Wednesday, 22 January 2014


It is strange that so many people believe that you create great schools simply by wheeling in the 'best' headteachers, changing the school name, refreshing the governance and sacking half the staff.
I have spent the last twenty years working with schools on their development journeys and I have seen ordinary people achieve extraordinary things time and time again. Ordinary people whose passion, determination, persistence and hard work against the odds has achieved the remarkable.  But the world is changing and increasing numbers of schools find themselves below the new floor targets and in a category... the new tougher inspection regime means more notices to improve and more schools in special measures. The role of local authorities is more confused and being increasingly marginalised as the champion and advocate for the child and their parents and carers with 'outstanding schools' at the heart of school improvement, system leadership and innovation and change.

Against a background of new Academies, free schools, milestones, floor standards and a constant stream of announcements about cuts locally, regionally and nationally, we must remain positive. Wherever I have have worked, we have transformed the learning landscape and achieved outcomes that no one ever believed were possible. After all, we know what it takes too build brilliant...
  • shared vision, values and beliefs;
  • strong, passionate leadership;
  • 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 deliver not just academic and technical excellence but happy, healthy, safe and successful young people;
  • a coaching and mentoring culture; and last but not least
  • intelligent accountability.
We all recognise that there is still much more to do to achieve brilliant outcomes consistently across all our provision, but together we can establish strong, dynamic and creative foundations for building learning excellence. We need to continue to create world class learning hubs and centres of learning where we nurture and support innovation and creativity. The key to the future is to create a collaborative and cooperative network of brilliant learning places supported by a learning platform where we can share great ideas and enable colleagues to learn together. We must above all continue to question, to challenge, to dream, to imagine, to experiment, to explore and to discover.

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. Tom Peters said...

"Leadership is the process of engaging people in building the future,

creating a legacy of excellence and making a difference"
... whatever it takes!"

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