Wednesday, 30 March 2016


Why is our education system so poorly performing when compared to the best in Europe let alone the best in the world. My visits to Helsinki, Stockholm and Singapore suggest that colleagues elsewhere are no cleverer, no more skilful or talented than our colleagues. Perhaps we are measuring and doing the wrong things?
Their young people appear to be very much the same as our young people. Their parents and carers want the same for their children; as they do the world over! Governments and local authorities have invested huge amounts and recruited teams of incredibly talented and experienced colleagues who have already proved themselves in schools and classrooms and we have the most inspected, assessed, moderated and tested education system in the world! So why aren't we world class?

We all know that you don't improve the pig by continually weighing it. They say that the Finnish system has cracked the code but I have my doubts...they do however have some elements which are worth considering. The most effective systems across the world appear to have established a clear sense of what they are trying to achieve for their children and young people and then they get out of the way and allow local solutions to develop alongside local accountabilities and support.

I have been to some incredible learning places over the years in Sheffield, Barnsley, Lincoln, Guernsey, Leeds, Nottingham, York, North Yorkshire and in Helsinki and Stockholm. And everywhere, and wherever, colleagues are releasing the magic they have the same things in common...
  • They are trusted, empowered and enthusiastic... 
  • They belong to teams of talented  colleagues working in schools and classrooms... 
  • They are supported locally by focused and efficient teams... 
And as a result they are releasing the magic and delivering world class outcomes! We know, by the way, what it takes to build brilliant; it's alive and well in so many places...
  • leadership matters;
  • continuity counts;
  • enthusiasm is contagious;
  • small is beautiful;
  • relationships are key;
  • be passionate;
  • coaching counts;
  • persistence and determination go a long way; 
  • it's hard work; and
  • it's a team game. 
and our friends at the DfE and OFSTED should know that you tend to get what you expect!

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