‘I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.’ Thomas Jefferson
There’s an assumption that we need to have hard evidence that something has ‘worked’ and that we have had an impact. We usually expect this to be in fairly short order. But it might be helpful to think about impact over the longer term. When we think back to those who have had an impact on us, it is not just those who we interacted with today, but also those in the past who have given us encouragement and hope.
'Hopeful Schools is a breath of fresh air and reminds you 'why' we do 'what' we do, whilst making you think 'how' we go about it. Mary encourages us to consider what soulful schools; heart-based education and courageous leadership could and should look like. This book will nourish you and restore your faith in the future of our education system. It will reassure you that by being hopeful we can affect change. 'Hopeful Schools' will inspire you as it will remind you that through resilience, courage and hope we can create school cultures underpinned with trust and integrity.'
Hannah Wilson, Headteacher, Aureus School
'All too often leadership books and books on education like to reduce complex processes and issues to simple checklists and simple questions. The book, like Mary Myatt, understands that there are many intricate aspects involved in teaching, and leading a school. One thing you get from her writing is that there are people at the centre of schools. Too often statistics, numbers and policies detract us from the fact that in education we deal with real people, young or old, who are complex and unpredictable. They have dreams. They have fears. They have insecurities too. Humans daily tread the fine line between helplessness and hope. This daily battle is at the heart of the book. How do you turn negativity into positivity?
Mary’s book looks at education from the perspective of people. The book isn’t about hitting targets and impressing people. The book is about how to make the experience in schools better for students, parents, teachers and leaders. There are schools in the world where teachers feel helpless. There are schools in the world where leaders feel helpless. ‘Hopeful Schools’ is a welcome beacon of light, hope, and positivity in possibly one of the most challenging times in education. Be clear, this isn’t a rose-tinted view of education either. Mary addresses the difficult issues head-on and asks the difficult questions, using a wide range of sources and examples (inside and outside education), which we have to ask ourselves if we are going to be better or the best.
‘Hopeful Schools’ is a brilliant philosophical investigation into how we can get the best from our students, the best from our teachers, and the best from our schools. It is a book of ideas, questions and examples told with such warmth, detail and thought that only a human could write it. This is about leadership with the heart and the head for doing the right thing.'
Chris Curtis, Head of English
'Another lovely, nurturing and enjoyable easy read from the ever helpful Mary Myatt. Thank heavens for Mary Myatt who once again takes on the role of caring. demanding big sister; protective and authoritative in her praise of ordinary good teachers against the new establishment bully boys and girls with their negativity and supercilious judgements. In this book 'Hopeful Schools’ Mary Myatt further seals her position as one of the most caring and supportive optimistic and effective voices in English education. Tim Brighouse, Mick Waters, John West Burnham relax and enjoy your beckoning retirement for now we how Mary Myatt to support, challenge and inspire teachers to be even better. Part personal observation, part philosophical, certainly encouraging and with novel references and simple practical examples Mary Myatt serves up another teacher-friendly guide.'
Peter Hall-Jones Former headteacher, international education consultant, leadership coach, Founder of the Curriculum Foundation
'What Mary Myatt has managed to do here is put the markers down for organisations and individuals in how they define their optimistic and hopeful selves. She dismantles the inhuman machinations of faceless institutionalism and supports its replacement with a genuinely warm, informed and witty alternative. Hope and humanity should be at the centre of what we do. In Hopeful Schools, Mary Myatt shows us how. Essential.'
Hywel Roberts Teacher, Writer, Speaker Create Learn Inspire Ltd
Wow! This is an amazing book. I read this from cover to cover in one sitting and I loved it. Mary Myatt’s gentle wisdom and humour shines through every page to remind the reader of the positive action and affirmation that emerges when we experience feelings of hope instead of helplessness.
‘‘Look at me" is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart.
Russell’s observation might have been driven by his childhood experiences: loss of parents at an early age. Home tutored. Cold grandparents, left to his own devices. Or possibly not. Perhaps he said this because he noticed that people want to be acknowledged. So, if we agree with Russell that one of our basic needs is to be acknowledged, what does this mean for our own needs being met and for considering this in the workplace?
‘Nobody, ever once, pops to the top. You walk there. Step by step, each a failure until it's not.’
Seth Godin is a business thinker who delves in to the deepest aspects of human motivation, purpose and success. The quote that nobody pops to the top is from a post about Van Gogh. He discusses a picture of Ramsgate which the painter stitch when he spent time in England in the 1870’s when he was early in his career. Van Gogh’s paintings of Ramsgate are fine. They are functional and recognisably Ramsgate. But they are not high art, nor do they point to the future wild, magnificent brilliance. What, asks Godin, would have happened if the painter had stopped painting in Ramsgate? What if he decided he wasn't that great a painter? Well, the answer is obvious. The Ramsgate paintings were part of the journey to brilliance.