In 1975, the economist Charles Goodhart wrote: 'Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes'. This claim is often colloquialised as 'When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure'. An example of this is what happened when GP surgeries were given … Continue reading The corruption of curriculum thinking
How to argue with a genericist
Most people won't be the slightest bit interested in the debate about generic skills in school leadership which has played out (mostly on social media) in recent years. And why should they? I'm not sure their daily lives will be enhanced by wading into a sometimes murky, often polarised, debate about how leaders become better … Continue reading How to argue with a genericist
The searing memories of the curriculum era
For the last 18 months, I have been co-authoring a book with Becky Allen and Ben White. It is called The Next Big Thing in School Improvement. The book is about the perpetual novelty that we experience in education. In the run up to publication, we will be publishing a series of blog posts which … Continue reading The searing memories of the curriculum era
Which disciplines offer most to education knowledge-building?
For those who choose to spend time thinking about education, not just doing it, they will immediately stumble across a question: what should I spend time thinking about? This question is taxing me of late for a number of reasons. I have recently finished writing a book. The process of writing requires that you think … Continue reading Which disciplines offer most to education knowledge-building?
Are you ready for the Next Big Thing?
For the last 18 months, I have been co-authoring a book with Becky Allen and Ben White. It is called The Next Big Thing in School Improvement. The book is about the perpetual novelty that we experience in education. In the run up to publication, we will be publishing a series of blog posts which … Continue reading Are you ready for the Next Big Thing?
The question of virtue in leadership was playing on my mind this morning. I reached for my go-to book on moral philosophy: Being Good by Simon Blackburn. It is a pithy introduction to ethics which I hoped would help me ponder the question. Some time later I remembered that I should be doing jobs around … Continue reading Virtuous leaders
Knowsley is a local authority area to the East of Liverpool. It is a geographically fragmented borough, comprising swathes of countryside, the two old Lancashire towns of Preston and Whiston, and several areas of unattached housing. It is one of the most deprived parts of the country. Around 20% of working-age people in Knowsley receive … Continue reading Stuck schools
When you go behind the label ‘human error’, you see people and organizations trying to cope with complexity, continually adapting, evolving along with the changing nature of risk in their operations. Eileen Munro, Munro Review of Child Protection There are two warnings before you read this post. First, it is long as it was originally … Continue reading Catastrophic error
The value of dissent
Consensus is desirable. Can we at least agree on that? I’m not so sure. One of the interesting features of the education system is the role played by concord and discord. We place high value on the former but live mainly with the latter. Think for a moment: what do we actually agree on? There … Continue reading The value of dissent
complex processes produce order and beauty when you zoom out and look at them from enough distance.Nate Silver (2012) In the 1960s, the US Navy coined the acronym KISS. It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. As a design principle, it takes some beating. The thing is, we are not up to the job of … Continue reading KISS