Mary, Queen of sprockets

On Thursday I spent the day with fellow governors interviewing candidates for the new headteacher at St Andrew’s CofE Primary school.

I’ve been a governor there for over a decade now, and our new appointment will be the third permanent head in that time. Under the leadership of our outgoing head, Michelle Thomas, St Andrew’s has moved from failing its Ofsted to becoming an outstanding school. She’s done an amazing job. So quite a challenge for the new head to follow; to find, as our ad said, a still more excellent way.

So there was much talk of team-building, innovation, monitoring and delegation at the interviews. Or rather, assemblies, interviews, written exercises, presentations and more interviews. The candidates must have been exhausted; I know the panel were…

Every profession has its own jargon; education certainly does. Combine that with management-speak and it can be quite hard work to sort out the good practice from the worthy theory. I think some of the best management training comes via the much-maligned reality TV. Not the human zoos of Big Brother etc but programmes like the Hotel Inspector and Mary, Queen of Shops, where strong-minded women come in and sort things out. A bit like Michelle at St Andrew’s!

Mary Portas has also made a mark in Islington. She overhauled ‘Comfort and Joy’ on Essex Road, now flourishing as ‘Handmade and Found’. Her latest series, looking at charity shops, has even inspired comparisons with working in a Lib Dem office.

BTW I was googling Mary Portas when I found this link to the Telegraph fashion pages. It helpfully points out ‘Mary Portas tends to get many of her necklaces from Mimco… ‘ Follow the link and you get to Mimco Equipment, who provide belts, chains and collars, it’s true, but for engines not people. So now we have Mary, queen of sprockets.


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