Friday, 29 June 2012

Skills Matter!

I attended a Business Summit on skills at Sheffield Town Hall this morning. The summit, 'Refocusing education to meet the needs of employers', provided an opportunity to listen to employers and hear about the innovative work Sheffield is doing to encourage growth and enterprise and prepare young people for the world of work. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Miracles and the Magic are Commonplace!

"If I were absolutely certain about all things, I would spend my life in anxious misery,
fearful of losing my way. But since everything and anything are always possible, 
the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, ever cease."
Robert Fulghum

People constantly tell me what they can't do but as Robert Fulgham reminds us 'everything and anything are always possible'! So we have to make our colleagues understand that they have enormous potential; that they can do anything if they work at it and believe, and that the miracles and the magic are commonplace.

Ruth Baldwin and Sonia Sharp

It's funny but, earlier in the week, I was thinking about the team I worked with in Leeds and remembering that so many extraordinary and talented people worked with me over that amazing ten years in that wonderful city. Interestingly, they are now scattered across the educational landscape and so many of them are still changing the world. I met up with two of these very special colleagues in Sheffield yesterday...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Passion, Persistence and Hard Work

The keys to success are passion, persistence and hard work and setting goals and personal targets is a vital part of the process because it helps us stay focused on where we are going as well as helping with motivation in the short term.

Monday, 25 June 2012


I see that the results from the Human Genome Project strongly suggest that genes explain only 5-10% of intelligence.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Have a great weekend..
..whatever the weather!

Discipline, Creativity and the Arts!

I was watching Gustavo Dudamel, who conducts the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, this morning and listening to him talk about the importance of discipline, creativity and the arts in releasing the magic in young people... all young people! 

Saturday, 23 June 2012


There is a great difference between failing to achieve a result and the conclusion you draw about yourself.

Friday, 22 June 2012


I was in Sheffield this morning with colleagues from B&E South Yorkshire and Sheffield's 14-19 team to finalise some of the support available to schools through the Cutlers 'Made in Sheffield' Project. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012


I was really delighted to be at William Booth Primary School in Nottingham again today for another meeting of their Interim Executive Board! Especially as it was the first IEB meeting since the school came out of Special Measures!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Share, Network and Learn!

The UK education system has one of the highest levels of variation in pupil outcomes of the world's industrialised economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I know that we all want every child and young person to go to a great school where we release the magic and enable them to reach their potential. I was concerned therefore when a brilliant colleague was talking to me the other day about the fantastic things in her school that were stopping because the additional resources were no longer available from authorities or the Government.

Monday, 18 June 2012


My personal vision of a GREAT SCHOOL has been shaped over the last fifteen years, in Sheffield, York and Leeds, by visits to so many brilliant learning places where talented colleagues go that extra mile to release the magic.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

REMEMBER: It's not the critic who counts!

Always remember... "It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better.

REMEMBER: Critics don't Matter!

I have spent the last fifteen years of my professional life working in York and Leeds to try to ensure that every school in those two wonderful cities is a great school, often sadly against a background of negativity, criticism and indifference. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Every Child Matters!

If ‘Every Child a Reader’ and ‘Every Child Counts’ achieve such significant and sustainable improvements in children’s reading and numeracy why aren’t schools making these approaches mainstream. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

"Carpe Diem. 
Seize the day, boys. 
Make your lives extraordinary."
Tom Schulman

‘Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning’

The Sutton Trust's brilliant  publication; ‘Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning’ summarises some of the research evidence on improving learning and attainment to help schools to make more informed choices about how to support their students. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Power of Project-based Learning!

Why is project-based learning so powerful and what are the learning experiences that happen more frequently in classrooms where colleagues are developing project-based learning approaches?

Anything is Possible!

"I dwell in possibility."
Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How do we Build Resilience!

I am working on a new curriculum framework in Sheffield and Martin Seligman, Carol Dweck and Alison Duckworth all stress that resilience is a key aspect of success in learning and whether you are a parent, a teaching assistant, a teacher, a headteacher or a Director of Learning this is a critical issue!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Leadership Matters but success is all about TEAM!!

My dentist asked me last week what makes a good school? what makes a really successful school? Research clearly shows that the leadership of schools can have a hugely positive impact on the educational outcomes of young people... but success is all about TEAM!

Love the ones you're with!

"Devote yourself to loving others,
devote yourself to your community around you,
and devote yourself to creating something 
that gives you purpose and meaning."
Morrie Schwarz

We all know and we all understand that we are facing another onslaught from our friends at OFSTED who are visiting our 'satisfactory schools' and ratcheting up the bar and rightly focusing on leadership, teaching, data, outcomes and progress. At times like this I often ask myself what are we trying to achieve together?

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Things that Make a Difference!

Evidence and research suggests that big improvements are possible provided we focus vigorously on the things that make a difference.