Tuesday, 28 December 2021

 Another blooming New Year and I don’t know where 2021 has gone but I am, like you I expect, glad to see the back of it! It has been a truly horrible year full of challenges and a year spent missing more than seeing children, grandchildren, family and friends who make me think, make me smile, make me laugh and sometimes make me cry! To stay sane, I am:

  • seeing as much as possible of the big and little people who matter most in my life!
  • minimising the amount of news I watch to maintain my mental health and well-being!!
  • now reading 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' by Anthony Doerr, 'The Stranger in the Lifeboat' by Mitch Albom and 'The Story of the World in 100 Moments' by Neil Oliver.
  • Noa listening to The 16, the Tallis Scholars and as much music as possible.
  • singing and signing as much as possible.
  • walking, jogging and exercising as much as possible.
  • doing as many puzzles, quizzes and jigsaws as possible.

"Remember, life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

Tuesday, 6 July 2021


What have you done in the last week... today... in the last two hours... in the last meeting... to challenge the culture of 'can't do', to cut out the rubbish, to knock down the walls, to focus on the things that really matter and to do the things that will really make a difference! We can all make a real difference, so what is holding you back? …just do it! 


We must create a culture of excellence in our schools, our hospitals and our care system where we break down the walls and the barriers which limit creativity and stubbornly maintain the status quo and limit our opportunities to make that step change in outcomes. We must try new things and network, learn and build on the real excellence in the system and challenge the systems and hierarchies that nourish and perpetuate the irrelevant, the second rate and the simply dreadful.


We need to work with teachers and schools to create a powerful curriculum offer where every child and young person experiences storytelling, art and design, dance, drama and music! We need teachers and schools that help grow, develop and nurture the designers, coaches, inventors, teachers, storytellers, carers, artisans, artists, dancers, musicians and performers of the future! Strange how in this post-pandemic learning landscape where creativity, imagination and ideas matter, we are still more interested in literacy and numeracy than the arts, which have at their heart the skills and attributes required to thrive and succeed at school, at work and in life. Surely the two should go hand in hand! We need to start by making a series of promises to every child and every young person... a series of promises that ensure they all have access to a rich diet of culture and the arts... whatever it takes!

Tuesday, 8 June 2021


 We know that creativity is an important foundation for learning, productivity, and success. 

Here are five reasons why.... 


 In an increasingly complex world where colleagues, families, schools and businesses are facing relentless pressure, facing higher and higher expectations and facing increased and increasing demands to do things more efficiently and more effectively, we need to remember that teamwork matters!


 "Because of the Department for Education’s school accountability systems, many schools are reducing the numbers of hours, teachers, subjects and choices on offer. This risks strangling the talent pipeline to the creative industries and robbing children of the social mobility and opportunities that the arts offer. There is a real risk that the benefits of studying the arts will become the preserve of only those who can pay for it."

Bacc for the Future, the Cultural Learning Alliance and What Next have produced a helpful Arts in Schools toolkit which everyone who is passionate about creativity, culture and the arts should read.


 "One of the reasons why we get stuck in education is that our thinking is framed by so many myths.

MYTH ONE: The poor will always do badly in school. That’s not true: the 10% most disadvantaged kids in Shanghai did better on an earlier PISA math test than the 10% most advantaged students in large American urban areas.

MYTH TWO: Immigrants will lower the performance of a country on international comparisons. That’s not true: PISA shows no relationship between the share of immigrants and the quality of an education system, and the school systems where immigrant students settle matters a lot more than the country where they came from.

MYTH THREE: Smaller classes always mean better results. That’s not true: in fact, whenever high-performing education systems have to make a choice between a smaller class and a better teacher, they go for the latter.

MYTH FOUR: More time spent learning always means better results. That’s not true: study hours in Finland are little more than half of what students in the UAE spend, but in Finland students learn a lot in little time while in the UAE they learn very little in a lot of time."

OECD Education and Skills Today


 "Co-Create is a one-day festival produced by York St John University that celebrates the making of music, dance and theatre with, for and by members of the youth community. We are interested in performance as a vehicle to entertain and promote social justice and community empowerment, and in turn highlighting the value of being a socially engaged university."

They will do outreach work with groups of 14-19 students for the six weeks running up to the Festival.

The festival is free to enter, to register your interest send the following to co-create@yorksj.ac.uk:
  • Name & address of your school or group
  • Number of people to work on the performance
  • Performance type: Music, Dance, Drama (or a combination of any).
The Festival coincides with the opening of the York St John University Creative Centre.