Shedding the corset.

A lot of my time and thinking over recent months has been spent working with some fabulous people here in Christchurch,  helping create a future vision for schools and schooling in the city following the devastating earthquakes. One of those people is Denis Pyatt, recently retired principal of Papanui High School, and now working in a variety of capacities with secondary schools in the city, supporting principals during the extraordinary post-earthquake environment. Some of my colleagues at CORE managed to sit him down for a while and capture him speaking about this work and his experiences. In the video interview Denis describes the situations faced by schools, outlines many of the issues school leaders are grappling with, and challenges education leaders to take this opportunity to create a model of educational excellence. It's a frank and honest reflection on the situation as it is, but with an optimistic tone, signalling some of the possible 'shifts' in thinking and  practice that are emerging. I love the phrase Denis uses in the interview when he refers to 'shedding the corset' – if you want to find out what he's referring to you'll have to watch the clip. (Also available on

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