Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2016

The Learning Classroom or more of the same?

I have recently been revisiting a book first published in 2008 by Brian Boyd who was then a professor of education at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. This is 'The Learning Classroom' in which Boyd tried to set out conditions needed for teachers to be able to create a classroom that would really facilitate and promote learning at its core. Boyd looked at a range of evidence and research available at that time around what the best 'learning classroom' could, or should, look like. He recognised that this would be by no means a definitive descriptor and he was already anticipating the impact of new technologies, research and pedagogies and how these would develop the 'learning classroom' further. He was also perhaps recognising the continuous process of school and individual development, and the on-going necessity for continuous career-long professional learning.

He suggested, similar to Howard Gardiner's multiple-intelligences theory, that there could be we…

Getting our heads above the clouds

My drive to and from work each day is about 40 minutes each way. During that drive, on very quiet Scottish country roads, I often think about the working day ahead, or consider the working day that has just ended. I have always found it useful to mull over the up-coming events of the day, when I know what these are, and also to unwind and divest myself of the issues that have occupied my attention during the day. Both useful strategies for headteacher well-being and allowing me to switch off and unwind at the end of very busy days. The fact that the countryside I drive through each day is absolutely stunning in no small way helps me gather my thoughts and keep a perspective. The rolling hills of Southern Scotland one way, and the majesty of the Cumbrian Fells and Lake District the other, mark the skyline of my journey. I am a lucky person, with a dream job and a dream drive to and from it.

This week my journey has been marked by frost, ice and mist. The first bite of winter has s…

Closing Gaps and Moving Forward

It would seem that education systems across the globe are currently obsessed by similar things, unless you live in Finland. Most are trying to be more equitable and to close attainment and achievement gaps that exist between the most advantaged in society and the most disadvantaged. All are also determined to raise attainment for all. Many see these as laudible aims for education systems and we have politicians staking their reputations on how they are going to close these gaps and raise attainment levels. Not many of them say it outright, but politicians and system leaders across the planet dream of reaching the top of the OECD's PISA rankings, no matter how spurious and flimsy the bedrock of validity upon which these particular measures of performance are constructed. However, this post is not about whether these are appropriate aims for education systems, or whether the achievement should be laid predominantly at the doors of our schools and classrooms, rather than other areas …


Last night I hosted a Twitter chat on behalf of the #ScotEdChat community. The theme for this chat was Leadership. This post is not about Leadership but it is about community and commitment. The chat lasted one hour and, as the moderator, I can confirm how manic that hour was. So manic, my iPad struggled to cope and I had to revert to my phone for the last fifteen minutes or so. The reason the chat was so manic was due to the commitment of the educators, and others, who took part and their interest in the topic being discussed.

Collaboration and professional dialogues have been identified by many thinkers and researchers as amongst the most powerful strategies for individual, school and system development. The work of Fullan, Hargreaves, Timperley, Harris and others have all emphasised the importance of such collaborative and collegiate cultures. Much of this work has focused on the cultures within schools and systems. However, we are now exploiting new cultures through Social Media …