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.
Please don’t mistaken the name of my site as being indicative of my misguided perceptions. I am far from exact. It simply comes from a quote I once saw in the Great Hall of the US Library of Congress by Sir Francis Bacon and I rather like it. So much so that I even bought a bookmark with it on. It comes from an essay called ‘Of Studies’:
“Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
It is only by writing that I find myself best-placed to be able to achieve a sense of exactness in my thoughts and understanding of what goes on around me. It helps me make sense of the world. I think by writing.
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 eight primary schools and a SCITT teacher training centre (Central England Teacher Training).
Until recently, 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, in my second headship, I was 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 including 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.