The outgoing Ofsted boss, Sir Michael Wilshaw, says we need more ‘maverick’ teachers to revitalise what he called ‘a pretty ordinary education system’.

Speaking at a recent TES conference he said that the state system needed ’extraordinary people’ or ‘the awkward squad’ to bring out the best in schools. He described the influence of such teachers in his own education and cited Clint Eastwood as a role model, ‘the lone warrior fighting for righteousness,’ that heads should hope to be. The independent sector has always had them, he said, and our state system needs more of them!

We may remember inspirational teachers from our own school days who had a genuine passion, the knack of enthusing the most uninterested pupils and who were a little eccentric and free spirited. Sir Michael suggests that we, as teachers, can actually start to learn from and aspire to ‘act’ as such mavericks if we follow the sort of inspirations and lessons he had from his role models as a young teacher. Mmmm…

Perhaps this is hard to square when he leads a major section of the government machinery that has steadily ground nonconformist heads and teachers out of the system through the relentless pressure of inspection, floor-targets and league tables. But, nevertheless, his role models were indeed interesting characters. To read his full speech and top tips, click here. Happy reading!