Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ailie MacAdam - Inspirational Women

Be inspired by the career of Ailie MacAdam who has led some of the world’s biggest engineering rail projects, including the St Pancras International refurbishment, High Speed One (HS1) and Crossrail.

Ailie MacAdam is global rail sector lead for the engineering, project management and construction company, Bechtel. She joined Bechtel as a graduate chemical engineer in 1985 and has worked there ever since. She’s worked at a senior level on Boston’s road infrastructure, led St Pancras International refurbishment and High Speed One (HS1) rail project. She was also Bechtel’s project director for Crossrail.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Invitation to the National Women's Day Twitter Chat - 8th March 2018

Invitation to join a Twitter chat on Thursday 8th March at 7:00pm to celebrate International Women’s Day! This is fantastic opportunity to get our teeth under some of the challenges that Women Leading in Education (WLE) might face in their working environment.

The chat will be led by @TeachSchCouncil and will last approximately 30 minutes. Please follow @TeachSchCouncil if you don’t already!

2018 International Women’s Day theme #pressforprogress is following the report from the World Economic Forum 2017 Gender Gap Report outlining the gender parity is still 200 years away.

@TeachSchCouncil will pose a few questions for the chat to fuel the discussion but please feel free to send any ideas you might have around this topic.

International Women’s Day is also a great opportunity for:
  • People who are interested in coaching women in education to progress into leadership
  • Women in education who are interested in receiving coaching to help them to progress to leadership
  • Anyone who is interested in supporting women in education to progress to leadership.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Google Training Boot Camp - Mead Primary

Our teaching school is delighted to be offering a chance to qualify as a Google Educator! 

Date: May 3rd
Venue: Mead Primary, RM3 9JD


Get Certified

Want to learn new skills and prove your proficiency? The Google Certified Educator Level 1 Bootcamp prepares you to take Google's exam by providing pedagogically sound ideas for the use of G Suite in the classroom. You'll leave with new ideas for using tools across the suite including Google Classroom, Forms, Docs, Sheets, YouTube and more! We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!

Reach the Next Level

Achieved Google Certified Educator Level 1 and want to take things up a notch? Attend the AppsEvents Google Certified Educator Level 2 Bootcamp to learn how to take your G Suite usage beyond the core apps. You'll get experience with add-ons and extensions as well as expanding your knowledge of YouTube, Blogger and more. We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Improving Vocabulary in EYFS

If we want to close the vocabulary and attainment gap that already exists by the age of 3, we need to seriously reconsider our practice. Some children will require a more targeted approach for speech and language development but targeted doesn't have to mean boring. However a huge percentage of supporting behaviour and communication is done by following what a child is interested in and adapting the learning there and then to their specific level of need. When you get down at their level and you follow a child’s lead, you can really enhance their vocabulary / enrich their learning.

Here is a scenario where a great opportunity to develop speech and vocabulary is missed:
A little girl comes into the nursery and finds her name for self-registration (or rather the picture next to her name. She’s only just turned 3.) Her picture is a kite, which just so happens to be the school emblem so we all have one on our t-shirts. 
The EYP says “look what you’ve got! It’s the same as mine. I have one on my t-shirt.” All credit to the EYP, she didn’t ask “what is it?” The staff know I dislike boring test questions. But I was curious, so I asked the girl and of course she didn’t know. Because not once during her self-registration had she heard from her mum, or the EYP “it’s a kite. You’ve got a kite. I’ve got a kite too. It flies in the sky when it’s windy.”

Yes, the EYP was interacting with the child, getting down at her level and even following her interest. But the child left that interaction with no more vocabulary than when she came in.

These tips would be a good starting point:
  • With every nursery activity (such as circle time) consider... is every child benefitting from this activity? Or is it the same chatty few that are participating every time? What changes could be made to ensure every child is included? This might mean smaller groups, shorter time in a circle or adapting your language and expectation according to their need.
  • Does every child start with a clean slate every day? Or does your staff use langauge such as "I hope we are going to have a better day than yesterday."
  • If a child is "misbehaving" (also known as 'has not received the memo of what your expectations are for the day.') was the activity chosen and led by them...or you?
  • If a child is "misbehaving," do they actually understand what is expected of them? Or do you need to support that understanding by using visuals, gestures or simplifying the instruction?
Read the full article here

Child Led Learning & Speech & Language

Friday, 2 March 2018

NPQ Executive Leadership - deadline extension

Dear colleagues

Due to bad weather conditions that caused school closures this week, we decided to extend the registration deadline for the NPQEL course.

We will be accepting applications until Friday, 9 March.

The new NPQ for Executive Leadership is aimed at the growing number of head teachers who are taking on responsibility for more than one school.

The fully blended learning approach with HEI backed content (meaning that participants can go on to achieve an MBA from Liverpool Hope University), combined with executive coaching and enrichment activity from within and outside the education sector, make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for executive leaders.

Candidates working in Opportunity Areas or Category 5 and 6 LA will be eligible for full course funding; you can find more information here.

Please could you share the below link to the registration page within your network:

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership

Any questions? Contact us on 0117 9209 424 or email

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Inspiring A Love of Reading

If you ask an adult for their earliest memory of stories, books and reading they will often recall the oral tales told by parents, grandparents or the “classic” stories, which adults read to young children. However, since the Industrial Revolution, governments and some employers are often quoted as seeing a decline in literacy, which in turn affects our nation’s ability to compete with the world. (Brown, 2007).

The development of early language and literacy begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. Current research demonstrates the critical role of these early experiences in shaping brain development.

Views on learning literacy:
Learners should understand and experience the purposes and functions of language before learning to manipulate its constituent parts. 
Oral and written language have to be learned in meaningful and enjoyable circumstances, and thus children construct language as they use it.
Certain conditions support this approach with children, such as: 
  • immersion in print, 
  • demonstration of how print and books are used,
“Nurture shapes nature”
Giving children an appreciation of a wide range of literature underpins and supports their development of understanding in reading by providing meaningful experience of rhythm, sequence and narrative, tone and intonation, pauses, rhyme, and alliteration. Stories and poems help children understand sequence and narrative, as well as creating meaning, writing sentences, composing their own stories, and making their own non-fiction books based on their interests.

Early literacy research states that:
  • Language, reading, and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked;
  • Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the early years;
  • Early literacy skills develop in real-life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.
Using books:
Children with individual needs will need support in developing a range of appropriate behaviours with books. These will include:
  • The physical manipulation or handling of books, such as page turning rather than chewing, tearing or throwing them;
  • Learning to look at and pay attention to pictures in books;
  • Learning to show recognition of and a beginning of understanding of pictures in books, such as pointing to pictures of familiar objects;
  • Gaining an understanding of pictures, events and story comprehension such as imitating an action seen in a picture or talking about the events in a story; and
  • Verbally interacting with stories and books alongside increasing their understanding of print in books such as babbling in imitation of reading or running fingers along printed words
Encouraging children with special educational needs to enjoy books
A climate of fun and multi-sensory experience that is based in children’s interests is key to making books and reading enjoyable. Ideally practitioners should not be building barriers but breaking them down according to the unique needs of the children. These can be assisted by the following ideas:
  • Encouraging a variety of reading role-models to boost self-esteem alongside skills, e.g. older children and parents.
  • Using books with a range of positive images so children can recognize themselves and children like them, including making books about them.
  • Bringing in real authors, poets and illustrators to share their enthusiasm, having researched their ability to communicate with the children in your school/setting.
  • Providing daily routines such as story times every day in comfortable environments, alongside flexibility (e.g. indoors and outside). Some children with particular needs may need one-to-one stories using such useful tools as multi-sensory Book Boxes in order to understand the concept of story time.

Teaching language and literacy via the use of books demands the highest quality teaching. This in turn requires knowledge, insight and curiosity about how children learn and develop alongside their unique interests and needs. Practitioners need to:
  • display a genuine commitment to holistic learning
  • practise joyful, playful teaching and learning.
  • show a problem-solving disposition themselves and a ‘can-do’ attitude 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Precise Practice

Have you ever been disappointed with pupil outcomes despite having spent lots of time practising the skills that you thought they needed?

The issue might be that the practice wasn't precise enough, or maybe they were practising the wrong things. So how might we improve this? How can we get pupils to practise the right things? And how can we ensure that teachers are given the most precise and useful information about their pupils’ progress and areas for development?

Sequencing activities:
Pupils sometimes struggle to make connections across whole texts. Rather than waiting until pupils have read the whole story, it is often useful to ask pupils to put events into order even when they only have the bare bones of the story. If they understand the key moments in the text it is more likely that they will be able to then add extra detail and description.

Once they have grasped the sequence of major events in the plot, you can then begin to weave in questions about particular ideas, themes or images in the plot. 

Quick Listing
Sometimes, a good old fashioned ‘mind map’ (or a list if that makes more sense for the content your pupils are studying- I don’t think it really matters) can be a really useful form of retrieval practice, particularly for those pupils who have struggle to think of points to make in their writing. 

These activities test memory, of course, but they also give the teacher a sense of how much pupils know about specific topics. They tell you whether your class are ready to move on, can help to shine a light on misconceptions, and might provide a spring board on which to add further details about a particular idea or topic, as a way to deepen understanding.

Concept Links
In order to develop their understanding of connections between ideas in a text, and to improve their interpretations, pupils need lots of opportunities to think about connections and interpretations. Asking them questions that force them to choose between different interpretations helps to cement their understanding whilst making this visible to the teacher.

As you move forward you can increase the complexity by being less specific, and depending less on the most obvious description of the characters.

Because/But/So sentences:
This idea comes from this book, which is brilliantly summarised here. The idea is that you give pupils the same sentence stem, changing only the final word (to either ‘because’, ‘but’ or ‘so’). For example:
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ because
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ but
Arthur Birling perceives refers as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ so

What I particularly like about these questions is that they really force pupils to think about their answers. They have to draw on their knowledge of the plot, characters and ideas. These sentence stems also provide pupils with the opportunity to practise writing out the kinds of sentences they might have to write in an extended piece of writing later, but without having to worry about everything else. As ever, starting with sentence-level drills aids and supports writing further down the line.

Read the full article here