What works in education: How to be top

Our Chief Executive, Bernard McLeary pointed me towards an interesting article from The Economist magazine – ‘What works in education: the lessons according to McKinsey’ [Full text of report from McKinsey] It’s well worth a read. The findings are that the countries doing well by international standards (PISA) – Finland, Canada, Singapore, South Korea – all do some things in common. According to the consultancy outfit McKinsey they all do three things very well: 1. Get the best teachers 2. Get the best out of teachers 3. Step in.

Leadership Questions and Answers

After the sessions offering my ‘top tips’ on leadership to LTS staff (see previous post) I was asked some questions. I have tried to capture these with an outline of the answers I gave. Can you learn to be a leader or is something you are born with? Great question. I take a situational (and adaptive) view of leadership rather than one based on position or status. My daughters often provide leadership at home when it comes to deciding how we spend our time, our money or what we are going to eat. In the workplace leadership.

Scotland’s Culture Online

Saltire I am pleased to see another new area of the LTS Online Service going live with the launch of Scotland's Culture. This new body of resources around Scotland’s Culture provides a small but select collection of classroom resources to support, among other things, the celebration of St Andrew’s Day. Other resources include some information on the Scottish flag, The Satire, and a selection of other key cultural resources including links the National Museums and National Library. I hope they are useful and look forward to seeing how this area develops over the next couple.

Some Leadership Top Tips?

I was asked to speak to a group of LTS staff this week on the subject of leadership and identify some 'top tips' for aspiring leaders. Here is a adaptation of what I came up with as a starter for discussion:
  1. Be a lifelong learner - as soon as you think you know all the answers you can be sure you don't. Read as much as you can and widely as you can (not just 'how to' stuff but also the classics of literature because they are timeless and deeply rooted in the human condition).
  2. Know what you stand for - what.

Book: Revolutionary Wealth

Finished the Alvin and Heidi Toffler book Revolutionary Wealth last week - been meaning to read it for more than a year. Building on much of the ground prepared in their previous works Future Shock and Third Wave [First Wave was agricultural revolution, Second Wave industrial revolution and Third Wave is the knowledge revolution] these world reknowned futurists serve up another good old page turner. The basis premise of the book is that convential measures of the wealth system such as GDP ('grossly distorted product') or average wages only cover half (or less?) of the real economy. The.

A Day in Dundee

It's a lovely autumn morning here in Dundee and I have one of those rare days without any meetings in my diary. A day to catch-up with tasks, clear some clutter (paper and email), have a walk round the office to speak to colleagues and even have the luxury of blogging from the office rather than in the evening at home. It's been a mad couple of months since the summer.
  • Had a great visit to Singapore
  • Had a great SLF - maybe the best so far?
  • Made good progress on our Dundee office move (now know where, just need to find out when.

Scottish Learning Festival 2007

Started writing this on the train home to Dundee after a great couple of days at the Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow. Just getting around to publishing it this afternoon.

Some highlights of SLF for me were:

Michael Fullan’s keynote on the seven secrets of school improvement. I have always liked his work and the way he is able to draw on a wealth of experience from across the world, and in particular from his native Ontario, grounds his work in reality. The key message of his work is that sustainable improvement is not only possible but that there.


A Real Classic – Anna Karenina

A few entries ago I mentioned how much I had enjoyed reading Sebastian Faulkes’ ‘Birdsong’ but didn’t think it was a real classic. Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ is well worth a read and don’t be daunted by the 800+ pages as it’s written in bite sized chapters (just like Dickens) and the mulit-layered story flies along with great pace. It’s a story of life and death; love and betrayal; aspiration and disappointment; class and social status; philosophy and politics; culture and history; science and religion; and much more. The grand scale of this book is quite breathtaking and, in my opinion,.

Visit to Singapore 2

Singapore is really quite an amazing place. A small island, 275 square miles (half the size of Fife), 85 miles north of the equator with a population of 4.5m people. Despite having no natural resources, not even its own water supply, Singapore seems to have prospered largely on the resourcefulness of its people with some help from geography of course - its location between India and China. Today Singapore is the 18th wealthiest country in the world, based on per capita GDP, has a thriving economy and is the second biggest port in.

A Visit to Singapore 1

Just a week before the Scottish Learning Festival [which looks like it's going to be a great event again] I have had the opportunity to look beyond Scotland to see how we are doing. I am aproaching the end of a visit to the Ministry of Education in Singapore and which allowed me to see round some schools and also meet with the heads of the Singapore Future Schools programme. Singapore has followed a similar pattern to Scotland. The Singapore Government ICT Masterplan 1 ran from 1997-2002 with an emphasis on infrastructure and teacher skills - not too different from our own.