06/05/2014

Making the most of a special Bank Holiday Weekend...

A 6.00am flight to Vienna.

Not a bad way to start a Bank Holiday weekend.

Vienna

It was just a pity that my visit to the architecturally impressive Austrian Capital comprised of no more than an undignified 45 minute bustle from one end of its contrastingly functional international airport to the other in order to just make my connecting 10.15 flight to Erbil (Irbil), the capital of Kurdistan, Northern Iraq.

Map of Iraq

Erbil International Airport

Erbil

Don't get me wrong.

Once in a taxi from its ultra modern airport, the delights of this ancient citadel are an equally, if not more enchanting, as a tourist destination than Vienna.

But this was about business. Unfinished business.

In my blog, 'A positive message of partnership from Erbil' on 7 October, I described the purpose of my last visit to this region of Northern Iraq, leading a workshop for Headteachers from across the country to begin to explore how they could begin to develop their schools as hubs for wider community activity through partnership working. You can read it again via the link below.

A-blog-from-Erbil >>>

I could not have been more inspired by what, in those intervening six months, these colleagues have achieved together as a partnership of schools.

It would have been easy for their efforts to have been diluted by trying to focus on too many things. Things that we take for granted in schools in the UK

It would have been easy for them to have been distracted by curfew, road block, security threat. Things that we don't have to contend with in the UK.

Instead, united by a common commitment to developing a socially conscious and informed new generation of decision-makers, this incredible group of Headteachers and their staff have worked to rapidly breakdown the isolation and marginalization of young people with special education needs and disabilities by driving the integration of special and mainstream schools in a new consortium across the Iraqi Capital.

Teachers in Erbil Iraq

They don't measure it's impact in terms of exam results. They measure it in terms of unlocking potential ; 'discovering their students' as they describe it; unleashing their creativity as young leaders and learners. They actually don't need to measure. They just know.

How refreshing!

As one of the Headteachers put it to me, there is a phrase in Arabic, used by the teachers of Baghdad:

'Damn impossibility'.

They have.

I didn't get much rest. I landed at Heathrow at 9.30pm last night.

I don't care.

I've enjoyed a very special Bank Holiday Weekend...

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