Category Archives: Featured

Is love the most important thing?

Yesterday, I wrote a post explaining that important as the quality of teaching in a school is, there are other, more important things on which to concentrate. In response, Katharine Birbalsingh, head

Teaching matters, but there are more important things to get right

As John Tomsett says in his latest blog, “It is generally accepted that the quality of teaching is the most influential factor in determining the rate at which pupils make progress in

When “balance” goes bad

Balance is an obviously good thing, isn’t it? After all, who wants to be unbalanced? “What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration?” asked the

Are the new GCSE exams causing mental health problems?

Sitting an exam is, for most people, an inherently stressful situation. People have been sitting exams since at least the Sui dynasty in China (581-618 CE) when prospective entrants to the Imperial

The trouble with troublesome knowledge

A recent blog post made some interesting assertions about knowledge. In doing so it presented a series of opinions as facts. That is not a criticism – we all have a tendency

The best books I’ve read so far this year…

I normally round up my favourite reads at the end of the year but I’ve read so many really excellent books so far this year that I decided to put them out

The problem with dead white men – a reply to Mary Bousted

Apparently, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union has announced that England is “hurtling forward to a rosy past” with its emphasis on knowledge. She is reported as having

The illusion of leadership

Everyone knows what’s needed to turn around a struggling school: strong leadership. In order for it to be deemed necessary for school to be consigned to ‘special measures,’ something has to have

Should Ofsted observe lessons?

As you may have seen, Ofsted have published a report which lays the ground work on how they might start observing lessons once more: Six models of lesson observation: an international perspective. Most

Why practising inference doesn’t work

In my last post I argued that thinking about English as a ‘skills based’ subject is counter-productive. One response to this was to say, “Hang on, what about practice. If you can

Why English is not a ‘skills based’ subject

The idea that English is a skills based subject has become axiomatic. Most English teachers of my acquaintance accept it unquestioningly, as did I until a few years ago. How do we

The death of my father

Yesterday my father died in his flat. He was a difficult man, and our relationship had been strained for years. He could be capable of great warmth, wit and wisdom, but he