Life inside the bubble – Part 1

For the last couple of years I have been writing, blogging and tweeting about education. I have read dozens of fascinating books, countless papers, attended conferences and met many brilliant teachers. I have been invited to write for TES and the Guardian’s Teacher Network, speak at conferences, teach meets and school’s CPD sessions, write a…

The Ritual of Teaching

Terry Pratchett’s novel Small Gods tells the story of what happens to Gods when people stop believing in them. The much diminished God Om is talking to his last remaining true believer, Brutha, and explaining to him how it comes that Gods die. He quotes the Discworld philosopher Abraxas. “Around the Godde there forms a…

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…