We can have it all!

There were two turning points for me that I distinctly remember. The first was in September 2014 on our INSET day. We’d just hit 85% 5A*CEM in the summer, been awarded Outstanding in every category in July, a far cry from Special Measures and 28% three years previously. Behaviour had been described regularly as ‘feral’ but was now brilliant. I announced as much to my staff, then followed with the line ...
Excess workload: it’s the recurring issue that’s driving teachers away from the profession in droves. Between planning and marking lessons, collating results and ensuring that every child is catered for, it’s surprising that educators have any time to think let alone teach a class. In fact, a DfE survey has revealed that teachers currently work over 50 hours per week on average - that’s more than both ...
With the new academic year upon us, we wanted to introduce you to Manor Farm Community Junior School and their major successes with professional development, self-evaluation and improvement planning. Here, headteacher Andrew Sierant shares how the school eliminated the need for paper, raised the profile of professional development, and found an efficient new way to manage teacher and staff appraisals…
“What is the one thing you have all done without thinking about it - without questioning why you are doing it?” This is the question Andy Daly-Smith, a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, asks the 40+ school leaders in the room. There are various responses, some more sensible than others, till the answer, “sitting down” is offered.
Currently, the choice of whether to allow mobile phones in classrooms or entire schools rests in the hands of school representatives. For example, headteachers could enforce banning mobile phones in the whole facility during school hours.
There is a parable about two woodcutters. Determined to prove their superiority, they decided to have a competition to see who could cut the most trees down in one day. One woodcutter chopped on relentlessly, spurred on by the intermittent silence of his competitor whom he assumed was exhausted. But when the day ended, he discovered to his horror that his competitor had felled twice as many trees! His competitor ...

Educ-AI-tion rebooted

Imagine a future in which artificial intelligence (AI) is fully embedded within our education system. AI algorithms mark our children’s essays, decide what they need to learn (and the best time to learn it), detect when they are cheating in exams and judge the performance of their teachers and school. Does it make you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
During the course of the last few years, STEM fields have slowly moved towards the apex of academic desirability. Even employers not working directly within these areas highly value the skills associated with STEM, with 62% prizing programming skills and 71% valuing problem solving. This means that, for both today’s students and their teachers, there is a real onus when it comes to the acquisition of STEM. But how do you ...
With the exponential rise of technology, the popularity of social media platforms and the ubiquity of smart devices, ‘online health and safety’ has never been more important. The benefits of edtech are enormous, from individualised learning and mixed realities, to the instant global connectivity that social media provides. But we need to balance these rewards by addressing the risks of being online - from cyberbullying and loss of privacy, to ...
I write this at the start of April, whilst enjoying a view some may call “paradise”: sat on Long Beach, in Pulau Perhentian Kecil, with the South China Sea lapping up against my toes. It’s been a well-needed ‘switch off’ after the last three-to-six months (the last three in particular). The added benefit of five days without working WiFi was not lost on me. Whilst naturally there were those ...
We all loved going to the cinema when we were young: the smell of popcorn as you walked through the foyer, the anticipation upon entering the dark auditorium, the flickering light of the projector, and the hush of the audience as the film began. It was, and still is, a truly magical experience for a child, being able to watch a film on the big screen. Now imagine if the ...
As seen with UK education secretary Damian Hinds’ recent challenge to education suppliers, edtech is due to be a bigger area of concern for schools than ever before. It’s therefore vital that school leaders know where to spend their stretched budgets. But how can you go about doing this in a market with so many options?
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