Education Panorama (July ’14) by @TeacherToolkit

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 decided to bring my monthly newsletter back ‘in-house’ after three months flirting with Tiny Newsletter.

It has taken me several months to curate the title for my newsletter. Er, well no. actually, I tell a lie; less than a minute to coin the title, The Educational Panorama, which aims to capture a summary of everything from the online edu-sphere of bloggers and tweeters across the UK from my own little bubble.

Education Panorama

If you are new to my monthly newsletters, you can expect to find the following:

  • all the links to all the articles I have shared over the past 30 days,
  • plus the blogs that have caught my eye in Twitter/Edu-sphere.

In my last Newsletter in June, I reported the every student and teacher throughout the country had now reached the pinnacle of the academic season. As I write this, examinations are virtually all over and we are closing in on the end of another academic year. Spare a thought for teachers still slogging away at BTEC coursework, chasing students to squeeze everything they possibly can out of the 100% available.

In the real world, when we do get time away from our stack of marking, we are in the thick of the Brazilian World Cup and Wimbledon is has just served its first punnet of strawberries! By the time I write my next edition of Education Panorama, we will be in full summer-swinging-holiday-mode !


  1. My very last blog in May, was how to Get your #AssemblyMojo working; with over 3,000 views on it’s first day. If you are looking for assembly ideas, then this post may be for you.
  2. My first blog in June was a very affordable case-study of visualisers for every teacher’s classroom: Using @IPEVO in all classrooms throughout my school.  It’s a useful case-study for schools wanting to improve the quality of teaching through imagery.
  3. Ofsted finally announced a NO lesson-gradings pilot in the Midlands. I’m confident this will be rolled out across England and Wales from September 2014. Hurrah for @OfstedNews! #NoMoreGrades
  4. Heard about The Last Lecture? This is a must read for everyone. I will be using the same format and applying this concept to school life, when planning my leaving speech next week.
  5. Matt Roberts asks is self-assessment effective?
  6. Having interviewed a number of staff this year, including my own job-hunting experiences; given the latest Ofsted news to remove lesson-gradings, I ask if the role of observations at interview are now defunct. What do you think? Can we judge one-off lesson observations (at interview) in the same way?
  7. On June 15th, I shared my Fathers Day reflections.
  8. On June 16th I attended a roundtable meeting at Education Guardian. the topic; one that is very close to all our hearts. Staff wellbeing. Support teachers in the face of growing challenge.
  9. Just last week, I attended and presented at 3 different CPD events. Here, I present an insight into my working week – outside the classroom – and my Creative Theory.
  10. @LeadingLearner and I published our very first joint resource – pay per download – called #BeyondLessonObs which as part of a 3-part series to help schools more towards a formative method of working with teachers, without lesson judgements. It has proved incredibly popular!
  11. As part of my own research for my new book, I blog here about Flashbulb Memory; a very interesting concept in itself – even more so when this theory could possibly be applied to the classroom. It’s a frequent occurrence blogging about exciting topics, but this post really got my fingers buzzing!
  12. Earlier this week, I took part in a @PivotalEducation Podcast. The article is here and you can listen to my story here.
  13. And finally, as part of my own job-hunting experience this academic year, I build up an in-tray exercise and publish this resource to share with aspiring senior leaders. The blog is here. Why not test yourself?


Here are some of the blogs I’ve noticed over the past 30 days. Hard to keep up with them all as more and more teachers are reflecting online. I’ve tried my best to read as much as I can and represent the blogs that have ‘pricked the ears’ on those who talk about all-things-teaching online.

  1. @DebraKidd share the success of Northern Rock and says, despite the pain, she would do it all again. In the Name of Hope. Northern Rocks 2014. There is a great overview of the day in video here.
  2. @ChocoTzar shares an important child protection issue in her blog, A Happy Ending? This captures the reality of our role as teachers, to safeguard children.
  3. Following my trip to Education Guardian, @JordyJax blogs about Well-being and work/life balance. The highlight for all teachers reading this, is that there are no easy answers and that we need to love ourselves more and give ourselves time to switch off from the demands of the classroom.
  4. Executive headteacher Stephen Tierney shares with his readers, why @SLTchat could be the Best CPD Ever.
  5. Deputy headteacher @Benneypenyrheol, records his thoughts on education and learning with his school blog: The Fabulous Fortnightly Fifteen Minute Forum
  6. Tom Sherrington is a regular feature in my monthly digest. No less than 4 times throughout June! In his first blog, he discusses the power of simple core principles. That we should always recognise that everyone has different values and priorities; people are autonomous beings. In my second pick from Tom, here he gives a balanced and rational view of book, Seven Myths. Although we accept that some myths may exist, we have to consider the assertions presented and remember, that this is just one point of view. The dangers lies in the transparency of a truly open and honest debate.
  7. In my third pick from Tom, he writes a response to a blogger where he presents again, the rationale view, that there is too much hype around ‘Myths’ given the research standard that’s been employed. I have read many blogs tete-a-tete. Are we in danger of losing our (blogger) moral purpose? Finally, on pretty much on the same theme, Tom writes an excellent overview of the Education Festival. I’m still not convinced that EF is the kind of ‘festival’ for me. Last year I was invited to speak. I cannot remember why I did not attend; it must have been the pressures of completing my first book, but I’m interested in the debate and not the event. Reading that Katie Hopkins(!) was speaking, may be the final nail in the coffin! In Tom’s Signals and Noises in the EduSphere he sums up his past month online (i.e. the second and third blogs I have listed above), and describes the lessons he has learned from the experience. It’s worth sharing Tom’s views here as a checklist for all tweeters and bloggers:
    • The bigger the audience, the more public the profile.
    • Blog exchanges are a better place to exchange comments but to some extent, the blog posts need to stand as they are. 
    • When [he] disagrees with someone or reviews their work, imagine sitting in front of them, face to face, before [he] expresses (broadcast) views. In short, more signal, less noise.
  8. My sixth blog-pick from the month of June, is a post by deputy headteacher Shaun Allison, who shares his EduBook Club proposals. An idea I have trialled  in my current place of work throughout 2013/14. But what I really like in Shaun’s post, is the action research model, the impact and potential follow-up; the dialogue and the love of reading promoted throughout his school. It’s worth the read and I can’t wait to read what happens next!
  9. @cleverfiend shares a very important post for all those experiencing Ofsted observations: How to request your observation notes from Ofsted.
  10. Evidence Based Practice – is it just a buzz-word? asks Jose Picardo
  11. Alex Quigley also blogs; The Problem with Research Evidence in Education with a follow up here.
  12. I was also impressed with @OldAndrewUk‘s updated collection of articles here: A blog about secondary education: an enormous wealth of thought.
  13. And finally, a blog that you may need to revisit due to the nature and depth of the post. Improving Teacher Effectiveness through Student Surveys by @Enrich_Ed sums up the cacophony of noise in the educational community, from the competing and adversarial self-interested cries of practitioners, policy makers, education providers and  teaching unions. That all that matters is the quality of teaching and learning. On that note, I’ll end Education Panorama for this month.

By the time I update my readers in August, you (and I) will all be enjoying a well-deserved holiday! Have a great summer.



‘Saving teachers time and money!’

Tweet – @TeacherToolkit – The most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK.
Web – – Ranked the no. 1 educational blog in the UK.

by @DodgyEye aka Ross McGill
Photo by @DodgyEye aka Ross McGill

4 thoughts on “Education Panorama (July ’14) by @TeacherToolkit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.