I know ‘outstanding’ carries a lot of connotations with it.

And lots of them are not good, as we’ve seen in the news this year. 😥


It’s understandable if you were to think the price isn’t worth paying. 

Good is good enough.

Outstanding is too much of a cost to you and your team.

That is your decision to make.


But I thought you might like to hear about a head who focused on well-being to create an outstanding school.

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Paula Philips became Headteacher of East Wichel Community Primary School & Nursery, Swindon, in January 2019.

The school is a typical large two-form entry school, with a very mixed pupil population and high mobility.

In December 2022 the school was judged outstanding

Outstanding and well-being can understandably seem like a dichotomy but Paula and her team show how they are necessary for one another. 

Swindon gets a lot of bad press. It has been repeatedly named as one of the worst places to live in England and has now been identified as an education "cold spot" as part of the government's levelling up agenda. 

Swindon students are some of the least likely in the country to go to university. And in a letter to Swindon Headteachers, Ofsted said: ‘pupils were being failed at every level by schools and urged "all involved" to unite so pupils could get the "education they deserve". This led to low morale and an undeserved poor reputation for education in Swindon. 

This narrative was something Paula and her team pursued tenaciously to change. 

Paula didn’t want to become outstanding for Ofsted or for the label. She wanted to make a difference for the children and families; for the profession and to Swindon!

I love this story!

It warms my heart in so many ways.

But central to this is that outstanding and well-being were necessary and supported one another with great results.


I’ve visited Paula’s school and you can feel it the moment you walk in.


Come and hear from Paula herself, and other recently outstanding headteachers at:


Moving to Outstanding 2023: Best practice from recently outstanding headteachers


  • It’s a one day online conference.

  • One ticket gives access to you and as many leaders from your school as you’d like to attend.

  • Can’t cover your leaders to join you on the day? Don’t worry, you’ll get recordings of the talks so they can catch up and you can use the talks with your wider school team. 


And this year we have heads who have maintained outstanding and heads who have moved to outstanding, all under the current framework.


Moving to Outstanding 2023: Best practice from recently outstanding headteachers

 Thurs 23rd November 2023 (online).

Tickets are £350+VAT

And one ticket gives access to you and your SLT