Education Panorama (September ’14) by @TeacherToolkit

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Education Panorama Newsletter by @TeacherToolkit


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...
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A bloggers anthology of what’s being going on in the education sector over the summer months …

For this blog, you’ll need a hot drink and a comfy chair. You will almost certainly need to come back to re-read this in order to digest it all.

Education Panorama

In The Educational Panorama September 2014 edition – this monthly newsletter aims to capture a summary of everything from the online edu-sphere of bloggers and tweeters across the UK. In my August newsletter I wrote about how teachers were seeing a brief respite to their piles of marking.

Wellbeing, curriculum change and assessment, as well as England’s teacher-strike in July continued to dominate the press. Now, we are nearing the end of our well-deserved summer break. Germany are the champions of football and we now have a new Secretary of State for Education here in England! Did anyone predict that? This September edition features less about what I have written and more about what you have to say. It naturally features stories about going back to school, and I’ve featured (I promise) only one or two blogs about examinations and results!

If you are new to this monthly newsletter, you can expect to find the following:

  • Education: all the links to all the articles @TeacherToolkit has shared over the past 30 days,
  • Panorama: plus the blogs that have caught @TeacherToolkit‘s eye online, plus any interesting events in the real world of education.

By the time I write my next edition of Education Panorama, we’ll all be back to school. Until that happens, enjoy the read!


  1. My Education Panorama (August) newsletter featured 40 blogs from across the UK and has now reached 5,000+ readers. Thank you for tuning in.
  2. Very popular tips for Tweeting Teachers I’ve received feedback on this blog from all four corners of the globe! Teachers are on Twitter!
  3. I then followed this up with 10 Tips for Blogging Teachers. Hard to believe I used to have 120 readers per day in September 2012.
  4. My favourite blog was No Man’s Land. Here, I share seasoned advice from colleagues moving between schools. It features in The Guardian today.
  5. If you only had Thirty words, 30 seconds, what advice would you give a colleague? I’ve had over 70 responses in one day for a proposed eBook.
  6. Finally, an update regarding The 5-Minute Lesson Plan. Next term, the idea goes digital. You can see a preview here and read a new FAQs section.

Teacher in classroom staring out window


Photo Credit: Djuliet via Compfight cc


Here are plenty – and I mean plenty – of blogs I’ve noticed over the past 30 days. As ever, it’s difficult to keep up with so many wonderful blogs as more teachers blog online. I’ve read as much as I can to represent the blogs that have ‘pricked the ears’ of all those who talk about all-things-education.

Teaching and Learning:

  1. I cannot start off with a great blog by @TrsitramSheperd who says; “the [teaching] debate should not really be focused on whether traditional teaching is any better or worse that so-called progressive teaching, but simply whether traditional and more progressive methods are being applied well or badly in the classroom.” Read more: You Say Right and I Say Left.
  2. @cazzypot asked for all “school leaders: please stop grading individual, snap-shot, lessons. Instead, look at the bigger picture …
  3. @benniekara writes “can this recipe be applied to teaching?” The Great British Bake Off / Teaching Mash Up.
  4. Following an exchange with @ChrisMoyse, here is a school that has not graded lesson observations for 4 years! A wealth of information.
  5. Two blogs this month by deputy headteacher @ChrisHildrew. The first is ‘A letter to my NQT self’ and the second, a good overview of everything about ‘Becoming a growth mindset school’ and the process involved.
  6. Talking of academic growth, psychology teacher Marc Smith writes two great blogs. In fact, he always write a great blog! The first is ‘Metacognition and Academic Growth’ which discusses cognition from a point of view for joining “up set of initiatives that incorporate other evidence-based interventions.” The second blog, is ‘Thinking about feedback’ and highlights – just one part of – how a strategy increases achievement, motivation and study skills. You can find him on Twitter at @PsychologyMarc
  7. In a great 4-part series for NQTs, @LearningSpy offers back to school advice. Part 1 on Routines is here, part 2 on Relationships, part 3 on Literacy, part 4 on Planning and part 5 on Marking. You’d be a fool to skip over these!
  8. Alex Quigley discusses The Perfect Teacher and reminds us all that “exhaustion is caused by the fruitless pursuit of perfection!”
  9. And this good news blog: Some of the best things about being a teacher by John Dexter.

Assessment / Exams / Feedback:

  1. More Than Grades is a response to Barrowford’s headteacher who wrote a letter home to her students that went viral. Written by @al_ackof
  2. Stephen Tierney shares The Results Collection, a blog to help school leaders at all levels complete their summer examination analysis.
  3. And on the same theme, headteacher John Tomsett writes What he did as a Headteacher when his GCSE results were in decline.
  4. A great summary by Maths teacher, John Smith on Hattie on The Educators – Know Thy Impact! which summarises a recent interview on Radio 4.

CPD / ITT / Resources:

  1. A timely reminder by Andrew Jones (@GoffsRS) with Coaching v mentoring: what works best for teachers?
  2. A blog by @dougjcullen and all doctoral students who are thinking about Making the move from academia to secondary.
  3. A very powerful read by @dodiscimus who came out of the classroom and into ITT: The Carter Review and the future of ITT. Much to digest here!
  4. @MrPRCollins shares his life in books and his own desire to write a book.
  5. A good resource by @mattbritland shares his webinar, How Your School can Maximise Its Online Potential.
  6. A lovely idea by @MohenniPatel, shares this classroom strategy; Ask 3 Before Me.
  7. A simple and effect classroom idea by @ReebekWylie called; “ I (don’t) like your behaviour!” which is a translation from an idea in my book.
  8. This blog by @DebraKidd, written in 2013 as we look to raise the profile for a Royal College of Teaching, read Debra’s ‘View from the Grass.

Leadership / Ofsted / DfE:

  1. In July, I met Beth Kelly at the annual BELMAS Conference. She tweets from @IMissChalk and in her blog, she dispels blogging myths with her leadership experiences in ‘The Via Negativa of SLT: what they are not.‘ It’s very refreshing!
  2. A welcome read by senior teacher @CherryLKD, which will delight those who are bored reading about leadership in schools being shunned on social media; In support of senior teachers and Outstanding.
  3. Ex headteacher and NCSL director Andy Buck writes about harnessing the benefits of dialogic teaching.
  4. Deputy headteacher, Damian Benney reflects on teaching throughout 2013-14, sharing what went well and what needs to be improved.
  5. In his first blog post-summer, Tom Sherrington shares his Contemporary educational ideas that all his new staff should know about. As ever, gripping and worthy of modelling.
  6. It’s a well-known fact there is a real shortage of headteachers – don’t let that put you off!  Reasons to be a Headteacher by @TamboTaylor
  7. Andrew Smith gets to meet and talk with Ofsted’s Sean Hartford and has his say in the latest guidance published. Well done OA and all those who attended. What I’d like to see this year, is if Ofsted and the DfE continue to consult bloggers and tweeters, then this must include teachers from a wider spectrum through a transparent recruitment process. I know this is still happening, because I was invited to a recent roundtable meeting at the DfE in July to consult on curriculum proposals. I didn’t attend due to prior commitments, but it highlights the disjunction between consultation, versus transparency.
  8. It was an “interesting couple of days for those of us concerned with free school meals.” Not Very Jolley writes; Is this the best we can do?
  9. @CavMaths shares The Problem with Democracy which feeds off a Twitter discussion we had where I “expressed a wish to end the corruption and the way people politicians and press buy favours.”


  1. Am I a blogger? Danah Boyd shares here blogger journey, dating back to 1997.
  2. Part of Danah’s story, fits in nicely with @NewTeachersTalk‘s blog on ‘Internet trolls and the school playground.‘ If you re-read her blog, she talks about her growing online popularity and how this attracted the inevitable attacks from readers. As those who write blogs grow in readership, the frequency of those who may not like what is written is inevitable. After all, we all cannot agree and being different is what makes planet earth an interesting place to live. We are all entitled to our opinions. This aside, we can never excuse anonymous attacks from trolls – and in my case, from those who ‘are teachers’ in the classroom. I find it despicable. Watch this space!
  3. @Mroberts90Matt has been blogging for 6 months to develop his teaching practice: A Word to New Educational Bloggers and Tweachers.
  4. Mike Watson also shares a 3-part trilogy for Teachers starting out on Twitter.
  5. Tom Whitby, founder of Edchat in the USA writes; “Being connected as an educator offers a unique perspective,” in The Two Worlds of Education.
  6. As I struggle to write my second book, it was very welcoming to read Hywel Roberts’ blog, Difficult Second. He shares his own update and some school humour, 10 things not to say in the staffroom.
  7. And this, recommended to anyone interested in design or education. @SurrealAnarchy shares Schooling via the Trivium? Jonathan Ive
  8. When this story hit the headlines, ‘Australian couple abandon surrogate Down’s Syndrome baby’, this sparked @NancyGedge into action with Looking for a Story: babies born with Downs Syndrome “is about infancy and their toothless smiles. Then, Richard Dawkins was embroiled in a Twitter row, claiming it would be “immoral” to carry on with a pregnancy if the mother knew the foetus had Down’s syndrome.” On 21st August, Nancy replies with her: Words of Power! Good on ‘ya Nancy!
  9. I shared ‘Do Four-Year-Olds Need A Graduation?‘ and @fratribus responds with his perspective of a Taiwanese education, Beyond Graduation and Behind the Smiles. He graduated at 6-years-old! @fratribus also created an ePetition which I signed; ‘Access to research ejournals for teachers‘.
  10. And finally, please welcome new blogger @GL10Media who shares a story about teaching his own children; Call me Dad, not Sir.

Top-blog of the month:

Favourite educational blogs
Favourite educational blogs


A wonderful article by @DavidMcQueen from Diary of a Dad | A Sense of Identity which discusses how influential he is around his daughters sense of wellbeing and identity. David concludes with a hope, that his daughters will never have to dumb down their intelligence or play down their beauty because of societal pressures. It is summed up fittingly in this video by “genetic lottery” winner, model Cameron Russell.

Make sure you watch this …


And finally, my favourite blogger and new discovery of late, is Disappointed Idealist who shares some interesting information in my first blog-pick, Harris the Hero? which highlights ‘Where the money goes. Everything else is smokescreen and guff.’ There is also a write-up about Mossbourne Academy : the model for us all? and @DisIdealist asks, Will Gove’s Empire Outlast Him?. There is also some very grounded advice here, Welcome to the chalkface: advice to an NQT. They are all worth a read and a must follow from me!

On that note, enjoy the start to a new academic year!

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