Category Archives: leadership

School improvement: Can you buck the trend?

In my last post I discussed the natural volatility of GCSE results and the predictably random nature of results over the long-term. I ended my saying, “The agenda for school improvement has

7 habits of genuinely expert teachers

Science is not ‘organized common sense’; at its most exciting, it reformulates our view of the world by imposing powerful theories against the ancient, anthropocentric prejudices that we call intuition. Stephen J.

The rise of the unscrupulous optimist

“Optimism, n.: The doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary Education is a project filled with hope. We stand, framed heroically against the setting

The role of teachers is not to make managers’ lives easier

“To supervise people, you must either surpass them in their accomplishments or despise them.” Benjamin Disraeli Questions about the purpose of education divide and bedevil: there’s no real agreement about what education is

When planning fails… what to do when behaviour breaks down

“There is in the act of preparing, the moment you start caring.” Winston Churchill Lots of people who don’t normally like the stuff I write seemed to approve of the post I wrote

Taking responsibility for predictable problems

“All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control.” John Von Neumann Let me preface all this by saying that I think refusing to accept excuses for low standards and poor

Big data is bad data

The cost of bad data is the illusion of knowledge. – Stephen Hawking Schools, as with almost every other organ of state, are increasingly obsessed with big data. There seem to be two

On fragility: why systems fail

In Antifragile, Nassim Taleb argues that the opposite of fragile is not, as is commonly supposed, robust or resilient. These are merely neutral conditions. The antonym of fragile doesn’t seem to exist

Student voice: windmills of the mind

Pray look better, Sir … those things yonder are no giants, but windmills. Cervantes Does it matter if students like their teachers? Is it worth knowing if students don’t maths or hate

One more thing I want from school leaders

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything. Goethe A few weeks back I wrote this post laying out my wishlist for the ‘perfect’ school leader. Since then,

Discord isn’t disharmony: in praise of inconsistency

Consistency is the playground of dull minds. Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens  What’s so great about consistency? How has the consensus that everybody should ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ is always the

Opportunity knocks: the hidden cost of bad ideas

Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence