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New Start: @TeacherHead

Today marked a new beginning in lots of ways. For various reasons that I’ll explore at another time, as of Friday 20th, I am no longer the Headteacher at Highbury Grove School.  I wish everyone associated with the school the very best.  I hope that students find joy and fulfilment in their future lives and … Continue reading

Geoff Barton: Head; Teacher; Leader. Vote #ASCLBarton

With just under a week to go until the voting deadline, I’ve decided to end my self-imposed blog sabbatical to join the throng of school and academy leaders who have voiced their support for Geoff Barton in the election for General Secretary of ASCL. This election has huge significance for me as a member of … Continue reading

Big Questions 1. Assessment

The first in this series on Big Questions, explores some aspects of assessment.  I’ve explored this issue extensively in some previous posts that might be worth revisiting for additional context: Assessment, Standards and the Bell Curve Defining the Butterfly: knowing the standards to set the standards The Assessment Uncertainty Principle Authentic Assessment and Progress: Keeping … Continue reading

My lesson observation feedback.

On Friday the Head of Maths observed my Year 7 lesson.  Today I had the feedback. It was incredibly useful; the whole process has been extremely positive.  The context is that, although I’ve taught A Level and GCSE maths several times, I’ve never taught Set 3 in Year 7 before.  I’m a novice in this … Continue reading

The Big Questions.

I am thinking of starting a series of blogs about the key issues, the big questions,  that we wrestle with in our school – and probably in every school.  So far, I have just sketched out what some of the big questions are. This will then become the homepage for this series -when I get … Continue reading

Teachers, support staff, classrooms, school: incredible people, incredible place.

Reflecting on the last couple of weeks at Highbury Grove, I’m struck by just how amazing the work is that we do.  I was sitting in an incredible maths lesson thinking: what’s happening here is extraordinary.  All of these complicated young people and their teacher are wrapped up in a process that is so complex, … Continue reading

No Excuses and the Pinball Kids

Several recent blogs and twitter discussions have explored the idea of a ‘No Excuses’ behaviour policy.  As ever, I have huge problems with discourse that forces people to adopt a position from a binary choice; for or against; with us or against us.  I find myself agreeing with people on both sides of this debate. … Continue reading

Speaking frankly, oracy should be given more time.

On Tuesday 8th November, there was a publication pile-up drawing attention to the importance of oracy in the school curriculum. Staff at Highbury Grove contributed to all three: Firstly, the free online book Speaking Frankly was published by the English Speaking Union, a project coordinated by their Director of Education, Duncan Partridge.  Andrew Fitch, our Director … Continue reading

10 Teaching Essentials

This post is a companion to 10 Teaching Pitfalls. In writing this, I’ve been thinking about two sets of teachers. Firstly, I’ve been thinking about various very strong teachers I’ve known, including those who taught me, to consider what ‘essentials’ they might have in common.  (Something I’ve done many times before e.g. in this early … Continue reading

10 Teaching Pitfalls

This is a companion to 10 Teaching Essentials.   In addition to trying to deliver on the 10 Essentials, I’m suggesting that teachers should seek to avoid these pitfalls.  To some extent, the two lists mirror each other – positive and negative ways of expressing the same ideas – but, not entirely.   Most feedback I … Continue reading

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