When is a blog not a blog? Blog: noun (informal) an online journal. Contraction of: weblog. This isn’t really a blog; it’s a repository, an archive of everything I write for various newspapers, magazines, websites, newsletters and books. Occasionally, I’ll feel inspired to write something exclusively for these pages, too. In short, if I’ve written it, it’ll be here somewhere…

What happened when an inspector called?

Most people get a phased return to work following illness; I got a week-long Ofsted inspection. I returned home late on Friday night after a week spent living out of a suitcase. My five-year-old daughter insisted on waiting up for me. Apparently, she’d sat by the window for three hours as I crawled up the M1 just so she could wave to me as I pulled onto the drive. One day, I’ll take her in my arms and tell her how every one of the 10,800 seconds she spent staring into the darkness was worth its weight in gold just to see her smile after a sleepless, stressful week… READ MORE

What are the five keys of teaching and learning?

Forget Christmas – in my house, the first week of December was much more festive. My family and I awoke early each morning and crept downstairs – nimble on our feet – to see if our New Vacuum had arrived. And one day, after a knock at the door and a signed chit, there it was, standing proud in the hall: shiny and new and beautifully designed, accompanied by its progeny of nozzles… READ ALL 5 PARTS HERE

Is teaching as simple – if not as easy – as ABC?

There is no silver bullet, no secret formula to teaching great lessons. What works is what’s best and the best thing to do, therefore, is to get to know your students – including by regularly assessing them – and to plan for progress by providing opportunities for all your students to fill gaps in their knowledge and skills. But here is some advice for new teachers on assessment, behaviour and curriculum… READ MORE


Is neuroscience in education the next cargo-cult? 

Part One | Part Two

During World War II, residents of a South Pacific island saw heavy activity by US planes. When the war ended, so did the cargo shipments. Keen to see the activity resume, some islanders built fake air-strips. Physicist Richard Feynman used this event to coin the phrase “cargo-cult science” – thinking which has the appearance of science but lacks vital elements. Neuroscience, it seems to me, is in danger of becoming the next cargo-cult…

What is the purpose of education?

Part One | Part Two

What is the purpose of education? Is it to prepare young people for the world of work or is it to instil in them an appreciation of the arts and sciences? Is it to develop character traits – such as resilience and empathy – in order to increase a student’s employability, or is it to indoctrinate young people in our shared culture and history? Is education a means to an end, or learning for learning’s sake? …

What does the Science of Learning report teach us?

Deans for Impact produced a report with the same name as an article I wrote last year and it does much the same thing… you’d think I’d be jealous of all the attention it’s getting but I’m not because it happens to be really rather good. It summarises a lot of what I’ve written about in recent years (over the course of several thousand words!) in just a few pages…and does so with greater rigour! My advice, therefore, is to ignore me and read the report… READ MORE


Should parents read children bedtime stories?

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Reading my daughter’s bedtime story is an innocent act that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care, it is my sore labour’s bath, the balm of my hurt mind, and the chief nourisher in my life’s feast. Our bedtime story makes the world seem a better place, it is an oasis of calm and order in an otherwise cold, cruel world…

How can constructive alignment be used in the classroom?

In How People Learn, Bransford assimilates research on learners and learning and summarises three key findings. First, students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. Second, in order to develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must have a deep foundation of factual knowledge. Third, a meta-cognitive approach to instruction can help students take greater control of their learning… READ MORE

What are the habits of a great teacher? Click here to read my article for SecEd magazine’s NQT Special


How can we narrow the gender gap in STEM subjects?

Boys perform better than girls in maths. Girls are less likely to choose scientific and technological fields of study than boys and, when they do, are less likely to take up careers in related fields. This widens the gap later in life in the career and earning prospects of women. So what can be done about it..?  READ MORE

How can we narrow the gender gap in reading and writing?

Improving boys’ reading is important. National Literacy Trust data  shows 49% of young people who read above the expected level for their age also write above the expected level. The data also shows strong links between reading and writing in terms of enjoyment, behaviour and attitudes… READ MORE

How can we narrow the gender gap in education?

Recently, I had the privilege of addressing SecEd’s Pupil Premium and Ofsted Conference in Birmingham. Earlier that day, Sir John Dunford had spoken about achievement gaps between students from different socio-economic backgrounds. It occurred to me, however, that there are other achievement gaps that require attention… READ MORE


Is Finnish education really world-class?

OverviewPart One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven

In May I flew to Finland for a week of fact-finding. My mission: to learn from Finnish education leaders and teachers what it means to run a world-class education system…

What is the octagon of excellence?

The most effective way to raise student attainment, according to Ron Berger in his book An Ethic of Excellence, is to create a culture in which every child strives to create his or her very best work every day and has a stake in the collective success or failure of his or her class.  I’ve taken the liberty of translating Berger’s “secret” into eight principles of teaching practice – the cornerstones, if you like, of a successful classroom: High quality work; genuine research; a real audience; in-built differentiation; collective responsibility; class critique; modelling success; drafting and redrafting… READ MORE

How can we develop a growth mindset in the classroom?

As a kid I wanted to become a cliché when I grew up so I bought a guitar and grew my hair. I successfully learnt all the chords but struggled to combine them in a meaningful way. When my dreams of rock stardom eventually withered on the vine, I turned my attention to mastering magic, then to conquering chess, and to all manner of other hobbies.  What all these childhood endeavours had in common – apart from their mutual failure – was that I took it for granted that I’d have to work hard at them, I knew I’d have to practise endlessly and that I wouldn’t become expert overnight… READ MORE

ABC of teaching

(C) Bromley Education 2016