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Bren's Blog - April 2017

The journey to excellence never ends...

by Bren Taylor, Senior Education Advisor.


We've recently had the great privilege to celebrate the fantastic achievements of Our Lady's Catholic Primary School. Perhaps you were at the recent Link2ICT conference and were there to witness the handing over of the prestigious Paul Shoesmith Award for innovation in technology. You will have seen in the November newsletter what they have done to get our vote this time.

How tremendous then that we now see this school reaching out to others to help them in their mission, as well as continuing to seek to improve themselves through partnerships with those that seek to make a real difference. The challenge, in Ofsted terms, to move from good to outstanding, to move from outstanding to maintaining just that - continuous movement, building on great foundations but always seeking to do better. Great schools and great leaders don't stand still. They will also take a moment to pause - and reflect - but that, in itself, is part of a continued successful journey.

paul walmsleyWe welcomed too, the Birmingham Catholic Primary Partnership at the Link2ICT conference, on the day of a "significant" birthday for its Director, Paul Walmsley. I had the privilege of being the LA lead with a group of teachers who went to Chicago as part of a British Council visit at the turn of the Millennium. At the same time, Paul, as Director of BCPP, took a group of heads and teachers from Catholic primary schools, and so we worked together to plan and make the trip as successful as it could be. We struck up a good friendship, and one that has built upon the time in the airport bar to using those closer to home together. He is a man passionate to provide the very best for all youngsters in the schools he serves, something no doubt born from his days as one of the youngest headteachers in the city. His commitment to finding the very best CPD for his schools is born out with 96% of the schools BCPP serves, being good or outstanding.

Leading a partnership through years of unprecedented changes to the education landscape, and where the pace of those changes continue to build steam, requires qualities of leadership that ensure moral purpose is not lost, where unity prevails, and a humble dignity is maintained at all times. Paul has done just that, and continues to do so, with a sense of duty and calling that is unrelenting. Like Mary Johnson, headteacher of Our Lady's, Paul demonstrates on a daily basis, the living of a journey of excellence.


Please get in touch with me, Bren Taylor ( with your ideas – I’d love to talk with you.



 This blog post is available via or the April 2017 edition of School News. Click the button below if you want to see the rest of the newsletter.

schoolnews apr2017

Bren's Blog - March 2017

Nurturing excellence

by Bren Taylor, Senior Education Advisor.


Well, we didn’t win outright but we’ve done the right thing, haven’t we? See We were of course, delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious BETT Awards. Not only were we in great company, but also thrilled that some of our partners, whose products and services we believe make a very real and positive difference to the schools we work with, had also been shortlisted and indeed are winners themselves. You can see them here.

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Bren's Blog - February 2017

What about a train party?

by Bren Taylor, Senior Education Advisor.

I recently had the greatest of pleasures catching up with Elaine LeGros, headteacher at Rednal Hill Infant School, with whom I started my full-time teaching career. I won’t say how long ago that was – not for my sake, but rather hers! Prior to meeting again, we reminisced via email about our time together in a school that we agreed provided the greatest of starts to our careers in education. It was a school where every child mattered…before “Every Child Matters” even came into existence. It was a school where the openness amongst staff and the willingness to challenge in a supportive, constructive manner, are lessons learned that I hope I have carried through the rest of my career. Being able to have a laugh at myself was one other value firmly imprinted in my time there – and yes, thank you Elaine for pushing me fully clothed into the pool at an end of term swimming lesson for our classes! To be fair to Elaine, we had pre-planned this…and I therefore had a change of clothes with me. 

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