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Educating Essex head: Gordon Ramsey is my inspiration for school improvement

Vic Goddard has become a household name thanks to Educating Essex, but it is an even bigger reality TV star that he has turned to for inspiration on turning round a school.

Writing in this week’s TES, Mr Goddard says that he took his recipe for school improvement from none other than celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

While chef Ramsay may be best known for his expletive-laden outbursts, Mr Goddard says the template for turning round a struggling restaurant in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares can be applied, with a few minor tweaks, to failing schools.

“Gordon Ramsay is all over my school,” writes Mr Goddard, principal of Passmores Academy in Essex. “The fingerprints of the craggy celebrity chef are everywhere. Without Ramsay, my school would not be the excellent institution it is today.”

Substitute curriculum for menu, students for customers and school environment for restaurant ambience, and many of the elements of Ramsay’s approach can be translated into a school context.

And while Mr Goddard does not advocate the chef’s approach to staff management – usually involving a shouting match and a cleaver or two – he says that the focus on people as the key to success is the same.

“Just as Ramsay can turn the girl who washes the dishes into the maître d’, look for your own hidden gems,” he advises.

Read the full article by Vic Goddard in the July 25 edition of the TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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