I have been persuaded that a blog is the done thing to round off the year so despite being ‘a tough nut to crack’ here goes…my first blog.

13 of the puzzle pieces which have made up my year in no particular order.

1. Music, I can not exaggerate the influence that music has had and continues to have on my life.  I adore the richness, the feeling of going on a journey with the artist, being wrapped in the velvet tones of a singer and finding empathy in the thoughts of another so eloquently expressed.  I encourage music at school and this year have managed to employ a music specialist who shares my passion and it has made my heart happy to see the children absorbing the opportunities and experiences this has led to. I have continued to explore the genres I love and see live musicians whenever possible from the wonderful Jazz Trio at the local club to mega stars in towns far away.

2.Collaboration in school is beginning  to pick up we are training with a local school next week and the discussions I’ve had with educational practitioners either in the flesh or through the wonderfully supportive Twitter network have challenged and redirected my thoughts more times than I can remember. 

3. The Raise in PAN and accompanying building work and growth in staff numbers this year has created a set of puzzles all of its own.  The dynamics of the staff has changed and this has required a lot of work with the team.  The building work… well quite frankly has required lots of chocolate and wine to ease my nerves.  The influx of children form different school who often couldn’t settle in other schools has ensured that our Pastoral Team has been tested but thank goodness, no where near to their limit.  I am very proud of the schools responsiveness and change management. 

4. The Gym! My haven, bolt hole and place of supreme calm.  Nothing clears my head like working out so hard I can barely move in the comfort of my music zone.  Earphones on, music pumping… Stevie Wonder, Prince, Craig David, Mary j Blige, Luther, Usher… an endless list of stress busters.  This is where I rediscover me and refresh, reflect, re think and walk out ready to smile another day.

5. Middle leadership  We have finally managed to establish a strong Middle leadership. Three ladies who I am so excited about. Got them in place, given them resources and support and now I can not wait to see them do their stuff..

6.Travel in 2013 has been perfect… as well as the usual delights of York and London and other English beauties I was blown away by a trip to Barcelona in Easter and of course the beautiful Island of Rhodes was added to my list of places I love.  Summer holidays swimming in the sea, eating fish and drinking barrel wine is essential.

7. Much of my time is spent reflecting and theorising, I love time alone and enjoy silence above all.  This Is what my friends know of me… the public face is very different.  A local authority advisor once described be as the ‘loudest person he knew’ and whilst this is true when I am defending my school, family or friends I smiled a smile to myself and thought ‘You know nothing of me’ Which is just how I want it to be.

8. Unfortunately I am very shallow I love sparkly, shiny, beautiful things. handbags, shoes, pretty nails, jewellery and even nice pads or pens….I would like to be practical but this is me or at least a side of me… silly, girly and impractical. So yes I have obtained some beautiful ‘stuff’ this year that makes me smile.

9. Baking and Cooking has had a particularly high profile in my year.  I cook and bake with joy.  Nothing beats Sunday morning in my kitchen dressed in pyjamas , dancing around to the radio with bread proving, scones in the oven and baklava under construction.  It is not only a wonderful process, creating from a group of ingredients but also a great act of nurturing to feed those who are special to me.

10. Trust and the many layers has caused me concern in 2013.  I had grown complacent, forgot to test the boundaries.  February saw someone whom I had invested much in leave the school, this I admit cased me to relook at things and I felt guilt at an appointment which I then saw was not right and a breech of trust from the person. Later in the year the issue of trust arose again and this time it cut deep.  I feel that the process of coming through this has been instrumental in strengthening me as a leader and although it was painful it was necessary and I feel better placed and experienced because of it. Steven Covey ‘The speed of trust’ was my councillor.

11. Friends   I have the most beautifully diverse group of friends from those who drink wine with me, to those that send a brief message at the exact moment I need that message to those that I am appalled at (as they do what I would not dare and get away with it)  I laugh , cry, dance, sing, eat and reflect with my friends.  I love them all dearly and know that I need them as I much as oxygen.



No words… just Ollie!


Next Year…in summary

1-TRX Bands (Oh Yes!)

2-Delegate and build trust

3-Make time to chat to people

4-More concerts and live music


6-Deal with the Diet Pepsi Addiction (leave the wine one)

7-Relax- Does it always need to be perfect? (Possibly yes)

8-Go horse-riding

9-Keep cycling, walking…choose the slower option when I can

10-Widen the ‘I’ve had an idea circle’

11-Spend more time with my Mum


13-Collaborate actively with more schools

14-Cook for more people-invite, enjoy and share