I notice that Sky have just re-run Peter Jackson’s visually stunning three part-film adaption of J.R.R Tolkien’s classic The Hobbit. The first instalment in that trilogy is of course entitled An Unexpected Journey.
It tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, living a simple life with his fellow Hobbits in the Shire, until he is approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf and swept on a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Its a journey which takes Bilbo through uncharted and treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. On that journey he also encounters the mysterious Gollum - and gains possession of a simple but ‘precious’ gold ring that will both change his life forever, and in ways he cannot begin to know or immediately understand.
An unexpected journey. What a metaphor for all that we have experienced over the last year. Social, economic, educational, emotional.
It was the American academic and business consultant Clayton M. Christensen who first developed the term disrupter to describe the process of innovative displacement of existing market leaders in business during the mid- 1990s; a concept used to identify small start-up companies who challenged convention and redefined practice.
Covid-19 is, I suppose, now the ultimate disrupter: subverting noms across all ‘sectors’ of life right across the globe and necessitating the rapid recalibration of established social conventions, work patterns and approaches to learning.
Alongside this wholly unanticipated global change, I’ve been embarking on a contrastingly planned personal journey. One which involves moving on from my 20 years experience as a secondary school headteacher and applying my thinking around education leadership to, I hope, continue to ‘make a difference differently’ with new teams and in new contexts.
As first steps, I’m now delighted to be working with two absolutely fantastic partners whose ground-breaking work in education technology and online-safeguarding are directly addressing the challenges of Covid-led disruption in education: aspire2be.co.uk and