Curriculum

Rethinking differentiation: getting the most out of questions

"Inspectors reported concerns about Key Stage 3 in one in five of the routine inspections analysed, particularly in relation to the slow progress made in English and mathematics and the lack of challenge for the most able pupils." (Ofsted, KS3 'The Wasted Years', 2015) When I trained, the common approach to differentiation was to teach to… Continue reading Rethinking differentiation: getting the most out of questions

Leadership, Staff Development

Leadership development: it starts earlier than you think

Succession planning should be at the heart of any medium/long-term planning within a school. With a national shortage of school leaders (Read more here), the idea of planning for future leaders is becoming increasingly important. According to figures released by Future Leaders, whilst 74% of teachers are women, only 65% of heads are women (original DfE report… Continue reading Leadership development: it starts earlier than you think

Assessment, Curriculum, English, Literacy, Literature, Progress

Reclaiming KS3: Driving questions for rapid progress

When looking at examiners' reports at KS5, there's been a welcome move in recent years warning staff not to send students into exams with pre-prepared essay frames, writing templates and other formulaic crutches designed to get students through exams with the minimum of independent thought. Aside from my personal feelings about endless writing frames, they send the message to students… Continue reading Reclaiming KS3: Driving questions for rapid progress

Leadership, Staff Development

What WomenEd means to me

Following our inaugural YamJam, our WomenEd ideas session started me thinking about what WomenEd means to me. The advantage of such a self-supporting movement, led by a fabulous steering group, is that it's an open house, a place for sharing ideas, collaboration and personal reflection. For me, I see WomenEd as a sustainable grass-roots movement that nurtures female leadership… Continue reading What WomenEd means to me

Curriculum, English, Progress

Rethinking KS3: Early Intervention

In earlier blog posts I've been exploring the ways that KS3 can be reclaimed to have a positive impact on student achievement over time. Ofsted's document KS3: The Wasted Years explores the issues affecting KS3 at the moment and, to me, gives very clear guidance to schools about what is required for them to be successful. Firstly, Ofsted… Continue reading Rethinking KS3: Early Intervention

Leadership, Staff Development

Happiness starts now. Have a break.

When somebody else verbalises the thoughts you've been pondering for a while, it's an enlightening experience. I had the privilege of watching Andy Cope (@BeingBrilliant) deliver a keynote presentation this morning and the key, very refreshing, message is that happiness is a myth. It sounds depressing but actually, what he suggests is that we've bought into… Continue reading Happiness starts now. Have a break.

Assessment, Curriculum, English, Progress, Staff Development

Progress over time: Why there may be still a place for ‘well done’

In a time when Ofsted no longer grade individual lessons and there's a move towards demonstrating 'progress over time', a new focus for observation, scrutiny and inspection has been identified: marking. The major problem with this focus on marking is that - like when 'Ofsted wants to see...' was the be all and end all of… Continue reading Progress over time: Why there may be still a place for ‘well done’

Curriculum, English, Literacy, Literature, Progress

Reclaiming KS3: Engagement

In this series of blogposts I'm exploring ways that KS3 can be reclaimed rather than being viewed as a second priority behind KS4/5. To go further, what I'm suggesting is that if schools want to ensure maximum progress gains at KS4, then targeted investment in KS3 is essential. The three ways that this can be achieved are: Challenge… Continue reading Reclaiming KS3: Engagement

Curriculum, English, Progress

Reclaiming KS3: Challenge

There's been a lot of focus on KS3 and the role it plays in achievement at KS4. Sometimes I wonder if due to pressures in the upper school, KS3 risks becoming the neglected sibling of KS4/5. It shouldn't be. If KS3 is purposeful, challenging and engaging, the chances of having the progress gaps to be filled… Continue reading Reclaiming KS3: Challenge

EdTech, Educational Technology, iPad, Staff Development

Why I’ll defend EdTech, but accept it’s not the magic solution to pupil progress

There's been a lot of discussion in the press about tablet devices, mobile phones and other technological approaches to teaching and learning. The general trend from comments close to the government is that tablets and mobile phones are inherently a problem (Pupils set for ban on mobiles and iPads in the classroom to stop lessons being disrupted).… Continue reading Why I’ll defend EdTech, but accept it’s not the magic solution to pupil progress