Category: teaching

Talking, listening, reading and writing – our tools for survival as sane and compassionate human beings

This title is a quote from a new blog I am very much enjoying reading – not just because the author (a former English teacher and school leader) is an old friend, but because the ideas are pithy, clear and immensely practical. The blogs – which can be found at readwritetalklisten.com – are addressed directly …

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Ensuring already disadvantaged students sitting public examinations are not further disadvantaged this year

I felt uncomfortable reading the Ofqual consultation about school public examinations this week, and I wanted to explore this discomfort a bit further here. Specifically, what made me uneasy was the proposal that no appeals will be allowed for exam grades this year: “appeals should only be allowed on the grounds that the centre made …

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Poo in the playground …

Visiting one of my favourite state schools in Edinburgh on Thursday, I came into the school reception to find the Headteacher rushing out past me. ‘With you in a minute!’, she gasped energetically, with only a hint of a sigh in her voice, ‘I’ve been told there is a poo in the playground …’. I …

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Shomie Das, a history in education, and the impact of story-telling

It was an enormous privilege to meet, talk with, and then hear speak, one of the great old Headmasters of our age, Shomie Das, at the World Leading Schools Conference in Prague recently. What a life he has led! And what lessons we can learn from it! From a highly educated family, steeped in the …

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Unleashing the power of your teaching faculty

It was a huge pleasure this past weekend to chair one of the panels at the World Leading Schools’ Association (WLSA) in Prague, and I want to say an enormous thank you to my wonderful fellow panellists: Teresa Blake (Director of Social and Emotional Learning – Positive Education at Appleby College, Canada), Michelle Quinton (School …

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Computers in schools: a scandalous waste?

Nothing replaces a great teacher: this is the premise which stands behind the recent comments by Dr John Vallance, Head of Sydney Grammar School, that computers in schools are a waste of money and have done nothing to improve grades. Teaching, he says, is about “interaction ­between people, about discussion, about conversation … If you’re …

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The value of teaching overseas: an oversupply of teachers in Australia? Teach in the UK!

Statistics released in a UK Government National Audit Office today reveal that in 2014, the recorded rate of vacancies and temporarily filled vacancies in schools in England and Wales rose to 1.2% – that means over 5,000 unfilled posts in England alone. This is because the birth rate is rising – the school population is …

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It IS rocket science – and we CAN all do it

I am very proud of my new felt bookmark. It is a visible and tangible reminder of the recent NCGS conference I attended in the U.S., and I have taken great delight in the past few days in showing it to friends, family, acquaintances and, in my enthusiasm, sometimes complete strangers. It consists of two …

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“You can’t be what you can’t see”

Richmond, Virginia, USA is beautiful at this time of the year. Warm, green, relaxed … and, currently, host to several hundred passionate educators of girls who are attending the annual conference of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, the theme of which this year is ‘From STEM to STEAM: Girls’ Schools Leading the Way’. A …

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Recruiting great teachers: the role of ambitious school leaders

Sir Michael Wilshaw is rarely uncontroversial, and at times his talk on teacher recruitment at the Wellington College Festival of Education, true to form, ruffled more than a few feathers. However, it was hard to argue with his key message, namely that we need to recruit more great teachers, and we need to think creatively …

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