Welcome to reason²believe
A support and advice service for schools, colleges and parents and a platform for pupils.
For more details, investigate the sections below:
Schools, including staff, parents and pupils, have an increasingly difficult mission statement to fulfil – simply to enable future generations to thrive, achieve and live in a better world. Well, that’s not too much to ask of anyone is it?! Strangely, this puts a lot of pressure on those working to that outcome so let’s throw in a few things to mix it up such as financial constraints, teacher shortages and the need to work longer hours (the children in particular; the staff already have a lengthy day despite the long held view of their working hours).
Then there are those who are entrusted with the commitment to train the future outstanding teachers. It is not an easy task to be responsible for those who will empower tomorrow’s children. We can only do this by mentoring and shaping teachers to teach exciting, stimulating and effective lessons that will focus on pupils’ learning and achievements – after all, they are our future, future teachers!
I worked in schools for over 45 years in almost every job title (I think the only thing I have not been trusted with is actually cooking school meals – a happy escape to all those diners!) I have been a class teacher, SENCO, support staff cover, a co-Headteacher and for the last 20 years, a Headteacher of a Southwark school with an outstanding OFSTED rating and the first school in the borough to achieve a place in the Sunday Times Top 10 Schools [nationally]. More importantly it is a school that every visitor wants to return to, with children that are polite and respectful and a stable and outstandingly excellent staff. The hardest decision I needed to make was to retire from the job I love – but know that I am not someone who can simply give it all up. Hence this new venture.
“Do what you believe is right and once every 10 years you will be in fashion”
I defy you to find someone who has worked with Jose Lewis who has not heard her say this and she is committed to it more and more. Should we teach in a way that someone tells us to because it is a new trend or someone’s “ground breaking” idea or because we know and believe it works? This doesn’t mean never change or adapt but rather take the best parts of it all and make it your own – and through the cycle of changes, you will be ahead of the game once in a while.
Why the name “reason²believe”?
Jose Lewis explains…
R² is not just there to shorten reason to… it’s there as a nod to my love of Maths and as we all know, of course, represents a “measure of the goodness of fit of a model”. When I say ‘goodness of fit of a model’ I am obviously not measuring myself against anyone (in today’s world ‘fit’ and ‘model’ can conjure up many mental images and if so, all of them are not a “goodness of fit” of me). The ‘model’ part I hope is a collection of skills, knowledge and beliefs I have built up over the many decades I have been a teacher and headteacher and the ‘goodness of fit’ is how much my advice/help/support can make a difference.
Now, you may shudder at my sketchy interpretation of R² (not us mere mortals, just the mathematical purists out there) and that I may have manipulated the definition somewhat. But, after all, this was never meant to be a statistics lesson – just a parody that I hope hints at my belief that numbers and what they do are not as scary as some people think and can, in the right context, be satisfying. For example, just think of the time you found that tenner in your bag/pocket that you had forgotten about and I dare you to tell me there was not a sense of awe, wonder and satisfaction that you found it and can spend it on whatever you like because it was overlooked, forgotten about or saves the day! That is what I think we should all strive for when teaching Maths – the learner will have that feeling when they have mastered a new skill (my next sketchy interpretation of Maths Mastery that some educators hang their hat on) and I as the learnee (aka teacher) will have an equal share of that feeling when seeing that light bulb moment.
is not only to shorten believe but to emphasise that I do not always follow the latest fashionable trend and only work with what I actually believe can work. Easier when you have been teaching since the Stone Age; not so easy for someone just starting out.
While over the years things I believe in have obviously developed and modified, there are some non-negotiables that are there forever. For example, consider the teaching of reading (so not to keep on about Maths!). When I started teaching I was told that it is not about letter sounds but about context and the shape of a word so a “phonics lesson” would have been frowned upon. “English is not a phonetic language” I was told (FYEO: I used to teach phonics in “handwriting” lessons). Fast forward to today – now it’s ALL about phonics, now there are made up words we are told to test on and the shape of the word and context has been thrown out of the window. So while the non-negotiable is that everyone needs to know how to read and needs to be taught how to read at an early age, over the years I have come to believe that everyone, adults and children, learn in very different ways and that reading English is complex so there must be times when you use phonics and shapes of letters and words and times when you use context clues; nothing should be taught simply because it is fashionable, nothing should be thrown out – you teach in a certain way because you and your school believe in it (aka the quote we started with).
Then we come to the purple pen. Well, that might be the most important part! The purple pen represents the many, many mistakes we all make along the way – and the opportunity to correct them. Everyone needs a purple pen and as long as we use it and make those changes to either right a wrong or just make things a little better we can move on and work on our next step to perfection! If you ever get to the end and achieve that elusive goal then let me know as I firmly believe that no one can honestly say their job is done and I have yet to find anyone whose job can be ticked off as done – when you work with people, especially children, the best part is no two days will be the same but the not so good part is your job will never be done as that new challenge is just around the corner.
My purple ink has almost dried up just writing and editing this page so it is time to stop. Hope this tells you why I chose this as the company name – and any other explanation that some individuals close to me might share with you is purely a coincidence (I may need a purple pen on that last bit!)