In a pleasingly synchronous turn of events this post marking the end of the third year of writing The Learning Spy is also the 300th post I’ve published on the site. That’s about a blog every 4 days. I knew I’d written a lot, but this smacks of some sort of worrying compulsion.

This last year has been by far the busiest yet with over 600,000 views but I’m sure that has more to do with the explosion of high quality education blogging that’s taken place in the past year or so than it has to do with anything special about me. And it is an explosion. Headteacher and all round good guy, John Tomsett has dubbed our times a “New Education Spring’. For the first time ordinary teachers have the ability to reach an audience beyond their own schools and classrooms and the impact this is having is unprecedented. The fact that people responsible for government policy are reading what we have to say is at once terrifying, humbling and kinda cool. I’ve been contacted by people at Ofsted, Ofqual and the DfE who seem keen to engage in productive and ongoing discussion.

The most exciting outcome of writing the blog has been the small amount of influence it’s had on the lesson observation debate. The fact that Ofsted have been prepared to move so far and so visibly from the idea that individual lessons can be graded is cause for real celebration. I’m not so arrogant as to claim that this is down to my influence but I’d like to think I’ve played a small part in the changes that are being played out.

For those of you who are interested in such things, here are some stats:

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And here are the most read posts from the past year:

  1. Why do so many teachers leave teaching? 27th February 2013 – 45,862
  2. Marking is an act of love 6th October 2013 – 12,805
  3. Where lesson observations go wrong 12th July 2013 – 11,820
  4. Work scrutiny – What’s the point of marking books? 26th January 2013 – 11,199
  5. The Cult of Outstanding™: the problem with ‘outstanding’ lessons 16th January 2014 – 10, 584
  6. The shocking mediation of Ofsted criteria by ‘rogue’ inspectors 10th November 2013 – 10, 008
  7. Building challenge: differentiation that’s quick and works 19th January 2013 –  8,486
  8. What is good behaviour? 1st January 2012 – 8,147
  9. Slow Writing: how slowing down can improve your writing 12th May 2012 – 7,570
  10. Why AfL might be wrong, and what to do about it 12th March 2014 – 6,732

Curiously, 5 of these posts weren’t actually written this year which suggests something about their enduring appeal. By far my most popular post is about teachers leaving the profession – this gets about 130 hits per day, mostly through Google. It’s had 172 comments so far and has become something of a forum for disenchanted teachers. Some of the stories on there are heartbreaking.

The blog gets an average of 1700 visits a day. Interestingly, February was a high point with over 75,000 views and 2600 daily visits. This coincided with my visit to Ofsted but the post I wrote about that hasn’t even made the top ten. Go figure.

So much for blog metrics.

This year has also been one of real change for me personally as I’ve taken the plunge into working freelance. This can be terrifying at times but has been wonderfully rewarding and exciting. I feel a bit guilty saying so, but it’s also been far less stressful than teaching. Ultimately, I want to be back in a school at some point but at the moment I’m having too much fun.

Thank you so much for continuing to read – your feedback and contributions are what keep me going. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.