The day invariably starts with an early train from one of the London mainline stations heading to any point north, south, east or west. My keenly anticipated treat is always coffee, croissant and a table seat. Now I have time to check emails, tweet and read my briefing for the day ahead.
I arrive at the school always with a warm welcome from the Head, sign in and then off to the Head’s office for an update from the senior team and coffee with tempting biscuits. It is important then to see a school in action, always a highlight for me. My guides are sensible students keen to show and tell me all about the wonderful variety of their achievements.
I meet individual staff and students in class and discuss teaching and learning. Despite my 20 years as an educationalist, there is always something new for me to learn, whether information or technique, and I have been offered the chance even to play in a band and ascend a climbing wall! Photos are taken, both for the school Newsletter and for my collection for speaking engagements. Then follows a quick local press interview before meeting the Chair of Governors and local community representatives. This is the time for serious discussion of issues facing the school and their future plans.
Lunch varies between the dining hall with students or sandwiches as we work.
Off to another school in the area for the afternoon for more with another group of staff, students and good coffee. Always I am struck by the welcome and the pride in what is being achieved. I may be treated to a concert attended by parents and local schools to widen my understanding of collaboration and parental satisfaction. I enjoy this opportunity to speak with parents.
Late afternoon and I am on the train back, buoyed up by the enthusiasm of children of all ages and the dedication of staff. This is my time to reflect on the day, follow up any requests and issues from the visits, and catch up with emails from the office.
I am aware and humbled by the privilege my position affords me to see and experience a snapshot of our schools across England. There is no doubt from my first-hand experience that there is much of which we should be very proud.