Did lockdown significantly impact upon children’s learning? That is the question on every educationalist’s lips.
The belief that it did presupposes that without school closures, children would have retained the knowledge they were due to be taught.
The other presupposition is that an immediate release of £1 billion — with almost no strings attached — will result in a significant difference to children’s attainment.
I think these are both contentious claims, for reasons I will outline below. I also have an idea for how the government might better spend that £1 billion.
I was intrigued by this article in the…
If primary schools are to close down (which looks increasingly likely), the question of what to do will be weighing heavily on a lot of leaders’ minds.
I am very concerned about the amount of guff I have read online about deploying Skype and other such tools to carry on lessons ‘as normal’. While presumably well-intentioned, I think this would be a catastrophically bad idea.
Even if primary schools had 6 months to prepare how they were going to live-Skype their lessons, the overwhelming odds would still dictate that:
Why are almost a quarter of children unable to write effectively when they leave primary school?
It’s worth noting that this ‘quarter’ could well be much more than that, given that writing is teacher-assessed and overwhelmingly not moderated (and in the 25% of cases where it is moderated, the evidence suggests it is done poorly).
For a quick reminder of expectations for children’s writing at the end of primary school, click here.
I can’t be the only teacher who looks at that list and thinks, almost every time, “This is a lot more basic than I remembered.”
It seems a…
Ok, let me be completely transparent from the outset:
Reading comprehension strategies (or skills) are often lumped together and presented as…
Here’s a 2 minute summary of this post, for those in a hurry:
Some of you might have seen me tweet recently about a friend who called me in tears, on the verge of quitting teaching forever.
In this short blogpost, I want to address one of the more pernicious aspects of her workload and appeal to the headteachers and assessment leads who are still demanding that teachers use trackers to record vast swathes of nothingness.
I’ve tweeted before about something I call the ‘Data Evilness Index’ (DEI).
All schools that use trackers (to tick off curriculum objectives for each child) automatically generate a Data Evilness Index. Some are worse than others.
This is part two of my ‘Small is Beautiful’ series on the need to radically reduce the primary curriculum to ensure fluency in the core areas of reading, writing and maths.
In part one, I re-wrote the maths curriculum. It can be found here (along with a 60-second summary of the blog), but you don’t need to read it before reading part two.
“Whenever something is wrong, something is too big.” Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations
“Any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture, simplicity.”
― Ernst F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
Here’s a 60-second summary of this post, for those in a hurry:
I’ve learned a lot from traditionalist teachers: the effectiveness of direct instruction, the relevance of cognitive science and the importance of knowledge.
These are the mainstays of my teaching practice, and I’ve always liked one of the more common traditionalist refrains — that we should focus on teaching the ‘best that has been thought and said’ (as problematic as such a thought may be).
However, there is something missing in almost all of the traditionalist discourse, and that is…nature. Or more specifically, the importance of children spending time in and learning about nature.
Before writing this blog, I began a…
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