Earlier this week I wrote a piece for the Guardian with the headline ‘A message to the new chief inspector of schools: on your first day, scrap your job’. You can find the digital version here.
Have you ever experienced what it feels like when you get several hundred like-minded people together and lock them in a room for the day to see where the magic can take you? And that during that day you get to dream about ‘what if…?’ and get to ask really powerful questions like ‘why can’t our schools be like Disneyland?’
Before you begin reading this post, I want you to pause, close your eyes and think of the one single strategy that you think has the biggest impact on transforming a school. When you’ve done that, read on.
I’ve become a tad obsessed with values lately. This is a good thing, I think, although it does preoccupy my thoughts to the point of probably being unhealthy. I even found myself driving round the block on the way to work last week so that I could listen to the end of Radio Four’s ‘Thought for the Day’. Not good and I had to have a quiet word with myself.
Despite the title of this post, it doesn’t feel like a victory. But in the end, it all came down to this: Either I continue to inspect and work for Ofsted, or I blog. It seems I can’t do both.
I don’t blame ministers for wanting to test children more. I’d probably do the same thing if I was Education Secretary. It’s an easy one to introduce as it’s essentially a bureaucratic exercise. I think I’d do the same if I was Health Secretary.
When I first had a flick through the latest inspection handbook a particular word caught my eye. It was the word ‘thrive’ and it pleased me considerably to see its inclusion. It appears in the teaching, learning and assessment sections as an outstanding grade descriptor:
As I sit on the train on my way to a meeting in London I spot an article in the Metro that claims that ‘Women are the real task masters’. Apparently, according to a well-known skincare company, us men can only manage 19 tasks a day compared with 26 for a woman.
A bit of a lazy post this one, so please forgive me. Feel free to walk away now. However, in the highly likely event that you have not read a single post of mine throughout the year, you may wish to read on.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington College. Tinie Tempah was there. So was Al Murray, Piers Morgan and a host of other A-list speakers. When I say they were ‘there’, I wouldn’t want you to get the impression that they were actually there in person sitting at the back of my session. That would be daft.
School improvement is complex. We all know that. Turning a school round is not easy and it takes time. An awful lot of time. We are only as good as our previous twelve months – a slight dip in attainment, perhaps a difficult cohort or a stubborn long-term staffing issue and, bam – on a bad day we could end up in a category. It can feel like it could happen overnight.
Last Thursday morning I had the pleasure of being a part of Digital Shoreditch in London. The title of my #ds15 talk was ‘Why changing the world is child’s play’. I was telling the story of the creation of our community-based social enterprise Ballot Street. In particular, I was bemoaning the national testing system and th