Friday, 19 December 2014

HAPPY CHRISTMAS... PASS IT ON!

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

Thursday, 18 December 2014

END OF TERM FOR 'MADE IN SHEFFIELD' ... PASS IT ON!

I was over in Sheffield again yesterday for a meeting with colleagues from the schools working on the engineering/advanced manufacturing strand of the Cutlers’ “Made in Sheffield’ Programme. These schools are Bradfield School, Firth Park Community College, Handsworth Grange School, Stocksbridge High School, Westfield School and Yewlands Technology College.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

GREAT COLLEAGUES AND GOOD FRIENDS... PASS IT ON!

I was in Leeds again today and it was really great to have Christmas lunch at Thai Edge with some old friends and colleagues who, after four years, I still miss.

Monday, 15 December 2014

THE MASTER CUTLER VISITS FIRTH PARK ACADEMY... PASS IT ON!

I visited Firth Park Academy in Sheffield this morning with David Grey, the Master Cutler, Doug Liversidge, who chairs the Cutlers Education Committee and George Kilburn, the Cutlers Company Chief Executive.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

REAL CHANGE TAKES TIME... PASS IT ON!

It's always interested me that the evidence, alongside the school improvement and development research, strongly suggests that short 'quick fix' inputs have limited impact.

Friday, 12 December 2014

WE KNOW WHAT WORKS... PASS IT ON!

As we face the fallout from Sir Michael Wilshaw's latest Annual Report, it is important to remember that the answer isn't academies and free schools and it isn't the short-term, quick fix interventionist approach led by super-heroes. These things might have their appeal but, even OFSTED agree, they don't work.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

CHARACTER, RESILIENCE AND GRIT... PASS IT ON!

We face financial problems, more cuts, local authority services increasingly under pressure, schools facing increasing challenge and academisation, OFSTED turning up the pressure and plenty of other challenges. Clearly to be successful, as demonstrated by Nicky Morgan who wants to send the army in and Tristram Hunt who realises we ned something different, we need to develop character, resilience and grit alongside knowledge and understanding.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

INTERESTING READING... PASS IT ON!

Sir Michael Wilshaw's fourth Annual Report sets out the challenges we face
and what we need to do to continue to improve schools. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

MORE OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD... PASS IT ON!

We see the OFSTED Annual Report published tomorrow and I suppose that we are going to get more and more criticism and more and more initiatives as we gear up for the general election next May. More challenges, more opportunities and more quick fixes.

Monday, 8 December 2014

WE ARE ALL STORYTELLERS... PASS IT ON!

Research shows that every learner has the potential to be brilliant given individual support and guidance. The keys to brilliant performance lie in great teaching supported by coaching, mentoring and hard work.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

SHARE YOUR PASSION... PASS IT ON!

What we need is a ”we can do anything" culture. 
A culture where we share our passions and do the things we love!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES... PASS IT ON!

"The secret of change is not to use all your energy fighting the old but to use it building the new" Socrates

Thursday, 4 December 2014

BETTER TOGETHER... PASS IT ON!

We don’t need to be told that striving for excellence and building world class provision is important.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

SHARE, NETWORK AND LEARN WITH THE BEST...PASS IT ON!

We need to remember that nothing is impossible... there is an army of extraordinary teachers, coaches and educators out there and together we can change the world for the better. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

BULLYING AND COMMAND AND CONTROL DON'T WORK... PASS IT ON!

We don't have to put up with a culture of fear, with command and control, with this obsession with the past. 

LEADERSHIP v MANAGEMENT... PASS IT ON!

We all want every school and every classroom to be outstanding, extraordinary, world class …but what does it take to build brilliant? The answer is leadership!

Monday, 1 December 2014

THE TEACHER v THE TESTER...PASS IT ON!

We face an interesting challenge as educators and there is a massive chasm between the teacher and the tester.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

WHY ARE WE HERE... PASS IT ON!

It’s funny because I have been fortunate to "stand on the shoulders of giants" and at the sides of so many great leaders, teachers, educators, colleagues and friends…

Friday, 28 November 2014

WHY ARE WE HERE... PASS IT ON!

My parents brought me up to understand that whatever we did we should try to change the world for the better! But I struggled at school and everyone told me that I wasn’t that clever so, while my sister became a doctor and my brother a lawyer, I became a teacher.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

THE PIECE I READ AT THE ACADEMIES SHOW... PASS IT ON!

A lot of colleagues who attended my seminar, at The Academies Show yesterday at the NEC, asked about the piece I read. Here it is...
"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 pile at school.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

QUICK FIXES DON'T WORK... PASS IT ON!

In a world where OFSTED strikes fear into the hearts of headteachers and teachers, it is important to remember that the current short-term, quick fix and interventionist approach is not based on in-depth understanding of the research evidence about what works or a detailed understanding of the context and culture of schools.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

TEAMWORK MATTERS.. PASS IT ON!

We know what works, from the Sutton Trust and EEF toolkits, EPPI studies, John Hattie, Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves, and importantly we know what doesn’t work! 

Monday, 17 November 2014

WHAT ALSO WORKS... PASS IT ON!

The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

The Toolkit currently covers 30 topics, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost. These are the ones that also make a difference!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

HAPPY SUNDAY: CREATIVITY, INC.

I have just finished reading Creativity, Inc. It is a fascinating book; a book for anyone who wants to know how to lead their employees to release their extraordinary potential, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, ideas and innovation, a book that proves once again that you can achieve great things if you focus relentlessly on culture, leadership and people.

Friday, 14 November 2014

WHAT DOESN'T WORK... PASS IT ON!

The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

The Toolkit currently covers 30 topics, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost. These are the ones that don't appear to make a difference!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

WESTFIELD SCHOOL 'MADE IN SHEFFIELD' LAUNCH EVENT

I visited Westfield School in Sheffield again last night to attend the launch event for their 'Made in Sheffield' programme, which involves young people becoming ambassadors in five strands of the programme; engineering/advanced manufacturing, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, retail,  sport, health and well-being and computer science.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

WHAT WORKS... PASS IT ON!

The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
The Toolkit currently covers 30 topics, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost. These are the ones that appear to make the biggest difference!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

VISIBLE LEARNING... PASS IT ON!

The great thing about research is that it tells us what works and importantly what doesn't work!
The Sutton Trust - EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit reinforces John Hattie's work.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A TOOLKIT OF STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE LEARNING... PASS IT ON!

I was re-reading the Sutton Trust's publication; ‘Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning’ which summarises research evidence on improving learning and attainment to help schools to make more informed choices about how to support their students.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

IT'S REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY... PASS IT ON!


FEEDBACK MATTERS... PASS IT ON!

If we are serious about success for all, we need to further develop the systems and practices for reviewing and developing the work that goes on in our schools. We need to recognise and reward good teaching and great learning, and support the development of every teacher and the whole school workforce.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

WHERE DO THE WEEKS GO?

It has been another hectic week working on strategies and data, analysis and intelligence and case studies. Another week where people focus on the wrong things... like uniform, structures and management as the keys to success.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

THANK GOD IT'S HALF-TERM... PASS IT ON!

In a world where OFSTED strikes fear into the hearts of headteachers and teachers it is important to remember that the current short-term, quick fix, interventionist approach is not based on in-depth understanding of the research evidence about what works or a detailed understanding of the context and culture of schools, but on superficial data analysis and instant judgements which don't lead to sustainable lasting change or school improvement.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

NOTES TO THE HURRYING MAN!

Another week gone and another week where I struggle to understand why everyone is in such a hurry all the time. People constantly rushing from one appointment to another with little regard or care for anyone else; jumping traffic lights, ignoring the needs of others and pushing past people without looking or caring. I don't understand why it is but it appears that no-one seems to have any time or patience anymore and I was reminded of this wonderful poem by Brian Patten, one of the Liverpool poets.




Friday, 24 October 2014


WE NEED A FAIRER AND MORE HUMANE APPROACH... PASS IT ON!

"The assessment and accountability system is toxic because it gives one voice the power to dominate over the others, terminating the discussion, leaving people feeling bruised because they have not been engaged. It does this because it was designed in response to a breakdown in trust between education professionals, policymakers and the wider public. The system was failing, people said, and it was the fault of the professionals. Therefore, it was necessary to set the judgements of inspectors against those of students, staff and other school stakeholders, and to make their judgements the grounds for executive action against schools."
James Park: DETOXIFYING SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY

Thursday, 23 October 2014

THERE ARE NO SUPER-HEROES... PASS IT ON!

In a world where OFSTED strikes fear into the hearts of headteachers and teachers it is important to remember that the current short-term, quick fix interventionist approach led by super-heroes might have it's appeal but it doesn't work.

Monday, 20 October 2014

TRUST, AUTONOMY AND ACCOUNTABILITY... PASS IT ON!

Education is a passionate enterprise built on the interaction between human beings: teachers, students and parents.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

CHAMPION, CHALLENGE, NETWORK AND ENCOURAGE... PASS IT ON!

Interesting times! But don't despair because what I have learned over the last twenty years and through working with extraordinary colleagues and extraordinary schools in North Yorkshire, York, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Lincoln provides us with a framework for delivering brilliant schools and brilliant outcomes for every child and young person and every community!

WE NEED TO DETOXYIFY SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY... PASS IT ON!

It is increasingly obvious that the current OFSTED inspection approach is toxic and not fit for purpose. My visits to schools in York, Leeds and Sheffield have shown me that we have created a monster that has a corrosive and destructive affect on schools and distorts how local authorities work and support their schools. I have argued for a long time that we need learning leadership, beautiful systems and intelligent accountability and, in this DEMOS report, James Park argues that the current model of accountability is profoundly toe, which would allow all children to achieve their potential, while ensuring the quality of education in schools is of a high standard.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

DON'T JUST CRITICISE, SUPPORT AS WELL... PASS IT ON!

I spent many years of my professional life working in York and Leeds to try to ensure that every school in those two wonderful cities was a great school, every classroom was a great classroom and every teacher was a great teacher, often sadly against a background of negativity, criticism and indifference.