In March 2016 the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group completed their report entitled ‘Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking’. Since the publication of this report, I wonder how much has changed in schools across the country? How many senior leaders have read the report and those written by The Education Endowment Foundation, along with blogs and recommendations from people such as Ross ‘@TeacherToolkit’ McGill? In the report’s foreword, Dawn Copping wrote: “......
When planning for assessment, these are arguably the top three priorities to consider - regardless of the subject/age/ability we teach: Knowing the success criteria (students and teacher) Keeping students engaged Minimising teacher workload Of course, it goes without saying that I’m not writing this to teach anyone to suck eggs, but this article is designed to serve as a supportive reminder of the basics of effective planning ...
Technology has transformed the classroom over the past decade. Computers, smart boards and laser cutters - which were once few and far between - are now commonplace thanks to the £900m spent on education tech every year. These changes have gone a long way in creating a more engaging learning experience, but the next wave of developments will take things to the next level, by creating more sensory experiences that ...
What is more engaging than a robot dog that kids can program? Or a virtual reality trip through the jungle? Or a 3D printout of Michelangelo’s David? This is the beauty and the diversity of edtech: there is literally something to engage everyone. And isn’t engagement important when it comes to kids? Getting them focused and fully immersed in the lesson - what could be more crucial? Well, ...
Whatever young people's educational journeys, as individuals they all have unique personal characteristics just like their physical fingerprints and DNA sequences. An exciting paradigm shift is taking place in education as approaches to teaching and learning become increasingly creative and student-centred, enabling all learners to develop and blossom in their own, special ways. Just as forensic investigators can identify an individual using DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) to create a genetic profile ...
The ambition of every leader in education is to meaningfully improve our students’ outcomes. This is particularly important at a time when school budgets are under increasing pressure, meaning we often have to support teaching and learning using the resources we already have. However, the answer is deceptively simple - and most school leaders are aware of it, but may not know how to harness its power. While extra funding ...
Fostering creativity in students has dominated discussion in education since the turn of the century. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) lists creativity as one of its 4Cs alongside critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its top ten list of desired skills for 2020, including creativity among them. Professor Michael Fullan includes creativity as one of his 6Cs, and describes it as the need for ...
Have you ever found yourself marking the same pupil responses over and over? You asked them to be creative; you asked them to use their imagination. Instead, they regurgitate countless clichés onto their pages, leaving you wishing you hadn’t bothered. “The sky was blue.” “Really?” I thought, as I read this for the thirty-second time. Now, I get that the sky is blue, but it can be so ...
It was Warwickshire County Council that first introduced us at The Coleshill School to the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH) team. We were so impressed by what the programme had to offer, that when the council kindly agreed to fund the initiative, we applied to become a DSH school straight away. While we’re a Secondary school, a significant number of Primary school pupils have chosen to come to us specifically because ...

Should you teach spelling?

I’ve been teaching one to one literacy for years now. I recall saying to parents (and I inwardly cringe at this memory) that spelling isn’t really that important and skills like reading, planning and understanding exam and essay questions should take priority. Spelling is something which can be overcome by spell check and predictive text. It is a waste of time learning how to spell, as it is ...
Both cars can go 124 mph. One can get there in 7.2 seconds. And the other, if it’s lucky, can do it in 12 seconds - provided the duct tape holds. That’s pretty much the only difference between my 1991 740 Volvo station wagon and a Porsche 918 Spyder. Well, that and the Porsche only has one cup holder. We all know our students can achieve this 124 mph level of creativity (call it Csikszentmihalyi’...
Children often have it in their heads that learning Maths is dull. To challenge this notion, I created cZeus Maths Challenger: an innovative new app designed for all ages to make Maths fun. cZeus supports teaching within schools and beyond, encouraging students to engage and build a social connection through Mathematics. The result is an app that not only facilitates the practice of Maths skills like addition, times tables and ...
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