It can’t have escaped your notice that I have written a book. I have flaunted and foisted it shamelessly on Twitter to all and sundry who happened to stumble across my timeline. I make no apologies for that, for I am sure that you too will do the same if you were in my position. It can’t have escaped your notice that I have written a book. I have flaunted and foisted it shamelessly on Twitter to all and sundry who happened to stumble across my timeline.
Two legends at the top of their game left us last week and I can’t help feeling that I am in some very small way to blame. I’ve seldom written about them before but both of them appear in my new book and now they are no longer with us. I am beginning to wonder then if the book in question, The Art of Standing Out, is cursed.
During the past few months I’ve been writing a book. It has been the most cathartic, scary and all-consuming experience of my life. I’ve cherished and savoured every minute of it. When I finally submitted the manuscript, I did so with great reluctance, as if I was cutting loose one of my own children.
At some point during the last few years I’ve become a system leader. I’m not quite sure how this happened or whether I ever made a conscious decision to become one, but apparently I am. I’m not even entirely sure what I do differently now as a system leader that I didn’t do before.
A draft extract from my new book, The Art of Standing Out, on the challenges headteachers face when leading complex teams:
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: