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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 9 February, 1999, 11:51 GMT
Going with the flow
graphic
The Principal of Beauchamp College in Leicestershire, Maureen Cruickshank, is rather miffed to be in Ofsted's list of improving secondary schools.

"We thought we were pretty good already," she said, pointing to the specialist technical school's consistently high exam performance.

cruickshank
Maureen Cruickshank: Can do
Mrs Cruickshank is one of just 14 headteachers picked to attend a seminar with the prime minister and the education secretary at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday morning.

She is a fan of the government's approach to education.

"With this government it's wonderful, you have a feeling that if you put up good ideas they will run with them," she said. "They're thinking the unthinkable."

Last Friday she was talking to a senior official in the Department for Education, telling her that Beauchamp would like to volunteer to be in the pilot 'fast track' project for teachers - part of the Green Paper proposals to attract able graduates and to move outstanding teachers quickly through the profession.

Well put in a bid, she was told. The bid went off by e-mail first thing on Monday morning.

Celebrating success

Mrs Cruickshank has also embraced the 'super teachers' concept and now has no fewer than nine accredited advanced skills teachers.

"I thought there would be safety in numbers," she said, asked whether singling people out tended to cause resentment.

Ofsted annual 98
Her view is that the process of trying to get the accreditation is worthwhile in itself.

"One of my teachers said to me: 'I don't care what happens on the day because it's been so wonderful - colleagues coming up and telling me how good they think I am.'

"Perhaps it's a British thing but we don't do enough of it. It's about celebrating success."

Mrs Cruickshank herself took part in the pilot for the new headship qualification, and found the process of analysing one another's leadership styles fascinating - although she has reservations about the way the training is done.

She is reluctant to complain about colleagues elsewhere but feels there is a widespread culture of wingeing about not having enough money or whatever. For her the best lesson is to visit centres of best practice.

"You learn more from other specialist college heads," she said. "That's when I feel quite humble. They are the 'can do' people."

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