How coaching can make a difference

Three years ago I taught a boy in Year Five who had poor behaviour and attitudes towards school. He had misbehaved so much that he had missed large portions of his learning. His home life was complicated with his mother in and out of rehab while his maternal grandmother was left to manage the family. As the youngest of five brothers, he had learnt bad language, how to argue and what to say in order to get by; he was the classic streetwise urchin.

I knew at the start of Year Five that I was going to also be his year Six teacher, so set out a strategy to include him more, to get him to appreciate what he had, account for what he didn’t have and to raise his self-esteem so he was learning instead of misbehaving. Continue reading “How coaching can make a difference”


Time saving advice for NQTs

If you are reading this, you are probably an NQT or currently training to be a teacher, in which case, welcome to teaching! This will be a blogpost about some of the often not spoken about aspects of teaching that will save you hours each week. 

So here are some great pieces of advice (in no particular order):

  1. Hoover-up and maintain an excellent resource library. 

I’m a very meticulous organiser and I file things away in a logical way. Whenever I find a great resource online I save it on my USB/External Hard Drive in a detailed filing system, for example I recently found an excellent differentiated Place Value activity on Tes.com and immediately filed it on my USB under ‘Teaching->Resources->Maths->Number and Place Value’. I do this for every resource I intend to ever use again and the result is a resource library to be jealous of. If you do this well in your NQT year or your NQT+1 year, you will have extra hours each day/week for other pursuits.

Similarly, label planning well, create templates for resources you know you’ll use time and time again. Oh, and SAVE ALL OF YOUR INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD LESSONS. What is the point in making the same boards every year again and again? File them away, label them and tweak them! Continue reading “Time saving advice for NQTs”


Nappies, monkeybars and budgets.

Much is made of how children are beginning school without the prerequisite communication, social and basic Maths/English skills needed to thrive in our education system. Indeed, speak to any Reception or Year 1 teacher and you’ll hear horror stories of children attending school still wearing nappies, unable to string a short sentence together or even hold a pencil.

At first I thought I was looking back on my childhood with rose-tinted spectacles, blissfully unaware that while I was able to do all of the things mentioned previously, surely there must have been others who could not? However, upon speaking to teachers who have been working continuously in the profession for thirty or so years, it appears that things are getting worse in these areas. Continue reading “Nappies, monkeybars and budgets.”


The issue of girls and Mathematics – Research

This project used the qualitative data collection method of in context observation to identify and record Year Six children’s attitudes towards Mathematics. Short pre/post learning tasks were utilised to begin discussions in class about Mathematics with a focus on how girl’s attitudes towards the tasks varied when compared to their male peers.

The idea for this project originated from my classroom practice as a Year Six Classteacher who is required to have a view towards the end of Key Stage 2 assessments. Together with my LSA over a period of two years, we realised that we were spending considerably more time attempting to improve the girls’ attitudes towards Mathematics and build their own self-esteem as mathematicians than with the boys. This project was an attempt to develop a deeper understanding of this perceived difference with a view to adapting my own practice as a teacher through reflections on this issue before, during and after my intervention which took the form of an action research project. Continue reading “The issue of girls and Mathematics – Research”

Let’s get radical on Ofsted reform. Power:reliability:impact ratio is wrong.

Sound thoughts that I agree with.


I think it is time for a very significant review of the role of Ofsted, the nature of inspection and the whole accountability machinery for schools in England. I have a lot of time and respect for Amanda SpielmanandI’m writing this hoping she will read it at some point.I’m sure that much of what follows is easier said than done, but I would like to suggest that we should be exploring Ofsted reform at a much more radical levelthan the current reform process would suggest is on the table.

I am encouraged by the debate about deeper reform thatseems to bestarting to gather some traction. Here are some examples:

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