Latest articles from the Innovate My School community.

All throughout February, our content will be centred around the theme of The Disruptors. These are the visionaries, stories, tactics and resources that will ensure your school stays ahead of the curve.

“Engaging students of any age is hard,” says George Hammond-Hagan, CEO of Studytracks. “From the start of anyone’s educational journey all the way to the end, there’s a battle - internal and external - for their mind’s attention.

“This is why disruptive teaching methods are important. The educators included in this month’s theme are ones who have shown that they will do things a little differently to get the result. Personally, my own path has led me to using music to power teaching and learning. Music creates an environment that we’re instinctively attuned to, as it modifies our mood, opens our mind, demands attention and transforms anywhere into a focussed sphere of influence. The brain is ‘hacked’ by music."

Don't let your teaching and learning grow stale.

School Improvement

School Improvement (75)

“I've got the children to tend, the clothes to mend, the floor to mop, the food to shop.” This is an excerpt from Maya Angelou's brilliant poem Woman Work, where she reels off a litany of the chores and duties that a woman in her circumstance has to honour.
Although the government would argue differently, those of us on the education front-line know that there has been a sustained and systematic marginalisation of creative arts subjects in Secondary schools. The introduction of the EBacc in 2010 forced school leaders to focus their diminishing budgets on the subjects that the then minister for education deemed worthy. According to the 2015 Warwick Commission report this has, in part, contributed to a 50% drop in ...
“What do you want to achieve as a school leader? What traits will you focus on?” For me, when considering the traits that foster good leadership, you need to start by really considering the people you work with. I saw this quote on Dr. Marcia Tate’s Twitter feed yesterday, and I think it says it all. Good leadership needs to have an outward focus where we as school leaders ...
It could perhaps be tempting to fall into a trap of repetitive teaching and learning; using tried and tested strategies that we know have helped students to be successful in the past. Whilst this has its positives, and often offers reassurance, the beauty of being in this profession is the organic nature that is teaching and learning. You’ve got to love how new topics, skills and emerging student needs ...
We know that teachers are leaving our profession in record numbers, and I have heard of schools where more teachers are leaving than staying. We also know that not enough young people are choosing to become teachers themselves. Teacher training places are going unfilled, and there simply aren’t enough teachers to educate our children of the future. As the population grows, there seems to be little effort to make ...
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 ...
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