Thursday, 31 May 2012

The 80:20 Rule!

How do we create great schools for every child, every young person and every community? Personally, I passionately believe that the answers lie in creative learning organisations built on beautiful systems, deep research, intelligent accountability and the importance of discipline and character. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A four week plan to change your life!

There is so much negativity in the world at the moment. Everywhere you look things are problematic. However, I was reading a report on great companies in the Guardian and it's true that the key to great schools, great teams, great organizations and great families is to engage, switch on and keep switched on the people we love, care about and those who who work with us. Everyone tells me that it simply doesn't work like that, but here is a four week plan to change your life!

Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Project

I had another great day yesterday at Hillsborough College in Sheffield with colleagues from the four schools who are working together on the Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Project!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Saturday, 26 May 2012

How to Stay Positive!

So many people tell me that they find it hard to manage the stress and the pressure and ask how I manage to stay so cheerful, so positive and so enthusiastic. It's easy if you know how and if you have the right attitude and the right tools and strategies to manage the XXXX...

Friday, 25 May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Rob Spence contacted me to tell me that I had got the quote wrong. It wasn't Nelson Mandela but Marianne Williamson. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

"Who would like this £20 note?"

I found this story as I searched the internet the other night and realised that it was an important message for a lot of people facing opportunities and challenges in an uncertain world...

"A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a £20 note. In the room full of people, he asked. "Who would like this £20 note?"

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

How to Live Long and Prosper!

I was re-reading some research gathered on more than 1,500 children who were about 10 years old when they were first studied in 1921. This study has been used to create the most comprehensive longitudinal evidence for how to live long and prosper. As I have said for a long time we simply need to be persistent, disciplined and work hard for as long as we possibly can, stay connected with friends and colleagues and volunteer and give to others whenever and whatever we can.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

FACT: There is no such thing as genius!

"If educators invested a fraction of the energy they now spend on trying to transmit information in trying to stimulate the students' enjoyment of learning, we could achieve much better results."

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Saturday, 19 May 2012


"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

Every child has a genius locked inside it and it is our task as parents, carers, educators to release it!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Parents and Families Matter!

I was listening to a debate about private education and how schools in the private sector have so much to teach those of us who have spent our lives in the public sector. I recognise that there are always things to learn and the impact of private education on the development of character is obvious to everyone.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow!

 The important thing is not to stop questioning"
Albert Einstein

Thursday, 17 May 2012

'The Talent Code'

I was re-reading the 'Talent Code', by Daniel Coyle, which covers similar ground to 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell, 'Bounce' by Matthew Syed and 'Talent is Overrated' by Geoff Colvin. It draws on research to show that ability isn't something we are born with but something that we can create, grow and nurture.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


I was over in Leeds again today catching up with some colleagues who reminded me that the Education Leeds way was to celebrate, share and network excellence and constantly learn from what works! We developed a coherent systemic approach to help every school become a great school and we developed systemic solutions and strategies that recognised that every child mattered! 

"If people are good 
only because they fear punishment, 
and hope for reward, 
then we are a sorry lot indeed."
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sheffield College!

I visited The Sheffield College again today to see Bill Jones, Executive Director of Planning and Performance. 

Keep Calm and Come In!

"If you can't explain it simply,
you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Monday, 14 May 2012


I met the amazing 'SCRABTAGZ' team again this morning when I visited Stocksbridge High School. The team from Year 9 recently won the Sheffield 'Big Challenge' with their simple and hugely effective business idea; selling replica laser cut scrabble tiles on a wooden rack to spell out names or messages. 

Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Initiative!

I had another great day today at Stocksbridge High School in Sheffield with the four schools who are working together on the Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Initiative!

Friday, 11 May 2012

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

CONGRATULATIONS: William Booth Primary School!

I was really delighted to be at William Booth Primary School in Nottingham yesterday as they came out of Special Measures! It is a fantastic achievement for the whole team who under Gary Fullwood's leadership have worked so incredibly hard to change almost every aspect of their practice and provision and to release the magic in some wonderful young people.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

FORGET SATISFACTORY: Extraordinary, Outstanding and Brilliant… whatever it takes!

"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

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I met up with Ruth Baldwin this morning. Ruth was one of the extraordinary, unique and fabulous individuals who made a real difference as part of the Education Leeds team over the ten years this fantastic experiment lasted.

Small is Beautiful!

These critically endangered Egyptian tortoises recently hatched out at Marwell Wildlife near Winchester.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Because, if you don't, no-one else will!

It is not the critic who counts!

Whenever I am feeling that things are getting too much 
and the criticism is driving me to drink 
I remember this great quote...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Did you see the Moon?

Apparently, we had the biggest full moon last night for eighteen years... 

Intelligent Accountability Needed!

What is it that is driving this uncompromising and relentlessly critical approach to standards, behaviour and provision by DfE  and OFSTED?


"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you"
Maori Proverb

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Passion and Compassion!

We need to create organisations and enterprises that are at the same time both passionate and compassionate...

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Keys to Success!

"People are always blaming their circumstances for where they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them."
George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, 3 May 2012


I was delighted to visit Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln today to meet Carl Jarvis, the head teacher, Sara Pearson, who is a curriculum leader at the academy, and some of their colleagues.

The Talent Code!

"I have always maintained that, excepting fools,
men do not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work."
Charles Darwin

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Success comes in Cans!

"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

Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Initiative!

I had another great day today at Yewlands Technology College in Sheffield with the four schools who are working together on the Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Initiative!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

"Have no mean hours,
but be grateful for every hour,
and accept what it brings."
Henry David Thoreau

The Starfish Story!

I love this story...
"While walking along a beach, a man saw in the distance what looked like a boy dancing....