What makes the difference?

A few days ago, after getting our GCSE results, I wrote a quick post about some of the things we had done as a department that I felt had made a difference and helped us go from getting “quite good results” to “really quite excellent results”. Since then people have asked lots of further questions…

Building Independence 

At our school, we build our idea of excellent teaching and learning around four pillars. The first two, challenge and feedback, are fairly uncontroversial but the other two, engagement and independence, sometimes raises eyebrows. I think this is because the two terms get so misused in education out of a desire to make everything something…

Picking your battles

Two years ago I decided that my department should have one particular focus for improvement. I work at a wonderful school, where results are very good and our kids generally want to do well. I was concerned though that there was a risk of complacency  and the data seemed to bear this out. Results were…

Building an excellent lesson

One of the many things I love about my school is that they are giving more CPD time to departments. Before we start the term 6 frenzy of lesson planning, I wanted to spend some time exploring what we felt would make an excellent lesson and to record our ideas so that we could explore…

CPD: Goodbye & Good Riddance (part one)

The funding crisis hitting our schools is going to have serious negative consequences. Teachers are facing redundancies as class sizes soar. Pupils are being offered fewer choices of subjects and many A level classes will see their contact time cut. Budgets are slashed, subjects aren’t resourced and buildings are crumbling. It is hard to make…

Scaffolding -creating and sharing criteria

We have been thinking a lot about scaffolding recently. How do we best ensure that all pupils can achieve the same outcomes and that these outcomes are excellent? One method we use to achieve this is the creating and sharing of success criteria. My Year 8 class were completing an assessed piece of work at…

The anatomy of a lesson

This post comes with the usual caveats that it is based on my own experiences of teaching and learning which come almost entirely from an 11-18 context and usually in Geography – although I have always leapt at the chance to see other subjects in actions. That said – what makes up the anatomy of…