Month: July 2015

Penguins and Professional Learning 2014-15: Teaching Excellence Projects at Sawston Village College – Example Projects

Following the previous post explaining the culmination of this year’s professional learning at Sawston Village College, this post includes some examples of the final presentations of individual Teaching Excellence Projects.  To read the first post, please go to –

Flipped Learning in Science:

Increasing higher-level thinking in lessons using a flipped TEP

Motivation in English:

TEP 2015

Collaboration with Teaching Assistants in Geography:

TEP Feedback PPT 9th July

Plenaries in Science:

Some key questions to ask when planning a Plenary activity

TEP poster 2015

Leadership and Curriculum Development in ICT and Computing:

TEP 2015 ICT & Computing

Extended writing in MFL:

Improving quality of writing at KS4 in Modern Foreign Languages

MFL TEP 2015

Revision and knowledge retention in History:

TEP 2015 – History Poster

Germany – Odd one out

Germany – Similar and Different

International Relations – Themes & Titles

Key Dates – Before, During and After revision activity

Overview – Captions for Pictures

Overview – Road Signs

Overview – Words and Themes Activities

Revision Tips – A list of different revision strategies

Pick an event and take notes using the headings on this sheet - what when why therefore


Penguins and Professional Learning 2014-15: Teaching Excellence Projects at Sawston Village College

Who would want to be the first penguin to leap into the icy Antarctic waters?  The first brave soul to do so risks unseen leopard seals and orca.  However, without at least one penguin prepared to take that first plunge, they would all starve.  So, the penguin community needs risk takers to survive and grow.  Teachers are a bit like penguins.  We need risk takers.  We need to encourage risk taking.  Otherwise, our practice stagnates, intractable problems remain unresolved and pupils’ experience is diminished.

In order to be a bit more penguin, all teachers at Sawston Village College undertake a Teaching Excellence Project, a research and investigation project designed to develop the practice of individual teachers, build the expertise of subject teams and enrich the learning of pupils across the school.  The projects culminate in an annual celebration, when colleagues share their work and insights.

This year, the teachers who pushed themselves furthest from their comfort zones, who thought most radically about teaching and learning, were presented with the inaugural “Penguin Award” – the cuddly, foot high penguin is now taking pride of place in the lab of the science colleagues who explored the possibilities of flipped learning, producing a series of videos as they reimagined what homework is for and how it can be done.

This post gives just a taste of the inspiring, vibrant, thoughtful work that colleagues have produced.  Subsequent posts offer some more specific examples of the work undertaken by Sawston teachers.

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Differentiation is Hard – Part 2

Following his earlier blog on new approaches to differentiation, Neal Watkin has now published the second part of his work.  This time, Neal looks into the role of knowledge in improving pupils’ writing.

If you missed it, Part 1 can be found at:  or

Part 2 can be found at: