Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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Why we shouldn’t jump to Ofsted’s defence against the Govites

Education for Everyone

It must have been something of a surprise for Michael Wilshaw to come under sustained attack from his right flank. Two right wing think tanks it seems are gunning for Ofsted. It was enough to send HMCI running to the Sunday Times to tell them he was “spitting blood” and that “the stuff I read is completely unfair and unjust”. Moreover he claimed that the attacks were being launched by shadowy figures close to the Secretary of State. Suggestions that he can dish it out but can’t take criticism were soon heard on all sides. Like the particular kind of headteacher that he was, he won’t have anyone “undermining his authority”.

The key complaint of Civitas and Policy Exchange is, it seems, that Ofsted is a nest of unreconstructed child centred progressives dedicated to stopping children learning. Wilshaw’s interpretation however was that those around Gove were angry because…

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Utilising Strengths….

Headsmart.......Reflections of a Headteacher

Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.
~Stephen Covey~

I don’t know what I would do without my deputy. I am very lucky that she has NPQH training and understands exactly what needs to be done and how things need to be carried out.

During our meetings I often use her as a sounding board and she is able to offer me the support I need while providing me with another voice that can support me in making the best and well-thought out decisions. Very often I have gone to her with an issue that I am looking to solve, thinking I already have the answer, but then she asks relevant questions which force me to look at the whole picture as well as think of the resulting consequences. This has ensured that many decisions I have made have been thought…

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A Blog Blog: The things that seem to matter


When I started this blog, I didn’t really expect very much.  As a veteran bedroom-studio musician, I’m used to the tumbleweed of indifference to my creations.  I flogged my music through MySpace for a couple of years and got absolutely nowhere beyond a few scraps of encouragement.  So, with low expectations to start with, the level of engagement with this blog never ceases to surprise me.

I was really happy with how it went last year, but this month things have moved to another level. For the first time, I’ve had over 50,000 views in a month, with over 1000 views every day. Some days I’ve pushed this along with quite a few tweet-outs, but on others, strange flurries of interest have developed out of nothing; a sudden interest in old blogs, a Facebook post in Sweden or an unexpected plug from the GuardianTeacher site have kept things moving.

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Thoughts on the DfE letter to heads

not very jolley

I am going to be blunt, the recent missive to infant head teachers on universal free school meals rather reminds me of a used car salesman promoting a Ferrari, knowing he will be delivering a daewoo matiz.

It is fairly clear the letter contains very little that is new, in fact it very much has the feel of Henry Dimblebys article in the last weeks Guardian, so rather than waste everyone’s time I would point you to my previous blog response, which highlights the lack of evidence for an infant FSM policy and questions its impact and value for money.

Despite my reservations on the letter, I would encourage Heads to take at least one piece of advice and read the School Food Plan, if for no other reason than it does contain some good guidance on improving lunch provision. But if you are looking to find the actual FSM…

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Walking the Talk…….

Headsmart.......Reflections of a Headteacher

Leadership isn’t about power for the sake of power – not true leadership.  Instead it deals with modeling behavior you want others to have…..

~Laura Weekly~

Finding time to teach the children as a headteacher can be a challenge.  There are so many things to do and get done, deadlines, etc, that it makes it hard to be able to get into the classrooms and take the lead.

I’m hoping as things settle down and all my systems are up and running, it will be easier to sneak away some time so that I can teach the children and see how they are progressing.

At the moment, I have covered a few PPA sessions and sometimes covered when supply is needed.  Since October, I have been taking the top maths group out of year 6, focusing on level 6 and beyond.  I did this as a deputy as well, and…

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QTS, Inequality and Political Footballs


This month’s #blogsync, in conjunction with Labour teachers, invites bloggers to write an open letter to Tristram Hunt, the shadow secretary of state for Education. Here is mine:

Dear Mr Hunt,

Welcome to your new role, I think that this invite is a novel and brilliant idea and hope more politicians look to engage with the electorate in a similar manner.

I would like to raise a few points that I feel should be at the forefront of the debate on education and that I hope you will look into, raise in the house if appropriate and even include in your next manifesto if you are inclined.

Qualified teacher status

I think that the current administrations decision to remove the requirement of QTS is terrifying, damaging and dangerous. It removes the professional status of teachers and really does make a mockery of the whole thing. I fully believe…

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No room for martyrdom

Ramblings of a Teacher

I could work harder. I could do more. I could teach better.

These things are all true. However, I could also work every hour in the day, and it wouldn’t necessarily lead to any better learning. Most importantly, it might have a negative effect. Either way, the reality is: none of us is perfect. And what is more, in a job like teaching, nor are we ever likely to be.

I have written in the past about coming to terms with this, and I think it’s an important lesson for new teachers to learn as quickly as possible: you cannot achieve everything, so live with that fact and do your best. However, in too many cases that option isn’t open to people because of the place they work.

Tonight, on Twitter, I was perhaps surprised, if not shocked, to see this policy mentioned:

I’m always concerned by any policy which…

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Director’s Commentary

the primary head's blog

Well. There’s always a fear that what you chuck up on a blog will upset and offend. I personally do not do this intentionally but in a particular post on partnerships I appear to have done just that. What with Wilshaw spitting blood and a group of Heads spitting feathers over my thoughts on partnerships, all I need to do is start spitting beaks and we’ll have ourselves a whole chicken.

I never like to go to bed on an argument so I thought I would revisit my post and hopefully offer some clear insights into its content with the sole intention of reassuring my fellow Heads that no offense or particular focus on any one partnership was intended. What follows is a Director’s commentary: I hope it is read in the spirit it is intended.


This friendly sounding word is fast becoming a synonym for ‘quality assured school…

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Gove and Ofsted. A plague on both their houses.


Recent media stories have claimed that Gove and Wilshaw have fallen out with each other after a series attacks on OFSTED by ‘Gove allies’ in right wing think tanks such as a Civitas and the Policy Exchange.

Most teachers were probably delighted to see Wilshaw threatening to resign. And to be honest some of the points raised about problems with OFSTED are absolutely true. OFSTED is not fit for purpose. Its judgements are often suspect and the cadre of mainly privatised inspectors have a vested interest – £1000 a day fees for a start – in perpetuating the ‘discourse of failure’ that lies at the heart of the whole OFSTED project.

Ever since the first Chief Inspector, Chris Woodhead, claimed there were 20,000 failing teachers, OFSTED has been used as a tool to undermine the profession. In contrast to the previous HMI inspectors who acted as critical friends, OFSTED has…

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