10 Apr 2018 | by Helen Burge

(May contains spoilers, if I’ve remembered the film well enough!)

Have you seen Spielberg’s latest film Ready Player One? Listen to Mark Kermode’s review of it (, it was enough to persuade me to risk and invest in a family trip to the cinema. Big gamble as the last visit was to watch La La Land as a birthday treat for me. Luckily then we went to the cinema with the sofas, so the boys could literally fall asleep in comfort. I say invest as a more positive spin on “part with hard earned cash” because blimey cinema tickets and treats are pricey. 

However, I really enjoyed the bits I could access but most of the references and the pace of the gaming was beyond me.  My computer gaming peaked with Chuckie Egg in the 80s (only at weekends when my Dad bought back a BBC computer from school) and had a vague and short-lived resurgence with Wii games about ten years ago, when one Christmas we kept up with the Jones and Father Christmas gave our boys a Wii. 

I should have watched the film peering over the shoulder of one of my brothers or sons, as that is how I’ve pretty much accessed computer gaming. Nevertheless, I still recognise the key components of computer games and know that some game creators insert Easter eggs into their games for the real die-hard game enthusiasts to discover. This is the basic plot of Ready Player One. So how does this relate to the SBL world?



The heroes in Ready Player One all operate independently to start with and resist the urge to clan together to find the three keys which will lead them to the hidden Easter egg, planted by Halliday in his virtual reality game OASIS.  However, it is only when they work together that they all achieve success.  This is soooo like our SBL world! We cannot successfully complete our work in our schools independently of others, we need to clan with our SLT, our MAT Operational teams and of course as professionals within ISBL; our professional body.  ?


Every character in Ready Player One has an online virtual version of themselves, which in most cases is very different from their bleak reality.  Sound familiar? It is only at the point when our  heroes physically meet up in the real world and discover their true identities that they really understand and maximise their strengths and weaknesses.  They are no longer isolated.  Don’t feel like an isolated SBL, step aside from your online version of yourself and engage in person with the ISBL National conference this November! (Load the game now – Early bird offer is on for April

I completely understand that this is easier said than done, that budgets are beyond stretched, and time is so precious.  So, if you can’t exchange coins earnt in your virtual world for this year, put in place the measures to attend next year, why not start planting an Easter Egg of your own, for your line manager to (easily!) discover, in your own reality?  Share your goal and record during your performance appraisal that you would like to attend National Conference in 2018 or 19.  Other ways to exchange your coins:- create a new additional identity – become an ISBL Fellow (new release date 30th September 2018, check out for your version); clan up by joining a regional SBL group; arm yourself and your school by completing online training; defend yourself and others by being a buddy to a new SBL or an SBL at risk of being “zeroed out”.  Be an SBL hero. 




By Helen Burge - April 2018