Site news – last update (at least for now)

Dear Reader – 

It is with considerable sadness that, after nearly four years of daily updates, I am having to take a break from the site with immediate effect due to workload pressures.

First a bit of background…

This site was never meant to become ‘a thing’ like this – it was just a little experiment that has grown a life of its own. However, from virtually the first day, and despite never promoting it (which is ironic in itself for a marketing person like me), the site has just taken off and grown week after week purely through word of mouth. Tens of thousands of you now visit every month and follow along on Twitter. More than seven and a half thousand people subscribe to the daily email and a huge proportion open it every day. Along with the generous feedback I regularly receive, knowing so many people were finding the service helpful has always given me the determination to keep going. 

As some of you know, in order to do this I’ve been getting up every day at silly o’clock (4am) and doing most of the work before I move onto my ‘day job’ with clients during normal working hours. I then do another stint later in the day to start preparing posts for the following morning (and in recent weeks I’ve had some help with this from a very kind friend). It has often been tough but it has been so rewarding that until now I’ve always found a way to get it done. However, I am currently involved in some major projects that mean I am away working long hours on-site with clients most days and this is making the daily challenge of updating the site more difficult that ever before. 

I know if I keep at it much longer something (probably me) is going to break so I have had to admit that, at least in the current circumstances, I need to break off from updating the site. Having kept it going through all kinds of sometimes crazy situations frantically working on it in the back of cabs, on ferries, in airports, coffee shops, pubs and goodness knows where else, this decision feels like a defeat. I am, however, leaving everything in place ready to resume the service should my circumstances change again. There is so much more I know the site could offer but those plans will have to wait for another time.

Until then, please accept my apologies for not being able to keep this going right now and my thanks to you for reading, sharing, commenting and contributing. More importantly, thank you – as the real schools improvers – for caring so much about our schools and education in the first place. Your commitment and concern for our children has shone through on a daily basis and made a lasting impression on me.

Please keep in touch because I’ll miss your warmth, wit and wisdom.

Kind regards,

Tony Harbron

Schools Improvement Net - feedback and update
Teachers call for end to 'inappropriate' post-16 GCSE resits
Categories: 2-7 and Site news.


  1. rosscotter

    This is sad news!
    Thanks for the excellent work producing these excellent posts. I will miss it as part of my essential morning reading! Enjoy the later mornings!

  2. MarkBarcroft

    Gutted but pleased you are able to to take the difficult decision. Enjoy the extra time you gain and … point me towards a similar service, only for while you’re away 🙂

  3. Julie_Cordiner

    I can’t believe you have been doing this alone. You have given an invaluable service and I will miss the morning routine of reading your excellent summaries. I can’t think of anyone else that brings together so much information in one place.
    Wondering if anyone else would take up the challenge even as a group say on a weekly basis to somehow keep something going?
    Thank you so much.

  4. Hector11

    Thank you very much for all you have done, like others, I too will miss the morning routine of reading through your invaluable summaries. Good luck and thanks again.

  5. Alan OSullivan

    Had no idea that this service was a solo effort that has proven to be an immensely supportive professional service for teachers everywhere. 

    I believe that this a service that the teaching unions should consider supporting financially to resource it to the needs that tailor Roger’s requirements. If not, then I’d be happy to pay towards as a subscriber. Other working suggestions that I’m happy to forward on to Roger via email -this should be his main source of income.

    Even if it is possible to continue as a weekly bulletin, it is vitally important that we keep this invaluable service carrying on.

  6. pe_enthusiast

    SchoolsImprove genuinely gutted, love reading the tweets before I go to work. Tremendous solo effort and all the best Tony

  7. birch_david

    SchoolsImprove Many thanks for all you’ve done in providing a ‘must read’ service for the education community on twitter.

  8. RealGeoffBarton

    SchoolsImprove A characteristically clear & informative explanation. Thanks for such a reliable news feed & all best wishes for the future

  9. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove Sad news – to your credit that it’s a real surprise to find you were doing this solo – good luck

  10. Hally

    This is an example the internet killing the goose that lays the golden egg! Of course you can’t continue getting up at 4.00 to do this – but it frustrates me that

  11. natedtrust_marc

    SchoolsImprove Hi Tony, have a good break. This has been an amazing service. Thank you so much. Best wishes, Marc

  12. Hally

    Sorry – in my frustration pressed send before finished – there should be a straightforward way of this amazing resource being a commercial viability for Tony! But there isn’t on the internet thanks to built in expectations that stuff should be free. So a superb resource such as this inevitably comes to an end – yes, it should be sponsored or subscription! But in the end would users be prepared to pay?
    Thank you so much for all your hard work over the past four years!

  13. johneffay

    SchoolsImprove Thanks for everything. Sad to see you go, but astonished to discover you’ve been doing this all by yourself!

  14. badarnaseem

    How I am going to miss reading the latest news. Thank you so much for keeping me up to date Tony. Have a good break and rest.
    Is there anyone else or a group of people who may interested in keeping this site alive?

  15. LindsayGrahamUK

    .SchoolsImprove as 1 of the 7000 who subscribe to the update a simple thank-you doesn’t seem enough. Will so miss them BW for the future Lx

  16. lightbolt_maths

    SchoolsImprove you’ve done an amazing thing. All the positive impact you have had still remains. There is no defeat here. Thank you. 🙂

  17. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove Thanks for all your hard work with this. I will miss seeing the stories and conversations in my timeline.

  18. TeachTalks

    SchoolsImprove Thank you so much Tony, you certainly deserve a break; your updates have been enormously helpful, clear and informative.

  19. Chezza

    Thank you so much for all of your efforts, your daily updated have always been a valuable source of information.

  20. Richard Evans

    Dear Tony, Thank you for all your hard work. I too will miss my daily bulletin. It keeps me informed. I wish there was something that we could do. Perhaps you might consider handing some of the editorial leg-work to a trusted team of contributors. I am keen to get involved and know many others would be also. I would hate to see this valuable resource disappear. Kindest, Richard Evans (Bahrain)

  21. Suetpud

    Will really miss these bulletins. I am studying for a degree in education and I was always so well informed about what was happening in schools because all the updates were in one place. Like many others, I can’t believe you kept this going on your own for so long. You will be missed.

  22. L A S

    Reading the bulletin was always my first job of the day – I felt in touch with the world. You’ll be hugely missed. Keep well and very best wishes.

  23. TW

    A disaster!  I had sort of got the impression that you were doing it all yourself but vaguely wondered whether there was some sort of service whereby you received the news the evening before it was published.  Silly me.  I suppose advertising revenues would not amount to anything substantial.  Perhaps you could resume activities when you retire – if there still is an education sector by then.  Thanks for what you did.

  24. debbiegould82

    SchoolsImprove echo others comments but thank you for providing this regular input and glad you are being sensible about life/work balance.

  25. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove Thanks for all the interesting & thought-provoking posts, Tony; I’ll miss them. Good luck with your other projects!

  26. 5N_Afzal

    SchoolsImprove Thank you, Tony, for all that you’ve been doing. Your email is the first email I read everyday. Thank you also for the 1/

  27. 5N_Afzal

    SchoolsImprove the opp to write s guest post. It’s not a defeat at all! You’re doing it singlehandedly! Best of luck for your projects. 2/

  28. 5N_Afzal

    SchoolsImprove Would be lovely to have you back one day if it works for you. Till then take care 🙂 3/3

  29. TootingJo

    SchoolsImprove Great job for all those years, hope you’re back one day. Thanks for all the brill updates.

  30. Tim

    Many thanks for all your years of hard work, dedication and important information sharing. Hugely appreciated.

  31. Nairb1

    This has been a fantastic site and I’ll really miss it as will all the head teachers, teachers and governors to whom I recommend it as essential breakfast reading every time I deliver a course or visit a school.
    Thanks for all the effort … it’s been much appreciated.

  32. Danielle_Mrgn

    SchoolsImprove Just wanted to add my thanks, too – I’ll miss your updates enormously. Thank you again and enjoy your much deserved break.

  33. sangrias

    SchoolsImprove you have done a fabulous job doing this alone. Thank you and good luck with the project!

  34. dotrendom

    MumfordSa This site has been great, particularly in preparing for interviews and getting positive outcomes. Thanks for making it accessible

  35. AspieDeLaZouch

    SchoolsImprove Thank you for so much work on our behalf, Tony. I will really miss the updates but wish you good luck with your work.

  36. Goosemooseburger

    So sorry to hear this. Any possibility of someone else taking over for a while? I’m leaving education soon and could help?

  37. marianne_ray

    SchoolsImprove Really sad to hear this. Thank you for all your hard work, it is very much appreciated.

  38. terryfish

    SchoolsImprove It was brilliant and I had no idea you did it as a gesture. I read it every day and it was the best update. MANY thanks.

  39. VictoriaJaquiss

    Thanks for letting us know. Have a break for as long as you need. You have contributed massively, and if you don’t come back, well, you have started a ball rolling. Thank you for the schools news.

  40. jamesbwatts

    SchoolsImprove amazed you’ve done this largely alone. Many thanks, and well done calling time on it before it beat you into the ground!

  41. MarieWallace7

    SchoolsImprove thank you for all your hard work. Have read your articles most days and will miss all the education news. Thank you.

  42. amandafriary

    SchoolsImprove Thank you for the daily emails- they’ve been so useful. Good luck and best wishes. U0001f340U0001f31f

  43. LesleyEly

    SchoolsImprove Thank you so much for your valuable service. My morning coffee won’t taste the same without it. Take care of yourself x

  44. VR

    I fully understand your reasons Tony. Having a break from it is the best thing and is certainly not a defeat. Look at the great work you have accomplished and celebrate it. Thank you for all your work and your comments that edify us as we try to improve opportunities for all in education.

  45. Chris Robinson

    Listen-your health and wellbeing has to come first and knowing when you have reached a limit is both courageous and brave, a from your post, clearly a little heartbreaking. Well done for recognising that point that far too many people missU0001f44dU0001f3fb
    I also did not realise that you squeezed this as an extra into a “real” life and enormous respect goes to you for a fabulous service for so many. A heartfelt thank you for providing such a wonderful service. I am one of your greatest advocates and have told LOADS of people to follow you!!!
    So, for now, my early morning graze through your posts will be put on hold until, if you are able, we see your welcome return.U0001f603U0001f603
    With best wishes for all you do and considerable gratitude , kindest regards, Chris Robinson U0001f44dU0001f3fbU0001f44dU0001f3fbU0001f44dU0001f3fb

  46. Kayti Selbie

    Thank you so much for all you have done.  Until I read your recent update I had not idea that everything was put together by just one person squeezing it in on top of a”normal” job.  I have really appreciated being kept up to date with everything educational and will really miss this daily update.  However, your healthi is MUCH more important!

    Thank you so much for all you have given  Best regards,  Kayti Selbie

  47. Thank you for your considerable efforts, which have undoubtedly helped our organisation to educate our members and campaign more widely over the last few years. Very much appreciated and you fully deserve some time away from the keyboard now. Would be great to see updates at some point in the future. 

    Kind regards,
    Stuart Coe, 
    Division Secretary,
    NUT Northamptonshire.

  48. David Shears

    Hello Tony,

    It has been great to have the updates and so helpful. However, your health and well-being is much more important to us than that, so please do not feel bad for one second about having a break. We all need a break from time to time, including myself, and our lives become the richer when we are bold enough to take it.

    If you decide to continue later that would be good, but that should not be a pressure for you to do so. Meanwhile, God bless you.

    Take care.             David Shears

  49. Graham Newell

    Tony, thank you for all your hard work. To have such an excellent summary of what is going on in the world of education has helped promote discussion and debate My first action, literally, every morning was to reach out for my phone and read your posts. A gap in my life! Best wishes. Graham

  50. Graham Newell I’ll second that Graham and, as an example of my little attempt at ‘word of mouth’ here is the PDF I made last summer for a Teach First training session to help trainee teachers find their bearings in this amazing educator blogopshere – 

    I’m proud to have included Schools Improvement in there, and so happy to have had the privilege of writing a guest post, running a sponsored competition and being featured in this amazing Education Newsletter. 

    If you ever feel ready to return to this project Tony, would you consider trying this with a dedicated team alongside you? I wonder if there are some readers who’d want to support this with their time on a voluntary basis? Would be great experience! Best wishes, Leah

  51. GinGoneGilly_

    SchoolsImprove I have found your updates invaluable – you’ve made me look knowledgeable so many times! Good luck and take care x

  52. dotrendom

    SchoolsImprove You have been a massive help to our students and teacher trainees; we’ve dipped into many topics for interview preparation.

  53. SchoolsImprove

    natedtrust_marc Thanks Marc and thank you also for your contributions which have been very helpful and well received.

  54. CParkinson535

    SchoolsImprove Thanks for your objective news digest Tony. Enjoy the regaining of a healthy balance in your life.

  55. SchoolsImprove

    sangrias Thanks Angela – I’m very excited by the opportunities but extremely sad not to be able to keep this going too

  56. SchoolsImprove

    AspieDeLaZouch Thank you – very kind – I will miss them and miss seeing all the responses to the news too

  57. SchoolsImprove

    terryfish Thanks Terry – I got a lot from it too so it was never just one way but I really appreciate the comments

  58. Scimel

    I’m glad you are prioritizing your health/sanity. Something all of us in education have to do. Having your daily email has given me the confidence that I won’t miss something major or minor in this crazy business. Have you thought about making this a subscription service Tony? I would pay for a continuation of services and I’m guessing from the comments here I’m not alone.

  59. CeciVasoff

    SchoolsImprove Thank you! You’ve helped this overseas teacher see the big picture. Will miss it. Always wondered ‘who’ did it. #Allthebest

  60. SchoolsImprove

    jamesbwatts Thanks James – when I seriously started thinking about setting my 4am alarm even earlier I realised things weren’t sustainable!

  61. Anfieldexile

    OnslowDanielle SchoolsImprove Where do I go for hard news now?? Thanks. You will be a huge miss U0001f641

  62. SchoolsImprove

    LesleyEly I hoped it was useful but never thought of it as a flavouring before 😉 Thanks for the comments and you do the same too.

  63. HopeStreetBlues

    SchoolsImprove you’ve provided a very useful service to education communities. Thank you for 4 years incredible effort

  64. Pete_Dev

    Thank you for providing such an important service for the education community. You should absolutely prioritise your health. I think you had found a gap in the market – nobody else seems to have done such a very useful curated site which, as a Headteacher, I have used daily and shared with colleagues. I do hope it comes back in some form in the future, whilst not compromising your health. Had you thought of running it a as subscription service which would take the pressure of you and allow it to expand in the ways you want it to? I would definitely be happy to pay for this and I am sure many others would as well. For now, thank you hugely. I will really miss my morning ‘scan’ which, in a busy world, has made me feel like I am ‘on it’ with Education coverage.

  65. Julega

    SchoolsImprove Many thanks for all your hard work & dedication – you’ll be missed! Very best wishes for the future.

  66. Sorry to read you’re having to stop running the site.  It’s been very important in keeping me up-to-date.   I completely understand why you have to stop doing it – these things have a way of taking over your life.
    Many thanks and best wishes.
    Janet Downs

  67. TeaLadyJune

    SchoolsImprove I have really appreciated what you have done. You have been my first point of call for most education-related news. Thanks.

  68. Halibut

    As the publicity manager of a large London school I looked forward to your morning round up which I sent to our SLT & other Heads in the borough. I know they appreciated the ‘heads up’ on what was in the news You will be missed. Diana

  69. ian_bec

    SchoolsImprove appreciate the service you have provided, hope you’re soon back on it. What will andylutwyche do now in the mornings?

  70. SchoolsImprove

    LearntSchool Thanks Leah – I am completely overwhelmed with the reaction from so many people today. Very moved.

  71. SchoolsImprove

    CParkinson535 It has been a genuine pleasure and thank you for the kind comments – I will enjoy being able to switch off a bit more now.

  72. LearntSchool

    SchoolsImprove Several calls to pay for subscription+volunteers offering help. You’ve so many options. Very well earned. Enjoy your break!

  73. Liz

    So sorry to hear that you are not able to keep the updates going- I have really appreciated the work that goes into every update and have found it a very valuable service in my day job and in my role as Chair of a MAT. I hope your projects go well and if there is anyone out there …..? My breakfast reading will not be the same – thank you for everything you have done .

  74. SchoolsImprove

    Anfieldexile OnslowDanielle Thanks Colin – can focus on the important things like how we can beat Spurs this afternoon now 😉

  75. DiLeed

    SchoolsImprove Sorry to hear that. I know we have had some robust exchanges but have always valued your work greatly. Good luck.

  76. SchoolsImprove

    ian_bec andylutwyche Thanks for the kind words Ian and what can I say to Andy – it really wouldn’t have been the same without you!

  77. TProgress

    SchoolsImprove I’ll really miss your daily updates, Tony. Thanks for the hard work you’ve put in for so long. Hope to see you back sometime

  78. MsTPole

    SchoolsImprove thanks for your work – I’ve always read your posts with a great interest. Hope to see you back at some point.

  79. simonpatchett1

    SchoolsImprove A sad day indeed – you’ve been one of the best things on Twitter. Thank you for all you’ve done to further our knowledge.

  80. CR64

    A very sad day indeed. It is always the first email I open and is always pertinent. I had no idea it was a second ‘job’ and thank you for your commitment to providing such a great service for us throughout. I hope you have a very, very. Well deserved rest; as well as secretly hoping that you may return sometime.
    Many thanks again.

  81. Tony, you’ve done a fantastic job and, as others have noted, I didn’t realise it was a ‘second job’.  Well done mate.  Have a break and then come back if you can.  If your subscribers paid an annual fee of ten pounds no doubt you could employ someone to share the load.  Or is there an educational charity that could support your work?  We shall miss you but respect your decision.
    All the best


  82. JennyCampbellKl

    Tony, you didn’t write this on the 1st April did you?  Your daily updates have been a daily inspiration and will be sadly missed.  I hope you’ll find time to continue some day – sooner rather later.
    Wishing you the very best for the future.  Thanks for all you have done.

  83. TS

    Thank you for your daily updates, it is the most informed I’ve managed to be, however your health must come first and I hope that you manage to complete all your other projects without any further pressure on your health. Hope to see you back informing us some time in the future.

  84. curiouscat

    Oh no! I always look for emails every morning! Thank you for my morning read, you will be missed 🙁

  85. bettemiddler

    You’ve been talking for as long as I have been reading about the long hours and stress of teaching – so what a good example! Put yourself first – quite right too!  No matter how much we care we have to look after ourselves first.  Good luck and thank you!

  86. Scoobydoo

    Thank you for what you have done. It has been an enormous help reading your email and I will miss that daily buzz of the phone at 7:03 to indicate your email has arrived. Good luck with your future projects.

  87. twocups

    Thank you for all you have done to keep us informed with many interesting articles that have made a difference to our governing body’s effectiveness  and our school.

    Best wishes for good health and good sense for  the future.

  88. Marianne

    Tony, first I lose the Independent and then your terrific digest! Thanks so much for all your hard work. To echo others, I would pay to subscribe to your excellent service. All the best, and hope you come back to us soon.

  89. JennyCampbellKl Thank you Jenny – funnily enough I did finally make the decision on Friday – the 1st – after a sleepless night agonising about what to do – but held back 24 hours from saying anything in case it was misconstrued!

  90. Pete_Dev Thank you Pete for the feedback and comments. I suspect there are viable models but unfortunately it is a bit of a catch 22 as I would need even more time to sort that kind of thing out when I am already flat out. The demands on my time away from the site – all very positive and exciting – have escalated quickly and that has left me in this unsustainable position.

  91. Julie_Cordiner Thanks Julie – I suspect there are sustainable models out there but the outside demands on my time (all good stuff – just not something I had been planning on) escalated too quickly to be able to sort anything out. If anything emerges I’ll definitely see it is can be made to work.

  92. @Richard Evans Thanks Richard – unfortunately my outside commitments escalated rapidly (all for positive and exciting reasons) but if left me in an impossible position. I do believe there are viable models that could make this, or something similar, work with enough time to put them together.

  93. @TW I suspect that if done sensitively and appropriately it would be possible to move to a commercial model to be able to sustain a small team but that would have been a whole different project in its own right. You are right, however, it would be a lovely retirement project.

  94. Pete_Dev

    Thanks for replying Tony. I completely understand. My very best wishes for your exciting next steps and better work-life balance.

  95. JennyCampbellKl

    Hi John,
    Really appreciate you responding.  No need to reply though because I appreciate that it means extra work for you again and goodness knows how many more hundreds and/or thousands or so have messaged you – so I feel quite honoured that you found time pour moi!  😀
    All the best anyway and take good care.

  96. Amanda18K

    Thank you so much for hosting this site, it’s such a valuable update of everything that’s going on in the educational world.I will miss reading it during my early morning email session and agree with many others I’d happily subscribe. 
    Very best wishes for your future and HUGE thanks for the hours you’ve saved me and others.

  97. Alison M

    Hi Tony – thanks for an amazing resource – I’ve passed it on to so many people, and it often provides fodder for the first conversations of the day. Will miss the news!

  98. TW

    SchoolsImprovement_Tony  Nothing wrong with a commercial model, especially if done ‘sensitively and appropriately’, (albeit entirely wrong and destructive as a basis for running schools).  Perhaps you will ponder it in your dreams – now that you have time to get some sleep!  Best Wishes.

  99. Adrian

    I had always assumed it was a fully automated process with a script finding relevant educational stories. Shame it’s got to go as it does help us all keep abreast of current events.

  100. adampetch

    Thanks Tony for all the useful information in one easy to find location, good luck with whatever you do [or dont do] in the future.

  101. stewartm

    Thanks Tony. As everyone else
    Has said its been a great source of info. Like others I assumed it was automated with a bit of override. So thanks for your hard work! Also like others I would happily subscribe to a daily digest so it may be worth considering.
    Best wishes and good luck.

  102. pmclaughlin01

    Thank you for providing such an invaluable service. I can appreciate it must have taken enormous work, hopefully you’ll find a way of bringing it back to life soon. Best wishes.

  103. wasateacher

    I will really miss the information you have posted.  So much has ended up as links on my ‘academy problems’ list and links to it emailed to campaigns, etc. Thanks for all your hard work and commitment.

  104. Josh Ho

    Hi Tony,
    Could you not charge a small amount for the service and employ someone?
    I’d certainly have payed for the service, and if individuals wouldn’t, perhaps schools would have done as institutions to further their staff keeping up to date with Educational Issues?
    I’m sure it’s something that you’ve already thought of, but still…
    Thanks for everything though. You’ve certainly been putting in crazy hours and you’re right to put yourself first.

  105. ThatITGuy

    Thanks for your valuable input you deliver to us ragged and emotionally drained edu folk.
    Can I suggest you let us write the content for you. As you mentioned, thousands of people read your site and tweets you create. Why don’t you open up the floor to your audience and you approve the content. There is also plenty of techie peeps (like me) to help deliver your sites profile.
    Opening the doors for content provided by people for all walks of edu life, from all corners of GB and beyond, School Improvement could be the leading platform for education to voices its educated opinion.

  106. TMI

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for all your hard work for the last four years.

    You have been a valuable and reliable source of information for our company.
    We did’nt know the crazy hours you worked and you deserve a well earned break.

    Thanks again,
    Lee Glassman

    Teachers Media

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