New for 2017

Two terms A year into the role of Headteacher, I have learnt more than I had expected. It is a real privilege to have responsibility for a school, it’s staff and students (equal first). I write to help me think and to keep a record. I help think through and reflect back on the relative successes of my decisions.

As for the background murmuration image. Leadership theory and practice continues to fascinate me, none more so than Complexity or Complex Adaptive Theory. For that, I hold Kev Bartle (@kevbartle) wholeheartedly accountable following his recommendation of Birth Chaordic Age Dee Hock.

Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, employ good people, and free them to do the same. All else is trivia. – Dee Hock

This interest has led to an invitation to ‘Encountering Complexity in School Leadership – with Canons Park TSA and University of Hertfordshire Business School. A programme that explores the complexity of human interaction within an education. New for 2017 is Cultures of Thinking, which is will be my leadership project for at least the next 18 months.


Learning Outcomes

Look, there are numerous reflective educators out there with an opinion on the importance of, and use of learning outcomes/aims/objectives. These range from dismissive to advocacy. For the record, I do think that clearly defined destinations promote students engagement, as much as ambigious destinations hamper it. I also think that “modelled work” and “success criteria” …

Stumbling to success

Winston Churchill once said ‘success is stumbling from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.’ If you are not prepared to risk failure, and not resilient enough to cope with it, you will not achieve success” Jill Berry c/o Caroline Spalding

Cultural capital

A new line for leadership enquiry – how school leaders develop cultural capital, through promoting Character Education, values and virtues within a school to staff, students and parents. At my current school, we have a passport style approach which is very popular and driving a range of social and academic skills.

More than happy to discuss why building cultural capital is important and models of practice.


I am continuing my work and interest in Question Level Analysis (QLA) or “gap analysis” using Peter Atherton’s (@dataeducator) excellent Exam Feedback Tool #EFT and more recently with Austin Booth and Flexassessment.

Question level analysis (QLA) explores and presents the analysis of student’s responses to individual questions; typically against that of the mean of the cohort. From which strengths and areas for improvement can be prioritised. Targets can now be intelligentily generated automatically with personalised pupil feedback sheets. Following extenstive trials, in various curriculum areas, we started to explore how the #EFT could be used to investigate class level analysis and teacher effectiveness and to assess the impact of remedial interventions.

QLA dovetails with my interest in the design and use of diagnostic or multiple choice questions (MCQs) and my ambassadorial work with exciting assessment tool QuickKey.

I am also interested in “assessment” as a learning opportunity.


Staff performance

Each year I research and tackle an education issue to refine and broaden my thinking. Back in 2014, I started investigating the negative consequences of graded lesson observations as a contributing measure to Performance Related Pay (PRP) and Performance Management (PM). The investigation is now focused on the poorly evidenced impact of PRP on student outcomes.