Thursday, 31 October 2013


When we are dealing with the challenges we currently face and when the going gets tough we need to stay positive and stay focused on the things that matter, in our lives, our work, and in our relationships. We all face a difficult, changing and potentially chaotic future where individuals, families, children, organizations, and businesses all face accelerating change, massive challenges and increasing problems.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Success doesn't come in can'ts, it comes in cans. 

I do believe that every school can be a great school, that every child can be successful and achieve and that we can create great teams doing the extraordinary with the current people. We simply need learning leadership, beautiful systems and intelligent accountability to support us as we 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.Throughout my working life, people have told me that things are impossible; that we can't get every child to read by the time they are seven or eight; that we can't get every child to be a brilliant little learner by the time they leave primary school and 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 because across the country these things are already happening in authorities, in schools and in classrooms where colleagues are releasing the magic.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


If you read the McKinsey Reports, analyse the PISA data, review the research evidence about 'what works' and listen to people like Ken Robinson, Dan Pink and Tony Wagner it is increasingly obvious that we need to develop skills, character and knowledge in our little learners and our bigger learners.

Monday, 28 October 2013


The media, parents and the public in general have increased expectations of schools and the DfE and OFSTED unsurprisingly have continued to raise the bar...

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I have visited some great schools over the last few years and each visit makes me realise that leadership, teaching and teamwork are what matters.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


I caught up with an old colleague and friend today and it reminded me that setting goals and personal targets for your team is a vital tool for success. It gives us our long-term vision as well as helping us with our short-term motivation... 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I don't know about you but I increasingly feel that we are 'painting by numbers' in a world monitored, policed and controlled by the 'bean' counters, the 'keep within the line' checkers and the 'weigh the pig' consultants. That we are trapped in a viscious spiral of negativity, of it's not good enough so let's do something else, of let's create another Academy or Free School, of let's get more experts and of let's make sure that we find someone to blame.


“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

Monday, 21 October 2013


We are challenged all the time to do better, and to do it faster and more efficiently and more effectively... challenged to do what many people would say was impossible....

Sunday, 20 October 2013


"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin -real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
Alfred D'Souza 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."

I was at a meeting at Yewlands Technology College today and again being with a group of extraordinary people made me realise that we all want to be outstanding and we all want success in our lives. We want success at home, at work, at school and in our relationships...

Monday, 14 October 2013

22 Reasons for _________ you name it!

I am grateful to Mike Osborne-Town, entrust Managing Director, who reminded us all at the entrust 'National Leadership Conference' today that those 'goalpost shifting badgers' are only the start of it, according to the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy in her wonderful poem '22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax'. All nature is in uproar, what with rule-bending ferrets, the fact-twisting skunks and the gun-jumping foxes. As Mike reminded us all it all adds up, to an explanation which makes as much sense as anything else in recent politics!!

Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.


I was at the entrust  'National Leadership Conference' at St George's Park, Burton-on-Trent today.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

HAPPY SUNDAY: "If I Could Tell You"

I heard this wonderful poem again on Radio 4 this afternoon and wanted to share it with you...

"Time will say nothing but I told you so
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


"In Britain today, one of the richest countries in the world, very young children still fall behind and stay behind at school. Children born poor in the UK have often failed at the beginning of primary school. Save the Children reveal in this report that a seven-year-old from a poor family has their GCSE results all but set. Seven is just the beginning of education but it is almost too late for a fair chance in life for too many children.


"If there is one central message emerging from this new survey, it is that what people know and what they do with what they know has a major impact on their life chances.


The CBI/Pearson education and skills survey 2013 highlights the need to raise ambition for all young people in our schools.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Made in Sheffield!

During this period, where resources are under increasing pressure, we need to create a framework and pathway through learning for all our young people that will equip them with the skills they need to enter, thrive and succeed in the world of work. We all know that businesses and schools working in partnership can have substantial benefits for everybody involved and most importantly young people can gain awareness and experience of the workplace. In Sheffield, in common with the rest of the country, businesses continue to identify the problems they face recruiting young people with the skills and attitudes they need.


In their report ‘The Forgotten Half’, produced for The Private Equity Foundation, Demos outlined a series of recommendations to the Coalition Government to help young people; focusing on the employability skills, character, literacy and numeracy they need to succeed in work and life; giving them the support they need to stay on track and the experience of the world of work alongside mentoring.


In their report ‘Business and schools: Building the world of work together’ published in 2012, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills reinforces the findings of previous research into this area. The report identifies the enormous amount of good practice where businesses and schools are working in partnership and highlights the different types of activities, which businesses and schools are doing to build the world of work into the school curriculum. We all know that businesses and schools all over the country are working together to provide young people with a greater awareness and understanding of the world of work, including the opportunities to access the experience of work that businesses are looking for when recruiting.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

DAVID PRICE'S 'OPEN: How We'll Work, Live & Learn In The Future'

I received this message from my colleague David Price about his new book...

Dear Friends, It’s taken me two years to write my new book, ‘OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn In The Future’. Nobody writes books about learning to make money -  but I’ve spent my whole adult life trying to help people through better learning, and I’d just like to get the book to as many people as possible.


Skills and character matter just as much as knowledge. 


Throughout my career, people have told me that things are impossible and that you can't do things because of the culture, the community, the poverty, the families or the people themselves. 
They say it has always been like that or that things are too resistant to change. However, experience has taught me that nothing is impossible and that with passion, persistence, determination, coaching, practice and hard work all things are possible... if you believe!!


I struggle to understand why everyone is in such a hurry all the time. We all constantly rush from one appointment to another place with little regard or care for anyone else; jumping traffic lights, ignoring the needs of others and pushing past people without looking or caring. I don't understand why it is but it appears that no-one seems to have any time or patience anymore and I was reminded of this wonderful poem by Brian Patten, one of the Liverpool poets.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


“Vision without action is merely a dream;
Action without vision is a nightmare;

Vision with action can change the world.” 
Japanese Proverb

I suppose I have been a critical, reflective learner all my life. All the best colleagues reflect on the quality of their work. They do this as professionals who are responsible for the quality of their work and for the achievements and personal and social development of the young people they teach, and as members of the team, which is responsible for the overall quality of educational provision.