Just Visiting – Half Term

Life as an Education Consultant


Who invited Cromwell round for dinner!

Despite it being half-term, I find plenty to do. I start by revamping my official website and then my hosted WordPress blog. It takes ages to migrate the website but it looks better now it’s done.

I’m really surprised to get a great reaction to last week’s blog post and it gives me the boost I need to write another.

I have a couple of exciting projects to prepare for and I make a start before we head off on a short camping trip in Dorset. The first project is a Skype meeting that I am having with an education software company on Monday. I’m hoping that the discussion will go well and I will be able to add value to their excellent product. I start by listing what I might be able to do for them and how we might work together to develop the software further. The next project is a senior leadership planning weekend that I have been asked to facilitate by an ex-colleague. I re-read a couple of extracts from ‘The Adaptive School’ (Garmston, 2013) in anticipation and jot down a few notes about how I might structure the two days.

I muse about writing a book called ‘Leading from the Bottom’ subtitled ‘Talking out of my arse…’ but I decide against it.

The following morning we are off to Dorset and I take a little light reading with me. I’m interested in the concept of teaching leadership, having mentored a couple of ‘Teaching Leaders’ this academic year so I print off a copy of Teacher Leadership in (In)action by Muijs & Harris, (2007). It’s an interesting read and really drives home some themes which resonate with me: trust, collaboration, partnership, positive no-blame cultures and the importance of structure. I jot down my conclusions and wonder how I might help school leaders to involve teachers in decision making and initiating leadership activities in the future. I muse about writing a book called ‘Leading from the Bottom’ subtitled ‘Talking out of my arse…’ but I decide against it.

Our trip to Dorset is lovely and we enjoy our trip to Corfe Castle and Swanage. I lose at Monopoly and eat too many sausages for breakfast!

When I get home, I read a number of posts and write an essay about a Principal who has banned playtime because her school’s English and Maths results have dipped for the second year in succession. This is apparently becoming more common in the USA as high stakes testing and accountability puts pressure on school Director’s to do ‘whatever is necessary.’ I read an article about how outcomes for children under Obama’s presidency have not improved and that high stakes accountability is not having the expected impact on driving up standards in American schools.

My business cards arrive and I’m delighted that they look really professional.

A couple of edu posts catch my attention this week and I think long and hard about each of them. It’s good to see SEND provision at the forefront of Tom Sherrington’s thinking in ‘Send is Mainstream, but it is complicated’ while David Didau gets maverick with his ace ‘Top Gun for Teachers’ post.

I read a chapter from Doug Lemov’s (2106) excellent ‘Reading Reconsidered’ and reflect on a busy and enjoyable week. I look forward to the weekend and ‘just visiting’ some more schools next week.






About blakeeducation

Assistant Head in Hampshire. Advocate for social mobilty through effective parental engagement, quality T&L, literacy, social capital, curriculum and culture.
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