School systems all over the world are studying the research, trying to understand the PISA reports and wrestling with how we can educate for the new order; the new globalised economies, the creative and intellectual demands of new institutions and cultures, complex multilingual and multi-ethnic cultures and religions, and more critical, informed and cosmopolitan populations.
Getting rid of beaureacracy, developing school-based accountability, encouraging the market, freeing up the curriculum and the powerful use of new technologies will help to address these problems but without fundamental consideration of teaching and learning and classroom practice we are stuck on our journey to outstanding. So how do we create extraordinary learning places? How do we release the magic?
People constantly tell me that things are impossible. They tell me that you can't get every child to read by the time they are seven or eight. That every child can’t be a brilliant little learner by the time they leave primary school. That you can't get every young person the equivalent of 5 good GCSEs including English and maths by the time they are sixteen. That every school can't be a great school. That you can't create great teams with the current people. However, we all know that success doesn't come in can'ts it comes in cans. We can achieve the impossible. I have spent a lifetime showing people what's possible; in young people, in colleagues, in classrooms, in schools, in authorities and in organisations. We simply need to change the culture and get people to believe; to believe in themselves and to believe in our children and young people and our colleagues. We need to search out, celebrate, share, network and learn from the exceptional practice that exists in pockets everywhere you look... and then make that commonplace!
The scary thing isn’t what we have achieved so far with learning and outcomes in this country, but our potential to achieve so much more if only we build a culture of excellence. if only we can release the magic by switching people on who are currently stitched off. Switched off by command and control, by the 'fear factor', by a lack of interest, a lack of motivation, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of energy and drive. Our job as leaders, as managers, as coaches, as teachers, as parents, as people who care, is to help individuals set their goals and realise their enormous potential! To get people to understand that they can achieve almost anything through persistence, determination and hard work. The next person who tells you it's impossible with these children, these young people, these families or these colleagues, tell them that if you believe anything is possible and that achieving the impossible is nothing!