Being certain is emotionally satisfying. Whether it is knowing an answer in a pub quiz, retrieving the name of someone you haven't seen for ages, or working out why the dishwasher has stopped working, there is a tiny release of positivity when we 'know' something. The neurologist Robert Burton calls this feeling 'the sensation of … Continue reading Causes work in teams
Problems are gritty, grounded, local. We only understand them close up, case by case. We're tempted by high level solutions when we should be getting down and dirty. The solution may lay in the idiosyncratic and pragmatic, not the intellectual.Michael Blastland, The Hidden Half (2019) I'm going to go out on a limb here and … Continue reading The School Leader as Plumber
As the anniversary of the UK's first 'lockdown' passes, many are trying to make sense of the events of the past year. For those working in schools, this period has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. The blogs which have emerged describe the numerous 'stages' of school functioning and how it has felt to progress … Continue reading Sense and Sense Ability
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows A paracosm is a detailed imaginary world, often formed in childhood, which blends the real world with imaginary places, characters, and events. Children may develop a … Continue reading The Imagined School
If we look at the history of educational reform - whether it be the introduction of a universal right to education, the dismantling of the tripartite system, or the attempt to sideline local authority control - we may view it as being driven by radical ideas and powerful interest groups, or as a consequence of … Continue reading Is the education system about to reform?
From where does a school's persona arise? And what role does the headteacher play in creating this persona? There has been much written and said about school culture - what we mean by the term, how it comes about. In this post I would like to highlight a systems perspective on this matter. Discussions around … Continue reading Culture and Context
Perhaps nothing has provoked teachers more than the phrase 'schools are closed' over the last year. This is mainly because of the lazy journalistic slur that teachers are getting paid for doing nothing at home. Whilst schools are definitely 'open' to at least some pupils, teachers will be keen to point out that those at … Continue reading When is a school not a school?
I was reminded today of my tendency to become over excited about a really cool piece of technology. My geekiness is hidden behind a thin veil, and today that veil was lifted to reveal my bridal glow. The technology in question (and I should warn you it really isn't exciting to any normal human) is … Continue reading Kicking the solution habit
One of the most pertinent questions this week in education is who is best able to judge standards of remote teaching. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, thinks it is parents and Ofsted. At least I assume that is his belief as he has encouraged parents to complain to Ofsted if their school is not delivering … Continue reading Not remotely impressed
When I am asked (with two working days' notice) to implement a large-scale medical testing operation despite having no relevant experience or qualifications, my first thought is not 'where do we start?' or 'how can this be achieved?', but 'is this really a good idea?'. Clearly I don't have the can-do attitude, or whatever leadership … Continue reading Lateral Flow Tests in Schools