@ICSA_News Conference: Academy governance matters

Governing Matters

On 6th October I attended “Academy Governance: delivering continuous improvement” conference organised by ICSA. This was a well organised conference which gave the attendees a chance to listen to really good and varied presentations. I will write a bit about each of the presentations I attended but will concentrate on the questions which governors should be asking themselves and their schools to bring about school improvement.

The day started with Sir David Carter delivering the keynote address. Sir David’s presentation, as always, was very interesting and useful. He made the point that sustainable school improvement takes time, takes place in stages and needs high quality leadership. It takes around three to five years to turn around a special measures school so we need to stop focusing on quick fixes. Sir David then showed us the graph below.

School A is the real outstanding and H is the weakest…

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Leading literacy in schools – David Didau: The Learning Spy

Leading on literacy can be a thoroughly thankless task. It can often feel like you’re working incredibly hard to produce resources and strategies which colleagues at best ignore and at worst…

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What makes an expert?

Teaching it Real

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the ResearchEd national conference in London. I have spent the last week mulling over the sessions I attended and writing up my notes. Any errors are most certainly my own but this is what I took away from my day. 

c9jxddzwaaumopg Peps’ book on memorable teaching – one of best out there

Peps Mccrea – Expert Teachers

I am a huge fan of Peps’ books so it wasn’t surprising to find the room for his session packed to the rafters. He was talking about the MA course he is setting up in Expert Teachers for the Institute of Teachers.

The Institute for Teachers are trying to answer three key questions:

  1. What do teachers need to know?
  2. How do we help them to develop this knowledge?
  3. Who are the best people to help teachers?

The aim of this session was to consider how to…

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Surviving “no free period” days by @dukkhaboy

Starter for Five

Name: Philip Anderson
Twitter name: dukkhaboy
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Geography
Position: Head of dept
What is your advice about? Surviving “no free period” days

  1. Allow sometime in lessons when you are sat down. Take the weight off your feet
  2. Finish some lessons 5 minutes early to allow yourself breathing space or time to set up the next lesson
  3. Get out of your classroom at break and lunchtime. Go talk to some adults
  4. Be aware that the pupils are a bit more tired period 5 like you. Try not to lose your temper as a result of this tiredness
  5. Teaching is brilliant. Enjoying the lessons and enjoying being with the children makes it even more brilliant.

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Memory not memories – teaching for long term learning


It seems like a life time ago but this time last week I should have been at ResearchEd, listening to great speakers and getting butterflies about my session later that day. Except that I slipped on the hardboard down on the kitchen floor courtesy of our kitchen refit and ended up in A&E instead.  Luckily nothing is  broken and my leg is slowly getting better. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there.

A few people asked if I could put my slides up. The problem was I had taken Oliver Caviglioli’s work on dual coding  very much to heart and knew that written text and spoken text delivered together can overwhelm the working memory whereas the brain deals much better with spoken text alongside images. My slides where therefore 99% word-free but  image rich, the intention being that I would explain the slides verbally without recourse slides full of bullet…

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Evidence in Education: The Funding Pipeline – The Confident Teacher

We live in austere times in schools. Every funding cut matters, whilst accessing potential funding becomes more important than ever. And yet, in the busy hubbub of the school year, …

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Stack of Marking

Here’s another one for http://www.teachsecondary.com who promise to move me off the back page if I promise to stop stealing the individual sugar packets that they have next to their coffee machine. 

So I’m never getting off the back page. Subscribe by hitting the link. 

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So the holidays are here (or just about over, or actually over, depending on when you are reading this – writing for magazines is a bit like being a Time Lord sometimes, only no one cares what gender you are); the old academic year is over and another is soon to begin. With the new crop of students comes a fresh crop of teachers, so what follows is some boot-camp advice for those grown-ups who are crossing the threshold of the school gates for the first time this September. Top tips, as it were, where I share my accumulated knowledge of how to be distinctly…

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