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Why can’t we agree about internal isolation?

The debate about whether schools should be allowed to internally exclude children from lessons is a hot topic at the moment, with all sorts of people weighing in at both ends of the spectrum of opinion. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of internal exclusion probably says something about whether you prioritise the rights of the group or the rights of the individual. But it's also probably true [...]

By |January 19th, 2020|Categories: behaviour|4 Comments

Does the new inspection framework trade off reliability against validity?

Yesterday I saw a thread on Twitter from headteacher Stuart Lock on the pros and cons of the new inspection framework: https://twitter.com/StuartLock/status/1216475275514523648?s=20 In it he discusses the idea that because the previous inspection framework relied heavily on schools'  results in national exams in making judgements it managed to be fairly reliable. That is to say, an inspection team inspecting two schools with similar results or that two different inspection teams [...]

By |January 15th, 2020|Categories: leadership|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Are Ofsted punishing disadvantaged children by penalising three-year GCSE courses?

Is a broad and balanced curriculum "middle class"? According to an article published in The Times, Sir Daniel Moynihan, CEO of the Harris Federation, has described Ofsted's new inspection framework as "a middle-class framework for middle-class kids” because "Ofsted is valuing curriculum over qualifications." Currently, there is a great deal of fear that inspectors have been briefed to penalise schools - like those in the Harris Federation - where students [...]

By |January 14th, 2020|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |4 Comments

My most viewed posts of 2019

For those of you who are interested, here are the top 10 most viewed posts on my blog during 2019 Closing the language gap: Building vocabulary (16th November 2014) It's a bit of a puzzler why a post written 5 years ago is proving so popular but I can only imagine anxious teachers are looking for Alex Quigley's wildly popular book are are somehow stumbling onto this post. How do [...]

By |December 31st, 2019|Categories: Featured|1 Comment

What do teachers need to know about Cognitive Load Theory?

I've come to the conclusion Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory is the single most important thing for teachers to know https://t.co/MkJJLruR8g — Dylan Wiliam (@dylanwiliam) January 26, 2017 What do teachers need to know about Cognitive Load Theory? The short answer is, not that much. There's an awful that's been written and said about Cognitive Load Theory (CTL) in recent years and most of it is wholly unnecessary for teachers to [...]

By |December 17th, 2019|Categories: psychology|Tags: , |10 Comments

Where we’re getting curriculum wrong Part 2: Powerful knowledge

In part 1 of this blog series I discussed the importance of cultural capital, where we might be getting it wrong, what it consists of, and how to resolve the problem of 'dead white men'. Where we're getting 'powerful knowledge' wrong While we can make a case that all knowledge is precious, not all knowledge is equally precious. In Bringing Knowledge Back In, education professor Michael Young advanced the idea [...]

By |December 12th, 2019|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Where we’re getting curriculum wrong Part 1: Cultural capital

Where we're getting 'cultural capital' wrong The concept of 'cultural capital' is increasingly on the agenda in the schools I visit. No doubt this is in large part down to Ofsted. The latest inspection framework makes specific mention of the term in its guidance on what a school curriculum ought to contain. School leaders are told they will be judged on the extent to which they "construct a curriculum that [...]

By |December 11th, 2019|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |7 Comments

The importance of play (and why it’s better to avoid bullshit)

Play is an essential part of learning. The young of many species play in order to test their physical limits, form bonds with others, explore the environment, practice hunting behaviours and generally mimic their elders. Human children are no different in this respect: we play in order to learn about ourselves and our environment. It's probably true to say that the instinct to play is 'hardwired' into us and, short [...]

By |December 10th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: , , , , |13 Comments

My favourite reads this year

In no particular order, these are the books I have most enjoyed reading during 2019. Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, Tom Holland As a long-time admirer of Holland's brand of history, I was very much looking forward to this. In this he retreads some of the basic territory covered in Millennium and In the Shadow of the Sword, but takes it in a new and startling direction. His [...]

By |December 9th, 2019|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

The distorting lens of perspective (and why teachers need to be professionally sceptical)

We view the world from our own stance. Our view is unique which means we have unique insights and observations to offer, but it also means other people, viewing from different perspectives, see something different. I was interested to read Tom Sherrington's recent blog levelling the blame for substandard teaching at the feet of teachers he describes as 'Bad Trads': The teacher is up there, trying to teach in an [...]

By |November 26th, 2019|Categories: Featured|4 Comments

The road to hell

My default assumption is that everyone working in education has good intentions. We all want children to be happier, healthier, safer, more creative and better problem solvers. But, good intentions are never enough. Over the past eight years I have used this blog to campaign against the nonsense that used to pervade the system. In the bad old days, Ofsted was the ‘child-centred inquisition’ burning teachers who talked for too [...]

By |November 24th, 2019|Categories: Featured|5 Comments

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