Blog

People: From Tony Mowbray to John Collins

John CollinsI was very sad to see Tony Mowbray leave Hibs. To my mind he has been the best manager that Hibs have had for a long time, maybe since Eddie Turnbull. Hibs fans want to see great attacking football and for two and a half years that's exactly what we got. Mowbray will do really well with WBA and should one day be managing one of the top teams in England. John Collins was the Hibees best player in the 80s (even better than George Best) and the first £1m Scottish transfer when he joined Celtic..
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Movie: The Departed

Managed to escape to the pictures recently to see The Departed. Warner Bros promote the movie with 'Cop or criminal? What's the difference if you're facing a loaded gun.' Really great acting by Nicholson, Damon and Di Caprio. Back to Scorcese at his very best. If you can cope with the extreme violence then you will really appreciate the filming, the script, the setting and the score. Also one to see at the cinema rather than on DVD (unless you have a really big telly!). Is Di Caprio as good as the De Nero of Taxi Driver or.
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Book: Good to Great and the Social Sectors

The managment and leadership literature often presents a real the challenge to the public sector reader. You often have to plough through assertions about the primacy of the profit motive, increasing shareholder value and the assumption that the prime motivator for staff is 'financial compensation'. When the public sector gets a mention there is often a strong implication the quality of management and leadership is inferior to that in the private sector. I can tell you how delighted I was to read Jim Collins' latest monograph on 'Good to Great and the Social Sectors'. 'Good to Great'.
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Event: NESTA – Making Innovation Flourish … Reflections

A very worthwhile event and a great use of my time. I spend too much time in the Dundee-Glasgow-Edinburgh triangle and this was a superb opportunity to take a look at strategic developments in the UK and beyond. We already know that we need to get better at fostering innovation and creativity in our schools and I took a lot away from my day in London. Highlights Tessa Jowell, DCMS Education is fundamental to our future success. Creative industries are crucial. High margin, high value, high skill industries to be fostered; low margin, low value, low skill will be increasingly moved offshore. Esko.
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Event: NESTA – Making Innovation Flourish

On the early train to Glasgow this morning (0636 from Broughty Ferry) but flying down to London this evening to attend a conference on Tuesday organised by NESTA. The event is called Making Innovation Flourish. The programme interesting with sessions looking at both the wider context of innovation (global economic trends) and the necessary preconditions (skills, attitudes, funding etc). Speakers include a former Prime Minister and President of Finland and Rt Hon Tessa Jowell from the DCMS. Some of the questions being asked are ‘If the UK is so bad at innovation, Why are we so rich?' (are we so rich?),.
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School Visits

I had a really good day last Thursday visiting two schools just north of Dundee: Webster's High School, Kirriemuir in Angus and Blairgowrie High in Perth and Kinross. I spent the morning with Eric Summers, headteacher of Webster's High and a group of his staff including Anne Collins, Bob Pond and Peter Flood. We had a wide ranging discussion covering everything from Glow and Curriculum for Excellence to the implications of Howard Gardner's latest work for the teaching of content. The school is very much a Burgh school with very strong links into a community that includes.
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A Day in My Life

0530 Alarm goes off. Not travelling to Glasgow today so can sleep a little longer. 0615 Shower, breakfast then clear kitchen for builders to knock wall down. 0820 Amy to school with cello. 0845 Julie to school, Moira to the MS centre & then buy special light bulbs for the bathroom on the way to work. 0915 Parking at the office is a nightmare. Work all morning in our Dundee office. Catch-up with staff, email blitz, phonecalls, paperwork and work on strategy documentation. Meeting with media education group to discuss connections with Curriculum for Excellence More email and phonecalls. Discussions around corporate blogging policy [more of this later]..
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Book: Freakonomics

FrFreakonomics by Stephen D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner (borrowed from Emma Walsh, Technical Development Manager at LTS). Levitt is an economist and Dubner is a journalist. Levitt specialises in asking off the wall questions and then exploring the data to see what patterns emerge and then seeking interpreations, correlations etc. The book is presented as a challenge to ‘conventional wisdom’ [more on this concept developed by J K Galbriath later] and although I am not convinced by all of Levitt’s conclusions the book is well written, easy to access, good fun and well.
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Accountability in the Public Sector

I have been following Don Ledingham's blog over the past couple of weeks as he explores the concept of accountability. Well worth a read (see link on the right hand nav). I commented this evening and want to explore this theme further myself over the next few weeks. My comment was: 'Enjoying your in depth exploration of the concept of accountability. When I was doing my MEd Prof Ruth Jonathan at Edinburgh Uni considered the concept of accountability under the headings: 'To whom?', 'For what?' and 'How is the account rendered?'. In education the 'to whom' is inherently complex - the learners, society,.
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Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird

tkmbI don’t get out very often enough to the pictures and I really enjoy watching movies at home. Recently I watched one of my favourites, the 1962 adapatation of Harper's Lee Pulitzer Prize winning novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ with Gregory Peck in the Oscar winning role as the lawyer Atticus Finch. Great story and a fantastic portrait of the US of the 1930s with a strong message that still has a resonance today (the definition of a classic?). To paraphrase Atticus Finch you never really know someone until.
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