The Capital Letter Problem Part 2: Pressure and release – David Didau: The Learning Spy

In my last post I explained what I defined what I’m calling The Capital Letter Problem and set out some of its causes. Briefly, children pick up and embed bad habits when writing and, although…

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Why are some people so worried about The College of Teaching?

Filling the pail

On the face of it, what’s not to love? England’s new College of Teaching offers an opportunity for the profession to find its own voice. Instead of being buffeted by political whims, the College can be a strong voice for teachers, offering stability. If it can wrangle some powers away from government – such as the power to sets teaching standards – then the profession can look forward to more stability.

I think that there are three reasons why this argument doesn’t quite work.

The educational establishment

It looks like the College will become a part of the educational establishment. I would define this establishment as being made up of unelected officials with power over some aspect of education policy. I do not include politicians in this and I see fixed term appointments made by politicians – such as the head of OFSTED – as slightly different because they are…

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GCSE results day 2016: Entry numbers and A*-C pass rates by subject – Education Datalab blog

Entries in most EBacc subjects increased… Although there was a small reduction in the number of 16 year olds in the UK in 2016 compared to 2015, entries in most EBacc subjects increased….

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The curious rise and rise of the religious studies GCSE – Education Datalab blog

Yesterday’s GCSE results showed schools strongly switching students away from non-EBacc subjects as they try to fill up the Progress 8 EBacc slots. Religious Studies GCSE, which was…

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The Capital Letter Problem – Part 1 – David Didau: The Learning Spy

I have almost never met a secondary age child who doesn’t conceptually understand how to use a capital letter.* But, you’d never know. Students regularly hand in work liberally sprinkled…

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A Hiatus Disrupter (kinda): Cross-post from TES on researchED DC

A Total Ed Case

Yes, A Total Ed Case does still exist. It’s been a busy summer, is all, with new work opportunities (that I’ll share more about at a later time), researchED DC conference planning, and, well, shamelessly spending more time with family, friends, books, and my bike. I plan to jump back in on new writing very soon, but here’s a (slightly edited) piece I did for TES US last week to get a little more word out about researchED. More than anything, it’s put here as a hiatus disrupter. Wonder if it’ll earn me the ‘Disrupted Something’ credential so sought-after in education right now. (Actually, I don’t really care.) Enjoy — and be in touch if you have questions or anything else. I hope your summer months are going well.

When I took my first solo jump into educational research literature thirteen years ago or so, it was out of sheer—near-frantic…

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Results Day Failure



37 years ago today, or thereabouts I received my results for O levels and CSEs. I collected my envelopes and went away on my own, knowing that I wouldn’t have done very well. One of the worst things about failing is being around success, good to escape it. I looked at my results, I’d achieved an O level equivalent in Maths CSE, though not achieved it in O level… I passed O levels in Physics, Geography and English Lit and failed all the others… I had 4 O levels to my name.


I retook English Language and History the following Autumn getting an A and a B respectively and I also reinforced my D in Art.

6 O levels to my name, in two sittings. No smiling pics of me clutching certificates…

By December I had left secondary school ‘by mutual consent’ and the chip on my shoulder has accompanied…

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