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Bren's Blog - June 2017

full stopTime to pause. Full stop.

I recently received a full stop in the post. That has never happened to me before, and I guess would be unusual, to say the least, for the majority of folk. Imagine - a single, solitary full stop, sent in the post. I knew it was coming, and I was actually quite excited about it. Carefully packaged, I opened the envelope with care, and with a smile, drew the full stop from the brown card package, boldly stamped "Do Not Bend." I'm sure this must all sound a bit weird, but of course, you don't know the context of that full stop. And context is everything. More on that later then…

 

So, why even mention a full stop here? Well, twice I have written this month's blog over the last couple of weeks, and this is my third attempt. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve re-written this third attempt many, many times over. My reasons stem from the changes to our small corner of the world, first with Manchester, and now with London. I’ve needed more than a comma to pause – I’ve needed a full stop, and, to be honest, a lengthy silence to take stock and count my own blessings.

 

You will have seen from my earlier blogs this year, the theme I have been following is one of developing and celebrating excellence. You will also understand then, that the context in which I’m now writing has very much been influenced by the recent horrific events. So, without doubt, I needed to pause, reflect and rationalise my response.

 

class

So, this month, I am choosing to focus on the excellence of the amazing team I have the privilege to be working with. I have recently been undertaking some internal QA of their work, including observing lessons they are teaching, joining courses they are delivering and sitting in on 1:1 consultancies with leaders in schools. I have been nothing but impressed by their professionalism and dedication, and I know from the evaluations and repeat bookings from schools, that they too echo my sentiments. Day in, day out, the team are with teachers and school leaders, helping to raise standards in teaching and learning opportunities, and using technologies to maximise positive effects on pupil outcomes. They are experts too with online safety, data protection and strategic development of technology. In essence, the team are helping schools prepare the adults of tomorrow, as creative and efficient users of technology, and at the same time nurturing digital resilience. Yes, digital resilience – surviving in a digital world where our mistakes in that environment can be far reaching, not just for ourselves but for our friends, our family, our work place and our credibility. Their work is truly both of an excellent calibre and of worthy cause, and my hat is lifted to them. I know, first hand, that they are doing their bit to help, in some small way, shape the adults of tomorrow to be appropriately equipped in this unpredictable world. Thank you all.

 

So, back to my full stop then, and the context I promised to share. One of my hobbies had resulted in creating some signage commissioned for a classic car I have, to be used in a forthcoming event. The sign was based upon a sentence which had been split with the use of full stops to infer continuation. I was appalled therefore that when I received the signage that three full stops between words had been reduced to two. Not only that, a gap exactly the right size to put the middle full stop had been left. My teaching background kicked in, and so I demanded the full stop be sent to me as soon as possible. To have left it out just didn’t make sense…but it did give me a moment to pause and think. Full stop.

 

Please get in touch with me, Bren Taylor (bren.taylor@servicebirmingham.co.uk) with your ideas – I’d love to talk with you.

 

This blog post is available via www.link2ict.org/brensblog or the June 2017 edition of School News. Click the button below if you want to see the rest of the newsletter.

schoolnews jun2017

 

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Bren's Blog - May 2017

Investing in excellence – not letting wisdom get in the way of decision making

by Bren Taylor, Senior Education Advisor.

 

It was all going so well – slides prepared, throat lubricated, ready to stand up and share my missive with the massive.

Or something like that. Anyway, it didn’t happen. If I thought they were out to get me, I would think it was deliberate, but actually, it was pragmatics that got in the way. So here I’m going to try to sum up what I was going to say at the Link2ICT conference a few weeks ago.

If the press are to be believed, and if what I see in schools and hear from headteachers and senior leaders is the truth (none of this fake news stuff), then the financial pressures on our education system are increasing exponentially and pretty soon every school in the land will either be in debt or unrecognisable from what they are in a few years. Really hard decisions are being taken that ultimately affect the very thing that schools are charged to do and measured upon - summed up perhaps, in two phrases – keeping children safe and raising attainment.

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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 outstanding...is 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.

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