Saturday, 15 June 2013


I was speaking at the Entrust Breakfast Seminar at the NCTL Seizing Success Conference at the ICC in Birmingham yesterday and I met some great colleagues. I was talking about what it takes to build brilliant...

Wherever you are in the world I expect, like me, you are searching for the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that makes up a great classroom, a great school, a great organisation, a great local authority or a great chain!
Looking at the extraordinary work colleagues and their teams are doing at schools I know and love in York, Leeds, Lincoln, Sheffield, Nottingham and Guernsey my suggestions for the jigsaw puzzle pieces would be:

  • strong, passionate and totally committed learning leadership;
  • clear, shared vision, values and beliefs driving all aspects of the work of the school;
  • a wonderful learning team who passionately believe in what they are doing;
  • high expectations of every young person and the whole learning team;
  • strong, dynamic and meaningful relationships based on trust, respect and sharing;
  • beautiful systems supporting the culture of the school;
  • inspiring teaching within a nurturing and challenging culture;
  • Intelligent accountability encouraging reflection and learning;
  • high parental support, engagement and involvement; and
  • recognition that all young people can learn and have the potential to become talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful!
Learning teams, in schools everywhere, are doing a brilliant job and creating a fantastic learning environment for their children. We need to share, network and learn what works and together make that common place! And don't listen to the critics and the skeptics who tell us it isn't possible with these children, with these parents or with these teachers! We need to believe and work together to create really great schools at the heart of every community.

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