5 proven wins, 5 new ideas

For many, the start of a new year comes in January, when they make resolutions of how they are going improve or change their lives for the better in the coming 12 months. For me, the start of the new year comes in with September. Having spent most of my life in education - either studying or teaching - my life really does seem to run in the academic year. So ...
When dealing with assessment, behaviour, attendance, teacher workload and the rest of daily school life, it can be easy to leave website updates for… tomorrow. However, all it takes is one visit from the Big O for that out-of-date website to become a major issue. But how can you find out exactly what’s expected for your school’s online presence, and how do you go about making this a ...
For schools, the question of which programming languages and tactics to focus is always difficult. To tackle this issue, VEX Robotics - the global leader in classroom and competition robotics - is kicking off the academic year with the introduction of two major edu-innovations. 2018/19 will be the year of VEX Coding Studio and STEM Labs. As well as getting students up to scratch in coding and computer science, both ...

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 ...
From virtual reality (VR) field trips to virtual campus tours to aid recruitment, the future of education is one filled with exciting and untold possibilities. The Innovation Index survey, carried out by an independent party and commissioned by Bett, consisted of extensive research into the UK and EU education market, with responses from over 1,700 educators. There was a strong consensus on the benefits of edtech among 87% of the educators surveyed. ...

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 ...
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