiment, the last initiative, the last strategy and replacing it with the latest experiment, the latest initiative, the latest strategy . What we are actually about is growth and development... growing brilliant people and developing their amazing potential to help us change the world for our children and young people, their families and their communities.

Unless we share it!

"Because we are mortal, every talent, skill, ability we possess, every thought and feeling we ever have, every beautiful sight we ever see, every material possession we own will ultimately be lost. Unless we share it!"
The Practice of Kindness

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Start each day positively and optimistically!

The world around us is full of success and failure, inspiration and boredom, happiness and sadness, opportunities and problems. So if you’re looking for success, inspiration, happiness and opportunities, you will find them.


"If colleagues live with criticism They will learn to condemn.
If colleagues live with hostility They will learn to fight.
If colleagues live with ridicule They will learn to be shy.
If colleagues live with jealousy They will learn to feel guilty.
But if colleagues live with tolerance They will learn to be patient.
If colleagues live with encouragement They will learn self-confidence.
If colleagues live with praise They will learn to appreciate.
If colleagues live with fairness They will learn justice.
If colleagues live with approval They will learn to like themselves.
If colleagues live with security They will learn to have faith.
If colleagues lives with acceptance and friendship They will learn to find love in the world."

Friday, 27 May 2011

"Key characteristics of effective governing bodies"

OFSTED's latest report "Key characteristics of effective governing bodies" provides us with a checklist of characteristics for great governance.

Small is Beautiful!

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. 
It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction."
E.F. Schumacher

Thursday, 26 May 2011

ESSENTIAL READING: Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning!

Everyone who cares about learning, closing the attainment gap and achieving world class outcomes for all our children and young people should read the latest The Sutton Trust publication; Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Beginning of Wisdom!

"Each of us has... all the time there is. Those years, weeks, hours, are the sands in the glass running swiftly away. To let them drift through our fingers is tragic waste. To use them to the hilt, making them count for something, is the beginning of wisdom."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Nottingham Again!

I visited Nottingham again this week and once again these visits make me realise that great leadership requires passion, energy, commitment and ideas.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together!

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pit at school.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Dream Cycle!

I found this brilliant article on the web about The Dream Cycle by Anthony Fernando

"The process of transforming your dreams into reality is the same regardless of what your specific goals are. I’d like to share with you The Dream Cycle. There are six stages in the Dream Cycle and each one of them is very important.

Be grateful for what you have!

I am so lucky and my life is simply brilliant. Reflecting on my success, happiness and well-being I recognise that one of the most important and powerful attributes I possess is gratitude.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Be Happy!

Happiness is the way, so, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special. "So,

Courage and Endurance!

"The world may not acknowledge the courage of little people - 
but it would fall apart without their courage and endurance."
Pam Brown

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Leadership matters!

Leadership is about setting the future direction. We must work together to develop and describe a shared vision for schooling, how we can create GREAT SCHOOLS where we have high expectations of our children and young people who are all coached, encouraged and challenged to achieve their potential. And how colleagues ideas, creativity and innovation can contribute to that vision.

Friday, 20 May 2011


This eight step change model provides us with a powerful framework to help us with our journey where we are working together to build GREAT SCHOOLS...

Do things to make people feel special!

"Think, reflect, research, analyse and learn.
Be visible, accessible and available; 
Walk the talk and constantly connect with colleagues;
Tell stories; celebrate, praise and challenge;
Teach, coach and model behaviours you want to see;
Get a life... live, love and regularly escape;
Do things to make people feel special."

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hang in there!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.' 

It's all about attitude, determination and persistence. If you want to be successful in any aspect of your life you need to be persistent.

Ability, Motivation and Attitude!

"Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it."
Lou Holtz

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Never Settle for Satisfactory!!

"The principal goal of education... should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things... men and women who are creative, inventive, and discoverers." Jean Piaget
Life is never ever dull, and the last few interesting months have shown me some of the outstanding practice, the incredible young people, and the inspirational colleagues that exist in schools in Leeds, Nottingham and so many other places across the country.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

"It is not the critic who count!"

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

Intelligent Accountability!

Do we really believe that headteachers, teachers and schools will only do their job properly if they are constantly criticised, tightly directed and carefully monitored? Do we really believe that a significant and increasing minority of headteachers, teachers and schools are performing so poorly that they need to be identified, publicly shamed and removed from their roles? Do we really believe that headteachers, teachers and schools are generally well intentioned and professional in their work, but that they need to have continuous, unequivocal external guidance about what they are doing?

Monday, 16 May 2011

"Program yourself to be positive!"

“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

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Answer!

In our political world where the answer to the challenges we face are Academies, Free Schools and super-heads we have even more people telling us that they know all the answers. However, those of us who have spent our lives on the front line know the real answers lie where they have always been.
Every school must have:

Die Walkure!

I was at the City Screen in York this evening to watch the Metropolitan Opera perform Richard Wagner's Die Walkure; the second opera in the wonderful Ring Cycle.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Choice is Yours!

Over the last fifteen years I have spent time with so many exceptional people...

It's actually encouraging that the potential to be exceptional exists within everyone of us and personally over thirty five years experience has taught me that there are no exceptions.

Friday, 13 May 2011


I have just reposted the items from the last three days. I am sorry that Blogger has been down for so long and hope you haven't missed me too much!

Building Great Schools!

Kotter's eight step change model provides us with a framework to help us with our journey where we are working together to build GREAT SCHOOLS.

All I really need to know!

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pit at school. These are the things I learned:

Every Child a Reader!

I know how powerful the 'Every Child a Reader' programme has been in schools in Leeds so I wasn't really surprised to read the report published by the European Centre for Reading Recovery which revealed that since 2007 Every Child a Reader (ECaR) schools have shown a much greater increase in attainment in Key Stage one assessments than non-ECaR schools, in both reading and writing.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Brilliant Message!

I saw this bit of graffiti on a wall in Nottingham...
The CfBT Education Trust report ‘ To the next level: good schools becoming outstanding’ , launched on 9 May, analyses the processes by which ‘good’ schools move up to ‘outstanding’, as rated by our friends at OFSTED.

"What characteristics do outstanding schools have?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Trust, Talent, Transparency and Teamwork!

I have been spending a few days in Nottingham with colleagues looking at how we develop new structures around schools to encourage school to school collaboration, build partnerships and engage stakeholders and partners. We want to develop systems and structures that support and challenge, develop intelligent accountability and rigorously and relentlessly drive provision on the journey to create great schools to serve every community in the city. The keys are trust, talent, transparency and teamwork.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Focus, concentrate, discipline yourself and make your dreams come true!

I passionately believe that anything you deeply and honestly believe you can achieve, you will achieve if you take persistent determined action to do it...

My colleagues from the Pacific Institute tell me that when you concentrate all your mental and physical energy on a single purpose, forces that you never knew existed are sparked into action and magic happens. This is the secret of that mythical thing called genius: you simply need to find what you love doing and then spend all your time doing it. It is also one of the keys to well-being and happiness. A wise person said: "once you find what you truly love doing, you will never have to work another day in your life". Haven't you always wondered how people with far less talent, imagination, creativity and ability than you have achieved great things and changed the world?

So go for it focus, concentrate, discipline yourself and make your dreams come true.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Courtauld Gallery!

I went to another one of my favourite places today in London. The Courtauld Gallery is one of the finest small art museums in the world and is best known for its outstanding Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. These are my personal favourites...


I visited Mudchute Park and Farm over the weekend. It is located in the middle of the Isle of Dogs. Care for the environment is at the heart of everything the team do at Mudchute. They have a wonderful 32 acre site which is open to the public and has fantastic views across London.

Tackle Poverty!

We are on the edge of a radical and important transformation as together we must create a GREAT SCHOOL for every learner. We have a wonderful opportunity to lay the foundations for world class outcomes for our young people but the opportunity may be lost unless we are very careful.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Which Team?

Creating, developing and sustaining leadership is one of the greatest challenges we face in this new and increasingly complex learning landscape...

Wherever you look we need to develop leadership

Tools for the Battles Ahead!

I have argued with colleagues for years about the limitations of a systems based approach to the world of education and learning. Of course, programme management, performance management and measurement systems matter but they are not enough.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Impossible is Nothing!

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."
John Maxwell

Why are so many people so negative? Why do people constantly tell us that things are impossible?

Free Primary First Aid Resources!

The British Red Cross has launched a free first aid teaching resource for all primary school teachers, tailor-made for teaching first aid skills to children aged 5 to 11.
The new teaching package is part of the British Red Cross Life. Live it campaign to bring first aid to youngsters through learning in the classroom and outside school. The free, easy-to-use teaching resource is accessible online from today (4 May 2011) on the Red Cross website: www.redcross.org.uk/teachchildrenfirstaid

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Prayer!

"Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
Reinhold Niebuhr

Great Schools!

Don't we all want to be part of the high quality educational system where every school is a GREAT SCHOOL.

Great Approach Needed!

I know change is always with us but education and learning are facing another important round of initiatives and reviews...

Powerful initiatives like Academies, Free Schools, Teach First are reshaping the learning landscape.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The True Measure!

"The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children: their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialisation, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born"

A New OFSTED Category: Magic!

"Only if we expand and reformulate our view of what counts as human intellect will we be able to devise more appropriate ways of assessing it and more effective ways of educating it." 
Howard Gardner
In uncertain times we need somewhere to stand and that must mean establishing a clear and powerful picture of what a GREAT SCHOOL looks like.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Guardian Children's Manifesto!

In January, ten years ago, Education Guardian asked children to design their perfect school. From over 15,000 entries from pupils aged five to 18, they drew up the Children's Manifesto – a recipe for the school of children's dreams.
Now they've done it again and asked. 'Is your school just as you'd like it to be?' 'Or are there things you would change?' 'Is the building right?' 'Should you sit exams?' 'Are you allowed to express yourself?' 'Are your lessons interesting?' Ideas flooded in from children all over the country about the kind of school they would like. Here is a summary of their new manifesto...

William Booth Primary and Nursery School Interim Executive Board!

I have been asked to chair the William Booth Primary and Nursery School Interim Executive Board which has been established to help the school through the challenges it is facing having been placed in Special Measures after a critical inspection report by our friends from OFSTED.

Top Ten Countries for Children's Well-Being!

  1. Sweden
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. Germany
  5. Austria
  6. France
  7. Iceland
  8. Norway
  9. Switzerland
  10. Luxembourg
Source: Save the Children

'Look at Me'!

I used to work with a brilliant team in Leeds who provided support and training to deaf and hearing impaired children and young people and their families. It was great therefore to see that this week is Deaf Awareness Week.

Be Creative!

‘Creativity is the new currency’

It's up to us to develop this key quality in our little learners.   As Piaget stated ‘the principle goal of education is to create people who are capable of doing new things’. Our job is to bring out the creativity, to encourage children to take risks, to explore, discover and get excited by learning.   Einstein said that every child is born a genius! They start out in life with such an inquisitive nature and it's up to us to make sure it isn’t knocked out of them by the system.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Harlow Carr!

I started the day at Harlow Carr, the Royal Horticultural Society's, gardens in the North of England...

Great Coaching!

Whether we like it or not, your colleagues know what you think of them and as teachers we all know that children, young people, colleagues and friends live up to, or down to, our expectations of them. We tend to get what we expect...

Sunday, 1 May 2011


"Our brains are hardwired to help us perform at our best when they are filled with positives rather than negatives."

Today, 1st May 2011, I have reached an important milestone in my professional life.


In spite of all the many strategies used to turn around low performance nothing changes unless teaching and learning changes.


We all want to improve the education, learning and skills. We all want to drive up standards and outcomes so that we can compete in an increasingly global business landscape. We all want every school to be a GREAT SCHOOL.