Thursday, 4 April 2013


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." W. B. Yeats

If you read the McKinsey Report, analyse the PISA data and listen to people like Ken Robinson it is increasingly obvious that, while recognising what has been achieved over the last ten years, we are still not doing enough to ignite and inspire our children to become brilliant little learners.
The challenge is how we do it and how we create passionate and compassionate learning places. Those of us who have seen it happen and know how to do it need to work together to share ideas and strategies and to continue to think team and to build co-operative, collaborative approaches that inspire young people to really understand what they are capable of, to dispel the nonsense about genius and to help them reach their extraordinary potential. No one can doubt that schools across the country have transformed the learning landscape through the powerful use of collaborative school improvement approaches and through using brilliant programmes like Every Child a Reader, Every Child Counts, Musical Futures and Learning Futures. But most importantly what great schools have created is a culture of excellence built on passion, persistence, self-belief, determined, focused and deliberate practice and hard work balanced by a focus on compassion, equity and a belief that every child can achieve and can be successful! Throughout my life people have told me that things are impossible and more recently told me that we can't get every child to read by the time they are seven or eight; that we can't get every child can’t be a brilliant little learner by the time they leave primary school; that we can't get every young person the equivalent of 5 good GCSEs including English and maths by the time they are sixteen. I simply don't accept any of this and believe that every school can be a great school and that we can create great teams doing the extraordinary with the current people. Success doesn't come in can'ts, it comes in cans. We simply need to change the culture to focus on passion and compassion and get people to believe; to believe in themselves and to believe in our children and young people and our colleagues.


  1. The Yeats quote isn't really from Yeats. If he said it, he is paraphrasing Plutarch in his essay, "On listening to lectures". It's worth a read.*.html

  2. I admire your enthusiasm, but really wish you wouldn't use the word "brilliant" so often, especially in the patronising phrase "brilliant little learners." You might also look at that quotation at the top. It's not by W.B. Yeats. It's a mangling of something by Plutarch - ""For the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth."
    Moralia, On Listening to Lectures 48C (LCL 1.256-259) You can access it at*.html


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