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...

We are being called to account for what we are doing around underperforming and failing schools and underachieving and disadvantaged groups. The DfE and OFSTED have continued to raise the bar establishing good, rather than satisfactory as the new baseline for everything we do. Unsurprisingly then, more and more schools find themselves below the new floor targets and in a category... more schools requiring improvement, more schools with notices to improve and more schools in special measures. And yet the DfE and OFSTED constantly talk about the key role to be played by local authorities as the champions and advocates for the child and their parents and carers and as the commissioner of services working closely with outstanding schools at the heart of school improvement, system leadership and innovation and change. They also raise the game with more Academies and Free Schools at the heart of a new and challenging learning landscape where teaching qualifications don't seem to matter and the so called 'National Curriculum' only applies if you stay with your local authority!

So what do we do to survive in this mad, mad world? We need to be clear about what makes brilliant. We need to focus on the things that matter. We need to be persistent, determined and work hard to develop:
  • shared vision, values and beliefs driving all aspects of what we do;
  • strong, passionate learning leadership focused around everyone learning to learn;
  • a culture of high expectations, celebration of achievement and high self-esteem;
  • inspiring teaching in brilliant learning environments;
  • assessment for learning and the powerful use of data and information;
  • a strong outcomes focus to support happy, healthy, safe and successful young people;
  • a coaching and mentoring culture; and last but not least
  • intelligent accountability.
We must also learn to listen... to parents and carers, to communities and to faith groups, to businesses and to our colleagues in further and higher education... but most importantly we must learn to listen to our children and young people.

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