Curriculum complications

There have been some interesting developments in the curriculum debate recently. There is general agreement that it is time for the accountability framework to end its heavy focus on attainment, given that a significant body of evidence now shows that it is much more challenging to enable pupils from deprived backgrounds to attain in line […]

Accountability: evolution or revolution?

At our recent event, Sean Harford, National Director for Education at Ofsted set out the proposed changes to future inspections, with an increased focus on curriculum as part of a single judgement on Quality of Education, encompassing previous judgements on Teaching, Learning and Assessment and Outcomes. He described this as ‘evolution, not revolution’, a journey […]

Talk matters

This week, I was working with a teacher on a thinking activity for Reception children. We were carrying out a classification activity involving cards with pictures of six different mother and baby animals in six different colours and we were trying to encourage the children to verbalise their thinking by asking them to explain what […]

Direct instruction or discovery learning – is there a middle way?

I recently attended Paul Kirschner’s presentation at ResearchEd London where he laid out the evidence for the power of direct instruction, which Kirschner describes as a process whereby teachers 1) emphasise academic goals, 2) ensure that learners are involved in learning, 3) select the learning objectives and monitor learner progress 4) structure the learning activities and give immediate academically […]

Little things matter for wellbeing

On leadership programmes, there is always a section of learning devoted to being strategic, to not getting bogged down in the minutiae of day-to-day school life, but saving time to think, plan, review and make big changes to teaching and learning. These things do matter – if senior leaders don’t devote enough time to the […]

Research and teaching: it’s complicated…

Unlike in medicine, education and research have always had an uneasy relationship. In 2013, Goldacre described how education lags behind other professions in its systematic use of evidence.  You wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor who wasn’t using the latest medical research, so why would you let your children be taught by a […]

Is your performance management system damaging teacher learning?

Schools have rightly moved away from lesson observation gradings, a damaging system created by Ofsted and whose legacy persists.  As Chris Watkins rightly notes, we want lesson observations to be about learning and improving, not proving and performance: The legacy of lesson gradings is the tendency of teachers to try to ‘perform’ when being observed. […]