January 26, 2009

(Reflecting in) Oscar glory - would your school be world class?

I was thrilled to hear that colleagues in Channel 4's Film4 (well, it's a table with two or three people at Horseferry Road) have had a significant hand in winning twelve Oscar nominations. All year they've been winning prizes for Hunger, and now Slumdog Millionnaire, In Bruges and Happy-Go-Lucky add to that.

Working in an organisation where every week its Chief Executive is able to send emails telling the whole staff of the latest world-class awards being nominated or won by colleagues is, I think, quite rare. But it also has the effect of raising everyone's game. How many jobs have you been in where every week, at least once, you're asking if the project you are thinking of doing or stuck in the middle of has the potential to be world class? Even the lead of Slumdog, Dev Patel, was discovered and had his first acting role on another award-winning production shown first on and made for Channel 4's teen channel E4, Skins.

If only more schools set their ambition levels at that level, not at the vagaries of "excellence" and "21st century", but at "world class". If only more teachers saw their role as contributing to the potential of their students to win the imaginary plaudit of educational Oscars or Webbys in the same way as a Commissioner at Channel 4 looks to make their independent companies' productions become the best in the world at what they do.

It's not that every idea gets there, but one thing is certainly true: We all get closer to world class by consistently working towards that level and being around others who do, too.

The film buffs amongst you might want to read more on the fine heritage of Film4. Meanwhile, I wonder whether anyone would have the guts to proclaim their Curriculum is not one for Excellence, but The Best Curriculum In The World. At least at that point, the goal is clearer for everyone involved.


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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