Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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Edublog Award 2013 Nominations


Awards_170px_02-2g51ob6It is time again to nominate tweeps from my treasured PLN and I have been thinking about who and what to choose for many weeks. There are so many superb educators out there who do their jobs superbly, day after day, just for the love of teaching and the joy that come from helping children be the best they can be. I feel very proud of my profession and by nominating a few of my colleagues I hope to show how proud I am of them.

My wiki page was celebrated in the Edublog awards as the ‘Best Educational Wiki’ in 2011, which has been one of the highlights of my professional career. I hope that all on my list below can be celebrated in the same way. To me, you are all winners.

Best individual blog from @headguruteacher gives a blueprint for all senior management about how to…

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Knowledge, Memory and Reading

Without appropriate background knowledge, people cannot adequately understand written or spoken language. And unless that knowledge is organised for rapid and efficient deployment, people cannot perform reading tasks of any complexity.

E.D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy

Knowing what children need to know

When embarking on reading a new, suitably challenging text, there will be a web of knowledge that the reader will need to have access to in order to make sense of the writing. it is important for teachers to spend some time figuring out what knowledge is needed and plan for children acquiring it before reading a new text. Part of this necessary knowledge includes what E.D. Hirsch calls cultural capital. This is culturally relevant knowledge that a writer assumes of the reader but children may not have acquired yet. Ideally, through carefully planned lessons, children will commit this knowledge to memory. No mean feat in itself. Children will…

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New role, new commitment – Governance

Reach For The Moon

I officially did my first duty as a new governor yesterday.

I joined the governing body of a local junior school recently for various reasons. I want to embrace as many aspects of leadership as possible over the next couple of years, being a governor was one of them. I wanted to look from the outside in, so not be a governor in my school. I want to understand how other schools are run, what is effective and different, what isn’t.

So I was welcomed warmly, if slightly tentatively at first (teaching at a rival school!), a few weeks ago. The school has, as have many in Norfolk, been placed in category 3 by their most recent Ofsted. The governors decided to do an audit on one of the issues, behaviour and behaviour for learning.

So I turned up in my PPA time, they were expecting me. Well most of…

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Ofsted – Enter the Domain of the Dementors…


I can honestly say that I have started several blogs, but time and time again I have wondered whether I am genuinely adding anything new to the debate or anything that people may benefit from, which surely is a key driver behind blogging – apart from clarifying ones own ideas…which would be a painfully narcissistic way of going about things.  So, there are several blogs in false start mode on the gird awaiting a push start…

…however, my most recent and strangely the one I’m most likely to place in the public domain is the one I’m least confident about or at least sure about how it will be received.  Yes – as the title suggests it is about OFSTED…Yes, I can hear you all either running screaming for the hills declaring that, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a daaaaaaaaaaaamn!” or pugilistically squaring up and saying, “What the F*ck…

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One size does not fit all

Ramblings of a Teacher

Teacher Demands Less Learning With More Tests And No Differentiation
Failures Held Back In Summer Schools

It would make for a nonsense headline, wouldn’t it? There’s pretty widespread agreement in the education world that English schools are subjected to greater volumes of testing than some other nations, including some high-performing ones, so who on earth would suggest that to get better education we need to teach less, but to test more? And then to punish those who don’t meet the new demands?

At first reading, if you were minded to see such headlines in your mind, you could perceive exactly that viewpoint from Joe Kirby‘s excellent blog on mastery learning and assessment this morning. After all, he explicitly says that “All pupils are expected to master all the concepts”, and that “if you have not understood […] you would stay in for summer school”. He specifically argues for ‘teaching…

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It’s been 128 days since my last blog….


The following charts our journey at Huntington School in developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ culture. Follow the 10 point plan-take from this as you will!     

  1. Initial Research

We spent several months of initial research focusing on;

How do we develop student motivation and raise aspirations at Huntington school?

We read every book we could find; talked to students and staff; worked with Zoe Elder (many thanks for the initial guidance) on shaping our vision and more importantly focused very squarely on our end goal. What did we find? See our initial results below, it makes interesting reading.  

JLT Action Research_summary document

Motivational Model-completed

  1. Plan then plan again

Feed your initial findings into your planning. Plan and then plan again. Raise the status of the work by making it a whole school development priority. Don’t treat it as a woolly or fluffy piece of work that looks good on the surface but lacks substance…

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Ten golden rules for teaching students with autistic spectrum condition (ASC)

How can we put policy into practice?

Ten Golden Rules

#1 be mindful of hyper-sensitivity
#2 change causes stress
#3 boundless positivity and relentlessly high expectations
#4 Differentiating for ASC learners makes for outstanding teaching
#5 support social interaction and explain body language
#6 work with TAs to help communication
#7 teach imaginative thought and humour
#8 say what you mean
#9 check organisation
#10 go with obsessions and fixations

To find out more, see blog posts explaining these rules:

Rules #1 to #3

Rules #4 to #7

Rules #8 to #10

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Can everybody succeed?

Teaching: Leading Learning

When I listened to John Tomsett speak about his whole-school growth mindset approach at #TLT13, I felt genuinely inspired. John has helpfully summarised his talk here. Head of Year and science teacher Ashley Loynton, who was sat next to me, is currently running a pilot project at our school ahead of a wider roll-out of growth-mindset strategy, which you can read about here. One of the most interesting aspects of this development for me is testing my own thinking about growth mindset. Do I really buy into Dweck’s ideas? Harry Webb has sounded a note of caution, and I take the points he makes in his blog about the dangers of a growth mindset bandwagon being misunderstood and misused. However, the blog which really got me thinking about my own approach to growth mindset was Mark McCourt’s Every Single Child Can Pass Maths back in March…

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Literacy or English?

By @ChrisChivers2

Keeping it simple. My prescription for improving literacy? Read, read and thrice read….

Articulacy, things to talk about, including images and artefacts and visits to interesting places inside and outside the school.

Lots and lots of reading; reading with and to an interested “expert”, including the adults in the school and beyond. Reading material within a learner’s comfort level, for fluency, pleasure and comprehension, with extension to be guided and coached by the expert. Hearing stories read aloud for modelling, enjoyment and general discussion along book club lines.

Read more…

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Using Lesson Study to spot RHINOs

By @murphiegirl

We have been holding a number of ‘open lessons’ recently with use of our observation classroom. This allows lots of teachers to watch a lesson and talk about it as it happens. In this way, it also fits some of the original model of Japanese lesson study, in that it involves groups of teachers following a line of enquiry and questioning about classroom practice.
What lesson study also originally set out to do was to allow groups of teachers to plan together (usually a subject-specific concept that was notoriously difficult to teach well) so that teachers could benefit from a collaborative approach to the teaching.