During the past 12 months I’ve been fortunate enough to present at a number of conferences up and down the country. One of the pleasures of being part of the conference circuit is that you get to listen to the presentations of the other speakers.
Last week I had the pleasure of working with a group of leaders from Schools of Tomorrow. It was the first morning of their inaugural year-long Leadership for Tomorrow development programme. If you’ve never come across the Schools of Tomorrow network then you really should.
One of the first tasks that needs to be done when taking on a special measures school is to recalibrate the compass. They are heading in the wrong direction. It’s not that teachers aren’t working incredibly hard or lack the pedagogical know-how. It’s simply a question of them doing the wrong things.
One thing I’ve learnt during my time as a headteacher is that compromise is king. Back in the day as a new headteacher I naively always saw compromise as a weakness – that staff would see me as being a lame and indecisive leader if I didn’t insist on doing things my way.
Being a headteacher of an academy only a few miles from the Trojan horse schools in Birmingham means that I have taken more than a passing interest in the recent developments. It has made me re-visit our own Articles of Association to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a similar situation, especially now that we are a multi academy trust.
I am currently scratching a seven-year itch. It was in 2007 that my current school came out of special measures and I can’t wait to get stuck in to my next one, seven years later. On 1st July, we sponsor a nearby primary school and so we begin again the journey of transforming a school from special measures to outstanding.
I have always liked to think that I have my finger firmly on the pulse of all things educational. However, these past few weeks I have found it rather difficult keeping tabs on the numerous blog posts on Ofsted’s latest proposals to improve the inspection process.
When you visit the DfE offices in London you are greeted by a wall of portraits of every Secretary of State for Education since 1945. There are a lot of framed pictures. Since the Second World War there have been 34 different incumbents, equivalent to an average tenure for each new Education Secretary of just under 2 years.
Judging by the response at the recent Westminster Briefings in London and Manchester, the concept of ‘Being Secondary Ready’ is a controversial one. Asked by the organisers to speak at the events on the subject, it was clear that Gove’s latest proposal to test and rank 11 year olds was a non-starter.
Those of us who remember the 1970s (and I’m not suggesting that I do) will possibly recall the publication of the influential Bullock Report. Called ‘A Language for Life’, it boldly states that ‘this report deserves to be widely read.’
Twice this week I’ve taken the train to Manchester. On both occasions it was to present at two very different conferences, one on closing the attainment gap using digital technology and the other on delivering an innovative and creative curriculum.
The football season is now in full swing. As I stood on the touchline at the weekend watching my son play I asked the dad next to me how his week was at work. ‘Oh, the usual – same as it always is. Boring.’