Education Panorama (December ’14) by @TeacherToolkit

Reading time: 6
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...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

A synopsis of what’s being going on in the education sector over the final month of the autumn term …

For this blog, you’ll need a cosy blanket and a cup of hot chocolate; why not add a drop of your favourite tipple next to an open fire?

Education Panorama

In The Educational Panorama December 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 November newsletter I shared over 50 blogs on teaching and learning and educational politics which 12,500+ of you chose to read.

This month, workload, particularly marking continues to dominate the press, as well as British Values in various Ofsted reports. Nicky Morgan hosts @SLTchat on Sunday 7th December 2014, something which promises to certainly raise the profile of teacher wellbeing. We are just coming to the end of the first term and some of us may be less than a week away from a mid-winter! This December edition features a few blogs from me on my new role as deputy headteacher and many more from others on a huge range of topics, from Ofsted visits to marking and lesson planning.



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 over Christmas and fretting about the new term! Until then, enjoy the reads …


  1. My Education Panorama (November) newsletter featured 50 blogs from across the UK and has reached 12,500+ readers.
  2. In my first blog this month, I shared another SecretOfsted story written by a deputy headteacher with pastoral responsibility. Read, Merely Good.
  3. As we turn the heat up for the next general election, I blog 7 Facts Teachers Are Sick of Hearing From Politicians.
  4. Primary headteacher @MooreLynne1 guest blogs for me; Celebrity-Culture, Quick Wins and the Impact on Student-Aspirations.
  5. The 5 Wonders of Teaching aimed to bring a little love back into the world of teaching.
  6. The release of my 5 Minute Digital Lesson Plan, this analysis is worth a look; Lesson Plan Research by @Angel_Solutions.
  7. In this quick blog, I publish my own EduBlog Award Nominations for 2014.
  8. In preparation for speaking at two conferences, I pre-blog my thoughts with A Valid Landscape for Teaching and Learning.
  9. This is followed up with my resource being shared in To Grade or Not to Grade?
  10. A pressing issue for all schools and teachers; The Workload Conversation.
  11. CPD Needs for Every Teacher is a useful exercise to complete personally, or as a school.
  12. I share another SecretOfsted blog, written by a year 2 primary teacher; Overall Effectiveness.
  13. I share how I have managed to convince Nicky Morgan MP to host @SLTchat this month.
  14. Finally, the most popular blog of the month, was my 101 Great Teachers to Follow on Twitter, with over 7,000 views in 3 days!

Dark Lights Christmas

Photo Credit: Andy Schultz


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. I am conscious some names regularly feature below, so if you are feeling left out, please do share your own with me …

Teaching and Learning:

  1. A very simple and straightforward review of The Digital 5-Minute Lesson Plan by @MathsMrWilliams
  2. Dr. @DebraKidd shares her Educational (R)evolution with her talk at The RSA. “We need to rethink our beliefs about the purpose of education …”
  3. Headteacher Tom Sherrington shares 10 essays by the RSA on Incentives for Improving Teacher Quality. Licensed to Create. He also shares his views on Lesson Observations Unchained: A New Dawn without gradings.
  4. Should We Try and Teach Resilience? by Marc Smith
  5. A lovely joint blog with Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby; who both share Bright Spots (best practice) around their school.
  6. @ThoseThatCan explains what it means to be called everything under the sun; “Missing Miss.”
  7. @EducatingMiss asks Has Twitter Calmed my Observation Nerves? and writes; “I sit here now, calmly writing a blog post when once I would have been panicking about my lesson plan!”

CPD / WellBeing:

  1. “Genuine professional development is a real challenge, but there are tools that can help;” says assistant headteacher Alex Quigley in his blog, The Problem with Professional Development.
  2. Assistant headteacher @JohnStanier1, shares a very important read on Staff WellBeing, inspired by the works of @andrewlcurran.
  3. @ChocoTzar says “although cover is high I know it could be much higher.” A must-read; Calling in Sick.
  4. @LeadingLearner features again in my monthly round-up with Challenging Workloads. He says; “that the Department for Education and Ofsted should seek to change themselves first and remove the additional workload they create unnecessarily for teachers …” Read The Workload Challenge. He also shares his views on having a Growth Mindset in the staff room.
  5. In my second shout-out this month, @ThoseThatCan reminds us of the sad passing of headteacher Kevin McKellar, headteacher of Hendon School who was found dead in his flat; “Look after yourselves, people. It’s the most important thing you can do. Then, and only then, can you be what you want to be for those you care about.” Read Fasten Your Seatbelts! Emma Kell also shares some simple ideas to keep staff morale high over the winter months; How We Can Help Each Other Survive?

Assessment / Exams / Feedback:

  1. Maths teacher @MrPRCollins writes about A Frenzy About Marking and Progress Over Time and offers a solution.
  2. Along the same theme, @PW2Tweets offers another set of assessment resources with his Super AfL Sticker Resources.
  3. Primary school teacher, @ms_jamdangory says Marking is Hot – But What About KS1?
  4. Keeping with the marking theme, @LearningSpy asks; “Are We Fetishising Marking?” and Why Triple Marking is Wrong?
  5. @Gary_S_King shares his ideas on Marking; Effective, Developmental and Time-Saving ideas.
  6. Having watched Shaun Allison discuss his school project in person at GrowEx, I can safely say, the nation is waiting to hear what happens next! Read Assessment Without Levels.
  7. @LeadingLearner says; “… targets need to be much more about learning and students than schools and accountability.  We’ve lost our way for a couple of decades now.”  Read DIY Teaching CPD: Structures and Sequence.
  8. And Reclaim Your Marking, by @Powley_R just squeezed in here before I pressed the publish post button!

Leadership / OfSTED / DfE / Politics:

  1. @TristramShepard would “like to propose a parallel scheme in which recently retired teachers would be retrained as politicians, lawyers and bankers in attempt to sort out the complete mess the country is currently in.” Read Five Star.
  2. Teachers Tweet Truth to Power, but will the politicians listen? by @SputnikSteve
  3. @DisIdealist writes about Teacher Workload and how he is “looking forward to seeing all those concrete proposals to tackle these real issues in the manifestos.” He then goes on to blog about Trust; “Trust is about trusting people.” Read Trust and Teachers.
  4. Headteacher @Hibs1974 says “Ofsted is Not Fit for Purpose.” He says; “To really improve the outcomes for the kids in my school then I need to do what I think is right. I made it public that I absolutely have no interest in OFSTED to my staff and parents and this was quite liberating …”
  5. @LeadingLearner write about Performance Pay and how “It’s About to Hit the Fan.”
  6. 7 Ways in which Ofsted are Better than SLTs, an extensive overview by headteacher @KevBartle
  7. @mikearmiger blogs passionately about PE and The Arts, which contains reference to a Department for Education consultation for PE assessment weightings to move to 70% theory and 30% practical.

 Parenting / Students:

  1. One from the archives by @headguruteacher I re-discovered dating back to February 2014. I have blogged this here because many of Tom’s stories, are memories that I also share in our time working together at Alexandra Park School, North London. Read, Miscellany of Memorable Moments.


  1. Takeaway messages from the Whole Education conference; When @ASTSupportAAli Met Hattie, Berger and Brighouse!


  1. An alternative blog this week from Mark and Mary White in Uganda; Getting the Balance Right: A Week in the Life of a Volunteer via @MarkWhiteVSOVol

Top-blog of the month:


I’ve selected four blogs for this December edition.

Favourite educational blogs
Favourite educational blogs


  1. The first blog is a feature by @DebraKidd in which she quotes; “an exploration of why it is that a small number of privately educated men seem to think it’s alright to personally attack women they deem to be strong …”  Read her blog; Woman Know Thy Place.
  2. The second blog is by @Sue_Cowley, a simple off-piste topic, yet a must-read for all teachers-come-authors. Sue puts book writing all into perspective; “Suck it up or suck it down, and then get on with writing the next one.” Read BAD Review.
  3. As I approach my 2,000,000th view on this blog, Tom Sherrington shows off all his hard work, celebrating ONE MILLION views on his blog, with Thanks A Million! The power of blogging teachers!
  4. And finally, Andy Tharby reminds us Why A Growth Mindset is Not Just for Christmas!


Wishing you a happy festive season!

@TeacherToolkit logo


‘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.