Docendo disco, scribendo cogito I learn by teaching, think by writing
Welcome to my blog. What you will find here are my thoughts, ramblings and reflections based on almost two decades of headship up and down the country.
My leadership journey began in Liverpool before heading south to London and then back up north again but this time only as far as the West Midlands. I am the Chief Executive of Victoria Academies, an expanding multi academy trust that we created in 2014. The trust currently runs six primary schools and a SCITT teacher training centre (Central England Teacher Training).
Our mission is to make people become the best they can be and we do this by creating pioneering standout schools. As a trust, our core purpose is to transform the schools that we sponsor into world class centres of excellence (or at least that’s what we try to do). We have a set of core values that drive all that we do, inspired by the Roman deity, Fides, which means ‘to trust’ (as in confide and bona fide).
Until 2017 I was for 11 years the Headteacher of Victoria Park Academy, which I had the pleasure of leading from special measures to outstanding in exactly one thousand days. Victoria Park Academy has been shortlisted for several TES awards including School of the Year and is the lead school and sponsor in the trust.
Prior to this, I was the Headteacher in East London of one of the largest primary schools in the country with almost one thousand pupils, a school that I also led to outstanding. My passions include creativity, social enterprise and the role innovation can play in transforming schools and their community (check out our national award-winning social enterprise and CIC Ballot Street).
I am also a trustee of a MAT in Shropshire, a National Leader of Education, an ex-Ofsted inspector (long story) and Fellow of the RSA. I also chair the board of the West Midlands Arts Council bridge organisation (Arts Connect). I’ve been fortunate to deliver leadership keynotes at a number of conferences throughout the world inluding as far afield as Sydney, Australia. I have also written articles for The Guardian and TES.
I live with my family down a muddy lane in south Shropshire. When not at work I spend my days as a riparian landowner doing battle with nature trying to tame six acres of farmland. I seldom win.
In 2016 my debut book, ‘The Art of Standing Out: School Transformation to Greatness and Beyond’, was published by John Catt Education and is available from Amazon and the John Catt Bookshop.