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Episode 158: To Sleep Perchance to Pass?

sleep2Could having an extra hour in bed improve your GCSE results?

Tonight we discuss this story as reported here. We also talk about the benefits and pitfalls of school placement, how some parents views have affected the decision to allow a boy from Sierra Leone to visit a school in Stockport (find more information here) and the struggles a Headteacher faced over anti-homophobic messages in the curriculum(find more information here).



We welcome back our erstwhile colleague, and founder podcaster Jay Helbert who updated us on his journey with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership. Jay is currently undertaking SCEL’s inaugural fellowship programme, and as part of this has been undertaking a project investigating developing leadership beyond authority.




I have been looking into some of the skills and qualities that make a high performing leader and how these skills are relevant to high performing class teachers. In this podcast, I have identified 8 areas that help make teachers and school principals successful leaders. I have drawn on the work of Prof. Clive Dimmock, Alma Harris, Daniel Goleman and others. Clive’s latest book, ‘Leadership, Capacity Building and School Improvement’ and Alma’s latest book, ‘Uplifting Leadership: How organizations, Teams and Communities Raise Performance’ are both fascinating reads. Daniel Goleman contributes to the fantastic ‘More Than Sound’ Podcast series on emotional intelligence and leadership.


My thoughts on this are still developing, but the 8 ideas I have identified so far are that high performing leaders at classroom and school level:


  1. Draw upon a variety of leadership styles and chose the one that suits the situation at any given time.


  1. Are resilient in the face of success and failure and are self-compassionate – Dr Kristin Neff’s outstanding TED Talk is here.


  1. Have a strong sense of moral purpose to draw upon.


  1. Draw upon research to inform change and improvement – Scottish Teachers can access a wide range of research by signing in to My GTCS.


  1. Are emotionally intelligent; they can recognise their own, and others’ feelings and then act in the way that best results in a desired outcome.


  1. Makes best use of synergies; they use effective collaborative approaches to ensure that teams achieve more than their constituent parts would be individually capable of.


  1. Develops leadership skills and potential in those around them for the benefit of the individuals and of the wider organisation.


  1. Has a secure knowledge, and the ability to access further knowledge of issues pertinent to the student’s, class’ or school’s success.


  1. (not mentioned on the podcast) Can make use of tacit knowledge and experience to ensure success.

Episode 157: Welsh Farrago

4429459We are delighted to welcome back the campaigning Bill Boyd as the three musketeers return to the digital highway, cutting a swathe through education news items.

A discussion on inspection, accountability and support sparked by Education Scotland: Education inspection and review consultation underway, link here

What does the growth of the Khan academy signify? “The Educators”, BBC Radio 4, Sarah Montague “interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education”, link here  Latest programme interviews Salman Khan, Khan Academy site here

“Don’t Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything” Kio Stark

Steve muses on something he said last week that this story gives him pause to reconsider:  “The school with no rules that teaches the unteachable” Guardian story by Sally Weale, link here

thShould we be in this game at all or is it just a farrago? – “Pisa education ranking goal target is scrapped” BBC story, link here

Episode 156: Sweet streams are made of this

streamwithflowingalgae.19159ee99722392be22d021cd3a31cde194Tonight Matthew and Steve chat post-referendum and discuss some current education topics:

“Low-level classroom disruption hits learning, Ofsted warns” story from Katherine Sellgren BBC News education reporter, Link here,


“Heads reject Ofsted’s poor classroom behaviour claims” Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent link here


“Streaming ‘widens rich-poor achievement gap'” story from Hannah Richardson BBC News education reporter, link here and who are we to disagree?

“Google reveals most searched-for universities”  Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent, link here

and finally, in case you were missing our Gove stories: Sara Cassidy writes in the Independent ‘Hove vs Gove’ campaign victory: Parents derail ‘academies bandwagon’, link here






Episode 155: Schleicher liker

image15Matthew, Gillian and Steve chat about education news as nerves are jangling and we all think: bring on tomorrow!

Amongst the chat we get round to stories about:

“Teachers face shambles over school places” Andrew Denholm, Education Correspondent, The Herald, link here

“Longer school days will help learning crisis in white working class children, DfE says” Independent story, link here

Commons Education Select Committee report  link here

What makes a global top 10 university? By Sean Coughlan, BBC, link here

Episode 154: More Bragg then Elgar

We end tonight’s programme musing about the implications of the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum for education, and thinking back to Mike Russell’s guest appearance on this podcast.

Before that we discuss the following education news:

“Bigger classes for budget efficiency” article by Sean Coughlan, BBC News Education Correspondent, link  Based on a report commissioned by GEMS eduction consultancy link here

OECD annual “Education at a Glance” report link here  “UK shifts to graduate economy, but worry over skills gap” by Sean Coughlan, link here

Have we been here before, have we learnt nothing?:  “Wanted: 100 heads for England’s most challenging schools”, by Judith Burns, BBC Link here

We speculate, not always with great insight but with interest, on what lies behind this poll (surely not an academic’s musical tastes?): “Scotland’s academics leaning towards no vote, survey reveals” link here

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