James’ Blog


As I think about the holidays, I am really struck that how, as a teacher one almost has a sabbatical length of holiday. It is too easy for those of us with children to grumble about the length of the holidays! The other day I was thinking about what really makes a great holiday and came up with my ‘Four Rs‘. The first is that we must RELATE.  There are many relationships that in the busyness of life fall by the wayside and...

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In the last week or so I have been ruminating on the importance of not denying pain and suffering. On Tuesday it was my second child’s 13th birthday and in the sunshine our whole family were greatly enjoying an aqua park. As my two older children were wake boarding and my younger children were bouncing around on an inflatable I shared my frustration with my mother.  I said, “I wish I could see!” At that moment I was...

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My message to parents, teachers, tutors & pastoral leaders is to ‘let children feel approved‘.  I think this is a foundational principle of effective pastoral leadership. It’s the summer holidays! As teachers across our land rest at the end of a busy / full on year – purposeful reflection is now key. It’s our hearts that matter most! How do we feel about the children we are trying to ‘lead...

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This was my Dad’s great quote to me as a young golfer. After all golf is an easy game as is life when all is going well. As I write this blog I have just returned from playing 4 holes of golf with a visually impaired 10 year old girl called Hester. I was the self-appointed teacher and my Dad’s advice of ‘swing slowly and watch the ball’ did not fully apply as she couldn’t see the ball. What really struck...

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Two things in the last week really struck me. On Friday evening I found myself at a smart formal dinner. At this event there were 4 speeches: 3 were heavily scripted and the speakers spoke directly from their notes, and the 4th the speaker had no notes and simply spoke from the heart. I particularly listened to this 4th speech because I felt that it was the person leading with the words following, rather than the words leading and the...

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People are often questioning how we best educate. Some of the finest minds on earth have written extensive theses and books and the reality remains that what works for some doesn’t for others. I had a lovely chat to an experienced educator earlier in the week, this lady was about to retire and she said that the Bart Mcgetrick quote had been her mantra, as an early years teacher. It is:  “Children learn best through the...

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