Through writing, I document my journey in search of joy and knowledge. I traverse aspects of my work in online learning, education and research and I wander through wellness, becoming and being. I embrace complexity, uncertainty and learning.

Decolonising the curriculum: resources

Resources to support decolonising the curriculum in education. Books and literature Beyond the Secret Garden Book Love Diverse book finder Letterbox Library Lighthouse Bookshop Little Box of Books Moon Lane New Beacon Books Poetry in the primary classroom Round Table Books The Willesden Bookshop Tiny Owl Books Wider Reads Maps, timelines and interactive tours Beyond Banglatown – a story of empire and migration, of

Decolonising the curriculum: a reading list

A collection of key reading. Updated as new learning takes place. Last updated: November 2022 Defining decolonisation Why I Say ‘Decolonisation is Impossible’   Adebisi. 2019.   Article ‘Without critical thought, representation can become toxic and tokenistic, people could be included into spaces that are not safe for them, spaces

It can be calm at work?

I’ve recently learned that workplaces where wellbeing is centred, time for deep work is plentiful, and culture is co-created may not exist solely in my imagination, other leaders’ good intentions, and theoretical principles. The conditions for calm might actually be living and breathing somewhere in this universe. Working in teaching

Reflections on belonging

In the last couple of weeks, the UK, and the world, has experienced the death of Queen Elizabeth II. This has been a moment, like many others in life, that has been accompanied by an unspoken, and spoken, expectation that we would, and should, all be feeling the same. When

Favourite newsletters

Over the last few years, I’ve retreated from social media more often and embraced being more selective about what knowledge I consume and how. One of the ways I chose to slow down my consumption of others’ voices and overcome the algorithms was to subscribe to a choice selection of

This step.That drifting leaf.

Earlier this week, I marked 222 days of committing to a daily walk with the community @thismorningwalk In the most recent newsletter from Libby DeLana, we were invited to reflect on four questions about our journey so far. What inspired you to start? I began a daily walk in December

200 daily walks

In May of 2020, I reflected on how my childhood conditioned me for walking but that somewhere along the way, I lost the joy for it. In December of 2021, I joined Alex Elle and Libby De Lana in committing to a daily walk. The initial goal of ‘This Morning

Reflecting on 2021, dreaming about 2022

It’s been a few years since I published my end of/start of year reflections here but in an experiment to see if I can find the courage to publish more of my writing in 2022, let’s begin with this. I sat down to reflect on the last year with a

Reading in 2021

These are 9 of the 61 books I read in 2021 whose magic will remain with me. Musa Okwonga’s memoir, One of Them, will leave you in no doubt – should you have ever had any – that systemic racism exists in our education system, in a place where privilege affords

Becoming rooted

‘We are tired of the old ways. The loudness, stress and exhaustion. We crave quiet, depth and richness. It is time to reconnect with our earth. Our home. It is time for observation and learning, understanding and healing. It is time to feel rooted again.’ This week, I joined the rooted adventure with Agnes

Strengths-based leadership, coaching and development

A number of years ago now, I attended a WomenEd conference where first I learned about what knowing your own strengths might unlock. I learned about leading with them, nurturing them and relying on this origin as a foundation for continued growth and development. I’ve always been someone whose found

Online teacher CPD: principles from research and practice

In my capacity as an Advisory Board member for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund, which aims to support delivery of effective arts-based teaching and learning opportunities in the primary classroom, I was asked to deliver a short presentation to the latest group of successful funded providers on what


Necklace @handmade.bytinni Hannah Tyreman is a Curriculum Designer at the Teacher Development Trust. Hannah has been an English teacher and Learning & Development Manager in Further Education settings in England, and a Head of Learning Design at the Chartered College of Teaching where her work focused on maximising the potential of

A legacy for change

Today’s Stephen Lawrence Day has had me reflecting on A Legacy For Change. My learning today began with watching this video. Stephen’s legacy has already led to so much systemic and legal change in the UK but his legacy can and must continue. Know their stories Earlier on this week,

Once I was…

Once I was a girl whose hair flapped back as I bounced on a chair, or so I’m told. Once I was a girl whose legs splayed out on the seat of a digger, on the sand of a shore, in the trunk of a tree, with joy in my

On friendship

I am a starfish staring upwards into the still hope of an endless sky, the starfish of a loved one stretched nearby. Hands lift me from this armchair to where that memory hugs me tight. The room dissolves and becomes those faces and places from a world before. Our voices

Accessible by design

A few years ago, I started work with a colleague who uses a wheelchair. One day, we travelled down to London together. It was in spending this time with them that I noticed just how many barriers were created in the way of their engagement with all the things I

Singapore in spring

We landed in Singapore eating skittles from a bag. One more leg to go before arrival in Oz. Planning our days, our tasty meals, our walks on beaches, and swims in the sea. We were met with masked faces, and temperature scanners set-up to assess the threat we posed. Was

Leading words

Well, I’ll be honest, this was unexpected. I know I’m unexpected to you too, when you were anticipating that man who looked a bit like the one three men ago, you know, the one with the grey suit… Look, I’m not sure of much just yet, but I am sure

A conversation with a lamp…

ME: New years: they’re kind of a lot of pressure. To be more, to do more, better yourself… LAMP: I guess it’s simpler for me. I stand. I light when I’m needed. I have a single purpose and I fulfil it, I don’t have to do quite so much searching.

I remember…

I remember your rough, work-worn hands as they pull me tight into a hug as if squeezing all your love into me. I remember you sewing a red dressing gown into a Teletubby costume in the warmth of a car before I left on the train, wondering if you could

Reading in 2020

Ever since the days of Biff, Chip and Kipper, I have loved escaping in the endless number of worlds offered by books. There was a large chunk of my life when, contrary to expectations as I studied English and later taught it, I pretty much stopped reading altogether. In 2018,

Nurturing a garden of knowledge

I recently revisited my Gallup Strengths Finder results to focus a magnified lens on my strengths. One of my strengths is that of ‘Input’. I am described as follows: ‘You are inquisitive. You collect things… Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind

Embracing your ancestry

There is complexity in the faces of your ancestors and the jobs they held: manager, milliner, miner. The pastimes they enjoyed: dancing, writing, walking. The courage in their roles as activist, parent, glass-ceiling-smasher. A choice to be made: dwell here in the warmth or press further on … to the

What’s in a pause?

As we enter another period of national lockdown, I reflect on the power of a pause. Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and scribbling all over @robpoynton‘s book ‘Do Pause’ for the fabulous @DoBookCo. One lunchtime, earlier on this year, I took some time to listen to his recent lecture

Quality online learning

Having worked in a Further Education College for many years, I’m all too aware how the gears of the quality department will already be ramping up or perhaps have already sped in to evaluate the implementation of online and blended learning. The quality department’s brand is complex but, fairly or

What do you see?

When asked the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ What do you see? You seek an answer but archaeologist, artist, writer no longer arrive as easily as once they did. You’ve waited so long for the future to arrive. It’s here. It’s now. Time to

Next time you see a tandem…

Walking. One foot in front of the other. Lost in a world before or after. The jangle of a bell pulls you back to the present. A couple glide by on a bicycle made for two. ‘What a romantic way to spend a day.’ I didn’t think to take a

Curating what I consume

I recently took some time away from the land of Twitter with its discriminatory algorithm, warring factions and complex ideas distilled into soundbites with the hope of discovering what might lie on the other side. If we become what we consume then what was I becoming and how might I

Fighting the algorithm

August has featured the word ‘algorithm’ far more than most months in living memory, especially for those of us working in the world of education. Working with and around technology for the last few years has opened my eyes to how easily humans can be dazzled by its ‘magic’ and

Urgent and important

A continuing journey with workload and delegation. When I was a teacher, I was largely able to dictate my own workload around my timetable; when to set essays and therefore when I’d do marking, how I’d plan lessons and when I’d create resources. The time for this was limited but

On connection and learning in this strange world

Today, I was invited to be on a panel for FutureLearn’s Festival of Education. I sat alongside other ‘How to Teach Online‘ course mentors in the form of some extremely wise colleagues. Diana Laurillard, Simon Rofe, Mark Brown and Matt Jenner. Imposter Syndrome hit hard and uncertain, after the event,

One foot in front of the other

Growing up, we would walk. Holidays would see us trek from our campsite to not so nearby places for lunch and back again, whatever the weather. Visiting our childhood holiday spots as an adult revealed quite how far our little feet had travelled as my partner yells, ‘are we there

The joy of disconnecting

As I sit under the boughs of a large oak tree, I gaze upwards through the sun-dappled leaves and catch a glimpse of possibility. It’s one of those idyllic moments in life that consist of pure and simple joy, at least it is if you can manage to shut out

Online discussions for learning

At work, I design, create and facilitate online learning for teachers. There are many challenges to be overcome when you’re a teacher who’s unlikely to meet your learners in person. One of the challenges with which I’ve been preoccupied of late is the online discussion. On some of our courses,

The right kind of 10% braver?

I’ve realised that for a long time, I was doing 10% braver all wrong. I’m writing this in case some of you are doing it wrong too, whether you’ve realised it yet or not. Following the WomenEd hashtag on Twitter and listening to those I respected around me made me

The making of a MOOC

The scenario of being asked to use a virtual learning environment, a set of laptops or devices, or indeed an interactive whiteboard is likely to be a familiar one to teachers. More familiar still might be the expectation that this technology is used in your teaching and the research evidence

One year on

One year ago, I was leaving a job that had me trapped in a cycle of despair and a fight with values that were not my own. I left this job with a sense of optimism, hope and courage that a few months previously I couldn’t have imagined possible. One

2018: A year of reading

2018 saw the completion of my library at home and a commitment to more reading. Being an English teacher had lead to far less reading than I had naively anticipated at the start of my career and I looked forward to having more free time to enjoy escaping to far

A Necessary Journey

My awareness of race and the need for representation in both education and society were not inherent in me at an early age, rather it was a slow realisation of what existed around me but not within me. Perhaps the journey I am about to describe is familiar to those

#WomenEd Unconference 4

Today’s WomenEd Unconference was to be an event unlike others I’d attended previously. It wouldn’t be my first, I wouldn’t be presenting, I wouldn’t be attending from the perspective of a middle leader in a college. My resulting pledges and response to the day would be very different from previous

Design for how people learn

In recent months, I’ve become more engaged with the field of cognitive science and what it has to teach us about effective learning. This began with facilitating a mini research project in my previous role alongside Tom Sherrington and Joss Kang (click here to read about the start of it

Embracing Difference

30 days ago, I started working at the Chartered College of Teaching. This time has absolutely flown by and I found myself arriving at the Annual Conference early on a Saturday morning to help with the set-up wondering what I would get from the day. When working full-time as a

2017: The year of the coach

Imagine, if you will, a small Quentin Blake sketch of a woman. She’s eagerly skipping around the empty page of a book – leaving sparks of colour with her feet as she goes. You watch her doing this from afar for quite some time before she finally lands at the

Guest Post – Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

This guest post comes from Emma Currie, a tutor mentor who writes about her recent completion of an online course via Future Learn. After recently completing ‘Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People’ (accredited by the University of Reading) I was very impressed by the content and informal assessment

Guest Blog – Technology: A propaedeutic enchiridion!

One of my favourite things to do if I get a free(!) bit of time at work is to talk to Ken Crow (Games Development lecturer at The Sheffield College) about technology. I asked if he wouldn’t mind sharing some of his thoughts with a wider audience and he kindly

Guest Blog – What good schools know and do

Monday 6 November 2017 and John Hattie was going to be in Sheffield. It would be an opportunity to meet the man himself. Unfortunately (or perhaps not so unfortunately), I would be enjoying the sun in Lanzarote, but I wanted a colleague to benefit from the opportunity. A prize draw

Guest Blog – A Day Out at Google HQ

This guest blog comes from Nick Hart, a Lecturer in Engineering at The Sheffield College. He and colleagues have recently made the move to Google Classroom and so we funded his trip to an event that might provide further inspiration. Turns out, it did.   Ok so thoughts on Google…

Developing Evidence-Informed CPD in FE and Skills Settings

When I read about the CPD taking place with staff at Oldham College and the fab Rachel Irving (read about it here), I was thrilled to bits for a number of reasons- It was CPD and I’ll read anything that will give me ideas about CPD There were some graphics created

Guest Blog – Positive praise and reward reaps success!

This guest blog is written by Jane Wilson who works in the SEND team at The Sheffield College. Context I have worked within the College environment for 10 years and enjoyed various roles around student support. My main interest and experience is working with students with Autism and I am an

Crush Your Gremlin #WomenEd

A few months ago, I’d seen the advert online for WomenEd looking for workshop facilitators. I flagged the form for that evening, resolving that I would register and move from TeachMeets to a workshop attended by hopefully more than four people (as my first national conference delivering on ‘making the

Working with ‘Novice’ and ‘Expert’ Teachers – David Weston

This is a rather delayed write-up of my notes and reflections on David Weston’s (@informed_edu) workshop at The Telegraph Festival of Education. Having heard David speak on several occasions, I felt certain that he’d live up to everything good CPD should and I’d leave with disrupted thinking and things to

Dr S Miah – Overcoming the Challenges of Extremism

In July, a colleague in our maths department approached me and shared that he’d had an idea for an event. One that might support staff confidence when it came to speaking to students about extremism, radicalisation and challenging the myths perpetuated by the media. We loved the idea and so

Top 5 Reasons to Hold an Open Classrooms Week

First published in Teachers Matter Magazine, New Zealand in 2014 The best kind of professional development is that which is accessible, engaging, and provides sufficient time for reflection. So often, we focus on the students’ learning that there’s little time left for us to consider our own. It was in

The right climate can allow students to blossom

First published in TES Magazine 22/09/16 Follow these tips to create the perfect ‘weather’ in your classroom and help your budding learners thrive. It’s reached that time of the year when FE educators up and down the country are filled with anticipation, and it’s not the endless form-filling that we’re

Get your new beginning off to a flying start

First published in TES Magazine in 2016 If you’re moving jobs, follow these six rules to ensure that you become a champion of your new world. The year was 2008. Six young men approached my desk to complete their paperwork for a NEET (not in education, employment or training) course

Teacher Wellbeing – Day 2

After Day 1 of this wellbeing CPD, offered by The Chartered College, I was really excited to meet up with everyone again, spend a day talking about wellbeing and hearing how everyone’s interventions had gone. On day 1, we explored what we meant by wellbeing a little, spoke about stress

Teacher Wellbeing- Day 1

On Friday 9th June, I got up at a ridiculously early hour and headed down to Cambridge for the day – all in pursuit of wellbeing. More traditional approaches to improving wellbeing might be a session in the gym, some meditation or a walk in the park to notice nature

Transforming Teacher Education – Reflective Practice and Research

This is the final set of notes from my Transforming Teacher Education course at Sheffield Hallam University, in partnership with The Education and TRaining Foundation. You can read about the other weeks here- Week 1- From Teacher to Teacher Educator and Observation Skills Week 2- A Teacher Education Curriculum, Teacher

Transforming Teacher Education – Mentoring

A few weeks ago now, I completed the ‘Transforming Teacher Education’ course with Sheffield Hallam University and the Education and Training Foundation. Week 1- From Teacher to Teacher Educator and Observation Skills Week 2- A Teacher Education Curriculum, Teacher Identity and Developing English and maths skills Online session- Use of

Coaching Teachers- Promoting Changes That Stick- Week 5

This was to be the final week of my Coursera course from Match Education. I knew when I began this learning that coaching was an area of my practice I felt that it was vital for me to develop. I don’t think I could have chosen a better way for

Coaching Teachers- Promoting Changes that Stick- Week 3

Clarity of Instructional Vision A reminder of the equation- Teacher change as generated by coaching = clarity of instructional vision of the coach X quality of feedback delivered by the coach X (1- fixed mindset tax) Read week 1 here (an introduction to the coaching equation) Read week 2 here (fixed

Coaching Teachers- Promoting Changes that Stick- Week 2

A few weeks ago, I completed week 1 of the coaching teachers MOOC from Match Education. I’ve known for some time that I need to more formally develop my coaching skills but I wasn’t entirely sure how to achieve it. Technology has a crucial role in enabling lifelong learning and development

Getting Better at Feedback

The last few weeks have seen us progress through each of our Cornerstones of Teaching & Learning at The Sheffield College with drop-ins from the Digital and e-Learning team, links to browse via our Twitter feed and a blog each week for staff to reflect on – Week 1 –

Transforming Teacher Education – Technology

This was one of the online weeks for our ‘Transforming Teacher Education’ programme and one of the easier weeks for me to engage in. It has made me consider how well our Teacher Education programmes really prepare our future teachers to develop their digital skills though. Through recent engagement with

Coaching Teachers: Promoting Changes that Stick – Week 1

You can still sign-up to the MOOC here Learn about Match Education’s case for a student-facing rubric here A story Our first video depicts a coaching session for a brand new maths teacher with enthusiasm and optimism in abundance. The video we’re shown indicates the ‘coach’ doing all of the

Practise, Practise, Practice

In my previous two blogs (part of a series of 4), I’ve been confident enough about my own practice to share reflections on planning learning and engaging students without much agonising over it. I knew that week 3’s blog on ‘practice’ would be the most challenging because I feel it’s


Over the years, I have seen engagement take a variety of forms. When I first began teaching, I was an Associate Lecturer and was therefore handed whatever bits and pieces the College I worked in at the time couldn’t get covered by other members of staff – NEET (Not in

Transforming Teacher Education – Week 2

You can read about week 1 here In this face-to-face session as part of the Education and Training Foundation funded programme, delivered by a number of University partners (mine being Sheffield Hallam University), we began by exploring the design of an Initial Teacher Education curriculum. What is it that trainee

How do you plan your lessons?

Whenever I ask colleagues the question, ‘How do you plan your lessons?’ I never get the answer I expect to get. Their immediate starting point is often to describe the comprehensive written lesson plans they might produce for an observation or Ofsted. The kind where they pull all the stops

Back to School

Yesterday saw me go back to school. I had preconceived ideas about how it would feel to be back in school but none of this played out as I thought. The most overt sign that I was in a different education environment was the bell. I was not accustomed to a


It’s that time of the year when teachers and students alike enter a frenzied state of revision, revision, revision. With many FE courses incorporating exams for the first time (or at least the first time in a long time), I wanted to create accessible guides to revision for our staff.

Transforming Teacher Education – Week 1

Last week saw me start a new learning journey- because the journeys of- Teaching new spec GCSE English Doing my job Photography …weren’t quite enough for me! The course is a collaboration between the Education and Training Foundation and a number of universities around the country, one of them being

10 things I learned from my first #WomenEd event

Image available from here This week marked International Women’s Day. The theme was #beboldforchange I took this to heart and pushed myself to be (even more) bold all week: Writing my first feminist blog – Why we still need feminism Delivering the opening speech at development day on the theme

#TSCornerstones opening speech

In planning the opening speech for our March Development Day, I planned it, changed it all, added to it, shared it with some educators on Twitter, showed it to ex-colleagues, asked for ideas from current colleagues and finally ended up with a keynote speech I wasn’t sure I would remember. This

Guest Post: What makes great teaching? A student perspective

This is a blog written by my current work experience student, Ellie Townsend. It is her first blog. Please read, share and comment! @ellietwnsnd   Relationships As a student, I think that the most important element in great teaching is a good relationship between student and teacher. First impressions are key

Why we still need feminism #IWD17

I’ve had these words (most of them at least) sat in my phone notes for some months now; never feeling bold enough to post. It feels like today, International Women’s Day is the day to finally share this. Me being #beboldforchange I guess. Before you read on, I’d like you to know

GCSE English Language (WJEC Eduqas)

For much of this year, I spent a significant amount of time wrestling with how to organise my online learning environment for students. In September, I had a class confirmed the day before I taught them. I was excited to be back in the classroom but it cut down my

Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development

  ‘Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.’ Dylan Wiliam. Last year, a set of standards were published by the DfE aimed squarely at schools, the teachers and leaders they house and CPD providers. The panel behind the

The best teachers I know…

Are easily identifiable.  In my current role I, rather luckily, get to see many of them in action and there is one thing they all have in common.  They demonstrate genuine care. In each instance, this care is made apparent in different ways. I could see it in one teacher

‘Measuring Progress’- It’s Messy!

When we planned this year’s Learning Festival, we made sure that sessions were being offered on areas of practice departments knew they needed development in. As the offers of workshops were confirmed, it became clear that the ‘measuring’ of progress was somewhat lacking. I stepped up to offer something –

Learning Festival 2017

2017 had finally arrived and the day of my second Learning Festival at The Sheffield College. The first one would always be a hard act to follow and I wasn’t entirely sure that my post-holiday brain was up to the job. We’d soon find out. An inhumanely early alarm was

Being 10% Braver

Today was a Development Day packed with the sharing of practice, the celebration of great work and plenty of festive fun. It also contained a sprinkle of added bravery and we can all blame Amjad Ali and his TeachMeet last night, #TMOxford. I was thrilled to find a live feed for

A Further Education

I’ve always known, as a teacher of English (and sometimes maths, ICT and study skills) that there was a whole world of FE I didn’t have any real involvement with- a world filled with industry expertise and students working towards employment. Being present at open days and enrolment events always

Mind the crevice

In recent months, I began to feel – so acutely – the distance between me and what Further Education is really all about, widening. I could no longer put my finger on what we were doing – what was it really all about? What was I here for? What impact

Guest blog: My Technical Journey

During my 23 years at the Sheffield College, technology has changed at an alarming rate. When I first started, the College still used electric typewriters and then moved on to computers: the old style with the huge monitors.                         

The Big Learning Project

After the trial of the Mini Learning Project in the summer term of last academic year, we’re finally about to begin the Big Learning Project: an approach to learning conceived after extensive reading into what makes CPD effective. The idea of the project is that it can be adapted to

Meetings Kits

Earlier on this year, as I sat twiddling my thumbs and checking my emails in yet another meeting, I began to wonder if there was another way. The problems with meetings are variable and for me, can be summed up with a few Dilbert cartoons: Once I entered management, I soon

CPD Inspiration and Research

Over the last couple of years I’ve become a bit of a sponge when it comes to reading about CPD; continually seeking more to ensure my practice is as effective as it can be. Below, you can find my collections of reading (some videos, podcasts and images) related to CPD. I use

Being Evidence Informed

In recent months, I have become more aware of how research, science and evidence informs my practice- both as a leader and as a teacher. Below, you’ll find that I’ve begun to gather together evidence sources that can support this (click the image to access).

20 things I learned from #ukfechat

Journeying 1- Clapham is not the same place as Clapton. Definitely not. Not remotely. This doesn’t stop me from being convinced Clapham is where we’re going and people telling me in person, over the phone, via Twitter DMs, What’s App and Facetime somehow leaves me even more convinced that Clapham

Be…assertive! Be, be assertive!

You can read about week 1 (managing your own behaviour) here and week 2 (rules and routines) here and week 3 (making praise personal) here. What kind of teacher are you? Hostile, passive or assertive? Find an assertive voice in the classroom- assertive is much more than an aggressive voice. Passive is

Praise: make it personal

This week’s learning challenged me to think about how I show my appreciation to students. I am aware of how I demonstrate it to colleagues but have I been as aware of exactly why and how this is shown to my students over the years? I’m not so sure… You

‘A great lesson starts at the door’

Week 2 of ‘Managing Behaviour for Learning‘ from Future Learn is focused on the importance of routines, boundaries and expectations. All teachers have them but do not always communicate them effectively to students (read about week 1 of my learning here). The first few minutes of a lesson are crucial.

Guest post: Positive Engagement from Day 1

Dawn and Sallyann have worked together for 16 years and work in the ESOL, EFL and Essential Skills department at The Sheffield College. In this video, they share a range of approaches to positive engagement in their sessions. Welcoming the students Dawn and Sallyann have always been committed to personally

ClassDojo to motivate and reward students- Simon Kershaw

Simon Kershaw, Lecturer in the ESOL, EFL and Essential Skills department at The Sheffield College, has been making use of Class Dojo at the start of term to engage his students with positive behaviours. Many other staff in this department have also cited the success of this app in supporting

Investing Time in Development Part 1- Ideas Meetings

December of 2015 not only meant a new job for me but also a new city, a new house and staff to line manage for the first time. The line management aspect of my role has meant that I’ve encountered a great deal of expected and unexpected challenges, joys and experiences.

Mini Learning Project Journal

Between April and July, a number of The Sheffield College staff volunteered to participate in a project that would help us to trial what will become the Big Learning Project from September 2016 (read more about its launch here). The original motivation for developing this project was to address the

Learning Festival 2016

Tuesday 12th July had finally arrived. The Learning Festival. My first development day in my new job at a new college. We had made the decision to take a departure from recent years based on feedback received from staff: We would no longer be a teaching and learning day- this

#ShapingCPD- Shaping a Learning Culture

Mirage ‘The Mirage describes the widely held perception among education leaders that we already know how to help teachers improve, and that we could achieve our goal of great teaching in far more classrooms if we just applied what we know more widely. Our research suggests that despite enormous and

#ShapingCPD – The Keynotes

After this event a couple of months ago, I recorded my initial reflections about the day and subsequently shared an account of the best CPD I have ever participated in. What follows are notes on the content of the keynotes part of the day. I’m rather later than intended in typing these up but

Making the Most of Meetings

Ever had that broken record feeling to life’s conversations? Colleagues (often the same ones) tell me, ‘I’ve just wasted half my day in meetings.’ ‘I’ve been in back-to-back meetings.’ ‘Well, that meeting was a complete waste of time.’ If you work in a ‘leadership’ role in education, especially of the

Leaders putting #LearningFirst

How can school leaders develop partnerships that support inclusion- ways of adapting teaching to ensure all children’s learning is valued?

Well, here we all are! #LearningFirst

I made my way to the #LearningFirst conference feeling a little nervous- my Twitter feed was filled with tweets of people heading here but I didn’t know many of them and there didn’t appear to be anyone else from FE. Had I just signed up for and got very excited

Rewarding Staff and Students- What Works?

A tram journey this morning resulted in more than a catching-up on emails and Twitter… it quickly evolved into sending the following direct message to a certain @MrsSarahSimons Cool- let’s go for tomorrow! Exciting and scary all at once! 🙂 Any tips you can give me?

Frames of Mind

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working with the Olive Grove teams @sheffcol: Motor Vehicle, Engineering and Electrical Engineering staff.

#ShapingCPD- The Transformative Impact of Coaching

Allow your teachers out of school! The room was asked how many of us were educators still in the classroom (very few!) We should be encouraging teachers to attend conferences that are more strategic too- they can support transformative change. Let them figure out what works best for them and

The Best CPD… EVER!

We were asked, during one of the excellent workshops arranged by @iris_connect at the #ShapingCPD conference last week, to reflect on our best CPD experience. This was a question I could answer without hesitation.

AfL in STEM Teaching MOOC Weeks 5 and 6

It’s in these final two weeks of the MOOC that I’ve felt most out of my depth with the learning: not currently being in the classroom nor being a science teacher. Nevertheless, I’ve include some notes on my learning during the final two weeks below:

#ShapingCPD – Initial Reflections

A detailed blog will be on its way but in the meantime, here are some initial reflections. I duly accepted a Periscope challenge, set by my manager, Graeme Hathaway. Until I can make this more freely available, a short written summary of my thoughts about the #Sharing CPD conference shall have

How Google Works: Part 1- Culture, Strategy, Talent

As I have become more and more involved in learning and development it has become increasingly obvious to me that roles in this area are so closely tied to organisational development, leading change, as well as establishing, and maintaining or refreshing an organisation’s culture.

Turning CPD into Learning: The Mini Learning Project

The Mini Learning Project began life in my mind and then on a Piktochart as The Big Learning Project in January 2016. The project was borne largely out of frustration that the only thing that remains continuous about CPD is its unshakeable reputation as something that’s done TO you.

The Journey in Sheffield Continues…

When I set out on my latest journey, it was destination: Sheffield. But most journeys are not quite as simple as all that and I soon discovered that I was to be making a greater journey than I realised, destination: unknown. These are the steps I expected to be making

AfL in STEM Teaching MOOC Week 4

This week of the Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching MOOC served as a really useful midpoint where videos of the course facilitators were used to answer participants’ questions about the learning on the MOOC so far. Intentional Dialogue– Questions primarily designed to cause thinking for students Hinge-Point Questions– Questions

AfL in STEM Teaching MOOC Week 3

After the #ukfechat discussion with Dan Williams @FurtherEdagogy on being more evidence informed in relation to practice, I felt inspired to include more of this in my work with teachers in our AfL MOOC Groups at The Sheffield College. The Storify of this chat can be found by clicking here.

Guest Post: My Journey Through Google

One of the key attractions to starting at The Sheffield College was that the staff development team had already begun the journey towards Google. Since August 2015, Chris and Helen have made a truly inspiring and incredibly rapid progression to transform processes from paper to the cloud. Here, Helen shares

AfL in STEM Teaching MOOC- Week 2

Week 2 Intentional Dialogue This week was all about ways of promoting active discussion and thinking as well as carefully planning questions to lead to effective learning. I’m thinking more and more that this MOOC would be useful for any educator, not just those of a STEM persuasion!

AfL in STEM Teaching MOOC- Week 1

After a tip-off from @sebschmoller, I was alerted to the start of this Future Learn MOOC lead by Dylan Wiliam and Christine Harrison. You can join this free online course by clicking here. Having not studied a MOOC since Blended Learning Essentials, I was ready for my next online learning

#ldcu16 aka- my first ‘unconference’

My first ‘unconference’ (or at least one titled that way). My first conference filled with NO educators. Not a single one. I would be surrounded by fellow L&D Professionals. What follows are some thoughts and notes on the day- some are what other people said, some will be what they

A Beacon of Light

I first worked with Sally in my first year of teaching- 2009. It was a class I’ve referenced in other posts and one I still have vivid memories of today.

A Grand Day Out

I’m a fan of Wallace and Gromit. A big fan. I love cheese and I have a grin a little like Wallace’s when I’m really very happy. An ex-colleague and adopted mentor of mine spoke some wise words once (I’m afraid this isn’t an exact quote and she probably said

Here is where my learning really begins…

The last few weeks have been filled with oh so much and I’ve been blogging and then not blogging and drafting and then deleting. Over the last few years, my blog has become a space for me to figure out the tangled mess that is my head but I haven’t

Evaluating the Impact of CPD

Teachers’ Continuous Professional Development has been something I’ve been working at getting right for roughly the last three years. It’s something I’ll continue to try and get right for however long I remain involved in it. Teaching young people is a complex art to say the least; if you’ve ever taught

Behaviour Forum

Monday 14th December 2015- just 1 week into the new job and I discovered there was an event for Sheffield Hallam trainees that was to be hosted by us (CODE: me). I was really excited about arranging the day, CPD is what I do after all and a chance to


‘Time flies when you’re having fun’. I’m absolutely certain that it flies whatever is happening as somehow we’ve arrived at another new year and another moment to reflect on the past year as well as to set hopes for the one to come.

Learning about CPD

It was earlier this year when a colleague (@S_Moakes) and I decided that it might be quite helpful to find out a bit more about the job we were attempting to do.

Questions, Questions, Questions

Asking questions in class is a central part of teaching, learning and assessment. You should aim to ask challenging questions of students and they should feel comfortable to ask questions of you.

Next Steps

‘I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.’ Steve Jobs, 2006

Learning Outcomes

This is a guide to writing and using learning outcomes effectively with students. Learning outcomes should describe what the student will be able to do once they have left your classroom. They may just be able to do it a little better, they may have begun to grow in confidence with

Starters and Plenaries

The starters and plenaries contained in this collection have each featured in my teaching over the last 7 years and are some of my favourites (they didn’t all originate in my head and I have connected to the creator wherever I can). Many of them are interchangeable as starters or plenaries. I

AoC Conference 2015

I was at the AoC conference this year to discover whether we’d won a Beacon Award for staff development- we did and you can read all about it here. This also meant that I got to hear from the following people:

Blended Learning Essentials: Getting Started

In a recent blog, written for @ThinkOutLoudClub on the subject of ‘Learning to Teach Online‘, I stated that the next MOOC I’d be studying would be the ‘Blended Learning Essentials: Getting Started’.

Top Tech Tools

I have long since been a fan of learning technologies. As a creative educator, technology is a magnet for people like me: it has the power to unlock the world of learning for everyone.

Just one learner…

A memory. 2009. I had just aced a microteach: instructional writing with the use of LEGO and paper planes.

Feedback: In Search of The Holy Grail

Over the last 6 years I have, sadly, not discovered the holy grail of feedback. Call me a cynic but I don’t think it actually exists. This post exists merely as an account of my journey in search for it so far.

National Poetry Day LIVE!

Thank you to Eloise for being our fabulous photographer for the day! I spent the journey in to meet the students for our trip between work and Twitter: where #nationalpoetryday had begun.

CPD, but not as we know it

Our CPD Journey until now Over the last three years, I have been part of a team leading and facilitating CPD across Reading College. We’ve experienced great successes and we’ve largely achieved what we set out to:

Starting the year- Day 1

“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.” (Ralph Marston, author of The Daily Motivator)

A humble abode

Somehow, another academic year is already upon us. Here’s an ode I wrote to my classroom three years ago. I cannot believe it’s been that long! This year, as last year, is a year with a limited amount of teaching but I have not neglected to give some tender loving

Top Tips for surviving a first term in FE

What follows are many (certainly not all) of the things I’ve learnt from six years teaching in an FE context. It is hopefully practical, it is certainly honest and it’s definitely all based in my own experiences. These experiences may not match yours so do feel perfectly free to abandon

#LTTO: What I learned from ‘Learning to Teach Online’

I felt that after the plethora of posts made over the last few weeks about a recently completed MOOC: Learning to Teach Online, with University of New South Wales via Coursera, (sorry about all of those!) I should generate one post as a conclusion and a summary of the key

#LTTO Module 7- Motivating and Engaging Students

Activities, assessment and resources are important but being able to facilitate and manage technologically inclusive learning- that’s the element that really brings it all together and it requires a set of really specific skills.

#LTTO Module 6- Online Resources

When you begin teaching online, you need to free yourself of the idea that you need to make everything yourself. This is module six of a Learning To Teach Online MOOC with Coursera, (all content featured has been curated by the University of South Wales for Coursera) you can read

#LTTO Module 5- Online Assessment Strategies

Think of the learning outcomes first, then the activity, then the assessment, THEN the technology! This is module five of a Learning To Teach Online MOOC with Coursera, (all content featured has been curated by the University of South Wales for Coursera) you can read about module 1 here and

#LTTO Assignment 2: Designing a Learning Component

By completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your achievement of the following learning outcomes: Design an online component of your class considering your local context, your curriculum, and the benefits and risks of online technologies. Develop evaluation and engagement strategies to ensure your students are engaged with your online course

#LTTO Module 4- Online Learning Activities

Lists of technologies are limitless so drawing on the experiences of other educators (locally or otherwise) can be helpful. This is module four of a Learning To Teach Online MOOC with Coursera, (all content featured has been curated by the University of South Wales for Coursera) you can read about

#LTTO Learning To Teach Online Q & A

I am currently completing a ‘learning To Teach Online’ MOOC with Coursera and it’s fabulous! Each week, our two course lecturers (Negin and Simon) respond to the top-rated questions of the week in the forums and here are my notes on each of their videos each week.

#LTTO- Assignment 1: Selecting Technology

Learning Outcomes By completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your achievement of the following learning outcomes: Describe and understand the importance and use of a range of online technologies in learning, teaching, and course design in contemporary education Develop an evidence-supported argument for selecting particular technologies to support an online

#LTTO- Module 3- Planning Online Learning

Have a clear vision and aims for the learning of your students so that you don’t all sink into the sand of technology. This is module three of a Learning To Teach Online MOOC with Coursera, (all content featured has been curated by the University of South Wales for Coursera)

A new class website

As the academic year has drawn to a close and we look ahead to next year, most teachers will be evaluating the successes of the year and looking to improve their approaches. This often takes the form of revised materials, handbooks, schemes of learning and assessment plans and for my

#LTTO- Module 2- Open and Institutionally Supported Technologies

We need to decide which technologies will fit the learning outcomes for our learners the most. Due to a week off work, I have been able to do the second module of Learning to Teach Online this week too. (All content featured has been curated by the University of South

#LTTO- Module 1- Why is Online Teaching Important?

Focus on effective pedagogical strategies rather than just the technologies being used. Learning to Teach Online (all content featured has been curated by the University of South Wales for Coursera) If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you may have noticed some of my posts on OCTEL. It

1 Year in…reflections

It’s almost 1 year into my leadership journey and I feel that calls for a reflective blog. Or perhaps the real reasons are that I had an end of transformational leaders programme presentation to prepare for last Friday and final reflections with my coach tomorrow? I was incredibly nervous about my presentation


In the second year of our Teaching & Learning conference, we managed to get things planned ahead of time- especially as I hadn’t decided I’d run one just two months before it would take it place! I knew I wanted to start the day with an activity that would set

A Visit to the Education and Training Foundation

I was overwhelmed to be invited by Sarah Simons to join the #ukfechat gang in a visit to meet with David Russell at the Education and Training Foundation. It was at the start of a week in which, it eventually turned out, I gained a lot of confidence. As this

A new year: dive in!

Last week, learners began a short two week introduction into their A2 English course. They were required to watch a couple of videos and answer some questions on our Google+ community. The few lessons I’ve had with them during this time have been relaxed and we’ve been able to discover the

A Few of My Favourite Things

This is a presentation that I first gave rather nervously at #TMOxford I then recorded this short MoveNote version for one of Rachel Jones’s TeachMeets, although I don’t think it was ever used. I then did an extended version (30 mins) via Google Hangout recently, in the second of my

Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2015 #LTSF15

In a week where I ended up being in the office for a mere 1 and half days (part of which I was in the classroom), I attended the learning technologies summer forum at London Olympia. I was there less for the technologies and more for the learning & development

Online Presence and Digital Footprint

As the summer draws closer, thoughts of the teaching year ahead are ever-present; the excitement of a fresh start, a new beginning and also a continued journey. Using my new favourite video creation tool, Vidra, I have created a video which introduces my learners to the idea of their digital footprint

Piktochart: Infographics

Recently, I’ve been dabbling with the use of Google Hangout for my ‘Pass It On CPD’ sessions at work. The first was on Piktochart. I love this tech tool for the following reasons: It’s easy for me and my learners to use It’s free (unless you want to pay) It

Curriculum Transformation

The college I work for, like many other FE colleges and indeed schools too, have been exploring how the curriculum might be transformed for learners. This has been an ongoing challenge for some time now and you can read about some of our activities here at #curriccon15 and here at

Festival of Education 2015- Day 2

If you enjoyed or perhaps missed the Festival of Education and you’re free on Saturday 27th June, then you might be interested in attending #ReadTL15 at Reading College. It’s free, there are prizes to be won, bags to be got and free lunch! My track-record with the Festival of Education,

Carol Dweck- the woman, the myth, the legend!

Carol had some powerful messages about my own mindset. She challenged teachers to consider this. I have begun to notice my own mindset much more over the last 12 months and I think, after Carol’s talk today, I am far less filled with growth mindset then I like to think

Sir Ken Robinson- Creative Schools

I apologise for the soundbite style for this and most of my other posts,. They’re really just my notes but hopefully they’ll give you an idea of what issues were raised and thinking will be provoked. The TED talk got his message out there but he was trying to change

Professional Development: what works?

Working in a development role at College, this debate would be more than relevant for me. The debate was shared by Rod Bristow, from Pearson, who shared a couple of videos from John Hattie to stimulate conversation. Fergal Roche Government have been obsessed with choice and autonomy. Choice came about

The wonderful Hywel Roberts!

Hywel is someone I have seen speak before but I felt I needed an injection of his positivity and enthusiasm. I feel like many of my days could do with this. I am no good with small children but being with Hywel makes me think like Primary Education might be an

Festival of Education 2015- Day 1

If you enjoyed or perhaps missed the Festival of Education and you’re free on Saturday 27th June, then you might be interested in attending #ReadTL15 at Reading College. It’s free, there are prizes to be won, bags to be got and free lunch! So the day had finally arrived. If

Career Colleges- Ruth Gilbert

Their portal contains best practice from the Colleges. Employer endorsement on everything! Guaranteed interviews etc. Preparing for the future involves qualifications but much more besides: Workplace practices in education- incl. embedded maths,English and STEM Future industry needs are understood- even if they change career pathway Creative & critical thinking and

Gillian Bridge-Resilience

Positive thinking Self-esteem Happiness Enriched environment Oxytocin Stimulation Feelings Sensitivity Mindfulness Empowerment All of these go in the bin! But she’s not setting fire to them. Resilience is far more complex than any of these things might suggest.

Dame Stella Rimington

Young people today are being pushed to work out their career pathway and start on it. She suggests that this leads to an unnecessary high level of stress. She became an archivist and she enjoyed her job but she was relaxed about it- her jobs provided her interest and excitement,

Are you a Festival of Education Virgin?

If you are popping your Festival of Education cherry this year then please heed the advice of an experienced lady to maximise your enjoyment of the experience: Losing your way 1- Don’t book train tickets for ‘Wellington’ train station. Wellington College is not in Wellington, it’s in Crowthorne. Yes, this

Paul Grainger- Leading in Volatile Times

Uplifting messages In times like these, it’s very easy to feel angry or despondent or both all at once along with a dash of murderous intent. A recent talk at College as part of our transformational leaders programme served to counteract these feelings somewhat. The work of Paul Grainger, from


So Martyn Reah began the #teacher5aday hashtag on Twitter in order to tackle the urgent need for staff working within education to focus more on their wellbeing. This week, I tried to hit one thing for each of the 5 during the week: #notice is the one I like the


So this is REALLY late but here are my rather sketchy notes from #TMReading. It was one I was presenting at. It had been a while since I’d done this. I was seriously nervous!

Troubled Waters: assessment in the pool

I’ve recently, after more than 10 years, begun swimming regularly again- y’know- the kind of thing you do for yourself. I think some people call it ‘me time’, others might call it ‘life.’ It provides some seriously important time out for reflection and there’s nowt like water to give you

A Close Encounter of the Welsh Kind

‘The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.’ Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild Last term, we made a visit across to Coleg Sir

Easter Reflections

On return to work tomorrow, I’ll be asking my learners to complete some short reflections on their Easter revision. We’ll discuss the other things they got up to but we need to evaluate our next steps in the weeks leading to their exams.

#TESFEAwards and #LFE15

At the end of an incredibly long week way back in February (!) came the #tesfeawards. It was a wonderful night to celebrate all that further education does for learners: Young and old(er) alike. I think it is perhaps the only time in my life so far that I have


This year, I’ll be lucky enough to be away for the WHOLE of the Easter break: Sydney, here I come! I promise I’ll be back…probably! This means that my usual offer of revision sessions and drop-ins for learners will not be possible so a plan B was required.

Learner Planned Lessons

Last term, my learners took it in turns to plan seminars and they became increasingly confident with this as they wrote challenging questions and imagined new ways of engaging their peers. This term, I decided to group the learners so that those of them struggling with their confidence could work

What is FELTAG and why should I care?

I have been meaning to blog about this for some months now. I am finally writing as a FELTAG CPD session has requested by staff at College and a blog is always a good way for me to work through my ideas first. In addition, attendance at a Think Out

iPad Apps

I’ve been using my iPad for more than two years now but it took me most of that time to get beyond using it as a glorified piece of paper.

Silent Debate and #timelapseclassroom

I’ve been using silent debate in the classroom for a while now but I’m yet to use it with pens on tables- I’m just not convinced it will come off! Instead, tablecloths/playpaper/wallpaper works really well. I started this time with these silent instructions. I decided to record the lesson as


Before Christmas 2014, I attended the most inspirational TeachMeet to date: one that really lived up to the reputation that TeachMeets have made for themselves in the world of CPD. The evening began with Sir Tim Brighouse, who repeated messages I’ve heard from him before but they took on a


I have recently been very taken by the visual display of key messages created by the likes of @sylviaduckworth

Reflective Practice

The below presentation (click here to view a Google Slides version and download) comes from a guest slot I gave to a CIPD group today on ‘reflective practice.’

My Management Journey Begins Here

I remember my first year in teaching very well indeed; it was filled with mistakes brought about by fear. I was a very worried fish out of water. After my first term in a new role at College, those nervous gasps for air and flailing of my fins are once


So reading through last year’s #Nurture1314 post was certainly very interesting.  I’ve decided to make this one a little more meaningful. My wishes will not be a mere to do list but will contain things that might make a difference.

#TMReading – How Do I Inspire My Learners?

When Danielle and I came up with the question of ‘How do you inspire your learners?’ for the latest #TMReading, we thought it was a great all-encompassing question that would get everyone sharing all the great things they do. Personally, I thought it would be a really easy question to

I live for magic moments

Presentations. One of those defining moments in any classroom. Who will have prepared within an inch of their lives? Who will somehow take to the floor like a duck to water, despite having done zero preparation? Who will face it with fear filling their eyes as they realise how much

The TEEP Learning Cycle (Post 3 of 3)

This is the last in my series of TEEP posts (You can read post 1- ‘What is TEEP?‘ and post 2- ‘The 5 Underpinning Principles‘ here). It has been great for me to write them a few years after completing the initial training. I have had time to put a

TEEP (Post 2) – The 5 Underpinning Principles

I am officially ‘TEEP trained.’ That sounds more like a seedy confession than a declaration but it means that I have undertaken the first level of the ‘Teacher Enhancement Effectiveness Programme.‘ It is something that led to one of the best learning experiences with a class that I’ve had so

What is TEEP? (Post 1)

I am officially ‘TEEP trained.’ That sounds more like a seedy confession than a declaration but it means that I have undertaken the first level of the ‘Teacher Enhancement Effectiveness Programme.‘

Independent Thinking

A few months ago now, I managed to read Ian Gilbert’s (@ThatIanGilbert) ‘Independent Thinking’ on the train- on my iPad- on my Kindle app. Fiction has not made it’s way over to my Kindle yet- I just can’t bear not to have pages and smell and another completely indescribable quality.

The Perfect ICT Every Lesson

As luck would have it, my train journey time was doubled one evening last week. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be at all ‘lucky’ and in fact, would be a frustrating inconvenience. As it was, it meant that I could finally read Mark Anderson’s ‘The Perfect ICT Every Lesson.‘ (Because I appear to

Help me teacher!

These are a few approaches that can help to prevent learners relying on us in the learning process. Of course, there are many times when they will need to listen to us, follow us and learn directly from us but ultimately, I believe that we should be enabling learners to

Who am I? Am I who I think I am?

These were the questions I scrawled on a ‘what do you want to learn from today’s CPD session’ starter activity. Fairly philosophical questions, as questions go. I think if any of my students stated these as questions for any one of my lessons… I’d probably have to admit defeat! Fortunately,

A Summer of CPD

It has been a while (until the last few days) since I’ve blogged. This has been due to a number of factors; imminent change in job role (more about that tomorrow), change of location resulting in a longer working day, writer’s block and LOTS of CPD responsibilities. Here’s an update

My Google Journey

Just over one year ago, an assistant principal (Yousef Fouda) invited me to his office. As a perceived early adopter, he wanted to share the world of Google with me. I didn’t want it to be shared. It felt like it was to become something on my already bulging to

A New Year, A New Class Website

After several revamps, I have finally got my class Google site to where I want it. I am beyond proud of it! Mainly because it has taken me a number of edits, many, many hours and a lot of creativity but I feel it achieves all of the things I

Times Education Festival 2014

Disclaimer (usually written at the bottom of a text but I’d like to be abundantly clear from the start): in no way will this writing necessarily reflect what the speakers meant at all. They are merely my resulting thoughts and ideas, with hopefully a little clarity of the speakers’ words

ocTEL MOOC- Week 3

Week 3 – Materials & Platforms for Learning Technology Thank goodness it’s reading week, is all I can say! I have to admit that the badges are motivating me to get going today: I MUST collect all the badges! I

ocTEL MOOC- Week 2

ocTEL Week 2- Learners and Learning Automatically, I was attracted by this week’s title. Once again, I found myself having to complete my tasks and engage with my learning at  the weekend.

ocTEL MOOC Week 1

Once again, I am having to catch-up on ocTEL on a Saturday. I’m sure there’ll be some point soon when I can get involved sooner/more frequently throughout the week but this week was certainly not going to be it (the week from hell springs to mind!) So- here are some

ocTEL MOOC- Week 0

Over the next few weeks I am juggling several balls and trying to keep them all in the air at once. This includes the ocTEL course. I plan to engage in some way every week and I’m not sure what this will look like every week but I’m hoping it

A Journey to Remember: Auschwitz

Wednesday 30th April 2014 is a date I am certain to never forget. It’s not because of the early start. It isn’t because of the delays at UK border control and it isn’t because of the early morning bedtime. It isn’t even because of the slight madness of visiting Poland


The day of #PedagooLondon had arrived. Days like these, although wonderfully inspirational, do provide sufficient moments of trepidation for me. Yesterday, I almost bottled it. All those people. All those Twitter folk. All those potential moments of small talk looming. If I wasn’t a good sleeper, it would have been

Mystery Books

Last week, I wrapped a whole bunch of books in brown paper. Every book had some connection to the novels being studied at present by AS students. Each wrapped book had a huge question mark drawn on the front of it.

The Elusive Grade One

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now and like many of my posts, it was published and then unpublished and then published again until we get to the point I’m at now: finally choosing to publish for good.

Writing Confessional

This is a lesson that creates an immersive environment for students and should be done in a class where the students trust one another and you as it should be a supportive and encouraging process.

Learning Journals: student reflection

This term, I’m reviving a lot of strategies from their cobweb covered boxes in the loft. I often try things in the classroom, find them working and then put them away again. I’ve often reflected on such bad habits and found I became increasingly irritated by my behaviour. I have accepted


The term is over and so is the teaching year. I wrote a ‘Top 10 of 2013‘ at the end of term but then I saw that everyone was doing the #nurture1314 thing and like a sheep, I’m going to follow the crowd. Here are my top 13 successes of 2013:

A Week with Ofsted

I wrote this 1 week ago: I have never had the inclination to blog on the wider issues relating to our job. I’ve never felt the need to, what with so much writing on the subject being blown around from very other direction. Yet this week, and especially this day,

A Love for Poetry is Born

I never loved poetry until I came to teach it. Before this point, I could endure some of it but it mostly bored me to tears. I have, however, always  loved Wordsworth and I think I am probably in love with the guy. A few years ago, I visited his

Student Plans

Today, I was finalising the November issue of the College’s CPD magazine on target setting (see previous versions on assessment and high expectations) and I had one of my little brainwaves… or brain fidgets at the very least!

Video and Verbal Feedback

This year has seen some real success for me, one could even call it a breakthrough. My most popular post, fabulous feedback, was popular for a reason; it’s a great idea… If I do say so myself!

Learning: what is it all about?

I thought this would be a straightforward blog post to write. I recently stumbled across a reflection I’d written during my PGCE that I wanted to share; all I had to do was type it here.

My First Year in Teaching- 2009

This reflection has been dug-out of a dusty folder and was written in my first year of teaching and PGCE, 2009. At a time when the complexities of teaching seem too big to overcome, I hope I’ll find some solace in the optimism and naivety of ‘my first reflection.’

A New Year, A New Tour of C6

A new year, presents a fresh start and one of my first starting places was my classroom. My students have had their first week of lessons in the room and these are some of the new changes and displays:

Fabulous Feedback

There are a number of areas of my teaching practice that I’m looking to seriously improve this year and I’ve been writing about each aspect over the last few weeks. Perhaps of the utmost importance is feedback and marking.

Promotion of reading

For a while now, I have known that students aren’t reading nearly enough. Most of them read what they need to but rarely do they explore outside of the necessaries. Despite this, I am certain their consumption of words has dramatically increased. Unfortunately, I’m just as certain that the quality

Student Responsibility

In 2013- 2014, I am making a number of fundamental changes to my teaching. Over the next few days, I will share these with you. I am excited about them; I fully believe they will change my teaching and my students’ learning for the better. The first is about changing

No More Excuses

Writing on this site is often a necessary catharsis. I am compelled to openly reflect on my teaching practice. To those of you reading, apologies. I am not thinking of you a great deal of the time. It’s me, not you. This isn’t a break-up as such but it is

2012- 2013 Reflections

This year has been full of trials and tests for me. I moved to Reading in September with plenty of excitement but with a large dollop of trepidation. Everything would be unfamiliar and no doubt challenging.

Learning Mats for TeachTweet #ukedchat

If you’ve read my recent posts, you’ll know that I am throwing myself into scary things. This was the first challenge I reluctantly signed up to and it’s been a long wait for it to actually take place!


So the dreaded day had arrived- #TMOxford! Why dreaded you ask? How could a room full of teachers sharing ideas be a bad thing? I would be one of the so called ‘presenters’…

Tech Toolbox: StudyStack Flashcards

Study Stack is fantastic. The wonderful @gnarcue first introduced me to it. Initially, I wasn’t so sure it would become part of my regular technology diet.

Using Twitter as CPD

When I first heard about Twitter, I couldn’t see the point. Why would I use it? I already had Facebook for annoying updates on my banal activities, why would I need another place to do this? Then I became a teacher and it all became clear. Why? Twitter is full

The Ghost of Failure

I have been meaning to write this post for some time now, but couldn’t work out exactly how. I’ve been lying awake and it’s no good. Sleep isn’t coming just yet so, pondering failure, I am choosing to write a possible failure of a post. It is at this time

Classroom Environment Changes This Term

Those of you who follow my blog regularly may have noticed that I love my classroom and I’m very into #poundlandpedagogy– see here and here. Over Easter, I wanted to transform elements of my classroom and it has been happening gradually- much more will hopefully occur in the summer.

Make Collaborative Working… Work!

Over the last couple of years, I have worked a great deal on considering how students might make the most of their group work situations. Much of this consideration centered around engaging those who are forever content to sit back and let others work.

How Dark Matter Brightened my Day

Teaching can often be a challenge to the most positive among us and so I thought I’d share a little joy with you today. During my lesson this evening, I unwittingly became a part of a truly outstanding lesson. This elusive quality was flaunted right in front of me in

Ode to C6 or why having your own classroom is fab!

As many of you will know, I recently made the move from my beloved north to the dreaded south of the country! I sought adventure, career progression and fun. For a long time, I felt none of my aims were being achieved and I know how pointless outstanding targets are