In July we conducted a survey of head teachers and deputy heads from schools in England. The survey received 327 responses and covered topics including views on government initiatives such as academies and the Ebacc, the impact of school funding reductions and the changing role of local authorities.

We'll be sharing some of these results over the next few weeks, but today I wanted to focus on the results to one simple question, which was 'What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of education in 2011'. The results can be seen in the word cloud below.

By far the most common word in the responses was 'change', which is to be expected when you consider everything that has taken place since the coalition government took control 16 months ago. It's clear that this change has been 'challenging' for many schools, with some going further by using such words as 'chaos' and 'turmoil'. Much of the challenge appears to be as a result of reductions in 'funding' and 'cuts' to services. However, what I find most interesting is the number of school senior leaders who describe education in 2011 as 'exciting' and those who are seeing the current situation as one that encourages 'creativity'. It's easy to get caught up in all the negative stories about education and forget that change encourages creativity, fuels innovation and can lead to exciting opportunities for teaching and learning.

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