LinkedIn Live What are the leadership priorities for our schools in 2021?

Ten take-aways from this session:

  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. Have stretched/improvement goals
  3. Is your goal sustainable?
  4. Know your why
  5. Be flexible
  6. Consider the progress
  7. What’s your process?
  8. How driven/resilient are you?
  9. Have you done your risk register?
  10. Be agile

***The following transcript has been automatically generated and is presented here unchecked***


LinkedIn Live  What are the leadership priorities for our sc…

Thu, 8/18 7:35PM • 1:02:01


people, happening, school, lisa, teachers, learning, parents, talking, students, education, leaders, exams, government, jenny, bit, reset, challenging, standards, children, uae


Nadine Powrie


Nadine Powrie  00:01

And we are live. I was just looking at my little icon that tells me to tell me that we are live. Very good evening to you from London. I’m Nadine Powrie, executive coach and workplace mediator. Lisa,



Oh, Hi, I’m Lisa grace, and I’m in Abu Dhabi kind of waiting to turn. That’d be I’m the editorial director of Teach Middle East magazine, I think I’ve just made my first blooper on this. My pleasure to be here. I’m a former school leader, principal. And now I work sort of in the complementary side of education in publishing and edtech. And it’s lovely to be here.


Nadine Powrie  00:40

And we’re very, very, very pleased to have you with us tonight. Lisa. Jenny. Yeah. Hi, I’m Jenny Lynn. I’m



sorry. i My mind just went completely blank. Can you believe it? What am I I’m a leadership development expert, primarily in education. And I facilitate leadership programs. Thank you.



Hi, there. I’m John Dean’s. It’s great to have you with us. Lisa, by the way, when we’ve been looking forward to this. I’m a freelance education consultant. I do some school inspection work, some MP Q, quality assurance work, some leadership development stuff, mostly in schools and charity sectors. So that’s mostly what I do at the moment. Good to be here.


Nadine Powrie  01:39

My name is Nick, Sheriff, I was a school inspector, I’m likely to be doing school planning school improvement from now on, and a bit of educational consultancy. And yeah, at least it’s great to have you here. Thanks. So it’s, it’s a great topic today, because we had been talking about doing having a discussion around education for a while. And we were hoping to some extent that situations around the world would be better, and that schools would be back on track, you know, and, and it’s not the case. So we thought, well, we’re gonna have to talk now about schools and leadership and what’s happening there. And we saw that today would be, would be a great opportunity to invite you, Lisa, in your role as the editor of a magazine, but also as the next principle, because we know you have a huge network. And you can perhaps, you know, share with us what people have been experiencing and have been living. You’re in the Middle East, we’re in London, actually Jan, Jenny and myself, we’re in England. So it will be good to put a kind of global heart on the discussion that we’re going to have. So the situation in England in terms of education is very difficult. Schools are close to most students, except to vulnerable students and to children from critical workers. There was an announcement yesterday from Gavin Gavin Williamson to when he went to speak to the Education Committee where he mentioned that there wouldn’t be any exams, but there would be some kind of sitting external exams in schools that would be set by example. So we’re yet to hear what that’s going to be looking like. We’re now saying thanks to I would say Marcus Rushford, we’re kind of we’re moving forward with the national food voucher. So that’s a boundary is going to be happening next week. We’ve had some statistics, whatever they mean, about equipping disadvantaged children with a laptop because that’s a real issue. And again, Gavin Williamson promised schools that by the end of this week, they would be they would send 750,000 devices to school by the end of this week. So we’re looking forward to tomorrow. Then we’ve got this mustard stain with we just covered in primary in primary schools. I think starting next week, we’re not quite clear about what’s happening in terms of vaccination for school staff yet, and we’ve got a number of key people, the likes of Jeff Barton at ACL, the NAU we’ve got off call all talking together, trying to find ways forward for the crises that really within. So we thought it would be a good place to start outlining what’s happening and look Kenyatta. Okay, so what are the leadership priorities for 2021? We will then head it doesn’t mean we know it all, by all means we are still learning, you know? But what would be those leadership priorities?



Um, should I start off?


Nadine Powrie  05:20

Yes, yes, yes.



Yeah. Because I think it’s such a big question. There are so many priorities right now. For me, personally, I genuinely think wellbeing is gonna be the number one priority for leaders, trying as much as they can to see about the well being of the students and the staff in their care. I think everything else comes secondary, I think where we are right now in this pandemic that we thought would by now be on the on the finishing leg, but seems to be raging harder and harder. I think, forget about exams, well, being taking care of the people that are in your care, go right down to the bottom of the hierarchy of needs. And, you know, let’s start there. Are they fed? Are they sheltered? Are they okay, you know, and then we can start even to begin to think about exams. I think on LinkedIn, I talked about how much I dislike the fact that they’re trying to push this exam agenda still. But, you know, I think scrap all of that and start to look at how can leaders help in taking care of the well being of the people in their care? And then who’s taking care of the leaders? Because they need care as well. You know, I think that’s where we need to look at just basic care.



Yeah, absolutely.



Yeah. How would you expect that to happen? Because I think I mean, I totally agree with you, Lisa, I think this focus on exams is the wrong focus. But unfortunately, we’re in a system that is exam focused, you know, you take your exams at certain times, and they give you a passport to go on further. I mean, I totally agree about wellbeing. Being the most important bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, you know, don’t worry about higher up. But there needs to be such a fundamental cultural shift in everybody understanding of what should be happening in education, it distresses me to see people saying that two months behind, you know, they’re talking about primary children, or secondary, they’re two months behind, or they’re so far behind. Well, you know, stop the clock. Let’s actually put this year to one side and focus on what’s important this year. Sorry,



what are they behind? I’m a mother. What are they behind? Really, because we’ve set standards, and we’ve decided, at some point, when I wouldn’t even put myself in that someone somewhere decided long time ago, these were the standards. Now, if they decided that they can make another decision, and we can have another set of standards be temporarily or what, but we, we definitely can’t be trying in this kind of turmoil to stick to standards, especially with the upheaval with schools. So you’re right, Jenny, let’s change the standards, then. We can.



Yeah, and look at look at, you know, flip it, what are children gaining this year, you know, the relationships with parents, which I know can be can go either way at the minute because of the the demands of homeschooling, but the demands of homeschooling in themselves, you know, it shouldn’t be around worksheets, it shouldn’t be around the things that would happen in a classroom, it should be around the things that can happen in the home. And I think that parents need some reassurance that what they’re doing, you know, taking them out for a walk and observing what’s going on is far more important, I think, than sitting down to do a worksheet to get them up to level three, view or whatever.


Nadine Powrie  09:21

But I think it depends on the age of the children, doesn’t it? Because I mean, as as parents you feel you have a responsibility to kind of filled some gaps that are there and you know, you you almost become a teacher every day. I mean, I was talking to a client of mine this morning. And she said to me, she said I’ve got four hours of sitting with my two kids, and basically teaching them and she she’s having to put aside a work and you know, navigate that. So that’s that’s the first things so it’s it’s about making sure that okay, you are saying to your children But you have a balance, where clearly, you’re not going to be replacing what would have happened at school, you know, and accept it. And sometimes less is better. Because, you know, we hear a lot about parents who are exhausted, you know, relationships are quite difficult. No matter what background you you have, it is challenging. And it is also challenging to see children facing what’s happening, you know, around the world. So for me, it’s not about the quantity of work that is being done every day, if they are behind them, as you say, they son and Jenny while they’re behind, but it’s also about the well being of you know, what’s happening in, in the family, I guess the point I’d like to make when we talk about wellbeing and how we can do that is, you know, as a leader yourself, how much do you know about ensuring that your staff well being is, is done to the best? And how do you deliver on that? I think that can be quite challenging, depending on where your staff are, I mean, some schools are functioning with, you know, 40% stuff off some stuff, I mean, some stuff about how the teaching for it’s challenging to ensure about the how you can deliver this well being, you know, well, being hard that you want to you want to have it, how do you how do you do that, when you were not prepared for that? I mean, you know, with due respect, we’ve, I think most of us would have done in PQ and PQ H. And I mean, certainly when I, when I did my NP Qh I would never be prepared for. And you know, that was a long time ago, you know, but I would never have been prepared for for that. So, in a way you have to, you have to listen to your intuition, you have to listen to what you know, you have to draw into your experience in your expertise, and you have to learn, you know, but you also have to look at what’s happening around you, and looking at some of your colleagues and what they are doing, I know of a lot of head teachers who are working together to support each other. And by doing that, they’re also supporting their staff, then, you know, they’re kind of sharing good practice, but also supporting each other. And I just want to say, I mean, I’m talking a lot here, I just want to say that there is one head that I follow on LinkedIn is called Alan Osbourne, I don’t know, if you if you know him, he’s an exec head from rich Academy trust, and he posts every day. I mean, he’s, you know, his values are very strong, is I mean, you know, it’s about being authentic. And he’s a servant leader. And he’s, you know, every day celebrating what people are doing well. And I did contact him. And I did say, I’ve got a LinkedIn live, and I’m going to really put you on stage because I think what you’re doing is amazing. So you will know that we are talking about him, but it’s, you know, it’s so important to whenever someone is doing something great about well being then, you know, put them on stage and celebrate. I’ve spoken for quite a long time here. But I feel very strong about that. So Allah knows bone. Well done. And you know, keep going because you are a real inspiration to many people and many hates.



Lisa, you know, you know, at the start when the Dean introduced this session she gave, she painted a picture of the situation in in the UK. Did that resonate with what you know, is happening in the Middle East?



Well, no. It’s different. If you’re in Dubai right now, you have the option of for the for the last two weeks, when school reopened after the winter break, you have the option of being in school full time, or some schools have a hybrid model. And some students have chosen to continue distance learning so that that option is there. Abu Dhabi, my sons have been at home distance learning for this first two weeks, and then next week, they can be back in school if I choose to send them in. So to be honest, the situation has been handled here. Much better than home. I mean, I can’t I mean, I hate to do the comparison, but let’s just say I’m happy that I’m here.



What was behind my question? Well, it wasn’t wasn’t to embarrass anybody or put anybody on a on a pedestal. It was just just an opportunity to tease out what might be the features of a system that’s adapt Eat well, and is allowing people to so. So just to, to take that and make it sort of specific just quickly. So what what I think you’ve done, what I think you’ve described as a system where, where people have the opportunity to take to make a decision as to whether they engage in distance learning or whether youngsters go to school, or whether they do a bit of a blended model. Is that Is that



what? Exactly, yeah, so parents were given the choice back in August to decide on the on the model based on what you know what school offered, and people chose, and a lot of parents have chosen to send their students, their children back to school, rightly so if they feel comfortable in doing so. And schools are given certain guidelines, and they have to operate within those guidelines. But schools here have really stepped up like, you know, I don’t want to turn it into a praise fest for schools in the in the UAE, but I’m proud of them. Like the teachers, they’ve done a fantastic job at my, my boys school, they have models, they have found ways to still allow them to do sport, they’ve found ways around music and art. And they’ve just they’ve done a really good job. So I think what made it easier is that that element of planning and choice.


Nadine Powrie  16:29

And I think we would get called out, wouldn’t we? Because I mean, five of us. Were evaluating schools in in Abu Dhabi. Last term, actually, I mean, less than 2020. Summer 2020. Yeah. So So UAE, and you did that in Dubai meaning, didn’t you? So in effect, Dubai and idag, continued and looked at and evaluated online learning. I mean, in the summer of 2020, and learned a great deal from that. And it wasn’t done to them. I mean, we were working with school principals, and you know, celebrating what they had put in place so quickly. So I mean, yeah, we we have to acknowledge what what’s been done in schools there, Nick, you’re very quiet.



I think that for?


Nadine Powrie  17:27

Oh, so yeah. Maybe



released or Dubai in particular was?


Nadine Powrie  17:34

So maybe Nick isn’t here? Because he looks like he’s not moving at all. So?



Yes. Can I Can I just ask about this? Because it fascinates me that given the choice, what are parents doing? Is that is the general feeling that schools are safe, and therefore they’ll send their children in? Right, because I think here people feel they’re not safe. And I think that although it might be so for the children, I think that educators are tending to say that there are there are there are challenges around teachers, and the lack of priority for the vaccine for teachers is very much, you know, in social media at the minute, because unless they unless teachers are vaccinated as a priority, then schools can’t function as they have done, but from what you’re saying is your teachers are in schools, is there known to be quite a high level of absenteeism? Due to COVID?



Do you know? No, I don’t I wouldn’t be able to I don’t I don’t know of there being I’m not that close to school. I would only know about my kids school. I don’t I don’t I don’t think so. Because the boys their teachers have been in throughout.


Nadine Powrie  18:48

Yeah. Yeah. The other thing I wanted to say is the standards thing. My daughter’s 17. You, I think I’d be careful, you’re not talking from a parent point of view. Because she wants standards. She’s worked really hard in a system, that it’s all about standards. And of course, it’s very easy. I think, and I agree with you, by the way, but I can see this other side where it’s very easy to see school in isolation to the rest of society. And if you suddenly say, let’s put school standards on hold, the danger is it’s such a knock on effect, that that that activity will be failed somewhere. And if you like we haven’t got universities on board. We haven’t got other elements on board. I mean, I think government schools here now haven’t gone back. So they’re pretty much 100% distance learning, but they have an amazing central LMS system, which is the envy of schools in the UK, and it makes things a lot easier. I would agree with with Lisa. Private schools have stepped up here really well but they’ve got a lot of money. A lot of real estate ate, they didn’t really drop fees very much across the board and parents are getting a different experience with the school, but they’re still paying my daughter regularly complaints of the standard of our lessons. So it’s different. But at the end of the day, you know, if you’ve got the internet, and you’re motivated, you can work with maybe not a perfect system. But I do feel at the bottom of the school, what early years, cagey that it’s the parents that are be to be commended, because they’ve had to step in, and be that pseudo teacher and, and help out. So I think that that’s been amazing. But I know at least there’s about over here. I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s functional, it works. Broadly, people are happy, there’s choice. My daughter was saying Why can’t I take exams, I can take exams, why are we not taking exams, just because the UK can’t take exam. So in a strange way, it’s, it’s created a bit of a tear system. But from my work publicly, we’ve got large chunks of the country who don’t have access, because they don’t have the equipment, the internet’s not great everywhere, and that it’s extremely debilitating for some families. But I know schools that have pop stuff in the post, mailed things out, gone round on a bike to someone’s house to sort of drop a box of things off. So I think the effort is second to none. I think the idea of, you know, we have this thing, education by the date of manufacture, which we probably, if we’re gonna challenge work, and working practices, is it too much to think that we would challenge, you know, the traditions of schooling, now, maybe it’s time where you can talk about it in a more sensible fashion.



You know, the thing I wrote When Lisa was talking before, and it kind of links, links, what Nadine was saying, with, with her description of, of a mother, who has a four hour session with her with her kids, and also links with the, with the well being, if we come out of this, and we haven’t taken the opportunity to, to broker some sort of reset within within education, I think we will have missed a massive, massive opportunity. If you talk to most teachers, over the last goodness, how many years you know, there’s things that the way the education system has gone that the haven’t been cleverly thought through. And if only if only the the authorities, and I can only speak over here because because it sounds like this may or may have happened for you guys in the Middle East, but only if the authorities had taken the foot off the jugular, off the throat for school leaders and allowed them a little bit of breathing space and allowed in a little bit of time to be inventive. So that you didn’t get people saying was a disaster. My you know, none of my class are only 5% of my class can get online. And give them the opportunity to be inventive and find other ways. You know, what we, you know, use the radio use us use mobiles use, you know, there must be all sorts of ways that we can adapt, and but somehow we become we become paralyzed, because we’re not, we’re not seizing those opportunities. And for that lady who’s, who’s about to spend four hours at home with her kids, or what a joy that could be? Well, you know, who seriously seriously, you know, they’re her children or not so then it’s an it’s brilliant for everybody. But, but but but an opportunity to sit alongside your kids and understand their learning and what’s learning and be involved in that rather than rather than it be a complete sort of heading advice. What how are we going to respond to this? Why don’t we talk to, you know, look, look an opportunity to reset and get some get some positives? I don’t know. I see. I see some nods.



Because I’m agreeing with you, Jan, in terms of reset. I think if we miss this chance, we will not get it again. I don’t think not in my lifetime. Because unless there’s some other pandemic, I don’t know anything about, but fingers crossed. But the thing is, I think even even and I understand what Nick is saying, because my nephew, he’s in a levels and he’s like, No, but I want to do my A levels and I’ve worked hard and work on to do them and, and I get it, but I think Alright, let’s start with primary and early years. Let’s say we’re getting rid of sets completely and when you get to grade 10 and 11. You’re not going to sit this we’re going to be assessing you right throughout and you’re going to carry a portfolio of work with you throughout your school years, that’s going to show how you grown, that you’ve made good progress, how you’ve developed as a person, as a student, as a human being, right, and we’ve got the tools, we can develop those systems, those portfolios be electronic, they can move from one stage to the next. They can show build, and I’m an ad tech person. So you know, I think there’s potential everywhere with ad tech. And if you if you start that reset now, okay, you’re 17 or 16, your 15 year olds may not benefit, bro, your younger kids well, and that change? And I think we got a golden opportunity to do this. So we we should I don’t know what the powers that be are thinking. They’re thinking, oh, when this is overworld, vaccinated, we’ll go back to take an exam, I really hope not.



I think I think one of the challenges in the UK has been the lack of clarity of message. I mean, from what we saw, when we did the virtual inspections in UAE, it was very clear what the expectations were. And you were given government support to do that, from virtually the second day, because I remember being in Dubai, the day that the last day, before the pandemic, I was actually in a school band. And it was all the talk was about getting trained to go online. But unfortunately, in the UK, that hasn’t happened. And I think that everybody’s having to reinvent their own wheel. And I think that people are getting together and there are their, you know, their academy chains and all sorts of maps and groups of schools. But nevertheless, there is no one Sis, I’m not suggesting this should be one system, but still needs to be a clarity around the messaging. And I think that if you get clarity around messaging, then people feel more secure in what they’re doing. But our government is all over the place. I mean, I’m not going to get political about it. But that’s, that’s a fact. And the messages that are coming out change day by day, the school is going to be closed, because they’re because they’re not safe, the schools are going to be open because they’re safe. And that can happen three times in three days. So I think that for the heads in the UK, the challenge has been back to what you were saying at the very beginning, is about morale, motivation, and communication, because it’s not coming clearly to them. So they’ve got to make the message right for the people that they’re talking to.



Don’t filter it in their life. Yeah.



That when I was ahead, I used to think I was sitting there with a with a tennis racket or something and batting back all the stuff that came protecting my staff from all this stuff that came in and I think even more that’s important. Now, can I just bring in Jamal who, who some minutes ago has put a comment in here, Jamal is obviously in Jordan. And saying that the decision is made that students will return to schools in February, parents were given the choice to send their children to school or kicked at home and getting distance learning. So again, it’s parental choice like it is in UAE, not categories as it is here.


Nadine Powrie  28:22

One thing to say, which is to be commended here, which may be it’s a bit of a cheat to say it’s all about the education sector is the ministry of healthier and creating the bubble system. And then the inspection system to go into schools of degree of regularity gives parents a huge reassurance that sending their kids to these schools is in a safe environment. You know, the one way systems that that is so important. I mean, it’s it’s always just go back. But you know, I think you need more of society to be all working in the same direction for this to work. And maybe that’s what’s not happening in the UK. It’s not just about teachers and school leaders, is it other people have to get involved as well. Jamal had sent me a question and his question was, how can we effectively engage and motivate motivate learners online?



Well, that’s a brilliant question, isn’t it? And I’ve, I’ve been I’ve been wrestling with that more, particularly recently, but I’ve also been wrestling with it all through my teaching career and I began teaching in 1984. So if you take the online bit off the end, you know, it’s the last eight horses and water in that. You know, you as in you can’t lead a horse you can lead a horse to water you can’t make it drink, but actually is the job of a teacher to do that. The job is a teacher to make them thirsty, isn’t it?


Nadine Powrie  29:59

Yeah. But remember when we were looking at the online last last? Well, in 2020, in that summer term, one of the things that we talked a lot about was the lack of interaction between students. You know, when I mean, it was just the very beginning. So, of course, you know, we would pick that up, and at that point, it would be quite something that we could notice the fact that it was quite teacher led. And we didn’t see much interaction with with students, you know, not the kind of interaction that you would see in a classroom, but very quickly with training, that change, didn’t it, which shows that actually, if we, if we learn very quickly, and we can all do that, how to how we can use the technology, then we can do a lot more with students online, whether we’re in the UK or anywhere in the world, actually, you know, you can do great things, on zooms and on Ms teams and on Google Classroom. And I think it’s about equipping the staff to promote social interactions, because students and we all need that, don’t we? I mean, everybody says that they are missing that.



Yeah. Nadine, I think when people say how do you get students to engage in online learning, look at what students are doing. I think I’m at an advantage because they have young children, my boys will spend all night and all day online if I allowed them to do that. Now, why, why is that true? That’s because what they’re doing, they’re interested in it. There’s an element of excitement, there’s competition, and they are definitely interacting with their parents. I don’t know if you know, this game. You might know it depends on how old your kids are. It’s called among us. Yes.



Big one among us. I’m really big on among us Yeah.



Listen, for real, my kids will be on among us all night, and all day if they could. But the reason is, they are interacting with their peers on among us, it is a mystery, they have to solve problems, they have to guess and find and seek and all these things. And I think what’s lacking in online learning is that we think we can replicate the classroom online, and kids are going to be so interested in watching the screen, and I’m like, they don’t want to see you in real life. See you on a screen. But the thing is, you have to change the idea around online learning, we need to get the whole treasure hunt piece back into it, where the kids are hunting for their treasure and the learning while they’re doing it. Because what happens is if we set them tasks, and we put them in groups, and we set the expectations, and we set the parameters and the safeguarding pieces in place, they’ll go out there and they’ll learn and they’ll find and they’ll do, because what we’re trying to do is control the situation remotely. And that doesn’t work for kids, they don’t want to sit there and watch people’s faces for that length. That’s when that’s what we can do to switch it up. We can recreate the classroom,



well on that. And that’s part of my reset. In fact, that’s probably the major bit of the reset, is to is to stop is to stop being clamped into thinking that the only way that we can get learning to happen is by sticking an adult in up in front of whatever format it is, that isn’t worth learning happens in all sorts of incredible ways. And if and when. And we know we know, I’m sure we don’t know all of them. But we know lots of them. And we just need to be allow that creativity to happen and come through, and then stand back and review and pick the best ones, and then support those who haven’t quite got it yet.


Nadine Powrie  34:24

Your question like what did leaders do? I think there’s some sort of evolution to this. There was that human great human effort of everyone doing anything, any sort of learning, and we’ve become quite sophisticated very quickly. And we realize just because you’ve got teams or G Suite or zoom, that tool in itself is not going to do anything. And we’ve we’ve we’ve moved from Can I use the tool as is to realize it. Oh, that’s a business conferencing tool. That doesn’t make you a great teacher tool. No Oh, my so my son, my daughter’s school, first of all didn’t allow them to have control or the interactive or the functions, it’s no shut it down, the teacher will control the session. Yeah. And this year, they’ve given the kids their own teams. So she is having her own peer groups, you know, we have the lesson, they go off on their own, do some work and come back. But not everyone has worked out and been comfortable giving that level of trust over to the, to the kids, because they’re so used to that didactic, teacher centered experience, that really this is letting go. And that’s quite difficult for a lot of people. But there’s always a great opportunity, we have to, to engage our students to design lessons with us. I mean, I’ve always loved to cook. I mean, when I was teaching, I would always co construct the learning with the students, and they would teach lessons, right? And actually, they would teach me how to do it as well, because there were things I didn’t know how to do that. And every time I would learn something from them, so co constructing, I mean, I think now we’ve got a huge opportunity to co construct with students to make sure that we keep their engagement and their motivation. But you know, it’s easy for us to say that because I mean, it’s okay for those students who have access to a computer. And we are back to you know, what about those who actually do not have access to those computers, I mean, you’ve seen on BBC, you know, at least twice a week, they’re showing families where there is no computer, there is no laptop, there is none of that, right, there is not even a full line in the house. So we also have to be inclusive, in how we are motivating and educating children while we are facing COVID-19, we must never, you know, leave children behind or on our side, I maybe I’ll just say on that point, sorry, it’s really quick. The government did ask the phone companies in the UK, and a lot of them stepped up to give free access during the period. But if that was the case, what they could have opened schools to a particular group of people who had the need and couldn’t access the online. And it’s back to Jenny’s communication point, they didn’t really trawl, the sort of student family population and get an accurate picture of what it is they were dealing with. I mean, we found access is an issue. And another thing is your skills, we all thought the younger kids would struggle, and the older kids would nail it, it’s the other way around, the older kids seem to be the ones who really feel isolated and a bit nervous. So I don’t think we communicated very well, when we started this,



this issue about BT and or whoever it is giving access is all very well. But what unfortunately, what happened about the same time, Nick, was the government then decided that anybody who didn’t have access to any it became vulnerable, by definition, and therefore could be in school. School numbers then went up to about 50%. But we didn’t have staff to manage and maintain it. So they move the goalposts as to who can go to school with no notice to schools, and it’s quite a difficult thing to verify. So anybody who couldn’t, anybody can go in and say we haven’t a laptop at home and send their children to school. So I don’t think that’s helped too much. But I think that what’s what’s astounding at the minute and what is post sad is that it’s actually you know, Boris goes on about leveling up. And there’s always been this closing the gap. And I think the gap has has exactly been exacerbated by this, partly through lack of it, partly also perhaps through lack of parental skill in being able to support their children’s learning. And also there’s, there’s a big fury about school meals. And even though Marcus Rashford has come on board, and he’s talked to Boris and they’re going to come up with a plan, they’re still saying there’s not gonna be anything for February half term. And it’s actually quite shocking to be, you know, I mean, towards the end of my career, I’ve spent all my career in education, and always been supporting the vulnerable. And then there are the the the level of vulnerability and the level of deprivation seems to me to be much higher now than it’s ever been throughout my career. And they’re not be those those families and it’s the family are not being picked up.


Nadine Powrie  39:44

But but it would be fair to say that it’s been picked up by ACL. I mean, Jeff Barton is talking a lot about it. He was on the on the news again last week. It’s being picked up by unions. So so it’s not as if the Government was not hearing a message. I mean, the message is going through what is not happening is the actions from the government. So teachers and you know, unions, and I, I know SEL quite well, because I was, you know, I was I was a member, and I know, Jeff as well, and they are working extremely hard to the message has gone through, but it’s not, you know, nothing is happening at the pace at which we would like it to happen. And, and in the midst of that you’ve got leaders from school who are having to navigate, you know, because when you are communicating with the parents, well, what do you say to them? And how do you say it? I mean, I’ve seen good practice where heads have decided now to, to be on video, right, so that they don’t have to write anymore, but actually, just being on video as we are today, you know, and that requires courage to do that. Because before, it’s something they would never have done. But you know, they doing it, it doesn’t make it any easier for them. But they are doing their best. And it’s another way of communicating with whisperings



getting all sorts of different levels, isn’t it?


Nadine Powrie  41:19

Yeah. I mean, it’s coming back to the communication points that you put in that you were making Jenny about, you know, how, how do they communicate? Because if the communication message isn’t clear from the top, then what do you end up saying in your letter, and then your communication to parents, you don’t want to repeat the same type of communication because you appear to be a very inept leader should, because what we are told that makes sense anyway, because it changes all the time. And that is quite challenging when you’re when you’re a leader, to measure how and what you’re going to put in your communication, and what channels of communication you’re gonna be using. What’s What’s the message, you know, you’ve got to keep everybody going. And this is why I talked about alumnos Boehner neuron because he’s using social media in a really nice way where, you know, everyday is giving us example of the messages of thank you that is receiving from parents, you know, what the stuff I’ve done, the stuff while doing and PQ, you know, what they are doing? I mean, you know, is keeping things going. And it’s nice to see example of that, because it’s too easy to criticize or to, you know, keep on the bad news. We all know that. But I think having a hope. I mean, the importance of hope, when we’re in a crisis, and I think when you’re a leader a priority is is to keep hope, you know, to hope that the situation is going to improve, it doesn’t mean to be unrealistic, but have to be positive somewhere, otherwise, you can drive, you know, people with you. I would I’d agree the hope. I don’t think all hope is lost, no matter how bad the UK is. I think there’s a latency to this. I think everyone is mulling it over people are moving to new positions in their mind. I mean, I was talking to a parent the other day, we were moaning, why the school send us a flippin newsletter on email. Because that’s because so much of what the school does otherwise, it’s like this so much more interesting. So I think that seed is planted. And you wonder whether there’ll be a bit of people power that there won’t accept those old norms anymore. And they will be questioning. I mean, if someone was to pitch, we’re going to revamp the education system, are people really going to be against it? I mean, in the past, the government might have came under some fire, but you get a feeling this is the time to do it. Everyone is going to be listening.



I think, unfortunately, we’ve got a very inept education secretary, and I think if he was in charge, I don’t think you’d have an iPhone.



You weren’t going to be politically again,



I’m sorry. But can I can I also just say about this hope. And I think that, you know, people, the government’s may not have stepped up while I was hasn’t put up. Sorry, I’m not very political at all. Total frustration, I can’t believe it. I’m even watching Question Time, which is just not my cup of tea normally. But I think the communities are stepping up and I think that there are there are so many good things happening in communities. I mean, I’ve said before where we live on the outskirts of Newcastle, it’s quite a tough community, and the kindness and the generosity of people, helping people out people, you know, just paying it forward, paying for people shopping, having people delivering shopping, having donations and having people offering services for free. It’s heartwarming, how that community here, and I’m sure that’s replicated in lots of different ways, are helping to support the more vulnerable families in a way that I’ve never been aware of before. And I think, you know, we need to give lots of kudos to people who do do that. Giving up. I mean, I still got an old laptop, which I just think, well, I might need it. But actually, I should be like them. And I should just be giving that because they’re refurbishing more. You know, because the 70,000 laptops aren’t coming. They’re refurbishing old ones, which is, you know, it’s fine. And I think we need to we need to just acknowledge these communities and have great faith in supporting people. So yeah,


Nadine Powrie  45:44

I can say, a specific thing like that, that wouldn’t have happened unless we’d had lockdown. And so my daughter has got selected for an online mentor group, empowering women. were some very high level business women and entrepreneurs and people that been great in the public sector got together and did a huge teams mentorship program. Now that would have never happened. I don’t think you No, I can’t. That would have been in some sort of theater or lecture hall. And there have been problems and getting people there. But this happened quite organically, and those people gave their time and their advice. So I think I am quite hopeful I would I can see that there’s great things going to come out of this different ways of doing it, and maybe better ways. I don’t think just because it’s not like we used to do it, that that means it’s not as good. I think it’s too easy to think like that. And many, there are many, many head teachers who are actually doing doing their best and doing well, you know, it has trained them, that has been a very accelerated training for them, because they’ve been thrown in the deep end. And as I said, you know, no matter what qualification you have, it’s not in the book to deal with what we are going through, you don’t learn that. So they’ve had to improvise, they’ve had to respond. And many of them have been very courageous in the way that they responded. And I, you know, this is why I think we were very grateful to them, because it takes a lot of courage to change your style of leadership, you know, you’re you’re used to your style, you have a style, and then you’ve had to change it. And, and this is not easy, because you have to drive all the staff and the students and the community and you also have to evolve, you know, yourself as a leader. And yeah, it takes courage. Jenny, do you want to pick



up girls? Yeah, Goshen, as come in and saying, If this isn’t? If this isn’t the time to get political, then when is Thank you. We’re not in a situation. We are in the situation we are because not enough people take sufficient interest in politics, we need to understand how all the decisions that politics, politicians take are going to affect our lives. So there’s a vote.


Nadine Powrie  48:09

I think maybe if we wait for politicians will wait forever. And politicians or maybe if I take Jenny up on a point, maybe they’ve not done enough? And maybe they’ve been dealing with other things, possibly. But I think other people have stepped up without the government. Jamar got on his platform, at the head teachers it, we don’t need government to do it. You know, the education system belongs to all of us, parents, teachers, kids. So I think if we wanted to change, we just change it or when?



Well, when you say that it’s not as simple as that, because it takes huge courage to go again. I mean, that’s, that’s that’s ideally the case, but not really, because when you know, as a head that you can be inspected. And, you know, and people are, let’s face it, that’s not a pleasurable experience. And people have lost their jobs, because it’s because of, you know, the way things have come out check over. It just isn’t enough. Of there’s too much pressure. And I think I think Lee I think I think politicians are frozen by the the Well, well, I think, Well, I think they’re not frozen by their ineptitude, but that sort of thing. They’re there. They’re frozen, because they’re under pressure in a situation that has never been faked. They’ve never faced before. And there are a number of ways of responding and I want to suggest that they responded by a talked about lifting off throat and allowing people to explore the possibility of I keep saying about a reset, but they’ve not reached In that way, so I do agree that we could certainly put pressure on, on those who make policy and those who, but it’s not a simple matter just to change it. Without


Nadine Powrie  50:12

that, you know, professional bodies are doing that ASEAN is doing that Jeff Barton is doing that, you know, they are talking to the government. I mean, you know, first of all, nobody would know if the day after they would be, they would be at work or not. I mean, the news in very late. And, you know, we must rest reassured that actually professional bodies, were talking to the government. So we’re not, you know, the politicians are not told they at all, but ultimately, they make the decision. And when in doubt, and there is very little to some extent that people can do other than keep saying the same thing. You know, and it’s about influencing them as well.



It’s about employing something. Yeah. Yeah.


Nadine Powrie  51:01

We have about 10 minutes left. And I was wondering, Lisa, I mean, is there anything you are the editorial of the magazine teach Middle East? Is there anything that we we could do we could contribute to, you know, to help to support what’s happening? I mean,



you know, I think I think what happens is, when, when things like this happen, the more we use our voices, is how we’re going to create any sort of impact. So I think what what you all can do really is, like you’re doing right now in 18, is to use your platforms use your voices, to say, this is what I think should happen. Or this is the direction in which I think things should go. A lot of what is happening in the world is influenced by people’s voices, Marcus rush, Marcus Rashford, he used this voice, to say, this is a no matter how small a platform you have, your voice matters to somebody. And they can then echo what you’ve said, and it becomes, you know, a swell. So what can you do? Use your voice, use your platform, talk about the things that matter to you. If Jenny wants to talk about the ineptitude of Gavin Williamson, her platform will go right ahead. Because I think that would create a groundswell. I find him quite inept myself, not to be political right alongside Jenny. But I think if I made that much that much error, I would have been axed a long time ago. Exactly. I can’t see how he’s lost it. But yeah, so what I’m really saying is, use your platform, use your voice, you know, say something, if you’ve got if you’ve got principles that are doing extraordinary things, talk about them, make a little post about them. Talk about them with your friends, if if the way you think things should go is different from the way it’s going right now. Talk about it, write about it, speak about it, because I think if we all remain silent and wait for somebody else, to do the talking for us, we might end up right back where we were before this panel. Listen, education does not change as quickly as people are talking. So people talk about oh, you know, this is such a great time to change. Have you ever tried to move a house that’s anchored in the ground? is difficult. Education anchored? It’s a very anchored way of doing things. So what will you have to do? Bit by bit on do the foundations? That’s the only way to move it? So yeah, said a lot. But what I’m saying is use your voice. While you’re at it,


Nadine Powrie  54:02

that’s a good point. You see, I had in mind that we could, to some extent, and you’ve got experience of that, please. Perhaps organize the conference. You know, a conference about the lesson learned but also, you know, the moving forward, the forward thinking, you know, the



you in my brain somewhere near the end, be careful.


Nadine Powrie  54:28

I am I don’t know. But I have something



coming up a year on we’re going to gather school leaders together. It’s not an open conference for everybody. But it’s going to be specific to school leaders. Sort of like a way of getting everybody together and looking at leading the change. Because we talk about change in very abstract ways. And, you know, we pontificate and sound very, but what does it really look like? What is the change? Are we changing the way we do? Teach, are we changing the way we assess? Are we changing the way we use technology? Are we changing? Examinations? What are we changing in our schools? Because here’s the thing, we talk about changing education as a whole. But every single piece of education comes right back down to the school and the classroom. So I want to unpack that and look at how are things changing on the ground? How are they changing in the schools? What are schools doing differently in light of what we’ve just gone through? Or are still doing, basically? And so it’s a brilliant idea. So am I gonna have Nick and Jan? And Nadine, on the panel?



Yeah, yeah, we


Nadine Powrie  55:45

wouldn’t be very excited to, you know, to be part of your of your event. I mean, equally, we could do something before. Jenny and I were doing a lot of work on change. At the moment, we are creating a new a new chain model, because all the research that have been done in terms of change, are basing change on experience of the past. I mean, a nobody has ever experienced COVID-19. Right? So it will, it’s really exciting to see the new change model that we can come up with, you know, perhaps creating, it doesn’t have to be a big conference. But perhaps,



you know, the idea was never a big conference. It’s a free, what I was thinking more of is like a free event for school leaders, but specifically school leaders, because I think when when we gather like minded people together who have the same issues, we can really unpack, you know what’s going on and really move the needles. So yeah, definitely. Definitely. We’d love to work with you ladies on that.



Well, let’s bring in some comments we’ve got Goshen is I’m hoping I’m pronouncing your name, right Gulshan. He’s coming in about in spite of Pupil Premium for some years, 10 years of funding its Pupil Premium has made very little difference. We need to address poverty and deprivation can only be taken by the government. So the government needs to take lead. There’s lots that communities can do. But we do need a lead from the government. And then he’s agreeing very much with you. He says, Well, sadly. So we need to use our voice. And also we need to teach our children how to access to and feed into all the democratic processes that exist. I challenged the local public health report and the priorities in it if these do not include ba ma health. So that’s Goshen, who is a trustee of a foundation in Suffolk whose point the whole point is to dress disadvantage. So thank you. It’s the shoe. Sorry, I pronounced it perfectly, but I got your agenda


Nadine Powrie  57:55

wrong. But isn’t the point that I was making is a point that we were making when we were heads, though those issues existed many years ago, and we keep talking about it, you know,



not? Well, that’s why I’m saying that this is a key moment of of reset, you know, they’ve existed for a long time, they’ve become very sharp now because of the because of what is effective crisis. So, you know, it would be a travesty. If If there isn’t space created, and I think your forum or conference or whatever you call it, Lisa is an absolutely brilliant idea. I mean, you know, that it’s not I’m sure it’s not a new idea, but I mean, it’s, you know, the, with the focus, and good on you and absolutely, you know, very happily support you in whatever way needed, I feel really passionately



I think I think it’s, I think your word reset, I think is a really good one job. Because something it it kind of it restarts it but it restarts it with a memory. So it’s not you know, it’s not chucking the baby out with the bathwater, but it’s actually moving forward with all the lessons that we can learn. So I think we I think research is a really Goshen has come back again is conferences a great idea and whether this is face to face or virtual depending on when when it happens. It would be really interesting to have it with the Middle East and with the UK.


Nadine Powrie  59:28

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.



I think they’ve just done such a good such an or made such a good fist of of this so much. We have things to learn from,



though, I think I’ve course, been handled here is because of how the government is set up here. And, you know, without going into that whole debacle about why democracy doesn’t work all the time and all of that I think We have lots to learn in the UK about how to really listen how the government needs to listen to who they serve, because right now, I don’t think they’re doing too well at listening, you know?



Absolutely, absolutely. It’s all about learning and picking the best on developing and finding things to suit your own society, context, isn’t it and then



communicating it. Clearly,


Nadine Powrie  1:00:28

we usually finish off with about 10 ideas that we’ve got, I guess the main point today will be about reset, I think it would be good to finish with just one point, which is



to make a fairer society is what goes on inside, which I think is



a flower, a flower sort of shaped with reset, resetting in the middle, and then a series of little sort of bubbles or pattern shapes around the outside, which are, which are all components of that, of that process.


Nadine Powrie  1:01:02

What about that? I think and I think we should keep talking about what we spoke about today. And we should pick that up in a few weeks time. So Lisa, we, if you if you’re happy to be back with us in a few weeks time, because I think it’d be good to have. But part two of today’s discussions is many aspects that we didn’t talk about. It’s, you know, it’s an hour long and the hour. But, Lisa, thank you so much for being our VIP guests today. And we all say yes to the conference. And you know, we will do what you want us to do. We will have things to say as you as you know us, John, Jenny and Nick, thank you so much for admission today. And we’ll see you all next week. Yeah, Lisa, thank you so much. Thank you. Take care. Thanks, everybody.


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