In Safe Hands

I can recall my early days of teaching vividly. Much as I loved my mentors, they were very much of the view I would either cut it or not as a teacher, and whilst I could go to them with specifics, there was little guidance in terms of the way I should do things. There…

Rising to the Challenge

The Boy Question By Mark Roberts Whilst exploring ‘what do high expectations for boys look like’ in Chapter Six of his book The Boy Question Mark Roberts, rather facetiously, sets the reader a challenge. The ‘bronze’ readers of the book would aim to try and read two full chapters, the ‘silver’ readers were asked to…

The Illusion of Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw Schools are places that depend on communication. We are constantly communicating complex information to the young people. Not only are we transmitting, but we are continually seeing what they are communicating back to us, to assess what they…

A Peep Behind the Curtain

One of the things I love the most about my current role, and indeed the role I had previously where I led on CPD and Teaching and Learning, was the opportunity it gave me to see behind the curtain and catch a glimpse of what is happening every day in classrooms. As Professor Becky Allen…

Compliance or Learning?

There is a lot of discussion which takes place around student behaviour at the moment. Debates around whether students should have phones, how we can alert them to the end of break times and whether they should sit up and smile in lessons are without a doubt hot topics which divide many on social media.…

The Lethalist of Mutations

About ten years ago I can remember sitting in a classroom with my colleagues surrounded by lots of coloured card and a sea of rather bemused expressions. One of the most enthusiastic teachers in the school was waxing lyrical about something called ‘De Bono’s Thinking Hats’, something of which I was vaguely aware from some…

Why do we need a curriculum for CPD?

Our new book, The CPD Curriculum, explores a knotty problem in education. Why, despite countless hours of what is called CPD, do teachers not continue to improve in many schools? The research that we explore in our book points to the same conclusion – that teachers make rapid progress in the first few years of…

Whose Knowledge Matters?

A while ago I did some presentation around the idea of knowledge in English. I am someone who is very keen to move away from a skills-based curriculum, where it didn’t really matter what students were reading as long as they were reading and they did some writing too. I sadly was guilty of that…

Three Wishes

Every child knows stories about fairies and genies and the wishes. It used to be a staple task we were asked to do at primary school, and each year it felt like we would return to them to see if those wishes had changed. Unfortunately, try as I might, I still do not have the…