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System Change

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GCSE Exams: Keeping a proportionate positive perspective.

Despite the fact that we’ve been running Y11 exams in one form or another for decades, there is always a fairly strong undercurrent in the discourse around the annual exam season characterised by a sense of injustice and unreasonableness.  In relation to GCSEs, the following arguments are rehearsed fairly often: Exams don’t measure everything that … Continue reading

The Value of Experience. #respect

It’s inevitable that, over the course of a career in teaching, perspectives change.  If I  could go back and have a word with my young teacher self, aged 22, I’d certainly be telling myself to show a bit more respect to the guys who had been working at it for a few decades.  Listen to … Continue reading

Breaking: Ofsted meets Robocop in fully automated AI/VR Inspections.

Following an extended meeting of the Ofsted Top Brass, major changes to Ofsted inspections are being proposed.  The central debate focused on the fundamental role of inspectors:  As Good Cop – seeking to improve schools for the youth of tomorrow – or Bad Cop – eradicating inadequacy and the requiring of improvement. However, the Ofsted … Continue reading

Ofsted Grading IS On The Table.

(See update at bottom) I was about to write a blog called Ofsted: Good Cop, Bad Cop, RoboCop  – exploring various aspects of engaging with Ofsted: the immense power and impact of the organisation, its tendency to make itself bullet proof against criticism (it’s what parents want, no system will ever be totally reliable, that’s … Continue reading

Five Reasons to Ditch Ofsted Grades

Some recent conversations have made me want to return to this theme.  I really hope we can build some momentum around this issue. Here goes: I reckon that in 50 years time, we will look back at the current Ofsted-grading era as one of the big educational blackspots of history.  Serious educationalists and policy makers … Continue reading

Impact! Superb College of Teachers journal made me think – a lot!

After the establishment of the Chartered College of Teaching there was always going to be a period of waiting to see what it’s really about once actions have been taken beyond the promising vision and sound intentions.  Impact gives us a massive clue.  Evidence-informed teacher wisdom is Go! Having ceased to be an active teacher, … Continue reading

The Disadvantage ‘Gap’ is a Chasm.

From a range of different contexts, working in education for over 30 years, I’ve learned a great deal about the complexity of the community that comprehensive schools serve.  As an acting Designated Child Protection Officer for several weeks, I learned even more.  The scale on the axis of advantage and disadvantage is extraordinary with consequences for … Continue reading

#ditchthegrades Let’s call time on Ofsted grades for schools.

Last week I had a big response when I tweeted in response to another PR thing from Ofsted encouraging schools to download the logos.   Get your big shiny Ofsted Validation badge here!  Your institutional Gold Star. Don’t. It’s part of the problem. #ditch thegrades Not reliable; toxic culture; hubris; too much ‘finger in the … Continue reading

New Year Gold: A selection of brilliant ideas from some fabulous schools

To kick off 2018, here are some of the best ideas I’ve come across on my travels to various schools around the UK.  I’ve limited most of this sample to practices I’ve encountered in more than one school  – to avoid the sense that things can only happen in specific contexts.  Where relevant I’ve named the schools … Continue reading

Six principled practices for intelligent schools:

On my travels I’ve encountered schools that are doing brilliant things without resorting to short-cuts,  without saying that they’ve sacrificed their principles to satisfy external pressures and without making life miserable for their staff with ugly brute-force whip-cracking performance cultures. Some schools are lovely to work in because leaders increasingly recognise the power of building … Continue reading

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