Wednesday, 1 January 2014

#Nurture 1314: Pace, challenge and progress

Being a bit of a twitter novice, I was fairly bemused and intrigued by the concept of #nurture1314 posts. I suspected that they might read like the Christmas round-robin letters, boasting achievements of remote family members. Or perhaps share unrealistic and overly personal Bridget Jones-esque New Year resolutions. However, after reading some I've become convinced that it's a valid concept for honest reflection and thoughtfulness, rather than a platform for self-promotion or schadenfreude.

Forcing myself to list 13 highlights/achievements from 2013 has been a worthwhile task. It's been a hectic year and the frenzied blur makes it difficult to recognise the significant milestones and events. I'm not a bucket-list kind of person and my life seems fairly routine and mundane to most; I don't have marathons, mountain climbing or exotic holidays to share from the year. However the process has made me realise was a challenging and significant year it has been for me, both personally and professionally. Taking stock and looking forward has provided me with some clarity and focus for the year ahead. Publishing my modest ambitions publicly may make them them more likely to happen, and may just inform and shape others' aims, as other #nurture1314 posts have done for me...

Having been the victim of Bridget-style goals in the past and being frustrated and disappointed with myself for not achieving them, this year I'm going to go easy on my self and commit to do more of the things that matter and less of the things that don't, rather than setting myself overly-ambitious targets to add further pressure or expectation.

My 2013 highlights and aims for 2014:

1. Juggling various roles: I returned from maternity leave in January 2013 to take on Acting Head of English in addition to my Assistant Principal responsibilties for the remainder of the academic year. Looking back now I can't quite believe how I survived those two terms with two small children. I also can't believe that I used my time in post to redesign the KS3 curriculum, refurbish the department and embed a new GCSE specification. I am very proud of the summer exam results, the improvements that I instigated during my tenure and in how I have helped the new HOD to settle into post. I'm looking forward to being able to concentrate on my senior leadership role in 2014; being MORE strategic and proactive.

2. Surviving Ofsted: Having spent the previous 18 months in waiting, we received 'the call' the first Tuesday back after October half term. My 'bring it on' optimism was slightly thwarted by the event; I'm afraid that it wasn't quite the positive and self-affirming two days that others seem to have experienced, but even though I have severe doubts about the credibility and value of the process and the judgements reached, it made me learn a huge about myself. My 'emotional maturity and reliance' leadership competency was well and truly tested by the inspection. I am going to spend LESS time and energy worrying about others' judgements and have MORE confidence and conviction in doing what I know to be the right thing. 

3. Filming myself teaching: Spurred on by @BMS_MrHarrold I put our new IRIS equipment to use and sharing my video with colleagues to role-model reflective practice was far less painful than I anticipated and has prompted others to to the same. I will make MORE use of IRIS to develop my own practice and embed as a CPD tool to support colleagues' development. 

4. Becoming an SLE: Without having any time or money attached to the role it felt like a slightly strange application process but it was nevertheless a challenging one. I'm looking forward to being involved in MORE school-to-school support in the coming months. 

5. Prioritising my own professional development: Being ultra busy and responsible for everyone else's CPD, I'm glad that I embarked on the NPQSL course for my own career progression in 2013. The face-to-face days, networking opportunities, readings and school-development projects have helped me to grow as a leader. I must dedicate MORE time to writing up my assessments in order to meet my submission deadline and successfully complete the course.

6. Visiting other schools: I organised an 'Observing Excellent Practice' training day in October in which all teachers spent the day at other secondary school. Co-ordinating 66 visits was no mean feat but I'm proud of pulling it off and have been gratified by colleagues' enthusiastic feedback from the day. My own day spent at Holland Park School with my Principal was truly inspirational and has sparked lots of school improvement ideas. I was equally inspired by the the Pedagogy Leaders day that I attended with a PE teacher colleague at Canons High School and have been motivated to introduce a similar bottom-up CPD structure and Teaching and Learning blog in my own school. I want use to be even MORE outward-looking in 2014; sharing with and learning from other successful schools rather than beavering away trying to solve problems in isolation. 

7. Participating in #SLT camp and Teachmeet: As noted in previous blog posts, attending the inaugural #SLTCamp was a big professional highlight of 2013. I really enjoyed and benefited from the format of this unique grass-roots CPD event and want to be even MORE involved in this kind of collaborative professional development next year, starting with the co-planning of Cambridge's first #SLTeachmeet on 7th March at the Faculty of Education. 

8. Instigating whole school practitioner research: With long-standing links and relationships with Cambridge University and a Masters in Educational research, it's been my goal from some time to create and establish a genuine research culture in schools. Having led small-scale research projects with individual teachers in the past I was aware of the potential that it has for enhancing teaching and learning so I was really pleased to be in a position in which all colleagues are engaged with a Teaching Excellence Project in order to reflect on and improve an aspect of their own practice. Introducing such an expectation, whole school, has not been without its challenges and teething issues, but I'm confident that it will be a useful means to getting all colleagues to take ownership of their own pedagogical developments by giving them time for 'systematic tinkering'. I'm also excited about the opportunities that our involvement with research and development projects through our Teaching Alliance will bring. Next year brings the challenge of being giving colleagues MORE autonomy and trust to lead their own professional development; moving away from a one-size-fits-all CPD and meeting structure. 

9. Becoming responsible for Performance Management: Taking over the appraisal process has been an interesting and intense experience; especially during the busiest part of the PM cycle. Meeting solo with an Ofsted inspector to explain our quality assurance and monitoring processes two months into this new role added an extra dimension of challenge and helped me to evaluate what works and what could be improved further. I'm going to spend time in the new year exploring how we can make MORE use of Blue Sky to provide a one-stop-shop for all PM and CPD processes and I want to start to properly audit support staff appraisal and professional development opportunities. 

10. Developing distributed leadership: I have enjoyed watching colleagues flourish in middle leadership and emerging leadership roles over the last year. Seeing the outcomes of the Developing Leaders Programme, a middle leadership course that I planned in partnership with a colleague and the Eastern Leadership Centre, has been really rewarding. Introducing a Futures Group and leading the Behaviour Working party to consult and inform school policy and strategy has been an enjoyable experience. I want to delegate MORE responsibility to colleagues and be able to step back from the immediate leadership of initiatives.

11. Being a good mum: Being a full time working mum with two children under the age of four has been tough this year. In addition to the exhaustion and challenges of balancing home and work commitments has been the added guilt, pressure and expectation that I have put upon myself. I need to spend LESS time worrying that I'm not a good enough Mum and have MORE acceptance of myself and the unique conjugal roles that we have in our household. Granted, I need to spend MORE quality time with my family, but I also need to spend LESS emotional energy beating myself up about the things that I don't do as a working mum and comparing myself to families with other arrangements. 

12. Heath and well being: Inspired by John TomsettI established a staff well being consultation at school this year and have worked hard to make changes to school life to respond to staff requests in the interests of well being, including better meeting refreshments, reviewing the communications policy, subsidised treatments and training day activities. In 2014 I need to pay MORE attention to my own health and well being; this postcard pretty much sums up what this should involve...

13. Enjoying the ride: Some of the best moments of 2013 have been times when I have stopped and allowed myself to be happy and count my blessings, rather than continually worrying about what needs to be better/improved. My most important goal for 2014, counting as 13 and 14 combined, is to give myself permission to rest and be: to relax more, make more time to do the things that I enjoy and get a better perspective on my life and what matters to me. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Confessions and musings of an #SLTCamper

I have something to admit: I've spent over over 3 days engaged in professional development activity over the last week. There, I've said it. It's out there for others to question, judge, envy or critique. 

A great chunk of that time was spent at the inaugeral #SLT Camp. Choosing to spend my weekend at a Youth Hostel in Dorking with 45 strangers was met with a variety of responses from my colleagues, friends and family ranging from intrigue and disbelief to utter shock and disgust. When trying to explain the concept at school, remarks included: 'Haven't you got better things to do with your time'; 'Wouldn't you rather be with your children' and 'I couldn't think of anything worse'. It was as if I was admitting to attending an historical re-enactment weekend or an Ewok convention. 

OK, I admit that I had my own moments of doubt at several points in the lead up to the event: attempting to finalise my Teachmeet presentation at 10pm the night before, having never even attended one before; cajoling my bemused husband to make a cake for the 'something borrowed' bake-off category; negotiating rush hour pandemonium on a complicated train/tube journey; holding my nerve during a Blair-Witch-esque taxi ride into the depths of Dorking forest without mobile phone reception. However I'm glad I didn't wimp out.

My pre-camp blog acknowledged that it wouldn't be an easy thing to do mid-November (what I hadn't anticipated at the time was the additional stress and exhaustion I'd be experiencing post illness and Ofsted!) It was those blog thoughts and the knowledge that forty-plus other school leaders and sponsors had committed to such a unique event that gave me the resolve to stick with it.

The weekend has been likened to a school reunion, a wedding and educational speed dating. It was a combination of the best bits of all three, and more. 

For those who didn't attend it's difficult to describe and appreciate the value and worth of the #SLTCamp concept and experience. I understand why others may deem it rather a bizarre way to spend your free time: I should have, arguably, been marking controlled assessments, recouping from the ordeal of Ofsted and spending time with my family. However my hopes and expectations for #SLTCamp were spot on: 'I've no doubt that I'll be refueled  refreshed and energised by what promises to be a truly absorbing and engaging weekend of professional learning and, dare I say it, fun. Not quite a spa break, but for an education junkie, perhaps the intellectual equivalent'

So what made it so great? The combination of the best features of professional development: 
  • The opportunity to hear about the amazing work going on in other schools but also to speak candidly with other school leaders about their challenges, fears and failures. 
  • Ideas and approaches to trial and implement straight away and others to think about, stew over and contemplate for the future.
  • Affirmation of my own leadership practice as well as challenges, questions and alternative approaches to refine and develop my own thinking. 
  • Fabulous food (thank you Phillip!), networking and idea-sharing - an extension of the best bits of conventional CPD: the informal discussions over coffee and lunch that are curtailed by the next session/journey home.  
  • Awesome care, freebies and attention to detail (my daughter is particularly fond of her new Twinkl drinks cup and Zondle keyring).
The wealth of warmth, generosity, humour, honesty and reciprocity that characterised the weekend made it so distinctly different from other professional development events that I have experienced. The 'no egos or wall flowers' ground rule was incredibly refreshing as was the lack of a stifling conference structure, death by power-point and the assumption that expertise lies solely with the presenters while the knowledge, ideas and skills of the delegates remains untapped. 

I suspect that few teachers would sign up voluntarily for a weekend training event involving sleeping in a top bunk, learning to salsa dance and wearing a beanie hat while using sparklers in the company of strangers. Or perhaps there are plenty of teacher geeks out there just waiting for the opportunity...

The most powerful aspect of #SLTCamp in my experience goes beyond the great ideas that I have taken away to try - some of which have already proved successful. It's the way in which it made me reflect on myself as a leader and the whole notion of professional development. 

In the Sunday morning action planning session and on the train journey home I didn't feel overwhelmed by the flurry of new ideas; I didn't feel the need to write myself a huge and impossible to-do list (as I am wont to do after most training events). Instead I used the time to digest and distill my experiences from the weekend and prioritise my personal and professional goals. The plenary cameos also helped me to reaffirm and realign my own leadership style: Jill's Berry's emphasis on integrity; Ross' Morrisson McGill's focus on resilience and Rachel's boundless enthusiasm helped me to dismiss any self-doubts that I had post-Ofsted.

The chance to look beyond the day to day minutia of school life and problem solving and think about my career and role back at school in a more holistic and strategic way was really liberating. It's also made me really re-think traditional notions of CPD. 

Professional development should be just that: a chance to grow and develop as a professional. But how often as it seen as something else? Pragmatically, CPD is too often limited to the transfer of practice from an expert back to school;  the delegate as a mere vessel to receive and disseminate knowledge and practice. 

As I've experienced this week, being 'allowed out of school' can be seen as an indulgence, a treat, a distraction from the core business of a school. While this, to an certain extent, is true, I'm hopeful that one of the changes that has been ignited by #SLTCamp is a change in the way that the teachers and schools perceive, value and engage with alternative models of professional development. Seeing CPD as something led by teachers, for teachers, not done to them. 

Sarah and Stephen's pipe dream developed into an incredibly stimulating, enjoyable and worthwhile weekend for all involved. I am incredibly grateful for the time, energy and commitment that they invested in the weekend. 

Perhaps intense residential CPD isn't for everyone, but I feel lucky to have been part of the first ever #SLTCamp and to have had the opportunity to spend time with and learn from such talented, dedicated and passionate professionals. As Hattie asserts, the future and success of the profession relies on 'Teachers who work together collaboratively to understand their impact'. 

Let's hope that this type of grass-roots CPD catches on, and that other school leaders appreciate its relevance, impact and potential for system-wide school improvement.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Happy #SLT CAMPing

It's the middle of the summer holiday and I'm sat perched over my laptop with my credit card details to hand, periodically refreshing my web page in anticipation...

You would be forgiven for thinking that I was in a furtive online bidding war for a rare shabby-chic antique or trying to obtain sought-after tickets for a highly-acclaimed festival / concert / other cultural event. No, I was attempting to secure the opportunity to spend a weekend in November at a Youth Hostel in Dorking with 40 strangers at an unconference for senior leaders.

I can appreciate why this may seem like a bizarre thing to want to do. November is notorious for being the bleakest month in the educational calendar: the fresh start to the academic year, filled with high expectations and promise, is a hazy memory (as is the holiday tan and shiny new back-to-school stationery), and the Christmas break is distant on the horizon with only a back-breaking quantity of mock exam marking and dark and depressing commutes in the interim. Booking a mini break somewhere with a spa and a log-burning fire may have been more sensible. Instead, I'll be heading down the M25 after period 5 on a Friday 15th November to share a weekend, and a room, with teachers I have never met before for some voluntary, self-led CPD.

I was chuffed to snaffle one of the golden SLT Camp tickets. And, from the speed at which they sold out, so were other similarly motivated senior leaders across the country. So, what's the reason for this enthusiasm? Why am I, and 39 others, willing to sacrifice precious free-time and money for this unusual residential unconference?

It's an exciting prospect for many reasons: the privilege of being able to meet and share ideas with progressive educators; the chance to benefit from some intensive collaboration; the opportunity to learn from, and with, like-minded school leaders; the space and time away from habit and routine to properly reflect, think and plan.

Looking through the delegate list, schedule and pre-SLT Camp challenges, I'm excited by the potential of this unconference. The design of it is quite unique; the programme being completely bespoke, tailored to attendees' interests, motivations and expertise.

I'll be shattered by the middle of November but I've no doubt that I'll be refueled, refreshed and energised by what promises to be a truly absorbing and engaging weekend of professional learning and, dare I say it, fun. Not quite a spa break, but for an education junkie, perhaps the intellectual equivalent. 

Thanks to @mrlockyer and @MissFindlater for the idea and organisation. I'm pleased to be part of the first cohort of this innovative venture.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

People not percentages

I've heard, on more occasion, that the moment a teacher starts to see their pupils as percentages they should leave the profession. I suspect that using that criterion on A Level or GCSE results day would lead to many schools being unable to staff the timetable in September and with the vast majority bereft of a leadership team. 

I, for one, spent the beginning of this week constructing a mental percentage scale, ranging from outrage through to disappointment, relief, joy, to sheer exultation on the basis of anticipated GCSE results. I also admit to having made decisions on intervention based on how many pupils will benefit and the likelihood of outcomes in percentage terms.

While I wholly agree that teaching is all about the nurturing of individual talent and not the progress of a cohort by external benchmarks, the harsh reality is that the success of a school in the current educational climate rests on a matter of digits. Yes, it's possible to foster a culture of care, educational enjoyment and innovation, but without the data to prove that your ethos and pedagogy delivers hard and fast results, there is the real and absolute fear of the 'must do better' stamp blemishing your school's reputation and potentially its revenue as 'consumers' flock to neighbouring gold-standard providers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against accountability measures. Any institution should be required to prove and evidence their worth, success and value in real terms. I'm just not comfortable with the limited, crude and faceless means by which these judgements occur.

The School's Data Dashboard is just one example. This readily accessible tool allows prospective parents, inspectors or any other interested parties to make a snap judgement about a school on the basis of a single year's GCSE results against national levels and in comparison with other 'similar schools'. It's a one dimensional view; one that gives no indication of the school's context, catchment or results history to be able to make an informed opinion. Clicking on the comparable schools for my own institution makes me wonder about the means by which schools were grouped together; using KS2 prior attainment may be a fair measure on which to compare pupil achievement but the lack of contextual indicators does make the picture quite limiting. We have an incredibly strong department that annually secures that best pass rates across the county and yet their quintile placing would suggest that achievement is substandard.

Furthermore, should the fact that as a school in Cambridgeshire we receive £600 less a year than the national average in basic funding per pupil, making us the worst funded county in the country, be included? If 'similar schools' in London, for instance, have thousands of pounds more per pupil, should this be reflected in the dashboard in a true Compare-the-Market-style value for money benchmark?

I guess the ultimate issue with quality assuring practice involving the academic achievement of pupils is that people are hard to compare. And that is why the system resorts to comparing quantifiable numbers and statistics. I don't have a problem with this if the method of awarding these numbers is fair and consistent.

The furore of last summer's exam results was well publicised with media saturation and court cases to fuel the fire of the injustice. Consoling English teacher colleagues who had worked tirelessly to support the cohort and were exasperated by a plummet in achievement was disheartening. However, all is relatively quiet this year. Aside from the brief mention of Gove's crackdown on standards, a fall in 'C' grades and tougher Science exams, most broadcasts and publications have reverted back to teenage-mid-drift-baring leaps of joy. Tomorrow's headlines will move onto more pressing political issues.

I, however, will continue to feel unease, a sense of injustice and a touch of guilt for the individual pupils who failed to achieve the all important 'C' grade. For some disappointed youngsters, it may have always been somewhat out of their academical grasp with caring teachers optimistically estimating that 'C' in the naive hope that a flurry of dedicated revision / private tutor / prevailing wind may be enough to secure it. For others, a lack of motivation, effort and commitment will have resulted in a fair and representative 'D' grade. However, there are a number of others for whom the phrase 'you get the grade that you deserve' doesn't ring true. 

It's those dedicated and hardworking youngsters who I know fit the exam board's specification 'C' grade descriptor, and whose controlled assessments and exam responses will have demonstrated the requisite level 2 skills, who have been cheated of their grade. The ones that needed that 'C' to be accepted onto their chosen course of study and are now having to renegotiate their place and re-sit their GCSE. The look of dismay and panic on those pupils' faces, while their peers rejoice with fluttering envelopes around them, stays with me.Why should their achievement and success be sacrificed for political goals? 

A recent article showed the average number of children that past or present Education Ministers to have had to be zero. I wonder whether this goes some way to explain the apparent lack of compassion and perspective in the regime for tougher standards. While having your own children should not be an essential requirement for the position, it would help. The thought of your own offspring suffering as a cause of educational reform adds another dimension to decision making, I would think. 

The current Catch 22 scenario in which schools are required to make progress to achieve Key Performance Indicators and appease inspectors while Ofqual are not allowing standards to rise is absurd. As is the notion that our standard of education is only going to get better if we deflate the achievement of C/D borderline pupils. There is something quite sadistic about setting out to squeeze the attainment of a specific group; like the sour-faced colleague who I'm sure we have all come across in our teaching careers who takes joy in being a 'harsh marker' rather than actually awarding the marks that pupils deserve. These people should not be allowed to toy with pupils' achievement and futures for the pursuit of personal agendas or ambitions.

Meanwhile the raft of dedicated and caring teaching professionals are desperate to secure progress for their pupils. Multiple re-sits and dual entries are indicators of the levels of desperation. It's not that these teachers and schools are attempting to cheat the system and I doubt that it's because they are truly trying to find an 'easy' way - the vast majority of us have integrity and just want an awarding process that is transparent, fair and equitable. 

Teachers have lost their faith, and their conviction. I know a number of very capable colleagues who no longer have any confidence in predicting a 'C' and who falter at awarding a Band 3 mark in fear of being inaccurate. Breeding this kind of anxiety and uncertainty is not healthy and does not benefit anyone, least of all pupils. 

While as a school we are celebrating record-breaking results and are extremely proud of the achievements of our pupils ('sheer exultation' on the scale, thankfully), I can't help but think of the individuals across the country who have been denied their deserved 'C' as a result of this Govian paradox of raising standards through cracking down on achievement. 

Educational policy needs to think about people more than percentages. 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Blogging dichotomies

Audience and purpose

As an English teacher I've noticed the concept of audience and purpose in regards to written text change dramatically over recent years. Existing notions of public vs. private, functional vs. creative have blended together in a post-modern flurry of online social media communication. The fact that GCSE English Language papers are increasingly asking pupils to write a blog entry is a sign of the times: blogging has become a part of functional English.

Rather than snub this development, I embrace it: it's an exciting evolution of language in which millions of people are publishing their ruminations, expertise and rants live for the world to read, engage with and respond to. However, while I've been happy to digest others' blogs and encourage my pupils to write their own entries with zeal, humour and interest, it's been a field that I have been cautious to enter. As with other forms of social media, I'm happier tracing others' activities and thoughts rather than deigning to clutter cyber space with my own news feed.

Online narcissism 

For me, the whole process of blogging feels rather indulgent. 

As a mum of two small children with a demanding day job (and with a teething baby, night job too) carving out time to craft my musings seems like a wasted opportunity. The time could be better spent attacking my to-do list or the washing up, catching up on sleep or talking to my husband. Do all of those bloggers out there have the same commitments, responsibilities and sense of guilt? Does my attitude reveal a short-term ism that I encourage colleagues to resist? 

I'm also acutely aware of the risk of appearing self-absorbed and arrogant, assuming that the rest of the world wide web would somehow be interested in my ruminations and social commentary; concerned that faceless readers may judge my posts to be vacuous, cliched or unsubstantiated. What has made me so bothered about others' views?

Guilt versus confidence

While I like to believe that I am a strong-minded and confident leader, the art of blogging feels somehow too brash and assertive. The blogs that I follow are littered with bold opinions and unequivocal stances on education policy and practice. My colleagues would vouch that I am far from shy when expressing my views at work, I've also published books and journal articles packed with personal opinion, so I'm curious as to why the act of blogging makes me feel so vulnerable. 

I'm sure that my position as a woman and my role as a full-time working parent has influenced my hesitation. The current tussle between whether to postpone this entry in favour of tidying the toys strewn around me; the ongoing inner conflict around investing time and energy into better educating other peoples' children instead of spending more time with my own; the day to day balancing act, at home and at work, between humility and conviction, discipline and compassion. 

Ultimately, the contradictions and challenges are what have encouraged me to embark, albeit tentatively, on my own blog. Not because I'm cocky enough to presume that other educational leaders will necessarily enjoy or benefit from my potentially anodyne posts, but because the reasons that I find it hard to blog are the ones that mean that I should give it a go. 

Shaping leadership

Blogging gives the time and space to digest, formulate and make sense of thoughts and ideas. This time is precious but essential for educational leaders. With the tirade of strategies and directives and an abundance of fabulous ideas and networking opportunities it's easily to become saturated by others' views and opinions. To lose sight of what you think and stand for. Yes, this could be a private pursuit but who knows, my humble contributions could be of some interest to others... 

My own leadership style has been enriched by the differing views and experiences that I have been exposed to and benefited from during my career to date; strong men and women have shaped me as a leader. 

The title of my blog is inspired by recent influences and comments that have helped me to reflect on the kind of school leader I am, and aspire to be, and the values that I hold dear. To me, 'Hearts and Minds' sums up the substance of education. In context, this phrase was recently used by a colleague to justify the importance of staff buying into a whole school initiative. To me, the idiom goes beyond rhetoric. Education is about inspiring, enriching and caring for the whole school community - staff and pupils. Tapping into motivations, thoughts and feelings and nurturing intellect is an essential quality for all successful leaders. 

Fusing contradictory leadership styles

Fluffy and formidable are adjectives that colleagues at my current school have used to describe my leadership style. While 'fluffy' would be seen as a pejorative term by the Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Devey school of leadership, it's a label that I'm proud of. With a male heavy senior leadership team, my relentless focus on staff morale, collegiality and well being has earned me the affectionate epithet. 

I was allegedly described as 'formidable' by a highly regarded and much-respected colleague. I'm hoping that she used it in reference to my power and rigour; in the 'inspiring awe, admiration and wonder' sense, rather than in reference to my ability to arouse fear, dread or alarm. Either way, the choice of description and the chosen title of my blog indicates opposing yet complementary aspects of my role as a senior leader, and the potential tension in attempting to achieve my ambition. 

While others out there may dispute the existence of emotional intelligence, I would argue that it forms that basis of what good leaders do. The ability to to perceive, understand, harness and manage emotions while driving forward a relentless vision for improvement. This is likely to be a theme of my blog. With responsibility for professional development and a passion for high quality collaborative CPD, hearts, minds and a bit of 'fluff' will no doubt feature. 

So there... my first blog entry is complete (and longer than anticipated). The wife and mother in me regrets the time that could have been spent clearing small-child-debris; the leader in me is proud for having the confidence to dip my toe into the world of educational blogging.