Sunday, 22 April 2018

Equality & Diversity in Film

According to BBC analysis, Hollywood is failing women when it comes to representing gender on screen.

Did you know that fewer than half of the 89 films named best picture at the Oscars have passed a common measure of on-screen female representation known as the Bechdel Test.

A movie passes the Bechdel Test if: 
  • there are at least two named female characters 
  • that they have a conversation with one another about something other than a man.
This conversation needs to happen just once for it to pass.

The research also shows that a greater percentage of best picture winners passed the Bechdel test in the 1930s compared to the current decade.

Recent winners such as Moonlight, Gladiator and Slumdog Millionaire all fail the test, along with two of this year's best picture nominees, teams from BBC 100 Women and More or Less have found.

Darkest Hour fulfils the requirement to have two named female characters but at no point in the film do women have a conversation with each other about something other than a man.

Dunkirk, set during World War Two, doesn't have any named female characters.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Improvement Facilitator Training

We were delighted to welcome Maggie Farrar (from Educational Development Trust) to Mead Primary as we continued our journey with implementing a Peer Review process in Havering. Over 10 schools were represented with 16 Improvement Facilitators benefitting from the training.

Improvement Facilitators are key in helping schools unpick the findings of their Peer Review and creating their own action plan to support the cycle of school led continuous improvement.

A really insightful session. I now feel much more prepared to take on leading the workshops.

The toolkits are very straightforward. I can see that you would quickly become confident at applying them in different contexts.

I left feeling really inspired and can't wait to lead my first workshop!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Mistakes Leaders Make That Cause Good Teachers To Quit:

Sometimes there are some simple things that leadership teams could tweak to help with staff retention.

1. Showing favouritism.
We know too well about school politics. It’s really sad when teachers can tell who will be getting the next promotion because of their close relationship with the leader responsible for interviewing. Favouring - or being perceived to favour - certain staff for promotions and assignments is a sure way to damage team morale. This perception destroys team spirit and undermines engagement.

2. Leaders are quick to blame.
A bad boss assumes the worst. Throwing employees under the bus rather than standing up for your team in distressing moments is a sure way to lose points. Everyone is looking to you in moments like these. As the leader, why not act with dignity and advocate for your team? If you want to build loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty. When you blame employees, it destroys your credibility and leads to a culture of distrust. Good bosses don’t dwell on mistakes made by others, hold grudges or point fingers. They take responsibility and focus on solving problems.

3. They don’t show they care. 
A bad boss treats workers like they’re interchangeable. Employees want to work for someone who treats them like a person. They have emotions and personal lives. If you care about employees, you will not continuously push them to work long hours or contact them after hours. Taking a healthy interest in your employees' lives is the first step in relationship building. It starts with supporting work/life balance. Show that you sincerely care about their well being. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If a staff member is dealing with personal issues as illness or bereavement show empathy instead of solely focusing on when they will be back out to work.

“Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can't be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” 
- Richard Branson

4. Leaders don't recognise accomplishments. 
No one likes to feel ignored or like their efforts are taken for granted. As Dale Carnegie stated,

"People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards." 

Appreciate employees, show them how much you value their efforts. It does not have to be always about monetary rewards. But simple things as "Thank You" and "Well done" goes a long way. Bad bosses make work drudgery and it's always onward to the next task. Employees spend over half of their lives at work. Create a fun atmosphere where you celebrate successes and bring people together.

5. They have no interest in employees' development.
One of the top reasons employees leave a company is the lack of development opportunities. Employees can interpret an employer’s unwillingness to invest in training as a disregard for their professional development. Acknowledge and encourage strengths, recognize the different skills employees possess and recommend them for opportunities. Subsequently, if a team member has informed you they want to move to another department support their wishes, don’t be an obstacle to them.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

What Makes Great Teaching?

Thank you to @LeadingLearner for pulling all these together.

What Makes Great Teaching – Review of the Underpinning Research by Coe et al
This would be my starter paper for discussion. It grounds you in what great teaching might be and how teachers can become great or at least much better. It looks at six components of great teaching referencing both Rosenshine & Dunlosky (see below). It needs a whole school focus.

1. What Makes Great Teaching – Coe et al via Sutton Trust

Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine
This was Mark Esner’s suggested paper; I agree, one of the top 5. It’s an interesting and detailed paper. The paper is built around principles rather than specific practices. Each principle has a useful “Research Findings” and “In the Classroom” section. It’s one for classroom practitioners.

2. Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine

Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller
Arguably the most important theory for teachers to know, Dylan Wiliam certainly thinks so. The paper discusses the processing (short term memory) and storage (long term memory) of information. “If memory is the residue of thought” (Willingham) and remembering is a good thing; it is the basis for further learning as well as guiding current actions, then teachers need to take account of how to maximise this in their teaching. There are five recommendations for the classroom which are rooted in cognitive load theory.

3. Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller via CESE

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology – Dunlosky et al

The paper provides a review of the ten learning techniques; each one is set out using the same format: a description of the technique and why it is expected to improve student learning; an exploration of its “generalizability” in different contexts; links to any research and any identified issues with implementation.

4. Improving Students’ Learning – Dunlosky et al

Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust
If we want great teaching and learning in the classroom then we need great professional development in the staff room first and foremost. Too much professional development is quite literally a waste of time. Substantial effective professional development of teachers is a precursor of effective implementation and supporter of significant improvements in pupil outcomes. Eight key elements of effective professional development are explained within this paper.

5. Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Habits of Mentally Strong People

Despite West Point Military Academy’s rigorous selection process, one in five students drop out by graduation day. A sizeable number leave the summer before freshman year, when cadets go through a rigorous program called “Beast.” Beast consists of extreme physical, mental, and social challenges that are designed to test candidates’ perseverance.

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth conducted a study in which she sought to determine which cadets would make it through the Beast program. The rigorous interviews and testing that cadets went through to get into West Point in the first place told Angela that IQ and talent weren’t the deciding factors.

So, Angela developed her own test to determine which cadets had the mental strength to conquer the Beast. She called it the “Grit Scale,” and it was a highly accurate predictor of cadet success. The Grit Scale measures mental strength, which is that unique combination of passion, tenacity, and stamina that enables you to stick with your goals until they become a reality.

To increase your mental strength, you simply need to change your outlook. When hard times hit, people with mental strength suffer just as much as everyone else. The difference is that they understand that life’s challenging moments offer valuable lessons. In the end, it’s these tough lessons that build the strength you need to succeed.

Developing mental strength is all about habitually doing the things that no one else is willing to do. If you aren’t doing the following things on a regular basis, you should be, for these are the habits that mentally strong people rely on.

You have to fight when you already feel defeated. A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in the workplace. 

You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through a challenge, the strength begins to grow in you.

1. Delay gratification. 
There was a famous Stanford experiment in which an administrator left a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes. Before leaving, the experimenter told the child that she was welcome to eat it, but if she waited until he returned without eating it, she would get a second marshmallow. The children that were able to wait until the experimenter returned experienced better outcomes in life, including higher SAT scores, greater career success, and even lower body mass indexes. 

The point is that delay of gratification and patience are essential to success. People with mental strength know that results only materialize when you put in the time and forego instant gratification.

2. Make mistakes, and try again.
In a study at the College of William and Mary, researchers interviewed over 800 entrepreneurs and found that the most successful among them tend to have two critical things in common: they’re terrible at imagining failure and they tend not to care what other people think of them. 

In other words, the most successful entrepreneurs put no time or energy into stressing about their failures as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals.

3. Keep your emotions in check. 
Negative emotions challenge your mental strength every step of the way. While it’s impossible not to feel your emotions, it’s completely under your power to manage them effectively and to keep yourself in control of them. When you let your emotions overtake your ability to think clearly, it’s easy to lose your resolve. A bad mood can make you lash out or stray from your chosen direction just as easily as a good mood can make you overconfident and impulsive.

4. Lead when no one else follows. 
It’s easy to set a direction and to believe in yourself when you have support, but the true test of strength is how well you maintain your resolve when nobody else believes in what you’re doing. People with mental strength believe in themselves no matter what, and they stay the course until they win people over to their ways of thinking.

5. Be kind to people who are rude to you. 
When people treat you poorly, it’s tempting to stoop to their level and return the favor. People with mental strength don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either. Instead, they treat rude and cruel people with the same kindness they extend to everyone else, because they don’t allow another person’s negativity to bring them down.

Mental strength is as rare as it is important. The good news is that any of us can get stronger with a little extra focus and effort.

Read the full article here:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Alan Peat Training

We were delighted to welcome Alan Peat to the Havering Primary Teaching School Alliance last term. The afternoon session focused on practical ways to develop Greater Depth in Writing across KS2.

  • 100% of delegates agreed that they had a clearer understanding of how to develop a collegiate writing approach.
  • 76% of delegates strongly agreed that the session had introduced new, simple strategies to improve writing
An inspiring session that simplified what has been a really daunting task. We have struggled to improve outcomes, but the collegiate approach is what we have been missing.

Practical, fun and packed with ideas we can implement straight away! Thank you.

If you'd like support from our English SLEs, please contact our Teaching School Director:
Joanne Stanley

OLP Leadership Survey

We have received many responses to our first annual school leadership challenges survey. There is still time to contribute though!

Supported by Best Practice Network and the University of Chester, the survey aims to provide a detailed insight into the key issues facing those in charge of schools across the country.

It includes questions on the key challenges you face as a school leader today and how these affect your wellbeing, as well questions on your professional development and support needs, workload and resilience.

The results will help us to refine and develop our professional development programmes and school improvement services so that they continue helping you and your colleagues in your crucial work.

The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and if you enter your name and school details you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a package of free places on two of our professional development qualifications.

The survey is open until Monday 16 April 2018 and can be accessed here.

Why Leaders Should Care about Employee Loyalty

Loyal teachers are a major asset for a strong school. Schools may think that teachers are automatically loyal just because they’re getting paid. The truth is loyalty isn’t for sale. Loyalty has to be earned by the way you treat your staff. Transforming your school culture isn’t easy. You can’t do it alone. 

Why do teachers leave?
Poor leadership may lie at the heart of a teacher's departure. People don’t leave jobs, they leave leaders (line managers). Who is the school’s first point of contact with that member of staff? If that contact is bad, the relationship with the school will be bad and the teacher won’t stay long. 

In the present environment, it becomes a necessity for schools to have a strategy for retaining their best teachers. Other schools are waiting at the door with "treats" to lure away your top performers. According to data drawn from 30 case studies taken from 11 research papers on the costs of employee turnover, it costs at least 20% of their salary when an employee leaves. These costs reflect the loss of productivity from the departure, the cost of finding a replacement, and the reduced productivity while the new teacher gets up to speed.

How can we raise productivity?
The link between teacher job satisfaction and productivity is long-established. Research has found that happy staff are 12% more productive than their less satisfied counterparts. 

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to. 
-Richard Branson

Tips To Help You Keep Your Best Teachers
When teachers feel disconnected, undervalued, and unappreciated, it doesn’t take long for them to jump ship and look for another job that will recognize their contributions. The only thing that can stop a high turnover is to give staff a reason to stay, or, even better, multiple reasons. Here are some tips to help retain your best employees:

* Establish a clear vision and moral purpose - and show how the individual can contribute to it. Id staff believe in why you are doing what you do, and see their impact they are more likely to stay. Of course you need to celebrate when you see people actively supporting the vision and let them know that you value their efforts!

* Don’t treat teachers like machines – they will want to know that their leaders understands
 the need for a work/life balance and respects their personal time.

* Create opportunities for growth and development – Always make sure there are ways your staff can grow and can do work that inspires them. Have you got a long term plan for each member of staff? Is access to CPLD equitable? Do staff know what opportunities there are open for them?

* Reward staff efforts - An open school culture with room for recognition and appreciation is very important. If you want the best, you must pay the price for the best.

* Don't micromanage - Trust staff. Give them autonomy and breathing space to get their work done.

* Provide adequate training and support. Training demonstrates a company’s commitment to employees in terms of personal and professional growth.

* Show Empathy. Very few bosses show empathy towards their team members and this helps improve overall team morale and performance.

Furthermore, when people leave your school, find out why. Your school may have morale weaknesses you are not aware of or have been underestimating. In one study, 89% of managers surveyed said they thought most employees leave for better pay. However, another study found that 88% of employees who quit did so for something other than money. Clearly, there is often a disconnect between managers and employees about what motivates an employee to leave. 

Consequently, when people stay with your school, find out why (Stay Interviews). Here’s the reality: employees are only as loyal to the company as they believe the company is loyal to them. Loyalty is a two-way street. So in the end, building a school of committed, loyalty employees ultimately comes down to demonstrating to employees that the company deserves their loyalty.

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Brigette Hyacinth
Published on April 5, 2018

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How reliable is research?

Read the full article here

When you add the tag 'research states that...' or 'evidence shows that...' it doesn't actually mean that the claims are genuine. Education is now being subjected to a new wave of 'knowledge' that uses 'research kite marks' to authenticate approaches, resources and techniques. But are these claims believable?

As we enter the Easter holidays, it might be a good idea to draw a comparison with the 'research' that has informed the debate about whether chocolate is good for you or not.

Who is funding it?
Chocolate manufacturers have poured huge sums into funding nutrition science that has been carefully framed, interpreted and selectively reported to cast their products in a positive light over the last 20 years.

For example, studies published last year found:
In 2016, eating chocolate was linked to reduced risks of cognitive decline among those aged 65 and over, while cocoa flavanol consumption was linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles – markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.
Most studies on chocolate and health get industry funding, but this isn't highlighted.

“Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests,” - M Nestle NYU.

Are meta analyses based on fair reports & research?
The public are also misled into believing chocolate is healthy through what scientists refer to as the “file drawer effect”. Two of the aforementioned studies – those on blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular health – are meta-analyses, meaning they pool the results of previously published research. The problem is that science journals, like the popular media, are more likely to publish findings that suggest chocolate is healthy than those that conclude it has no effect, which skews meta-analyses. 

“It’s really hard to publish something that doesn’t find anything,” says Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist at Coventry University who has studied cocoa and health. “There’s a bias in the under-reporting of negative outcomes.”

How are control groups set up?
Unlike in drug trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. Most people have positive expectations about chocolate because they like it. They are therefore primed, through the conditioning effect – famously described by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov – to respond positively. They may, for example, become more relaxed, boosting levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters, and triggering short-term physiological benefits.

Lessons to learn?
  • Be sure you know who funded the research
  • Check that meta studies are based on balanced views
  • What methodology was used to get the results

Sunday, 1 April 2018

How to Create a Culture Where All Voices Are Heard

Patrick Leddin, Ph.D.

Patrick recently published an article giving suggestions on how you can build a culture where all staff are heard and valued. 

We want to be active members of the process, not marginalized actors pushed to the side.

The good news is that regardless of your role, you can be the key to helping the voices of others be heard and creating a greater sense of belonging among team members.

Patrick uses the BelieveBehaveBecome framework:

Step 1: Believe

What you create in the physical world begins in your mind. In order to create, you must first imagine. I invite you to reflect on how you value the voices of others by answering these questions:
  • Do you believe that everyone’s voice matters?
  • Can you envision people that you work with who are marginalized, or left out of key conversations?
  • Is it possible that no matter your role in the organization, you could help to bring the less heard voices into the open?
  • Do you believe that some of those people might have something of value to add to the conversation?
  • If so, which conversations and which people (name them)?
Step 2: Behave

Although mindset matters, it is insufficient without a change in behavior. Take a moment to reflect on how you currently behave and what you would like to do differently in the future by answering these questions:
  • Do you listen with the intent of understanding? Or, do you fake listen, partially listen, or outright ignore?
  • Are you constantly asking the same people to be part of the conversation?
  • How good are you at asking one question at a time and waiting for an answer?
  • Have you established systems to encourage everyone’s voice to be heard? Or, do your systems limit input to that from only a select few?
  • What might you do differently tomorrow, to encourage and embrace the voices of others?
Step 3: Become
Shifting your beliefs and your behaviors will no doubt lead to changes in yourself, your team, and the broader organization. However, change can be difficult. Unless the benefits are worthwhile, you might chose to go back to old patterns. So, take a moment to think about what you, your employees, and the organization might achieve from bringing more voices into the conversation. Answer these questions:
  • If those who currently don’t have a voice begin to contribute more, how will it impact them? Will they be more engaged, committed, or driven?
  • How might you change? Will you learn new things or experience better results? Will people see you differently? Will you see yourself differently?
  • How might the organization benefit? What might be accomplished in both the short- and long-run?

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Important Career Lessons

Brigette Hyacinth

Bridgette recently published an article on important career lessons, which are often learnt too late in life. Here is a summary, click here for the full article

1. Don't stay in a job you hate. 
You spend half of your life at work. Life is too short to put up with a job you hate or a boss who treats you poorly. Many people convince themselves that they can stay in a job that makes them unhappy because they need the income or because they don’t believe they can find another job. But the truth is spending too much of it in a bad situation will make you miserable and it can affect your health. If you’re in this situation, try taking small steps to where you want to be. You deserve so much better!

2. Take care of yourself 
Our bodies are not machines. You can’t keep going 24/7. The lights won’t always be green. If you don’t slow down, eventually, you will come to a red light and have to make a complete stop. Don’t take your health for granted - no amount of success or money can replace your health.

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." 
- Jim Rohn

3. Rejection and Failure will strengthen you. 
Failure is not the end. Few things in life are certain but failure is. Although it leaves a sour taste, failures are the pillars for success. You gain experiences you could not get any other way. Additionally, rejection is unavoidable in a creative life. Learning how to deal with rejection early on, will keep you from plummeting into a place of immobilizing despair. Rejection hurts but don't dwell on it. If you focus on positive thinking, even the harshest defeat is only a stepping-stone.

4. Worrying doesn’t solve anything. 
It just magnifies fear and creates anxiety. The antidote to fear is action. Don't let fear hold you back. You won’t achieve your goals if you’re afraid to pursue an idea, or are worried what others will think of you. If you push through the worry and the fear you’ll almost always find that you were worried about nothing. Have faith. Don't worry. Patience and Persistence will open the right doors. 

"I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened." 
—Mark Twain

5. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. 
Personal development is continuous. Learn everything about the field you are in and also related fields. Become the expert others look to for advice. With the rate at which technologies are changing, if you decide that you are done learning, you will be left behind. By continuously learning you will be able to keep on top of things, make better decisions and remain "relevant" in this digital era. Try as well to diversify your skill-set so you can have income from more than one sources.

 The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Vision To Provision: Conference Day

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our second full day Vision to Provision conference:

Date: Monday 16th April
Venue: CEME Centre RM13 8EU
Time: 9am - 3pm (coffee available from 8.30am)
Lunch: Provided for free
Booking: Please use the Havering portal to book your place
Audience: Headteachers & EYFS Leads

This will be an opportunity for Headteachers and EYFS Leads to plan on how they will work together to ensure that assessment data submitted accurately reflects the cohort and links to Havering priorities - which were identified at the first Conference in October.

We also want to take this chance to inform you about the plans for Vision 2 Provision 2018-19 as it will run again but with updated and different content.

Julie Fisher will lead the majority of the day, giving Headteachers and EYFS Leads a chance to reflect:
  • on the role of adults within their settings
  • how to develop effective interactions
  • think ahead to 2018-19 and what their next steps are going to be for their settings
Feedback from the first Conference in October was extremely positive:
'The colleagues we heard from were really inspirational and all of the messages/advice was really useful. Thank you.

'It an intense but enjoyable and reflective day'

'I thought it was excellent; pitched perfectly with good speakers and good content. Very inspiring.'

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ailie MacAdam - Inspirational Women

Be inspired by the career of Ailie MacAdam who has led some of the world’s biggest engineering rail projects, including the St Pancras International refurbishment, High Speed One (HS1) and Crossrail.

Ailie MacAdam is global rail sector lead for the engineering, project management and construction company, Bechtel. She joined Bechtel as a graduate chemical engineer in 1985 and has worked there ever since. She’s worked at a senior level on Boston’s road infrastructure, led St Pancras International refurbishment and High Speed One (HS1) rail project. She was also Bechtel’s project director for Crossrail.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Invitation to the National Women's Day Twitter Chat - 8th March 2018

Invitation to join a Twitter chat on Thursday 8th March at 7:00pm to celebrate International Women’s Day! This is fantastic opportunity to get our teeth under some of the challenges that Women Leading in Education (WLE) might face in their working environment.

The chat will be led by @TeachSchCouncil and will last approximately 30 minutes. Please follow @TeachSchCouncil if you don’t already!

2018 International Women’s Day theme #pressforprogress is following the report from the World Economic Forum 2017 Gender Gap Report outlining the gender parity is still 200 years away.

@TeachSchCouncil will pose a few questions for the chat to fuel the discussion but please feel free to send any ideas you might have around this topic.

International Women’s Day is also a great opportunity for:
  • People who are interested in coaching women in education to progress into leadership
  • Women in education who are interested in receiving coaching to help them to progress to leadership
  • Anyone who is interested in supporting women in education to progress to leadership.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Google Training Boot Camp - Mead Primary

Our teaching school is delighted to be offering a chance to qualify as a Google Educator! 

Date: May 3rd
Venue: Mead Primary, RM3 9JD


Get Certified

Want to learn new skills and prove your proficiency? The Google Certified Educator Level 1 Bootcamp prepares you to take Google's exam by providing pedagogically sound ideas for the use of G Suite in the classroom. You'll leave with new ideas for using tools across the suite including Google Classroom, Forms, Docs, Sheets, YouTube and more! We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!

Reach the Next Level

Achieved Google Certified Educator Level 1 and want to take things up a notch? Attend the AppsEvents Google Certified Educator Level 2 Bootcamp to learn how to take your G Suite usage beyond the core apps. You'll get experience with add-ons and extensions as well as expanding your knowledge of YouTube, Blogger and more. We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Improving Vocabulary in EYFS

If we want to close the vocabulary and attainment gap that already exists by the age of 3, we need to seriously reconsider our practice. Some children will require a more targeted approach for speech and language development but targeted doesn't have to mean boring. However a huge percentage of supporting behaviour and communication is done by following what a child is interested in and adapting the learning there and then to their specific level of need. When you get down at their level and you follow a child’s lead, you can really enhance their vocabulary / enrich their learning.

Here is a scenario where a great opportunity to develop speech and vocabulary is missed:
A little girl comes into the nursery and finds her name for self-registration (or rather the picture next to her name. She’s only just turned 3.) Her picture is a kite, which just so happens to be the school emblem so we all have one on our t-shirts. 
The EYP says “look what you’ve got! It’s the same as mine. I have one on my t-shirt.” All credit to the EYP, she didn’t ask “what is it?” The staff know I dislike boring test questions. But I was curious, so I asked the girl and of course she didn’t know. Because not once during her self-registration had she heard from her mum, or the EYP “it’s a kite. You’ve got a kite. I’ve got a kite too. It flies in the sky when it’s windy.”

Yes, the EYP was interacting with the child, getting down at her level and even following her interest. But the child left that interaction with no more vocabulary than when she came in.

These tips would be a good starting point:
  • With every nursery activity (such as circle time) consider... is every child benefitting from this activity? Or is it the same chatty few that are participating every time? What changes could be made to ensure every child is included? This might mean smaller groups, shorter time in a circle or adapting your language and expectation according to their need.
  • Does every child start with a clean slate every day? Or does your staff use langauge such as "I hope we are going to have a better day than yesterday."
  • If a child is "misbehaving" (also known as 'has not received the memo of what your expectations are for the day.') was the activity chosen and led by them...or you?
  • If a child is "misbehaving," do they actually understand what is expected of them? Or do you need to support that understanding by using visuals, gestures or simplifying the instruction?
Read the full article here

Child Led Learning & Speech & Language

Friday, 2 March 2018

NPQ Executive Leadership - deadline extension

Dear colleagues

Due to bad weather conditions that caused school closures this week, we decided to extend the registration deadline for the NPQEL course.

We will be accepting applications until Friday, 9 March.

The new NPQ for Executive Leadership is aimed at the growing number of head teachers who are taking on responsibility for more than one school.

The fully blended learning approach with HEI backed content (meaning that participants can go on to achieve an MBA from Liverpool Hope University), combined with executive coaching and enrichment activity from within and outside the education sector, make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for executive leaders.

Candidates working in Opportunity Areas or Category 5 and 6 LA will be eligible for full course funding; you can find more information here.

Please could you share the below link to the registration page within your network:

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership

Any questions? Contact us on 0117 9209 424 or email

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Inspiring A Love of Reading

If you ask an adult for their earliest memory of stories, books and reading they will often recall the oral tales told by parents, grandparents or the “classic” stories, which adults read to young children. However, since the Industrial Revolution, governments and some employers are often quoted as seeing a decline in literacy, which in turn affects our nation’s ability to compete with the world. (Brown, 2007).

The development of early language and literacy begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. Current research demonstrates the critical role of these early experiences in shaping brain development.

Views on learning literacy:
Learners should understand and experience the purposes and functions of language before learning to manipulate its constituent parts. 
Oral and written language have to be learned in meaningful and enjoyable circumstances, and thus children construct language as they use it.
Certain conditions support this approach with children, such as: 
  • immersion in print, 
  • demonstration of how print and books are used,
“Nurture shapes nature”
Giving children an appreciation of a wide range of literature underpins and supports their development of understanding in reading by providing meaningful experience of rhythm, sequence and narrative, tone and intonation, pauses, rhyme, and alliteration. Stories and poems help children understand sequence and narrative, as well as creating meaning, writing sentences, composing their own stories, and making their own non-fiction books based on their interests.

Early literacy research states that:
  • Language, reading, and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked;
  • Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the early years;
  • Early literacy skills develop in real-life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.
Using books:
Children with individual needs will need support in developing a range of appropriate behaviours with books. These will include:
  • The physical manipulation or handling of books, such as page turning rather than chewing, tearing or throwing them;
  • Learning to look at and pay attention to pictures in books;
  • Learning to show recognition of and a beginning of understanding of pictures in books, such as pointing to pictures of familiar objects;
  • Gaining an understanding of pictures, events and story comprehension such as imitating an action seen in a picture or talking about the events in a story; and
  • Verbally interacting with stories and books alongside increasing their understanding of print in books such as babbling in imitation of reading or running fingers along printed words
Encouraging children with special educational needs to enjoy books
A climate of fun and multi-sensory experience that is based in children’s interests is key to making books and reading enjoyable. Ideally practitioners should not be building barriers but breaking them down according to the unique needs of the children. These can be assisted by the following ideas:
  • Encouraging a variety of reading role-models to boost self-esteem alongside skills, e.g. older children and parents.
  • Using books with a range of positive images so children can recognize themselves and children like them, including making books about them.
  • Bringing in real authors, poets and illustrators to share their enthusiasm, having researched their ability to communicate with the children in your school/setting.
  • Providing daily routines such as story times every day in comfortable environments, alongside flexibility (e.g. indoors and outside). Some children with particular needs may need one-to-one stories using such useful tools as multi-sensory Book Boxes in order to understand the concept of story time.

Teaching language and literacy via the use of books demands the highest quality teaching. This in turn requires knowledge, insight and curiosity about how children learn and develop alongside their unique interests and needs. Practitioners need to:
  • display a genuine commitment to holistic learning
  • practise joyful, playful teaching and learning.
  • show a problem-solving disposition themselves and a ‘can-do’ attitude 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Precise Practice

Have you ever been disappointed with pupil outcomes despite having spent lots of time practising the skills that you thought they needed?

The issue might be that the practice wasn't precise enough, or maybe they were practising the wrong things. So how might we improve this? How can we get pupils to practise the right things? And how can we ensure that teachers are given the most precise and useful information about their pupils’ progress and areas for development?

Sequencing activities:
Pupils sometimes struggle to make connections across whole texts. Rather than waiting until pupils have read the whole story, it is often useful to ask pupils to put events into order even when they only have the bare bones of the story. If they understand the key moments in the text it is more likely that they will be able to then add extra detail and description.

Once they have grasped the sequence of major events in the plot, you can then begin to weave in questions about particular ideas, themes or images in the plot. 

Quick Listing
Sometimes, a good old fashioned ‘mind map’ (or a list if that makes more sense for the content your pupils are studying- I don’t think it really matters) can be a really useful form of retrieval practice, particularly for those pupils who have struggle to think of points to make in their writing. 

These activities test memory, of course, but they also give the teacher a sense of how much pupils know about specific topics. They tell you whether your class are ready to move on, can help to shine a light on misconceptions, and might provide a spring board on which to add further details about a particular idea or topic, as a way to deepen understanding.

Concept Links
In order to develop their understanding of connections between ideas in a text, and to improve their interpretations, pupils need lots of opportunities to think about connections and interpretations. Asking them questions that force them to choose between different interpretations helps to cement their understanding whilst making this visible to the teacher.

As you move forward you can increase the complexity by being less specific, and depending less on the most obvious description of the characters.

Because/But/So sentences:
This idea comes from this book, which is brilliantly summarised here. The idea is that you give pupils the same sentence stem, changing only the final word (to either ‘because’, ‘but’ or ‘so’). For example:
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ because
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ but
Arthur Birling perceives refers as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ so

What I particularly like about these questions is that they really force pupils to think about their answers. They have to draw on their knowledge of the plot, characters and ideas. These sentence stems also provide pupils with the opportunity to practise writing out the kinds of sentences they might have to write in an extended piece of writing later, but without having to worry about everything else. As ever, starting with sentence-level drills aids and supports writing further down the line.

Read the full article here

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Primary Assessment - Symphony Updates

We are delighted to be hosting the Symphony Assessment team who are travelling down to Essex to share the updates to the Symphony framework and how it now has a partnership with O Track to provide additional analysis options:

Date: 26th April
Venue: Mead Primary, Amersham Road, RM3 9JD
Time: 9.15am or 1.00pm (session is repeated)
Cost: £75

How to book:
Please send a completed booking form to
Payment as follows:

 Cheques payable to ‘SLT Newcroft Primary Academy’ or,

 BACS: Sort Code 30 94 97 Account Number 65042268

 If you would like us to invoice your school, please provide an order number in your request via email

Monday, 26 February 2018

Tips On Presenting

Presenting is seen as a staple skill for teachers... but it is rarely explicitly taught as such. When you walk into classrooms or staff meetings, often the most basic of rules are ignored

Colleagues reading out irrelevant slides, robotic monotone delivery, over enthusiastic use of animations, tiny fonts, crammed slides: have any of these simple errors ever been seen in your school?

One of the greatest presenters was Steve Jobs - Apple CEO. His presentations appeared flawless and smooth... but this wasn't an accident. Jobs was legendary for his preparation. He would rehearse on stage for many hours over many weeks prior to the launch of a major product. He knew every detail of every demo and every font on every slide. As a result the presentation was delivered flawlessly. 

People will often say, “I’m not as smooth as Jobs was.” Well, neither was he! Hours and hours of practice made Jobs look polished, casual, and effortless.

So painful, awkward presentations don't need to be this way. Here are some simple tips to purge those presentation pains:
  • Practise: how many times will you have read and re read your slides before presenting? Can you ad lib? Do you have to constantly refer to your notes? The more you know your material the more confident you will be... and it means that technical glitches won't throw you off balance.
  • Use the tools available: Google Slides has a great explore tool that will help you lay out text and images effectively (see the video below). That way you can concentrate on the content and not worry about the formatting
  • Make sure you start the slideshow... often presenters/teachers forget to click 'present' which means that slides are much smaller and harder to read. 
  • Use the notes section below each slide to carry your additional information. This helps stop you from just rereading the content on the slide and declutters the presentation.
  • Mix up the layout: include some images (ideally personalised to your school/audience) and ensure that slides look different... this helps to keep it more engaging for the audience

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Sutton Trust: Career Inequality

The challenge for schools based in areas of deprivation are as acute as ever. Data collected by The Sutton Trust from a range of reports reveals that disadvantaged pupils will face significant hurdles if they are to close the gap on their wealthier peers:
  • There is already 19 months gap in school readiness in between the richest and poorest children when starting school. (Social Mobility Report, 2012)
  • Pupils from the highest social class groups are three times more likely to enter university as those from the lowest social groups. (Leading People, 2016)
  • Fewer good jobs are being created than before; for both men and women, upward mobility rates fell for those aged 30 between 1976 and 2004, whilst downward mobility rates rose. (The state of Social Mobility in the UK, 2017)

Despite huge investment in Pupil Premium, Independent schools are hugely over represented in major professions. For schools in challenging areas this poses continued questions about how best to promote career paths and support pupils in not just having a dream, but sustaining it and then achieving it. 
  • What are we doing to tackle the language, behaviour, self regulation and vocabulary gap that already exists by the age of 3?
  • How are careers promoted consistently as part of the everyday curriculum?
  • Is there any way that we can continue to champion and support Primary pupils once they transition to Secondary?

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

OLP Leadership Survey

Outstanding Leaders Partnership launches its first annual school leadership challenges survey today.

Supported by Best Practice Network and the University of Chester, the survey aims to provide a detailed insight into the key issues facing those in charge of schools across the country.

It includes questions on the key challenges you face as a school leader today and how these affect your wellbeing, as well questions on your professional development and support needs, workload and resilience.

The results will help them to refine and develop their professional development programmes and school improvement services so that they continue helping you and your colleagues in your crucial work.

The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and if you enter your name and school details you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a package of free places on two of their professional development qualifications.
The survey is open until Monday 16 April 2018 and can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Social Divide Widening

A new report, by the Longevity Science Panel, shows that efforts to close the life expectancy gap are now kicking into reverse. Despite a wide range of efforts and initiatives, the latest data shows that a boy born in a poor neighbourhood today will die 8.4 years earlier than someone from a richer are. Even with improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, the gap in life expectancy is still widening.

On average a boy born in one of the fifth richest neighborhoods can expect to live 8.4 years longer than someone born in one of the poorest areas -up from 7.2 years in 2001. The gap is widening for girls too, with poor girls born this year expected to die 5.8 years younger than rich girls - up from five years in 2001.

Researchers said the widening gap is 'mainly about money' and those on benefits and with little cash expected to die younger than their richer counterparts.

Monday, 19 February 2018

NPQEL Registration

There is still time to register for the NPQEL course starting this spring.

The new NPQ for Executive Leadership is aimed at the growing number of head teachers who are taking on responsibility for more than one school.

The fully blended learning approach with HEI backed content (meaning that participants can go on to achieve an MBA from Liverpool Hope University), combined with executive coaching and enrichment activity from within and outside the education sector, make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for executive leaders.

Candidates working in Opportunity Areas or Category 5 and 6 LA will be eligible for full course funding; you can find more information here.

We will be accepting applications until Friday, 2 March.

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership

Any questions? Contact us on 0117 9209 424 or email

LEAD!: Middle Leadership Development

Last chance to book onto the first of the Middle Leadership development sessions which start on February 22nd.

This course is broken into three chapters: leadership of self, leadership of others and personal reflection. By the end of the sessions you will have:

  • a clearer sense of your own leadership styles and when to apply them
  • a range of strategies to lead teams more effectively
  • tools and tips to aid your ongoing professional development
Please book your place by emailing:

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Retaining Staff - 3 Tips

At this time of year school leaders will be planning for September. Staff will be thinking of where to be next academic year. As a school leader, have you ever lost a great teacher?

The moment you receive their resignation can take you by surprise. However their thought process that led to them resigning most likely happened months. 

When you are leading an organisation it is all too easy to get caught up in the now... absence, daly arrangements, cover, parents, meetings. But if you allow your head to drop and focus on the now, without paying attention to how some of your staff may be wanting to know about the future you can find that there is an erosion of emotional engagement. 

Staff turnover is costly: replacing someone costs a minimum of 6-9 months’ salary. And that’s just the hard costs. There’s also the cost to morale, the classroom impact, and the burden on the school leader trying to fill the gaps, while key initiatives fall further behind.

What can you do as a leader? A lot, and it starts with language. Employees may say they’re leaving for higher pay. There are funding pressures that mean this is always going to feature. In schools of all sizes there are only so many positions that offer additional responsibility. However there are other factors which can be managed. These can be key to maintaining engagement. 

Here are three no cost ways school leaders can keep people engaged:
  1. Feedback – Employees lose their emotional connection quickly when there’s no feedback from their school leader. Companies that implement regular employee feedback have a 14.9% lower turnover rate (HubSpot). Shouting “do better” six times a day doesn’t count. It’s simple; when an employee does a good job, tell them.
  2. Meaning – If you treat your employees like a number they’ll return the favor. They’ll treat their job like a transaction. Teachers who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their schools — the highest single impact of any variable according to a global study from Tony Schwartz. It costs you nothing to tell an employee how their actions make a difference to the team, your customers, or the world at large... don't take it for granted.
  3. Horizon – When people don’t know where the company is going or where their job is going, there’s no connection to the future. Make a practice of sharing your future vision, and tell your team what’s on the horizon. 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Greater Depth In Writing - Alan Peat

Are you looking to develop staff confidence with teaching for Greater Depth in Writing?

Would you like to pick up some simple tips on how to implement the 'pupil can' statements into lessons?

Has your school been looking for inspiration to improve writing outcomes for pupils?

On March 22nd we are delighted to be welcoming Alan Peat to the Havering Primary Teaching School to provide an afternoon session on 'Working At Greater Depth in Writing'.

Please see the flyers below for more information and booking details.

Date: March 22nd
Time: 1-4pm
Venue: Mead Primary, RM3 9JD

Lead Like An Eagle

“One man can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.” 

These were the words of wisdom that Eagles head coach Doug Pederson delivered to kickoff what became his unforeseen – unbelievable – championship winning season. If you weren't aware, this February the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl... against the odds.

What is particularly interesting about their story is the way in which this championship team, and their leadership, benefitted from the power of emotional intelligence on their road to victory. So how could we learn some lessons from this remarkable achievement, and how could you begin to incorporate them within your own teams to achieve success?
  1. Practice self-awareness in order to achieve emotional intelligence.
  2. Exercise empathy – put yourself in your team member’s shoes, look through their lens.
  3. Create a culture of transparency – stay visible and grow trusted by your team. 
  4. Invest time in the relationships you have with your team members and give freedom for relationships to grow between them. 
  5. Never allow adversity to get you and your team down – change the narrative to see challenges as opportunities.
  6. Provide a purpose higher than self. Give your team the opportunity to align with something mission-driven, it will elevate them.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Lessons from Bookcases

Across our Learning Federation, the mantra is to be continually evaluating practice, looking for marginal gains and trying to be better today than we were yesterday.

One company that has a rigorous approach to reviewing and refining processes to ensure constant improvement is IKEA.
Constant Tweaks
In 2010, for example, Ikea rethought the design of its Ektorp sofa and made the armrests detachable.

That helped halve the size of the packaging, which halved the number of lorries needed to get the sofas from factory to warehouse, and warehouse to shop. And that lopped a seventh off the price.

The Bang Mug
IKEA changed the height of their iconic mug when it realised it could make slightly better use of the space in its supplier's kiln, in Romania.

And tweaking the handle design made them stack more compactly - more than doubling the number you could fit on a pallet, more than halving the cost of getting them from the kiln in Romania to the shelves in the shop.

Billy Bookcase
It has been a similar story with the Billy bookcase. It does not look like it has changed much since 1978, yet it costs 30% less. That is partly due to constant, tiny tweaks in both product and production method.

Click here to read the full article

  • What systems and processes do you have that could be refined?
  • Is there something that is good, that with a tweak, could become great?
  • Do staff waste time on low impact tasks that could be made more efficient?
  • How often do you purposefully audit and review the systems and processes used?

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Purpose and clarity... and impact!

Often our SLEs have worked with teachers who have tried to tackle the issue of engagement in their classes. Often a solution can appear to be having a really WOW activity: slime, chemical reactions, pizzas into fractions... swiss rolls.

However, engagement isn't about having a small fireworks display to start the lesson. It is about knowing the objective that you wish to teach, knowing that it is appropriate and challenging for the class you have and then planning a purposeful activity that will allow the pupils to make progress towards it.

What is incredibly unhelpful is the lesson described below, that at the time was WOW... but no one can remember the point.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Is it really that bad

There are always going to be times when the job seems overwhelming. Quite often it is all too easy to see only the problems and not realise that there is so much more around you that is going well. The image below is a useful reminder that it is rarely as bad as it seems:

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Staff Wellbeing Ideas

Ensuring that you are doing all you can as a leader to recognise the effort your staff are putting in is hard. All day long, tiny acts of kindness and outstanding practice are taking place and you will only see a fraction of them.

How do you communicate your thanks to staff? What do you recognise? Will teams be aware that you do notice?

Here are some simple ideas we have found:

Recognition and rewards:
  • Employee awards – nominated within team from team
  • Recognition of and incentives for achievements – boxes of chocolates, certificates etc
  • Regular praise for good achievements
  • Achievable goals with prizes
  • Always try to relate to and empathise with your staff. This is paramount when working with our clients so it should be with our peers
  • Have a positive part of team meetings – colleagues say something positive or recognise a quality in each other and say it
  • Compliments hour – only give nice comments and feedback
  • Give staff a “voucher” (£40-50) to spend on training & development that is NOT work related and then publicise what they’ve done
  • Listen, ask, keep excellent communications.... buy cake!
  • Thank people – make them feel appreciated.
  • Say “thank you” to your staff when they have done well (even better with a handwritten or at least personally signed note to them)

How do you ensure that staff achieve some semblance of a work/life balance? Is there a way that you can help Middle Leaders take the temperature of their team? Is there a 'staff tracker/bingo card' where you try to encourage them to try a range of wellbeing activities to give them a break and help them unwind?

Can you create some time in the day for individuals or teams to take a break?

Here are some simple ways that staff could try to give themselves a break.

Monday, 29 January 2018

What to do first?

As a leader, the volume of tasks to complete can seem overwhelming. In any one day there can be a succession of decisions to be made on trivial matters up to those which could have real long lasting impact. Making sure that you give each one the appropriate time is quite a challenge, especially when you can feel under pressure to 'always have the answer'.

The diagram below helps to give a very simple framework with which you can review actions and tasks. It is also worth considering some mantras that can help to avoid being swamped:

  • Take your time to really listen to the question and think about your response. Is it something that has to be answered today? Is it you that should be doing the answering? Should you be taking advice? Do you even know the answer?
  • Don't be afraid to say you don't know. No one knows everything. Admitting that you need time to research the issue/question and that you'll get back to the person when you have an informed response isn't weakness.
  • Are too many questions coming to you? Are there systems in place to ensure that class teachers, Middle Leaders and other SLT are clear on their responsibilities?
  • Don't be afraid to stop doing something good so that you can do something great. Often it is hard to let go of something that is working for fear that a new approach won't work out... but if you don't try you'll never know. If we lived our life on that basis we'd still be riding horses to work.

Peer Review - Improvement Workshop

SLEs from our Peer Review cohort led their first session this month at Branfil Primary. In our cohort we have eight Havering Schools:

  • Hacton Primary
  • Broadford Primary
  • Mead Primary
  • James Oglethorpe Primary
  • Hilldene Primary
  • Upminster Infant & Junior
  • Engayne Primary
  • Branfil Primary
Each school undertakes to receive a Peer Review, and then an Improvement Workshop.
It is too early yet to be able to judge the impact that these reviews will have on pupil outcomes, but staff feedback has been very encouraging:

100% agreed that the Improvement Workshop was a positive experience which will help move our school forward.
I felt it was very positive throughout and we gained a lot through it - Branfil teacher
I thought it was very worthwhile experience - Branfil teacher

The SLEs use a range of thinking tools to help promote discussion and help the staff of the focus school tease out ideas and strategies to move forward followings the findings of the review.
Radiant Thinking

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Peer Review: Facilitator Workshop

Facilitated by the Education Development Trust, we had a great training session for our Improvement Facilitators. Our cohort of eight Primary schools have now completed the first two of the reviews in this cycle, with one more to come in January. Having led one Improvement Workshop to enact the findings of the Review, our facilitators were excited to have the chance to meet up with Deanery colleagues who started the Peer Review process a few months earlier.

It was a great chance to discuss ideas, listen to each group's experiences and consolidate our understanding of the techniques and tools we have for the reviews.
T Chappel - Improvement Facilitator

Our two cohorts of schools now have nine facilitators who will be able to support the school improvement process. We hope to add more capacity as the year progresses.

Click here for a link to the Schools Partnership Programme

Google: Culture first, technology second

We were delighted to be asked by Google to present at BETT this year. Our presentation focused on the importance of first building a staff culture before expecting the technology to unleash collaboration.

View the slides here

Across our Federation we have made a conscious effort to build INTELLECTUAL & SOCIAL capital. Google has helped with the first, as they have Educator Level 1 & 2 training which has ensured that our staff are confident with G Suite and all the key apps. However we have worked just as hard on the expectations we have for SOCIAL capital:

  • staff nights out: activity based team events darts, Topgolf, bowling, shuffleboard
  • fun activities and games to start staff/team meetings
  • free refreshments in the staff room to encourage people out of their classes
  • free Zumba sessions every week
  • cake on a Friday
  • joint PPA time with all of the team released at once - across both schools
This meant that when we started to implement G Suite and introduce Chromebooks the culture of collaboration, that was already established, really took off.

Jade then spoke about the practical applications it has to help her lead a team effectively and make a difference in the classroom. The core message behind her part of the presentation was to ensure that:

There have been lots of questions, nerves and doubt over this new way of doing things. But thanks to the effective modelling of our Google champions we have been able to save time, increase engagement, reduce duplication of tasks and concentrate on the main thing... planning, resourcing and teaching great lessons for the children.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Little Things - Huge Impact

The Brailsford mantra of 'marginal gains' has been slightly tarnished with revelations about the use of exemptions and different medications. However the idea that small actions can have a large impact is rooted in history.

What small changes could have a large impact in your setting?
Could you change attainment and progress with a tiny tweak?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Believe In Your Vision

It might not sound relevant to teaching, but as The Last Jedi reaches over $1billion in takings, it is worth reflecting that the whole story was almost never told.

George Lucas wanted to make a movie with his favourite science-fiction character, but he couldn’t afford to buy the rights. Instead he borrowed a little bit from old science fiction stories, samurai tales, Westerns, WWII pilot adventures…and then set his own story in space. That was only the beginning of the struggle to get Star Wars made. No one wanted to finance the story, the budget was tiny, the skills didn't exist to make it... even the cast and crew were reluctant to take part. They thought George's vision was crazy.

However he persevered, he re shot scenes, he believed in himself and never gave up on the vision he had for the story.

It is an incredible tale of success against the odds. 
  • How would you get staff to buy into your vision?
  • Have you ever been tempted to give up when others just don't get it?
  • Are there factors holding you back from achieving your vision?
Maybe watching George describe what the process was like for him will be inspiring for you!

Click here for the video