“Something wicked this way comes” is a phrase that every teacher I know can relate to. You don’t have to be a fan of The Bard’s wonderfully evocative imagery to know that within every classroom there exists, just beneath the surface, a complex interplay of social and emotional dynamics that if expressed can make teaching almost impossible - unless one is mindful of the emergent possibilities and exquisitely judicious when dealing with the consequences, should they be necessary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these words in the last month or so. Having been head of RS at a boys’ grammar school for the last seven years, I’m taking up the same role at an independent girls’ day school in September. Eliot’s Little Gidding, from which these words are taken, is perhaps his most theological poem. Themes of time, death and incarnation pervade the work and he ends by quoting the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich:

Putting a seating plan together is often a headache for teachers; do you organise randomly, alphabetically, by gender, or by ability, for instance? It is often seen as a laborious task, and yet the impact of a good seating plan in the classroom is somewhat underestimated; it’s a practical way to help teachers manage the class, and depending on how sophisticated the plan itself is, can allow quick access to a range of student information such as grades achieved.

If I had one resource I had to keep, a sort of desert island resource, it would be sticky notes. I’ve spent the last year or so coming to this conclusion, and it’s a brave one since I also love my mini whiteboards, yet when I think about the possibilities and uses, Post-its win. This led me to present recently at TM Sheffield, where I found a lot of fellow admirers and we started to swap ideas. I had told a white lie in the title of my presentation, ‘101 uses of sticky notes’ though I’m sure given enough time I could come up with that many. So instead, below is more aptly titled ‘The Power of Post-its’, some ideas to spark your imagination for the classroom.

All school leaders want their teachers to have good-quality continuing professional development (CPD) that develops them as individuals and makes a measurable and significant contribution to school improvement. Clearly a number of challenges get in the way for many schools; budgetary and time restrictions being just a few. Furthermore, research from the Teacher Development Trust shows that, at present, the vast majority of CPD is having no impact in the classroom, and too few schools are bothering to check to see how, if at all, CPD is transforming teaching and learning.

With the advent of Marketing Awareness and the increase in the number of schools who now have Marketing Managers or Marketing Departments, Headteachers are becoming increasingly aware of the power of marketing at many levels: how good marketing can effect how a school is perceived and, in many cases, how this affects pupil numbers.

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