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Saffron Walden County High School: An exemplary school. The Learning Rainforest made real.

Last week I spent a day visiting Saffron Walden County High School in the North-West corner of Essex.  This was the result of a conversation with Head and CEO, Caroline Derbyshire who suggested that I should consider writing a ‘Learning Rainforest in Action’ follow-up book.  Having read the original book, Caroline felt that SWCHS embodied … Continue reading

Be A Better B!

Last weekend, after an excellent ResearchEd event in Philadelphia, where Dylan Wiliam had given a superb keynote, I wrote this tweet: Imagine teacher A is way more effective than teacher B. Tendency is to make B emulate what A does. I think this is wrong. We need to work with B to establish how B, … Continue reading

@teacherhead Update #1. October ’18.

Introducing…. This is the first of what I hope will be a half-termly update, highlighting trends and ideas that I pick up in my work across various schools and colleges and through my engagement with online discussions, blogs, conferences and publications.  It will also highlight some of the content on this blog that has gained … Continue reading

10 essential discussions to have in any teacher team.

Towards the end of last academic year, I wrote a post outlining what might be in a typical school’s development plan:  Here’s your school development plan – no, really, don’t thank me.  All of those ideas are still relevant for next year.  But what about at a departmental level or a year level in primary? Here … Continue reading

The inspirational story of Cardiff’s Eastern High School.

This week I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation from Armando and Innes, Head and Deputy Head at Eastern High School in Cardiff at a Headteachers’ conference run by the school improvement team GwE in North Wales.  The story of how they have turned this school around is truly inspirational. Joining the school (Armando … Continue reading

Annoying things controlling schools still do that have no basis in evidence:

As trailed on twitter… a short round-up of annoying things controlling schools still do that have no basis in evidence. 1. Grade individual lessons There is no justification for this in terms of professional discourse.  It’s voodoo; a control device. No human observer can reliably maintain graded judgements over time, let alone  ensuring that this … Continue reading

Developing Writing. Exploring the process from YR to Y6.

At the end of term I spent a fantastic day working with staff at Cirencester Primary School.  As part of the day, we ran an exercise to explore standards in writing  – a process I have now facilitated a few times; it is always absolutely fascinating. As part of my talk earlier in the day, … Continue reading

Building Great Teachers: Theory of Action

Most, if not all, of my current work is geared towards building great teachers.   It’s such a fascinating, complex and challenging process.  Even if the focus is on yourself, or on one teacher, the process of enabling that one person to become a ‘great teacher’, more effective, more confident, more successful, more able to self-manage, … Continue reading

Understanding Assessment: A blog guide

In my experience, assessment is widely misunderstood by a lot of people in education – which is a worry given how much of it we do and how high the stakes are with formal assessment issues.  There all kinds of confusions, false premises, false promises and circularities across the system.   There are too many … Continue reading

Curriculum Building: Every step matters; know your role; make it count. e.g. Writing YR to Y11.

In the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of conversations with teachers and leaders in schools in challenging circumstances at both primary and secondary.  A common experience has been the difficult process of trying to build a coherent curriculum in a context of staff turbulence, curriculum reform and recruitment challenges. I’ve also worked with … Continue reading

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