Schools, like the rest of society, are learning how to manage mental health, wellbeing, and mindfulness. Mental health and mental wellbeing are synonyms to describe our current state of mind. Mindfulness describes our awareness of ourselves, and the world around us, in the present moment. Mindfulness techniques help our mental wellbeing. Like most parents you’ll […]
Quality of teaching
Quality of teaching refers to a group of objective indicators such as class sizes and pupil/teacher ratios, pastoral care, specialist teaching, setting and streaming, pastoral care, SEN provision, gifted and talented, progress monitoring and intervention, and homework.
Are you tempted to choose a school because you like one or two particular teachers? Or because the head claims that the school has better teachers? Or might these objective indicators give a more holistic view of teaching in the school?
Home schooling used to be a choice made out of necessity or for negative reasons. That’s changing. As far as I can tell, parents find home schooling rewarding. But I don’t often hear positive reasons for choosing it. It’s as though it’s not a preferred option. I wonder if that’s going to change because the […]
One in ten school pupils is receiving help from a private tutor. I was at a drinks party recently where some Year 5 parents were debating the merits of having a private tutor. I know, I go to some crazy parties. But I consider this a natural stage along the car, mortgage, school, private tutor, […]
A lesson observation is the only way to see how teaching works in a school. If you are not a teacher and have no training in teaching I cannot recommend highly enough that you find a way to observe a lesson at a school. I’m sure you’ll be impressed. Schools won’t thank me for suggesting […]
Smaller isn’t necessarily better when it comes to school class sizes There are many truisms for what constitutes a better school education. One of them is that smaller class sizes lead to better academic performance. It may be true, but it’s not proven. It’s possibly a reaction to constant upward pressure on class sizes and […]
Subject specialist teaching brings expertise to a classroom. But subjects aren’t the only specialism. When someone introduces themselves as, say, a science teacher I would naturally assume that they had some sort of qualification in teaching and some sort of qualification in science. After all, teachers should be qualified and specialists in the subjects they […]
Schools use many processes and techniques to safeguard and provide pastoral care to their pupils. Here are some of them. Pastoral care is the provision the school makes to ensure the physical and emotional welfare of your child. You’ll know when it works. A successful pastoral care programme means that your child is safe, happy, […]
Most answers to the homework question start with “it depends”. Here’s why. Who likes homework? No-one. Children certainly don’t. After a long day at school they are tired and grumpy about it. After a long day at work parents are tired and grumpy at the prospect of making their children do it. Cue the familial […]
Providing for the more able, gifted and talented should be more than just a few extra problems for homework. The best definition I’ve seen of More Able, Gifted and Talented comes courtesy of Françoys Gagné. “Gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human […]
Ability setting or mixed ability classes? Either way, it’s still setting to a degree. Around 80% of state primary schools have only mixed ability classes. The majority of state secondary schools, nominally mixed ability, have setting to some degree. And, surprising as it may seem, the numbers are identical for independent schools. When a school […]
School reports and parents evenings are snapshots of a pupil’s past achievements and progress. They should be an integral part of a forward looking process. Typically twice a year, school reports are an opportunity to take stock of a pupil’s progress, a snapshot. They include a summary of what the curriculum has covered and will […]
A summary of what Special Educational Needs mainstream schools accommodate and how they provide for them. Special Educational Needs (SEN) refers to the needs of a child who has a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. Having a Special Educational Need is […]
In this article I’m going to provide the briefest of briefing notes on some teaching styles. Some you may have heard of, some you may dismiss as fads and buzzwords. I’ve included them because I think they have merit in a balanced teaching tool kit. If I hear a teacher talk about them I take […]