Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Tim Brighouse

Our authority works closely with RM who manage our ICT service. Recently we helped RM video a case study of good ICT practice in our school, which made us all feel really delighted that the hard work being done was recognised and valued. RM’s Douglas Chappelle who works closely with us gave us a small booklet recently published by Tim Brighouse via RM. Called How Successful head teachers survive and thrive, it’s a quick read with some great advice, and certainly worth a read.

I loved his work life balance part at the end. Number 7 in his advice was “Collect Hyacinths” Here’s what he says:

“Find your hyacinth. It’s neccessary to explain this by recalling the story, which Alec Clegg, the education officer of the West Riding used to tell as justification for getting proper blance in the curriculum. As a teenager, he would visit his aunt in Grantham. On the wall was a sampler which read as follows:

If of fortune thou be bereft,

And of thine earthly store have left

Two loaves, sell one and with the dole

Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.

Successful heads avoid stress and burn out in themselves and their staff by being keenly aware of their hyacinths and ensuring they have enough of them.”

I liked that! It also reminded me of something I heard Maya Angelou say at a reading. My wording will be askew but it was along the lines of – when things are going badly, remember that if you didn’t have rain, you’d never have rainbows….

Feeling a bit Pollyana like after that…. but thinking positively helps keep the role of Head in perspective. There’s a little golden nugget to be found every day in a school, no matter what crisis has hit. Getting out of our offices and being with the children remind us of the humaness around us, and what a joy our job really is.

October 2, 2007 - Posted by | leadership | ,


  1. Thank’s for the mention. It was real pleasure to be involved with Castlefield.

    Hyacinths is a great wee story and Tim’s pamphlet is a great wee read. As I said in my talk at SLF the contents of that pamphlet are the product of a lifetimes observation of heads at work, not pseudo scientific management guru speak.

    I think there should be more pamphlets. Perhaps blogging, especially blogs with extended posts, are the modern equivalent.

    Comment by Douglas Chappelle | October 23, 2007 | Reply

  2. I’d like more pamphlets like Tim’s too. Don Ledingham says on his blog that Time is a hero of his. It’s great to read something that just makes sense with NG in it – (nae guff)

    Comment by andreareid | October 23, 2007 | Reply

  3. Or maybe even Tim is a hero not Time….

    Comment by andreareid | October 23, 2007 | Reply

  4. Time is a hero of mine – I can never get enough of it 🙂

    Comment by Douglas Chappelle | October 24, 2007 | Reply

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