About

The trouble with schools is that they are amazing places, where phenomenal things can happen, but they are also messy, difficult beasts to wield. And everyone has an opinion as to how they should be run. Unfortunately, I’m no exception. With 30 years in the teaching profession, and over 20 of them in senior leadership positions (including 3 headships), I now want to stick my awe in as well.

I’m not apologetic for adding to the mix, I think I ought to share my opinions. a lot of what I’ve learned and experienced over the years has stood me in good stead. I try to keep my ideas fresh and really really have tried to avoid becoming a cynical, energy draining individual, even although there is (and I guess there always has been) lots to be cynical about. This blog then is not a forum to moan, instead, I want to offer possible solutions and hopefully stimulate some discussion along the way.

This sub-heading to this site is “An imposter’s guide to schools” Read my first blog if you want to know the reason for this title.

A bit about me

Apart from my first school in Hounslow, My experience has always been with schools in deprived areas. This wasn’t a conscious decision, but I’ve always enjoyed the camaraderie in these schools and so tended to stay in them. You really do feel you are making a difference and certainly gain a lot of job satisfaction. But my god there are hard times too and it’s so easy to make big mistakes. Perhaps I’ll cover some of these in these blogs

In my three headships I have taken on two schools which were closed due to underperformance and reopened as Academies and a school in Wales which was given the “worst inspection report ever written for a school in Wales” All three schools were amongst the lowest performing in the UK with the highest exclusion rates. Some of the successes are outlined below:

Bristol Brunel Academy became an OFSTED rated “Good” School with results above national expectations in terms of GCSE performance and attendance. The school also became oversubscribed.
Hans Price Academy also achieved a ‘Good’ OFSTED rating with ‘Outstanding’ for Leadership. Results also exceeded national expectations. 

Eastern High in Cardiff (my current school) is now out of Special Measures and is above expectations in terms of results.  The school is now oversubscribed.

In all three schools fixed term and permanent exclusions were reduced to almost zero (all three schools were previously among the highest excluding schools in the UK). 

In my last 4 schools (one as Vice Principal) I have been closely involved in the design and build of new school buildings giving me the opportunity to develop a real understanding of 21st Century learning environments. 

I believe in developing sustainable practices which not only ensures the future capacity of the school to continue to improve but which also develops young people with the skills, knowledge, confidence and aspiration to go on and flourish in life. 

My experience has been mainly in schools in deprived areas. In my three headships I have taken on two schools which were closed due to underperformance and reopened as Academies and a school in Wales which was given the “worst inspection report ever written for a school in Wales” All three schools were amongst the lowest performing in the UK with the highest exclusion rates. Some of the successes are outlined below:

Bristol Brunel Academy became an OFSTED rated “Good” School with results above national expectations in terms of GCSE performance and attendance. The school also became oversubscribed.
Hans Price Academy also achieved a ‘Good’ OFSTED rating with ‘Outstanding’ for Leadership. Results also exceeded national expectations. 

Eastern High in Cardiff (my current school) is now out of Special Measures and is above expectations in terms of results. 

In all three schools fixed term and permanent exclusions were reduced to almost zero (all three schools were previously among the highest excluding schools in the UK). 

In my last 4 schools (one as Vice Principal) I have been closely involved in the design and build of new school buildings giving me the opportunity to develop a real understanding of 21st Century learning environments. 

I believe in developing sustainable practices which not only ensures the future capacity of the school to continue to improve but which also develops young people with the skills, knowledge, confidence and aspiration to go on and flourish in life.