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School Improvement

School Improvement (70)

I’m starting 2017/18 after my first year as principal at a school in challenging circumstances, which has been in and out of special measures for several Ofsted cycles. We all know what a school like this looks like on paper, but I hadn’t considered the damage that this does to the core fabric of a school. The climate at Queen Elizabeth's Academy was broken and needed urgent attention.
Pastoral care is one of the most important duties a teacher can have within a school. As form tutors, we are given the most amount of time in which we can make a personal difference to a pupil without having to worry about the demands of the subject we teach. So, what does good pastoral care looks like, and what can we as educators do in order to ensure all ...
With the drive for 21st Century skills, we're often discussing the importance of real-life learning in education. This could come in the form of practical hands-on activities, or even just using news stories and contextual examples to enrich the topic. But what if we could take this one step further and actually get students involved in real scientific research?
The way we’re teaching in the classroom is changing, and it’s time to review the way we communicate and engage with the whole school community. Following the removal of national curriculum levels, schools have been given a measure of freedom as to how they teach the curriculum. Some may think this is an improvement – but it begs the question - does that make it more difficult for parents ...
When I talk to people about mindfulness, and mindfulness in schools, I find a lot of people know of the idea, but that they don’t really know much about what it means. There’s a vague idea of it meaning you pay more attention to what's going on around you, which seems a fine idea for a teacher, but not much real detail. So, what does it really mean? ...
I love music and regularly use it in my classroom (I have written a couple of Staff Room blogs about this). I love the impact it can have on your children and the mood of the class, want to soothe them, play some chilled classical music or Spanish guitar music, want them to get ready for learning then use Don’t Stop me Now for a wake up shake up.
Music exists only in the fourth dimension: it is sounds in the air, moving in time. A written musical score or a CD is no more a piece of music than a script or a DVD is a play. Although unlike a play, you can’t see music. This gives it a unique place in the panoply of the school curriculum, so it is vital to know what to look ...
There’s a common assumption that in-house CPD (continuing professional development) is the way forward in schools. After years of poorly presented and ultimately fruitless courses on subjects chosen by others, like rootless flowers, it’s probably safe to say that very often the best development opportunities come for the colleagues we work alongside every day. And while swallowing that for some time, I began to realise I was waiting ...
So here it goes. This is my first attempt at writing a blog entry and I am not sure how good it will be, however, I can probably guarantee that it will be better than the average person’s location knowledge of the UK. The number of times I have been speaking to someone living in London and they talk about the fact that they are going ‘down to Newcastle’ ...
There is so much that is really urgent in schools that there is a real danger we may lose or sideline the things that are really important. The education system itself is under pressure from recruitment, retention, school places and budget cuts whilst teachers dread ever-changing goal posts – and don’t even mention Ofsted!
When James [Cain, Editor] contacted me and asked me to write a blog post about how I use Star Wars in the classroom, my first reaction went from, “this is awesome” to “uh… what am I going to write about?”. You see, I am an Advanced Placement (AP) World History teacher in Rocklin, CA, and although my classroom is littered with posters, toys and miscellaneous Star Wars gifts from students ...
[Originally published 26th May 2015] Young children are growing up in a world where touchscreens are normal. Not only that; they have never lived in a world without the Internet. With that in mind, it is important to embed the use of technology across the curriculum at Primary level so that their natural curiosity about the world can be encouraged by technology. This is especially true in many schools where children ...
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