“Culture – total range of ideas and activities of a group of people with shared traditions which are transmitted and reinforced by members of a group”   (‘Understanding Schools As Organizations’-Charles Handy & Robert Aiken -1986)

  • My degree is in Chemistry, my PGCE is in P.E. (& Maths) from Carnegie College
  • I began teaching and researching in 1974.
  • By the end of the seventies I was Head of Department in Science and had discovered the key factors (skills) needed to achieve success in exams.
  • 1974-1984 I received no INSET in teaching.
  • 1985-1987 I took a part-time Diploma in Education course in Personal Social Health Education.
  • By 1985, my 10 years of teaching and research had helped me to develop a great deal (notice I had no organised INSET) such that my students were able to achieve excellent exam results (O & A level), and my staff felt they were part of an effective team (department) and supported fully. However, it had also become clear to me that our young people were not being prepared to cope and succeed in modern life, so I decided to my Dip. Ed. in PSHE.
  • In 1987, I decided to leave my school, after 13 years, to become a Head of Year in order to prioritise focusing on developing what our children and young people really need to learn in order to avoid being vulnerable and are able to cope and succeed in modern life.
  • In this new role and school I was able to expand my research and it became clear that                                                                                                                               “Education appeared to be perceived by the vast majority of people (including the Government and media) to be mainly concerned with academia achievement and exam success”
  • BUT My 16 years of extensive research had clearly discovered that in order for young people to avoid being VULNERABLE and able to cope and succeed in modern life they need to have developed several key abilities, skills, intelligences etc. to a good level, that are virtually independent of exam achievement.
  • In 1989 I began a part-time Master of Education In Educational Research and Evaluation course, having recently completed the very enjoyable and useful part-time Dip.Ed. course. Although the particular focus for my M.Ed. was ‘Effectiveness of Schools and Teachers’, the course gave me further access to discussion groups, books for learning and numerous interviews, discussions, observations and research to explore how education could prepare our children more effectively for modern life.
  • The definition of culture is from one of the important books I discovered in the eighties and early nineties, some of which have become international best-sellers. The information, evidence and research I discovered excited me a great deal, as I believed would provide the culture and strategy for education and schools to help our young people learn what they need to achieve good health wellbeing and life chances.
1986 Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences (1983) It illustrates that the traditional view of intelligence is flawed and introduced an excellent modern definition as a ‘set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life’.
1991 Stephen Covey Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic (1989) Probably my favourite book showing that applying the skills as habits means you become a very effective leader.
1991 William Edwards Deming Out of Crisis (1982) The ‘Father of Quality’ applies a scientific approach to the business world, leadership and life.

“The aim of leadership is to remove the causes of failure: to help people to do a better job with less effort.”

1992 Peter Senge The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization This bestselling business book demonstrates the importance of systems thinking and the learning organisations in the success of individuals, groups and teams, ideal for schools and education organisations but still very rare.
1993 Peter Salovey and John Mayer Emotional Intelligence (article in Imagination, Cognition, and Personality) (1990) Their scientific approach to emotions was very helpful since it supported my own research so much in that poor development in a person’s ‘emotional intelligence’ could explain so much about their behaviour, characteristics, and difficulties.
1994 Gordon Dryden & Jeanette Vos The Learning Revolution  (1994) This gives an excellent overview of the ‘Science of Learning’, over 10million copies sold worldwide. TQM & Learning Organisations outlined for education in Chapter 12

When I completed my M.Ed. (1991), the Government had introduced Ofsted, and School League Tables to greatly influence the media, schools & parents Into believing that education is mainly about academic achievement and passing exams despite the evidence to contrary showing its our development in skills, abilities, intelligences etc. that actually determines our health, wellbeing & life chances. These extracts from a 2002 book, Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl by Simon Gunn  Rachel Bell reflects my conclusion on the CULTURE OF EDUCATION in 1991.

  • “Education is absolutely central to the English middle classes: they are the people who pass exams.” (P. 147)
  • “The result of the educational reforms of the 1860s and early 1870s was the creation of a system of education more rigidly defined by class and status than ever before.”
  • “The public schools model was so strong that when state-funded secondary schools were finally established in 1902 they too furnished themselves with a simulacrum of its traditions.” (Page 157).
  • “The 1902 Education Act firmly enshrined social division in education through the exam process.”(Page 160)

What makes the CULTURE OF EDUCATION more deeply entrenched in the 19th Century is that the management structure in schools has remained virtually unchanged from the Victorian era, having the traditional steep hierarchical structure, with

  • Headteachers,
  • Deputy Heads,
  • Senior Management (Staff),
  • Heads of Departments.
  • Teachers

Yet the extensive evidence from the outstanding MUST-READ books (and many others) clearly demonstrated that education and schools should change their culture by adopting TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT and becoming LEARNING ORGANISATIONS.

These two very important books specifically explaining how TQM should be implemented in schools.

Managing Quality in Schools – John West-Burnham (1992)

I discovered this book in 1993 and was really impressed by it because chapter one provides an excellent brief analysis of “The Evolution of TQM” and the key points outlined by Deming, Juran and Crosby.

Chapter 6 – “Culture” –provides a superb analysis of one of the key factors in schools and how TQM would transform and greatly improve it.

Chapter 8 –“Teams – illustrates how creating and development ‘Team Power’ in schools via TQM will help to transform them into LEARNING ORGANISATIONS

Total Quality Management and the School – Stephen Murgatroyd and Colin Morgan (1992) 

I also discovered this book in 1993.

Chapter 8 –“Teams, team performance,and TQM” –page 141 states,                                 

“TQM requires that the school regards itself as a LEARNING ORGANISATION FOR ALL OF ITS MEMBERS. That is it is critically important that the adults who work in the school are seeking to learn about and continuously improve their work as teachers, educators and organizational members.”

 Total Quality Management and Learning Organisations for Schools

  • Total Quality Management(TQM) describes an evidence-based management approach to long–term success through customer satisfaction.
  • With TQM, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work.

In 2007 a report for the Department for Education and Skills   “Independent Study into School Leadership PricewaterhouseCoopers …” provided some very powerful research recommending that schools move to a TQM/Distributed Leadership approach

Slide9-leadership studyPWCSlide9-LeadershipinSchool-PWC   In 2016  The OECD-UNICEF Education Working Paper, “What makes a school a learning organisation” provides international evidence and support for Learning Organisation/TQM in schools from probably the world’s most important education organisation.


Slide5Slide6Slide7Slide8        From 1993, I began searching for schools that were adopting a TQM approach and/or attempted to become Learning Organisations. Initially I believed that this would not be too difficult as TQM and Learning Organisations were clearly far more suitable and effective in developing the culture and strategy for schools to help our young people learn what they need to achieve good health wellbeing and life chances.

In 2003, I realised that my optimism was unfounded and that the Victorian hierarchical structure present in education and schools is deeply established and a very difficult paradigm to shift. I began providing a day course (5 hours), “Emotionally Healthy Effective Leadership and Teamwork”, which was so popular I repeated it numerous times until I retired in 2010.

_1Leadership&Teamwork_ObjectivesThe internet now helps to provide opportunities to ‘spread the word’, and search more widely and continually for schools that have realised that TQM and LEARNING ORGANISATIONS provide the much needed CULTURE FOR EDUCATION IN THE 21st CENTURY