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Leadership Issues

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Studying successfully: motivation + strategy + habit

At home we’re in the midst of another exam window. My son has an AS and several internal Y12 exams to prepare for. As I documented last year during his GCSEs, I feel that it’s generally a positive process for him. He works hard and learns a lot in the process. I think there are … Continue reading

Teaching and Learning Agenda 2019/20

The summer term is often a time when people gather their thoughts for the year ahead.  The work I do with schools and colleges is largely driven by a medium term improvement agenda: combining some initial support –  establishing areas to improve in current practice, setting some goals for the next 12-18 months – and … Continue reading

Don’t need this pressure on: Towards intelligent, sustainable accountability.

I wonder how much longer we will go down the accountability road we’re on before politicians, DFE, Ofsted and some of the beneficiaries of the current system realise just how bad things are; before they realise that they themselves are making things worse; before they change tack. You only have to read the powerful recent … Continue reading

Do students have agency or not?

agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. In debates about learning and behaviour, I often think that people in education are conflicted about the extent of student agency.  Do students have agency?  Should they have agency – it is a good thing?  Are we meant to … Continue reading

How self-aware are you? (Be the fly on your classroom wall…)

I use this slide in several of my talks – capturing some of the variables that I encounter working with teachers across the system.   Here, I want to focus on self awareness. With some teachers, you kick off a post-observation discussion with a simple question: (how do you think it’s going? ) and they … Continue reading

The spirit of people in our system is incredible. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded time and time again about the very human, emotional side of being a student, of being a teacher and of leading in a school.  The spirit of people in our system is incredible. Here are some snapshots. An Oldham student with additional learning needs, working independently on … Continue reading

10 Steps for Reviewing Your KS3 Curriculum

Now that schools are getting into the swing of the new GCSEs and KS3 assessment continues to present various challenges, it’s natural that a lot more attention is being given to the curriculum content at KS3.  Of course some will say that Ofsted’s much-trailed renewed interest in curriculum is playing a part too – but I’ve … Continue reading

Curriculum Notes #2:  Big picture first: then zoom in.

#2 in a series. I’ve often found that students in lessons are wading through a foggy cloud of confusion about why they are learning what they are learning.  I’ve been in that cloud plenty of times myself.  If, as an expert in a subject, you make a selection of the elements of the curriculum for … Continue reading

Eureka! Teaching for creativity. C = f (K, P, D)

  Over the years I’ve thought a lot about the question of teaching for creativity.  Back in 2012 I wrote this post where I made some reasonably sensible general statements: It is uncontroversial that for us to solve Humanity’s problems, to create the conditions for a sustainable future and also to maximise the cultural richness of … Continue reading

Rescuing Differentiation from the Checklist of Bad Practice.

I’m not exactly sure why but it feels like, as a profession, we’ve made a mess of the concepts and language that apply to the everyday processes needed to teach a wide range of students within one class.  A range of what? Attainment, ability, experience, competence, knowledge, skill, confidence, fluency? Most likely a mix of … Continue reading

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