Friday, 3 May 2013


“You can program yourself to be positive. Being positive is a discipline … 
and the more adversity you face, the more positive you have to be. 
Being positive helps build confidence and self-esteem”

Rick Pitino, University of Louisville Head Basketball Coach

Whatever the critics and the sceptics say education and learning has been transformed over the last 15 years and our successes are everywhere; not just the GCSE/Level 2/Key Stage results but the attendance and exclusion figures, the latest OFSTED analysis, work on healthy schools, work on developing the arts and music, work developing PE and school sport, work on tackling racism, work on inclusion and equity and much, much more. So many colleagues in so many schools have done a simply brilliant job... and always remember when it comes to judging our successes and failures...

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

We must continue to develop a culture of team with co-operative and collaborative approaches which network and share what works and create 'centres of learning excellence' where we learn from our own best practice and what works everywhere and anywhere. We must recognise and celebrate that every school is on a learning journey and we must constantly challenge ourselves to do better. It's also increasingly clear that OFSTED doesn't work in this context and we need to develop a new accountability framework and a model to celebrate excellence and quality assure what we do. Since I worked in York, where we developed 'Schools Learning Together', a Gatsby Charitable Foundation project, I have worked to develop new models where we find and share the bits of magic in every school and also be totally honest about the areas where things aren't good enough and then connect. So we develop centres of learning excellence supporting teacher to teacher and school to school learning within a powerful and reflective learning community with an uncompromising and relentless focus on standards and outcomes.

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