I’ve spent over a decade walking into schools and talking to school leaders trying to answer this question:   What stops us breaking through the ceiling of normal, and move beyond delivering good education to providing exceptional education?   Thinking about how to share what I’ve learned puts me in mind of the old game […]

If you get a stone in your shoe, what do you do?   Stop, take your shoe off, remove the stone, put your shoe back on and carry on. Right?   Because having a stone in your shoe: Can be painful, and it slows down how fast you can walk. Simple problem, obvious solution (the […]

I know you love your school. But as a leader doesn’t it feel like there are more hard bits in your day than good bits? A parent is upset about a decision. There’s been an incident in class. You can’t get the absence figures to improve, despite best efforts. And then there’s staff. You love […]

Who, not what, is the issue you need to fix this year?   I ask because I regularly hear this phrase from school leaders:    “It’s been brilliant this week in school because ‘X’ has been off sick/on leave”.   I imagine you’re instantly picturing someone who makes you feel the same way.   Maybe […]

Nothing goes by more quickly than the school year. We’re always looking towards the next holiday, and how much we want to achieve in that time. They say the week before a holiday is the most productive, the first week back the least.   I think this is one of many reasons schools are so […]

The bells might be jingling and carols might be singing and the tinsel could be glittering. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (and incredibly busy to fit it all in!). Before we know it’ll be the end of the year and the school gates will be locked for the Christmas holidays. Let’s end […]

Today is the last chance to get early bird tickets for next year’s annual conference ‘Outstanding Against the Odds’.  This year we heard from 5 headteachers who deliver educational excellence in tough contexts.   Headteachers like:   Linda Hothersall and her team at Eastgate Academy serve a community with high deprivation. I’ve been to the […]

It’s hard to talk to someone about their conduct. It doesn’t feel as concrete as something like lateness or not following policy. But it’s so important.  Because conduct is our behaviour. And culture is our behaviour over time – as critical to your school’s success as performance is (and I would suggest it’s more important). […]

Beliefs.We all have them. Some are great, they can help us make good decisions Some are not, they can get in our way.   But limiting beliefs can be hard to spot.   Here’s how you can uncover beliefs that might be limiting you and your school.   Look out for things you assume automatically. […]