Category Archives: leadership

Should we give teachers the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

Earlier in the week, Schools Minister, Lord Nash announced that schools should be more like businesses and jettison underperforming staff. According to this TES report he’s reported to have said, ““I think one

How can school inspection get what it wants?

I read a great piece by Dr Becky Allen in Schools Week this morning on inherent unreliability of school inspections. In it she makes the point that human beings are incapable of

Less marking, more feedback: A challenge and a proposal

I’ve been arguing for some time that if teachers spent less time marking (by which I mean writing comments on students’ work) then they might have a lot more time for giving

Marking is an act of folly

Contrary to popular belief, marking and feedback are not the same thing. Clearly they’re connected – and, ideally most marking has the intention of giving feedback – but the process of marking

School improvement: Can you buck the trend?

In my last post I discussed the natural volatility of GCSE results and the predictably random nature of results over the long-term. I ended by saying, “The agenda for school improvement has

7 habits of genuinely expert teachers

Science is not ‘organized common sense’; at its most exciting, it reformulates our view of the world by imposing powerful theories against the ancient, anthropocentric prejudices that we call intuition. Stephen J.

The rise of the unscrupulous optimist

“Optimism, n.: The doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary Education is a project filled with hope. We stand, framed heroically against the setting

The role of teachers is not to make managers’ lives easier

“To supervise people, you must either surpass them in their accomplishments or despise them.” Benjamin Disraeli Questions about the purpose of education divide and bedevil: there’s no real agreement about what education is

When planning fails… what to do when behaviour breaks down

“There is in the act of preparing, the moment you start caring.” Winston Churchill Lots of people who don’t normally like the stuff I write seemed to approve of the post I wrote

Taking responsibility for predictable problems

“All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control.” John Von Neumann Let me preface all this by saying that I think refusing to accept excuses for low standards and poor

Big data is bad data

The cost of bad data is the illusion of knowledge. – Stephen Hawking Schools, as with almost every other organ of state, are increasingly obsessed with big data. There seem to be two

On fragility: why systems fail

In Antifragile, Nassim Taleb argues that the opposite of fragile is not, as is commonly supposed, robust or resilient. These are merely neutral conditions. The antonym of fragile doesn’t seem to exist