Category Archives: leadership

Back to school Part 1: Routines

It’s normally at about this point in August that the dull, nagging ache begins; the toad, September squats over the summer. It’s bad enough if you’re returning to a school where you’re well-known,

Perverse incentives and how to counter them

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder. Nikita Khrushchev Back in the good old days when the great unwashed could simply be shipped off to the colonies

This is what I think

I love a good aphorism, and I also like lists. I keep being asked what I think about stuff so, in the spirit of clarity, here’s a list of some of the things

On behaviour

Most of what makes classrooms work lies beneath the surface. The here and now of lessons and classrooms is dependent on the routines and relationships teachers have forged over time. If you’re

What if there was no outstanding?

The cynics are right nine times out of ten. H.L. Mencken Does the outstanding grade retard innovation or drive us towards excellence? This is just a flight of fancy; a thought experiment.

An inconvenient truth? The surplus model of school improvement

Schools often seem to be run on a ‘deficit model‘: “this attributes scepticism or hostility to a lack of understanding, resulting from a lack of information. It is associated with a division between

Making data meaningful: Pen Portraits

Most of what makes classrooms work is invisible. The activities that teachers and students enact are, by and large, irrelevant. I’m aware that this runs the risk of sounding like preposterous nonsense,

A model lesson? Part 1: routines vs gimmicks

It’s been a busy week this week. What with starting at a new school, getting up before 5 to drive two hours on Monday morning, living an Alan Partridge-esque existence in a particularly

Why can’t we tell a good teacher through lesson observations?

No teacher is so good – or so bad – that he or she cannot improve. Dylan Wiliam The English education system is obsessed with ascertaining the quality of teachers. And what

The problem with progress Part 2: Designing a curriculum for learning

Can progress be both rapid and sustained? We start out with the aim of making the important measurable and end up making only the measurable important. Dylan Wiliam ‘Rapid and sustained progress’ is Ofsted’s key

Live Lesson Obs: Making lesson observations formative

You can push and prod people into something better than mediocrity, but you have to encourage excellence. David Lammy We’ve all experienced the dread and agony of formal lesson observations, haven’t we?

Of cabbages, round tables and kings

Back in the day King Arthur had a problem. Bickering barons made a great deal of fuss  about who was the biggest cheese. When they sat down together for a friendly chat