things I notice in schools

31 Dec 2015

Radical candour

When the work of any setting is underpinned by the principle of ‘humans first, professionals second’, something interesting happens: people are happy to be held to account. This is because they want to do their best work and because they know that any aspect of their practice can be critiqued because it is not an attack on them as a human being.

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16 Oct 2015

Should I be marking every piece of work?

The mammoth mountains of marking are still piling up. Why on earth is this the case? I first wrote about this two years ago. There is one rule for marking and feedback: if it's not making a difference to learning, don't do it.

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19 Sep 2015

The Hirsch effect

How is it that an 87 year old retired professor from the University of Virginia has had such an influence on the English curriculum? E D Hirsch spoke at the Policy Exchange annual lecture. A series of articles on knowledge and curriculum has been published by the Policy Exchange to contine the conversation. So what are his ideas and how have they had such an impact on education policies? To summarise in brief:

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12 Jul 2015

What students say about RE

There has been plenty of commentary on A New Settlement for RE: Religion and Belief in Schools. The pamphlet by Charles Clark and Linda Woodhead outlines proposals for addressing the needs of the subject and bringing the underpinning legal stuctures up to date. More than 70 years old, these are welcome, very welcome. So what do students and pupils say that they value in RE? These are some quotes from students in schools which have achieved the RE Quality Mark.

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20 Jun 2015

John Tomsett: a deeper way of considering school improvement

You know the sort of book that, as you read it, it meets you half way. You recognize many of your own ideas, values, hopes and mistakes. Well 'Love over Fear' was it, for me. John Tomsett nails it. Everything he writes is focused on the core business: great teaching, great provision for every student. ‘Make sure your school leadership team is focused upon the core business of school, improving teaching and learning.’

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