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Showing posts from June, 2015

Make the little things count, because they do

Last night I attended a party for a member of staff who is leaving after working with us for four years. We have three busy working days left of our current school session and we are all very tired. If we are being honest, probably heading out for the evening is the last thing most of us want to do at this time of year, but we did. We all felt it was important to say thank you to a valued member of staff and to mark their contribution to the developmeant of the school, as well as a friend and a colleague. As a leader I feel it is vital that we see such events as key in our responsibilities to individual staff and to creating, developing and sustaining a culture and ethos that will allow schools to thrive and develop.
We all spend a lot of time thinking about learning and teaching, planning in order to improve these, and developing the structures, systems and programmes that keep them developing for the benefit for our learners. I have always believed that all this formal activity, cruc…

Who are your influencers?

Driving home from school the other day I was listening to the radio, the Steve Wright show on Radio 2. A musician was being interviewed and he was asked the usual question that they all seem to get asked. 'So, who has influenced your music?' He then proceeded to reel of an eclectic list of singers, songwriters and musicians who had influenced him, and helped shape his style and the music he produced.
This got me thinking about who I would say are the big influencers on myself as as school leader. We do not just arrive in a position of school leadership without being influenced and informed by a range people. A lot of these of course, are unsung and unknown influencers who we have had the pleasure, or otherwise, of working with and alongside as our career has developed. So, the teachers and school leaders we have all worked with as our own style and philosophies have developed, have all helped shape our thinking and our practice. We may even have benefitted from coaching and men…

Bureaucracy CfE and Trust

To be honest my last post was going to be about bureaucracy, but I got sidetracked onto political interference in education and assessment. I have always written to help develop my own thinking so I suppose it is to be expected that I will meander from topic to topic from time to time as my writing reflects how I think. I think!

What I wanted to comment on in that last post was how so much of the well meaning and well intentioned aims of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) have almost morphed into something unrecognisable by its original architects and designers. How often have similar transformations happened in education? We only have to look at two other recent examples to see how so much good research and sound thinking can be corrupted into something it was never meant to be. The work of Black and Wiliam on Formative Assesment and John Hattie's meta-research  on successful,strategies in schools and systems to raise achievement are two pieces of work that became something they wer…

The best of times, the worst of times?

I read an account in today's Scotsman newspaper of Tommy Castles' speech as outgoing president of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) at their AGM. In his speech to his members Mr Castle considered the thorny issues of excessive bureaucracy, workload and risks posed by increasing political interference in education and the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). If you are in education anywhere I am sure these themes sound very familiar.
He was concerned about misinformed or ill-informed politicians, commentators in the media and elsewhere, who were taking swipes at the profession, and in particular our curriculum in Scotland. Those outside of the profession seemed to have formed the opinion, or taken as truth, that since the inception on CfE, all assessment to support learning had disappeared from schools and classrooms. We who work in schools know that this has never been the case and we have continued to use assessment, of all sorts, to support and assess learning. What has…