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Showing posts from October, 2016

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…

Cultural clash: knowing your students

I enjoyed Shaun Allison's recent post around relationships, which really are at the centre of the school universe. It made me think about one of my areas of responsibility: the progress of disadvantaged students. Now, laying aside the fact that someone in an office someplace has decided that the 'gap' is now the 'difference' creating a mental agility workout and increasing workload, for me this is why I am committed to comprehensive education. Indeed, I am blessed to work with a team that are really wound up by educational inequality and aim to help get rid of it.

I thought about my time at Exeter University. Each November the 5th we used to get a taxi to Ottery Saint Mary to watch the locals run around with beer barrels, coated in tar and straw and set alight.  As you do.  This seemed bonkers to me at the time. And I'm Welsh. The thing is, culture is strange. Decoding cultural behaviour needs an understanding of the context in which it sits; it strikes me that…