Month: November 2014

The fear factor giving way to the peer factor | Graham Newell

Whole Education Blog


The inspiring future of school improvement lies in the fear factor giving way to the peer factor.” Hargreaves and Shirley, 2010

This quote is incredibly powerful; it hints at a change in the attitudes towards professionalism over the last 30 years.  When I started teaching, teachers were considered rulers of their own classroom.

My first action as a newly qualified teacher was to cover up the window in the door so no one could see into my ‘kingdom’.  I was quite a good teacher, with outstanding exam results, but what I did was my business and I rarely interacted with colleagues on a professional basis. Today the picture is quite different.

The peer factor

I truly believe that teachers today are better trained and (usually) more open to collaboration and self-reflection than I ever was.  This leads to higher quality teaching and much higher standards.

I look at the enthusiasm…

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In Praise of the Quietly Innovative | Maggie Farrar

Food for thought for anyone who is a leader, a mentor, a coach…

Whole Education Blog

Maggie_Farrar (2)

I have to confess I have always been a little sceptical of those leaders who describe themselves as ‘innovative’.  Why? Because its rather like someone loudly proclaiming themselves to be ‘humble’.

I have seen leaders who cloak their low boredom threshold in being ‘innovative’, who live in an adrenalin rush, layering their school with initiative after initiative – many imported from elsewhere and failing to take root in a new context. I have seen how confusion can quickly settle into wearisome cynicism amongst those they lead.

These leaders have equated ‘innovation’ with ‘initiative’ and as a result exhaust themselves and their teams and don’t lever out the benefits their (sometimes misguided) hard work should be producing.

On the other hand, gladly, I see many leaders who although they wouldn’t describe themselves as innovative are in fact building a culture of purposeful innovation.  They strive for continuous improvement, they are highly…

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Building character is an important part of a whole education for all young people

Whole Education Blog

Sir John Dunford OBE

There’s a big welcome from Whole Education for the announcement from the Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan, of a £5m fund to support schools to develop character, through school sports, debating and other activities inside and outside the curriculum.

Whole Education schools have for some time been focused on the both/and: on developing character, resilience and wellbeing, while at the same time delivering on exam results; developing local curriculum in the space that the national curriculum leaves for schools.

While it is welcome, £5m will not go very far across 20,000 schools in England. What we need are smart system solutions to this problem, devised by school leaders and teachers for whom a fully rounded education is what they are aiming to give to all their pupils. There is no single way to do this and schools in the Whole Education Network are developing a range of approaches.

Whole Education…

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Supporting pupils with dyslexia – a pupil’s perspective

At a recent professional learning session, our deputy SENCO offered advice to teachers about how to better understand the learning needs of pupils with dyslexia and gave practical suggestions about what we can do to support them.  A current pupil also shared their experiences of learning with dyslexia.  The attached presentations offer insight, inspiration and very sensible advice.

Specific Learning Difficulties – Dyslexia

Specific Learning Difficulties – Dyslexia – A Pupil’s Perspective

Nicky Morgan will propose and fund a new ‘College of Teaching’ today | Jonathan Savage

The Echo Chamber

Nicky Morgan will unveil plans today to create a new ‘College of Teaching’, similar to medical bodies such as the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons. The College, once established, will provide training programmes, conduct educational research and set professional standards for teachers.

 Nicky Morgan will propose and fund a new ‘College of Teaching’ today | Jonathan Savage

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Assessment after levels: don’t reinvent a square wheel

Assessment post levels – interesting proposition followed by some big names commenting…

Clio et cetera

 Schools – particularly senior managers – are obsessed by pupil progress, not least because Ofsted inspectors are also obsessed by pupil progress. How many times have you heard ‘an outstanding lesson is one in which outstanding progress is made’? All of this rests on the premise that pupil progress can be modelled in a way that allows us to measure how far up a progression ladder a pupil has moved. I am not convinced that this is possible.

I should be clear that here I am making a distinction between a mark scheme and a progression model. A mark scheme is used to assess a particular piece of work (like an exam question) where – although there are still plenty of grey areas – we might still nonetheless rank work against a set of criteria or against the work of other students.

A progression model, in contrast, is more…

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