Who inspires you?

We had the pivilige showing the Guardian round Hodge Hill on Friday, ahead of our week’s report on aspiration. I wanted them to see some of the work in places like International school where an inspirational head is re-inventing the idea of how a school sits as a hub in the centre of a community, offering a whole host of new services – like post-16 training, IT facilities for silver surfers, and family learning classes. The point is that to turn around aspiration, you have to harness both families and communities. And schools are central because in poorer places, schools are often the biggest public investments – and likely to remain so given our £35 billion of building schools for the future investment. But, arguably front line leaders need still more flexibility to mix funding and roll out new services.

We had a little workshop with some International school students on role-models and ambitions. They were incredible. Plenty wanted to be doctors, surgeons, lawyers. All wanted to go on to college and university. And almost always the big sources of inspiration were people who believed in them, picked them up when they were down and taught them the value of trying and trying again until they got it right. Inspiring stuff.

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