Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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What lessons can be learnt from Greenwich Free School?


As any decent teacher knows, failure is not something to celebrate. Failure, in whatever form it comes – error, misconception, or simply falling short of a goal or target – is a key part of the process we call learning. If we only succeed, then achievements and progress are woefully constrained. Failure provides the opportunity for reflection, for consideration and for a change of tack.

What, then, are the lessons from the Greenwich Free School, which this week emerged from an Ofsted inspection with the dreaded ‘requires improvement’?

There are few schools that so epitomise the current government’s educational reforms. Lauded by Michael Gove, the secondary school was co-founded by Jonathan Simmons, an adviser to Gove and head of education at Policy Exchange, a think-tank who have long been advocates of free schools. The vice chair of governors is Tom Shinner, now director of strategy at the Department for Education…

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The Ofsted report – Part III: How well does the GFS Ofsted report reflect reality in the school?

Improving Teaching

Are we a successful school?  Let me start with the encouraging words of two teachers whose opinions I respect enormously and who have both visited the school this academic year.  On hearing we were to be inspected, they wrote:

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Are we an effective school?  I have brilliant colleagues.  I teach wonderful students.  Between the two, some pretty amazing stuff happens.  Moonlighting Ofsted inspectors at our Mocksted last summer showered us with praise.  I’ve visited nine schools since we opened, with Ofsted grades ranging from ‘Requiring Improvement’ to ‘Outstanding.’  I’ve learned from all of them; none has shaken my pride in what we’re doing or led me to question our direction.  Like all schools and teachers, there are areas of our practice which are strong, aspects we are prioritising improving, things set aside to improve upon in due course.

Given my limited contact with the team, I struggle to explain what happened.  Perhaps readers should simply rely on…

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Cabinet-making and Writing- are they the same thing?


Of the many jobs I had prior to becoming a teacher, the first was as a cabinet-maker. The small firm I worked for specialised in designing and making exquisite bespoke, to-order furniture. Alongside me worked incredible craftsmen, artists,almost, who used their skill, knowledge and experience to transform simple lengths of timber into intricately detailed objects of which they were justly proud.

As an unskilled newcomer, it was, for a long time, beyond my ability to produce finished pieces of furniture. I could visualise a rocking chair but hadn’t the skills to fashion the manifold component parts required to construct one. Had I attempted to do so, I might have ended up with a rough approximation, but the most cursory of inspections by even an untrained eye would quickly have revealed the faults in my work.

And so, how to improve my craftsmanship? I could, of course, have stumbled from one…

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A new blog…

Ex Inspectors 4 Early Years

Hello and welcome to our new blog. We are a group of former Early Years Inspectors and Inspection Team Managers.

We have started this blog to discuss and put forward our concerns and desires for the Early Years sector. Please see our ‘about’ page for further details of these.

The blog is in it’s Early Years or infancy currently but we hope to expand upon that shortly.

In the meantime we would be very interested to hear your concerns and desires for the sector. Maybe they are the same, maybe they can inform ours or possibly we can work together to further our ’cause’.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Music With Lego

Class Teaching Tips

No, I am not going to break into song (quite), but I went to a TeachMeet yesterday and came away with a new, and heretofore un-thought of use for Lego in my Year 1 Music lessons, courtesy of some lovely young infant teachers trained at the University of Gloucestershire.

I have introduced my class to the concept of regular rhythm over the last couple of terms, and now I would like to get them started on composition, but it a gentle, age appropriate way, organised so that I don’t get a more horrible headache than I can handle on a Thursday afternoon.  A tall order, I know.

The children have had experience of working with four rhythms, based on the work of Jan Holdstock and her creepy crawly cards.  So far they know:

doll               teddy          racing car  double decker

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