I’ve never shared a platform with my dad, but we have, a couple of times in recent years, been keynote speakers at the same conferences. He preceded me both times, and because he’s about the best public speaker I’ve seen it is impossible to upstage him. The more recent conference was in October in Chicago, and both of us were a bit nervous that he wouldn’t do as well as usual with an audience that is more academic than his normal audience, and almost entirely American. No need to worry — as the audience was rivetted after about 5 minutes — at several tables there were intense sub-conversations as people absorbed the message. But his performance damaged mine. Someone who had never seen him before, but knows me well, said afterward his talk: “it was just like watching you”, by which she did not mean that I’m as good a speaker (I’m not) but that we share many mannerisms. So in my talk, the next day, I was deeply inhibited, stopping myself whenever I found myself mimicking him (about once every 2 or 3 minutes).

Anyway, that’s all just an introduction to an invitation to watch him on Teachers TV in conversation with Estelle Morris reflecting on his 45 year long career, the education reforms of the past 20 years, and today’s challenges. They’re both very good, and especially at the end they are both quite good about how difficult it is for central government to handle the schools well. Americans, especially, if you have 30 minutes to spare, you can see a smart and thoughtful person talking about the evolution of a set of reforms rather like those you are now embarked upon. Me, I think he’s the ideal reflective practitioner. But I may be biased.
(Explanation of my title, if needed, here, here, and here).

Update: Thanks to Tom Hurka for pointing me to this lovely piece by Peter Wilby in the Guardian. My colleagues and students, note: “I am eyeing the cheerful chaos of his Oxford home, where even the rooms seem laid out haphazardly, so that the kitchen is where the garage ought to be”. The nicest compliment of the lot: ‘whose appearance is so dishevelled that his arrival on school premises has sometimes led caretakers to report “a dodgy character”‘