things I notice in schools

04 Sep 2016

Workload: the big picture

Nobody has deliberately set out to increase workload. But increased it has. So what can senior leaders do to address the drivers for this and how can they find ways of cutting through anything which is not absolutely necessary? This chapter explores further the three main strands identified in the Government’s Workload Challenge, set out in the previous chapter: planning and resources, data management and marking.

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28 Aug 2016

The Philosopher Kids

I was very enthusiastic about Martin Robinson’s ‘Trivium’ when it was published in 2013 and I wrote a blog about it.  The 'Trivium in Practice’ is the follow-up to the big ideas and here we have the experiences of schools and educators who have worked on the Trivium principles. It makes fascinating reading.

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17 Aug 2016

Assessment for Learning without Limits

‘Tracking is not assessment, learning is not linear and teaching is not easy.’ Assessment for Learning without Limits by Dame Alison Peacock has been worth the wait. It provides a commentary and plenty of examples of how schools are making assessment without levels and limits work. But if anyone is looking for quick fixes, tricks and short-cuts, it’s not for them. It is essential reading, however, for any educator who is thinking carefully about what constitutes progress, how this emerges from the curriculum and how to ensure, in the words of  Tim Oates that ‘every child, with the right support, is capable of anything.' 

Tim Oates

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15 Aug 2016

Big hearted settings

What does it mean to have a big heart, beyond the literal, obviously? It's pretty evident what happens when it stops. I’m not going to get my tape measure out and measure it, for obvious reasons. But in the metaphysical sense, having a big heart means to be prepared to look kindly on the world and on other people. In fact the universe doesn't much care about us. But it is a living thing with the capacity for both devastation and beauty and in order to be fully human, we need to respond to it wholeheartedly. Developing a big heart makes us more alive to the possibilities for growth.

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04 Jun 2016

The Essentials

‘You can do anything, but not everything.’ David Allen

Schools are complex places. We can find ourselves too stretched to think, overworked and under-utilised, busy but not productive. So it is worth considering the ideas within Essentialism[1]. Developed by Greg McKeown,  he makes the case for the disciplined pursuit of less and for doing fewer things, really well. This is the basic proposition: ‘when we give ourselves permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, we can make our highest contribution towards the things that really matter.’

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