Burntwood Secondary Girls’ School
The notion of schools succeeding against the odds is a powerful and attractive one. It engages the imagination. It challenges traditional deﬁcit approaches to educational reform – what Seymour Sarason has described as the tendency to focus on the supposed villains of the piece – ‘inadequate teachers, irresponsible parents, irrelevant or inadequate curricula, unmotivated students . . . an improvementdefeating bureaucracy’ (Sarason, 1990: 12). It is a recognition that some schools facing formidable challenges have, nevertheless, created educational environments which are stimulating and rewarding, for teachers and students alike. Attractive though this concept is we have to guard against setting up an alternative – but equally limited notion of schooling – the super-heroic.