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Tom came to teaching with one goal in mind – to be an inspiration. He continues this mission by providing workshops for students and teachers in all aspects of learning to learn.


Think it worked

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Hey you, Ofsteda yourself!

Tom Barwood


Have you ever thought about Ofsted-ing yourself? I have this particular treat coming up soon when I will sit down with the inspector to go through the data and check on my attainment levels. As a self employed person this means it is time to meet with the accountant, go through the end of year figures and work out what profit we made. I can tell you already that the grade will be ‘inadequate’ or at least ‘requires improvement’.

After this yearly shock fest of ‘death by data’ I always ask myself why I bother doing what I do and generally beat myself up for being such a numpty that I don’t make more money (cue the negative internal dialogue!).

Copyright Matthew Johnstone 'Quiet the Mind' 2011

Copyright Matthew Johnstone 'Quiet the Mind' 2011

Then I start to reflect on what I have been up to recently and ever so slowly a broad grin spreads across my face. I didn’t leave the world of full time teaching (with paid holidays, pensions, sick pay and job security) to get rich. I did it to be an inspiration, to make a difference and have fun.

On those three counts I am doing incredibly well. In fact you could even say it is 'Outstanding'. As a family we survive financially but also whatever happens I accept that this was my choice. No one forced me to go freelance. Every choice has consequences.

In the last two weeks I have delivered a session on motivation and feedback to a group of tennis coaches at Riverside tennis club, presented on collaborative learning to a group of staff at one of Britain’s most prestigious independent schools and then, in a ‘rock and roll changeover’ gone straight down to Devon to work with a group of primary teachers on classroom management (this was a double bill with the enigmatic Oliver Quinlan).

Returning back home I then went off to an IRIS training session at the amazing Kenmore Park Infant and Nursery school before heading down to London again for the Whole Education Conference. Buoyed up by that I headed over to Holland to deliver ideas on how to deal with stress to the staff at the British School of the Netherlands. From there it was back home and then off to Chester to work with all of Year 10 at the Queens School on thinking skills and when I got back from there I had a day to catch up before making the final presentation in a series of four on the psychology of motivation to a group of outreach workers from Queens Park in Bedford.

So why is necessary to share all this, let alone blog it? Am I trying to make sense of my life or just brag a little?  Actually it may be a little of those but the main things I want to do is show just what is possible and to remind myself of the where my focus for success lies.

If ever it looked as if I was actually going to go bankrupt then I would take drastic remedial action but sometimes you need to sit back and take your eye off the data and refocus on what really matters.