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Blog2019-05-09T08:57:13+00:00

What works best for children with SEND works best for all children

What works best for children with SEND? That, of course, depends upon the precise nature of children's particular needs. That said, we can draw some generalisable conclusions by thinking about some of the more common areas of special educational need. For instance, a child with a working memory deficit is likely to benefit from having information carefully sequenced and instruction broken into manageable chunks. But all children have limited working memory [...]

By |November 17th, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

Are schools ever at fault for exclusions?

Sometimes schools get it wrong. It may even be that there are some schools led by nefarious headteachers who, in an effort to game league tables, seek to get rid of those students who are most likely to jeopardise their positions. It may even be the case that in a few case these students are more sinned against than sinning. But this is, I think most people would agree, a [...]

By |November 11th, 2019|Categories: behaviour|Tags: |0 Comments

What causes exclusion and what does exclusion cause?

Adult authority in schools is a paper tiger which depends on students agreeing to accept it. Some children choose not to and therefore have the power to make the lives of others miserable. Over the years I’ve taught a small number of students I came to dread seeing. Every encounter was another skirmish in an exhausting war of attrition, usually a war I felt I was losing. When a student [...]

By |November 10th, 2019|Categories: behaviour|Tags: |0 Comments

What should schools teach?

All knowledge may be precious, but it's hard to argue that it's equally precious. The time children spend in school is strictly finite and so, when deciding what to teach we must must make choices. Often these choices will necessarily be brutal. I was recently contacted by a marketing company who wanted me to write about some 'research' conducted by SellHouseFast which analysed search terms used on UK search engines [...]

By |October 29th, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

The trouble with Shakespeare, or Should everything be made simple?

I'm regularly inundated by unsolicited emails from folk hoping I'll endorse their products. Recently, I received one asking me if I'd be interested in writing about a collaboration between the software firm Adobe and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Apparently this is the result: Adobe and the RSC have worked with five UK artists and photographers to reimagine iconic Shakespeare scenes to provide inspiration for young people and their teachers. Using [...]

By |October 26th, 2019|Categories: English|Tags: |0 Comments

What do Ofsted reports reveal about the way schools are being inspected under the new framework?

Ofsted's new inspection framework went live at the beginning of September and the first reports have now been published. Anecdotally, I've heard whispers from two different inspections about the sorts of questions that are being asked and the sorts of challenges being made, but it's interesting and, I hope, useful, to interrogate the published reports to get a sense of the common themes and patterns emerging from inspections. The following [...]

By |October 17th, 2019|Categories: leadership|Tags: |0 Comments

In praise of uncertainty

I want you to conjure up the spirit of one of your primitive ancestors. Picture yourself hunting for food on the savannah or in a primordial forest. Imagine, if you will, that you catch a glimpse of movement out of the corner of your eye. Is it a snake? Although you can't be sure, the only sensible option is to act with certainty, assume that there is a [...]

By |October 7th, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

Is reading comprehension even a thing?

Most of the schools I visit are unsurprisingly keen to explore ideas to narrow the gap between their most and least advantaged students. Whilst there are also sorts of complex chains of causation which go some way to explaining why children from wealthier backgrounds outperform their less fortunate peers, one particularly vexed question that I'm frequently asked about is that of reading. The case I'm making here is that reading [...]

By |October 5th, 2019|Categories: reading|0 Comments

The curriculum: Intent, implementation and impact

This article first appeared in the marvellous free periodical, Teach Secondary. Do pop over and subscribe.  Most teachers will be aware that Ofsted is launching a new inspection framework this September. The big shift in focus is away from inspectors attempting to judge the quality of teaching and learning by observing lessons and towards attempting to judge the quality of education a school provides by, at least in part, interrogating [...]

By |July 23rd, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

Why ‘just reading’ might make more of a difference than teaching reading

Few people would disagree that improving children's reading ability would make a good thing. Not only would it open up greater opportunities in life, it would boost their cognitive development and increase the likelihood of them being able to access an academic curriculum. One barrier to children being able to comprehend what they read is the finding that an estimated 20% of children leave primary phase each year unable to [...]

By |June 22nd, 2019|Categories: Featured, reading|0 Comments

A few thoughts about teaching poetry

It is, I hope, uncontroversial to say that poetry is not a popular art form. While it's wonderful to hear the sales of poetry rose by 12% in 2018, with over 1.3 million volumes sold, that's dwarfed by the 190.9 million books sold in the UK in the same year, and is still a lot less than the 3.4 million copies of Michelle Obama's autobiography, Becoming. Why is it that [...]

By |June 3rd, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

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