#Vamoose! I’m off…

Reading time: 5


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

I’ve had a special relationship with the TES, becoming a online member on 11th December 2006. I’ve been reading their tabloid since I can remember, as well as using their website for job-searching purposes. I have a great deal to thank them for. As for @TESResources; well, like many others, I’ve been using the resources section more recently to find information; to search for ideas and also share my own thoughts for free…

An innocent looking open-sourced website for teachers...
An innocent looking website for teachers…

It was of course, where I myself, decided to share The 5 Minute Lesson Plan with the world(!) 2 or 3 years ago. By using the TES Resources website, they have allowed me to express myself and engage with the teaching community worldwide. I cannot thank them enough for this. Sharing ideas has been a staggering journey for me; but, with the explosion of blogging and social media being used more and more for educational purposes, times have changed for The TES and all of us.

We can all now share resources alone… without the need for corporation proprietary.




… Have a little think about this. As of today, I have 250,000 views for one resource. 138,000 downloads and in 140 countries. This must be great news for The TES and their website. But read this carefully, as stated in the Terms and Conditions page:

Rights in posted content

“With respect to all Content you post on the Websites, you grant TSL Education a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and licence to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. With respect to all Content you post to the Websites, you hereby waive any moral rights you have in the Content. You agree to perform all further acts necessary to perfect any of the above rights granted by you to TSL Education, including the execution of deeds and documents, at our request.

You will… immediately remove and notify us of any Content that does not does not comply with these Terms and Conditions or may infringe the rights of third parties. You agree to … Terms and Conditions.”

The TES nuts:

In a nutshell
In a nutshell

In a nutshell, I lose most of my rights once I upload a resource to their website!

As time has moved on over the past 18 months, I have shared a total of 33 resources on the TES; all of them generating over 450,000 views across the globe and hopefully making an impact on hundreds of teachers and thousands and thousands of students in schools. Great!

These statistics in itself, are powerful.

Using the potential of social-media and blogging, I and a few others, have come to discover the ‘power of the people’, for making your own resources available to thousands and thousands of other teachers, for free. But what other business sectors would accept this? And also doing this for free?


As a teaching profession, we can be exploited by others. Maybe exploitation is a harsh term to use and  I refer to the following examples for some typical school purchases:

  • On-site training at your school. I can give you examples of £2,000-5,000 for 1 days consultancy.
  • Management Information System support and site-licences. For a large secondary school, this can exceed £50,000!
  • External one-day training events. Anything from £150 to £700!
  • Teacher resources. A simple CD-ROM and annual licence can top £1,500!
  • Student support material. As above, depending on the number of students.

We are happy to share freely amongst ourselves; helping the schools we work in and local networks. However, this is gradually changing speed with the introduction of Teaching Schools. Schools are funded to be leading providers for a ‘hub’ area and in return, either use these sums of cash to design and sustain CPD courses, yet quote other schools in return for a service level agreement (fee). For example, in the last 2 months, I have been quoted between £500 – £1500 for ‘support services’ from 3 separate schools, for resources we can deliver ourselves in-house. This was for simple teaching and learning services between schools that would be common practice in a local authority. (n.b. schools still pay for LEA services).

This had made me think about the potential of some of the teaching and learning programmes we have generated in our own school. We are left with the dichotomy of supporting each other, yet having to make a small profit in return for services offered.

Is privatisation of schools starting to filter through at ground level?

Budget holders in schools make decisions on how best to spend public money, to pay for consultancy; resources; local authority support services and more. But, beyond accountability and fair expenditure, we are now having to think about other ways our schools can start to generate an income beyond typical money sourced through admissions; sponsors; great results and so forth.

Change of heart:

So, back to The TES and why the change of heart? And what’s different for me? And why have I taken the time to write about going it alone?

This email below, was the catalyst for this change of heart:

The straw the broke the camel's back...
The straw the broke the camel’s back… (click to enlarge)


I replied in a small state of shock, and here is their reply below:

The second blog (teachertoolkit.me) did not appear to breach our terms.
The second blog (teachertoolkit.me) did not appear to breach our terms. (click to enlarge)


… I then spent a small amount of time searching for resources and discovered that I was not alone.

TES email
(click to enlarge)

TES emailAn example of the 2nd link in the image above when the hyperlink is clicked, is posted below and shows that the final destination leads to a Sesame Street resource being sold for $17.95.

Sesame Street resources for sale on TES - shared by @IanMcDaid
Sesame Street resources for sale on TES – shared by @IanMcDaid

TES response:

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 14.18.16
(click to enlarge)

TES email

Blah, blah, blah:

… and so it goes on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

@TeacherToolkit options:

  • stop sharing any further resources with the TES.
  • remove the link on my website that promotes the purchasing of my book.
  • or, continue to upload resources to TES Resources, but do not include any links that re-direct the viewer back to my website.
  • start uploading resources to my own website for my audience to download. No login required. No terms and conditions violated!
  • move my resources to another forum, such as Teachers Pay Teachers in the USA?
  • or, keep sharing and consider offering resources for free and some larger and popular resources and files via a pay-per-download resource page on my own website.
  • There are all sorts of options to consider…
'We all need to make a living.'
‘We all need to make a living.’

Conflict of interests:

  • Any savvy user can find all my TES resources and see that each of them have my @TeacherToolkit handle attributed to each resource in the title. They could then look me up on Twitter and see the link to my blog (selling my book) via my Twitter profile. A no-brainer really, but @TESRsources haven’t thought about that one.
  • The TES’s recent move to TESPro is evidence of a money-making corporation. In the words of a good friend, (they are) “happy to make a profit off your resources, but less happy for the contributors themselves to do so!” You can ignore that fact that it is a simple website that has time-saving tools such as reminders and a calendar. Everything you can find elsewhere for free! I thought this was a backwards step by The TES, but no doubt has generated a large income for them. They have already reduced the subscriptions fees from £30 to £19.99 per year.


My reasons for moving (or at least for now, to refrain from uploading any more) resources from the TES are now for all to see. I do know that I have my supporters and critics, and I am fully prepared for that now that I have published my intentions here.

What next?

You can continue to download all my resources, for FREE – from my own website – as I will no longer be uploading resources elsewhere. This will ensure I can only breach my own Terms and Conditions and mine alone. This will make my life far less complicated.

You will need to watch closely for developments…


Having caused a small furore on Twitter, as an outcome, I discovered the same dismay by @Ideas_Factory (Julian Wood) here. Thank you @LGolton; plus support from @HeadGuruTeacher over here. and some interesting evidence from Julia Taylor below.

(@missyjules1974 - on 8.9.13)
(@missyjules1974 – on 8.9.13)

23 thoughts on “#Vamoose! I’m off…

  1. The TES is a paper I have been reading for the past, er – 40 years 🙁 so I have feelings of loyalty (even though they besmirched my name in 2006 – see http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2206592 )

    My immediate reaction is one of intense disappointment in the TES’s stance – like you, I regarded the TES as a reputable resource bank for teachers, with items freely shared in a spirit of helpfulness. I confess that it didn’t occur to me to look at terms and conditions – and my resources do tend to have links that refer to the C2G website, to allow checking for updates. If they cannot allow such live links to a commercial site, they won’t be needing the C2G materials anymore ….

    I cannot compare to you as a contributor but as Clerkie’s resources on the TES site get regular viewings, I assume they’re useful to someone. (Views this week: 360 All time views: 98653 Downloads: 180 All time downloads: 48459)

    I shall leave this as a decision to mull over before acting, but I believe I shall be following suit and withdrawing current resources from the TES site, and not sharing any more in future.

    1. Have you only just discovered this? Tis the reason why I’ve never uploaded any resource on there.. what I give, I give freely to like-minded teachers. And IT friend of mine pointed this out to me some time ago when I had a request from a company to produce resources for it… Quite an eye-opener at the time!

  2. I have gone through the same thing. Link to my website (which I pay out of my own pocket) where I share for free resources but because I have recommended a company I was told they had to remove all the latest activities. I don’t upload on TES anymore. Great pity as it was a super way to share and get feedback.

  3. Thanks for posting all this. I too will have a serious think as a long time user / sharer. I will seriously consider before I share any more resources with them as well.

  4. Excellent Post Ross

    Thank you for the link to my original post on my website.

    I wrote it nearly a year ago and at the time there was a small twitter outcry. Hopefully your post will reach many more people and that the message will get across.

    I really do hope this serves as a warning to fellow educators that there are alternatives and that they don’t have to share there stuff on TES.

    Let’s hope a snowflake really can start an avalanche.

    Julian @ideas_factory

  5. Interesting:

    I read the terms and conditions and politely declined to work on resources to post precisely because I did not want to SURRENDER my rights.

    It’s an interesting situation. But nobody took anything from you. You did surrender your rights in exchange for reputation enhancement.

    It hasn’t worked out too badly. Overall.

    1. Pete,

      I have NO problem about their terms and conditions one iota. I fully anticpated to lose all my rights when uploading resources online etc.
      What I am miffed about, is that The TES have suddenly contacted me, as soon as I placed my ‘book for sale’ on my website. All the links pointing back to my website, were to useful blog posts to provide further reading for the user (downloader).

      What is even more frustrating, is that after a quick general search, I discovered several other resources selling products and links to company websites (see Sesame Street example). Totally contradictory; even though these sources ‘may’ be TES partners, most likely, paying a fee in return for advertising their resources.

      I am allowed to add my website address as a basic HTML code; but not as a direct hyperlink to my website. So, despite the fact that mpst of my resources have @TeacherToolkit in the title (Directing the reader to my Twiter/website); I could include my webiste addrees to my blog or book sale without any fuss. As I said, it is ok for them to make profit out of me, but not me out of them.

      I think the post has highlighted T&Cs in general for a website we all have used; and it may make us all now think twice about sharing resources – especially the ones that are great ideas, that may lead to future publications and revenue (which would then breach the T&cs).

      The solution. If you can host your own resources; copyrtight them and do it yourself.

  6. Hi,

    I walked away from a collaboration with TES when I read the T&Cs. There is no way I am Surrendering my rights by ticking a box.

    Beware of adopting the stance of a victim here. You chose to surrender your rights to the content when you uploaded. Nobody took it, you have it.

    The trouble with dancing with devil…..

      1. It’s not a flaw in their T&Cs.
        They are very clear and clever and they could not have telegraphed their intentions to go behind a pay wall any more clearly.
        TES learned from their attempts to use a hashtag #ukedchat to build their reputation and were left looking vain and shallow.
        Still – it’s all a learning curve.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to post all this. We took our resources off when we first read @Ideas_Factory’s article that you cited (it made us really angry) and thought this one would be similar…

    As it happens, you’ve gone and found another few reasons to think twice before sharing resources via the TES website. Hope it makes lots of people think before uploading. Your content isn’t your own, folks.

    Used to really like the TES as a paper and what it provided in terms of allowing people to share resources. Sadly, that’s no longer the case.

  8. Pingback: We need to act more like professionals about our resourcs | ClassroomTM
  9. Pingback: #Vamoose and #Skedaddle – What next @ideas_factory? | @Ideas_Factory The blog of Julian S. Wood

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