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Showing posts from 2016

Nurture 16/17? It's time for trust, faith and hope.

Forgive what many may consider to be a self indulgent post (I got a bit distracted) but, over the ten years that I've been writing here, I've been known for the occasional run and beer induced waffle and, in any case, it is my blog and I'll do what I want to.....  This is an attempt at a look ahead to the new year ( I'm always reminded of Dawn Hallybone's words that teacher have two New Years).  I've endeavoured, perhaps rather ambitiously,  to suggest some undertakings for teachers and myself. I'll have to get some help in making it all into a diagram to stick on my fridge, office wall and car windscreen. The basis for the structure comes from this post about growing grit.  In the month where this blog turned ten, I must acknowledge that I may have done more falling this year. But, I rise. And will continue to do so.

You see, although I am no music buff, it plays an important part in the way I think. See my leadership playlist, for example.  I also listened…

Post 1000 and 10 years of blogging: #growinggrit, an update and challenge

Well. Blimey. It's been ten years of blogging. Ten years from this rather pants post  (together with an horrendous selfie - what was I thinking?!). Ten years and I still haven't made a proper site. 10 years of poor grammar, spelling and typos. Well, actually, it was 10 years a couple of weeks ago but I was busy teaching. Anyway, instead of a review of those 10 years (tantrums and tears, some geography and awards, sharing teaching stuff and plenty of rants) here's a post on what I'm working on at the moment. And, if you fancy marking 10 years, take part in the #growinggrit spring term challenge by filling in the form at the bottom of the page. You can then ignore the rest of the drivel!

You can catch up with the idea of Grit here and find out the initial stages, including the small scale action research here. In a nutshell, I've used Pupil Premium funding to create a culture of action research in school. The impact of these on CPD and school culture has been signif…

It's TeachMeet #GAConf17 time!

Apologies for putting this here rather than the TM wiki, but the storage limit has been reached there!


Following the success of TeachMeet #GAConf16, we are proud to present the 2017 TeachMeet
Proudly Sponsored by:






Exact location to be confirmed but will be at the University of Surrey, Guildford. Followed by informal networking and the famous #beermeet
This is a free event open to all - no need to be a conference delegate.
The GA Annual Conference takes place from Thursday 20th - Saturday 22nd April. Further details can be found on the GA Website

A TeachMeet is an informal gathering of like-minded teachers coming together to present to, and learn from one another's classroom practice including practical innovations and personal insights in teaching. Participants volunteer to demonstrate good practice they've delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that enhances classroom practice. TeachMeet events are open to all and do not charge an entry fee. For further information on T…

So, you're designated safeguarding lead. 7 lessons I've learnt so far.

In the 15 years that I've been teaching, I've been given many roles. Since September 2016 I've been the school's designated safeguarding lead. This post shares some reflections, one term into the role, with the aim that others in the same situation may find it useful.

No training ever prepares you fully.

Like every role within a school, CPD is vital, especially around the latest guidance. Of course, any Ofsted inspection will pull apart a school's safeguarding routines, policies and systems, but no course really prepared me for the mental and emotional investment that the role demands.  When a member of staff turns up at the door with an issue, a trip leader contacts you from a different country or a student is in school but in tears and self harming, there isn't anything that could have prepared me. What does help is being a father and trying to make the best decisions. Vitally, the role is about supporting staff and not only students. What has struck me about…

Growing grit: a plan that doesn't involve the classroom

I believe that the most important time in school is in the classroom and that teaching and learning is at the heart of all school decisions. However, I am also an advocate of extra-curricular provision and outdoor education, in particular the ability of expeditions to develop personal attributes in young people. Indeed, my own experience of education was shaped and saved through the Air Training Corps rather than anything that happened within the school's walls. It may not be fashionable not to champion a narrow range of research-backed teaching and learning methods, but I believe that schools are far more than teaching and learning factories.

It's from this experience that I have never advocated that schools, individuals or government can teach character, nor grit, nor mindset. What we can do through is create the conditions in which grit can be grown. In other words, modelling grit and resilience ad providing opportunities for young people to overcome difficulty. Bearing in…

Research: it's just finding stuff out about your school.

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you? Has someone taken your faith? Its real, the pain you feel You trust, you must Confess Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you? Foo Fighters

The aim of this post is to lay out a few ideas that I believe in. Ideas that, if you search through the ten years of this blog, I've always held. The cult of edu-bloggers is an interesting phenomenon as it perhaps has led to many questioning their own practice (a good thing) and throwing out ideas that they have found to work in the past (a bad thing). Read what I think about research in this post from 2014.

Research is simply the act of finding out about stuff in your school. An action that is important to ensure that teaching and learning improves. Since my teacher training days at Durham University, it's always been made clear that educational research is a little pants at times. Try…

The most important professional conversation of the year: appraisal.

The most important party of a mountain marathon is the fifteen or so minutes spent deciding on the route before heading off.  Although the clock has started, (there are seven hours each day to collect as many points as possible) having a clear plan and making the decisions whilst fresh in mind and body pays dividends.  Often, those that run off quickly for the nearest point lose time later as they have to adjust and work out the best route on the fly.  This situation can be likened to the school appraisal conversation: time spent working out the plan for the year and mapping out the relevant CPD provides a focus and narrows priorities for the year ahead.  This allows teachers to concentrate on teaching and learning and helping the school move forward as a whole and gets rid of distractions and wandering later on in the year when both workloads and stress levels are high.

This post isn't about the merits of performance related pay but about the most important professional conversa…

May we live in interesting times

My brothers and sisters
I miss the conversations between us There's nothing wrong with being a dreamer So where are you now? Where are you now?
Twin Atlantic Brothers and Sisters
“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.”  Terry PratchettInteresting Times
The purpose of this post is to force me to reflect and commit. If any other readers take a peek and benefit then that is a delightful bonus. In writing it I live up to the aim of this blog, which turns 10 in December, which was to allow me to reflect and think. 

Interesting times have b…