Why work in networks? In these times of fast paced educational change, many of us are facing the added pressures of strained budgets, curricula uncertainty and local authority transformation. I am not sure how we can navigate these waters without the continued support of a network of schools and professionals from whom to draw upon.
In the technological world this is called a Personal Learning Network and it is often made up of a plethora of web2.0 sites and contacts. However, personally, I like the human touch too. So I find myself drawing upon a group of close contacts to inspire and re-invigorate my thinking. Who are these people? Michael Shepherd (on twitter as Smichael920) from Haweside Primary School in Blackpool has a really innovative mind and leads an excellent school brilliantly. Equally Dave Watson at Chorlton Park Primary School in South Manchester is an outstanding National Leader of Education and genuinely humble innovator in leading schools and supporting clusters of schools. Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) is Deputy Headteacher at John Davies Primary School in Nottingham and a global leader in embedding new technologies in to the primary curriculum. He is also a real expert at empowering networks of thinkers, take a look at his Edublog Awards nominated Interesting Ways series for a great example of his PLN in action. There is also Dave Broadfield (@davebroadfield), another guru of New Technologies and learning spaces, who has been at the forefront of innovation in primary education for 20 years. I also draw upon the considerable expertise of Steve Hall, senior lecturer at Staffordshire University, who is an expert in international collaborations between primary schools. Beyond education, I have worked very closely for many years with Malcolm Hurrell at New Mindsets, to help me develop my thinking around leadership, management and coaching, whilst another two National Leaders of Education, Peter Rubery, Principal at the Fallibroome Academy and Darran Lee, Executive Principal of the Learning Federation in Oldham, both continue to challenge me in my journey from best practice to next practice.
These people have helped to make me who I am and they continue to help me become the leader I would like to be. I met most of them through the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, a great network for educational transformation.