This much I know about…the inequality bred by the educational divide


Before you read my post, click below to have a peek at a cartoon that illustrates the cumulative effect of privilege…


Joyce Bell’s letter in the Guardian this week reminded me of my speech two years ago at the Oxford Union when I was asked to speak in support of the motion, “This House Believes That Private Schools Do More Harm Than Good”.

The impact of private schools is very similar to the impact of grammar schools. What I said in that most famous of debating chambers resonates loudly this week…


In June 2014 my argument was crafted to support the motion provocativelywhat better place that the Oxford Union to challenge the nation’s ruling classes?

The Oxford Union Debate, 12 June 2014

This House Believes That Private Schools Do More Harm Than Good

Thank you Mr President for inviting me to debate an issue that is very close to my…

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2014 New Year’s Professional Resolutions

So, it is 1st January, customary for us all to think about the forthcoming year and set resolutions to achieve.

Here are my 5 professional resolutions for 2014.

1. To keep a blog

This is all very new to me. As is typical of my personality, I have done a bit of research, thought things through, read various pieces of advice from other bloggers about the ‘dos & don’ts’ of educational blogging and am now ready to embark on my first blog. This is it (& truth be told, I’m a bit nervous about it).

So why am I doing this? This blog is for me to talk to myself  …. which I understand kind of goes against the idea of having a blog, but this is how I see it.

Good teachers reflect on their professional performance. Many teachers rarely make the time and space to do this because other parts of their job get in the way. By keeping a blog (maybe once a month? let’s see how it goes) I hope to encourage myself to properly reflect on my professional practice and refine my ideas and improve my performance. If no-one else reads this blog, that’s OK.

2. To complete my MA

I started it in September 2007 …. It has been a long, arduous and fragmented process. At times, it has been downright tedious, at others it has been enlightening. But it will not beat me. I am at the final hurdle, I just need to write the final dissertation and it’s done.  Why am I doing it? Because I have improved my leadership as a result of engaging in literary research. Because I have learnt a lot through the professional conversations I have had with my colleagues about effective CPD. And because I am someone who finishes what I started.

3. To develop better professional relationships

Partly as a by-product of my MA research and development of my role as a senior leader, I have finally truly understood the importance of professional relationships.  I need to remember the influence that I have, the impact of positive words and actions in empowering my colleagues and how much they support me when things aren’t quite going to plan. In short, I want to increase my empathy and humility to strengthen my professional relationships.

4. To read more widely

Education moves quickly. Sometimes I am not as up to speed as I should be on educational issues. The blogs and tweets I have read over the last few months have been instrumental in helping me to keep abreast of what is going on, seek out additional knowledge from a variety of sources and ensure that I have informed opinions about current policies and pedagogy.  I will also read more books about educational leadership; having recently read “Start with WHY” by Simon Sinek (2011) it has inspired me to find out more about the way in which others have been successful leaders.

5. To continue to prioritise

I nearly entitled my final resolution “To improve my work-life balance” but this would be a misnomer as I believe that I manage my work-life balance appropriately. (On occasions, I am not sure my family agrees). I enjoy my job immensely but do spend a lot of time doing or thinking about it (the irony of me writing this on a Bank Holiday has not escaped me …) As a result, I need to make sure that I set aside activities which are not work-related and that are entirely me and/or family focussed.

As my children get older and more independent, this becomes more difficult as they have their own plans which don’t always involve or interest me.  But ultimately, my family always has and always will be my priority and I must never lose sight of this.

So these are my professional resolutions for 2014, in addition to the usual goals of getting slimmer, fitter, healthier, richer, happier etc

When I look back at this first blog, it will be interesting to see how many of them I have achieved!