Education Panorama (January ’15) 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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Workload, Teach First and a range of teacher issues such as CPD and Sexism, fill my newsletter this month …

Education Panorama

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

  • Education: all the links to my @TeacherToolkit articles I have 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.

In The Educational Panorama January 2015 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 December 2014 newsletter I shared over 45 blogs on teaching and learning which 6,000+ of you chose to read.

This month, workload still dominates the press and I predict this will go on until the general election in May 2015, as well as an interesting media campaign by Teach First. Nicky Morgan even hosted @SLTchat in early December 2014 to engage with more with teachers and leaders in schools. Will this be sustained?

We are in the midst of the winter season, sick to death of mince pies and mulled wine! This January edition features some blogs from me on a wide-range of topics, plus many more from other bloggers new and old. It’s all here! By the time I write my next Education Panorama, we’ll all be ready for half-term and I’ll be off to McGill University in Montreal on my first international gig! Until then, enjoy the read and stay warm …


  1. My Education Panorama (December) newsletter gathering in over 6,000 readers.
  2. Support The Arts is a rebuff to Nicky Morgan who said; Students are making choices that are “holding them back for the rest of their lives.”
  3. Something Old, Something New for @QKynaston is a blog about planning to move an entire school to a new site!
  4. Build Around Me is a blog about resilience and aspiration.
  5. A blog about Mastery In The Classroom, based on the musings of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff.
  6. A quirky seasonal blog, written by @RachelOrr, read; While Teachers Marked Their Books.
  7. My Christmas quiz, 10 Hard Education Questions. How will you do?
  8. DeCamp was a blog I really enjoyed writing (or should I say, capturing on camera) as we move into our new school building in 2015.
  9. As we finish the first term of the year, I offer some advice with Consolidate Your Blue-print For New Teachers.
  10. TWO MILLION Reads on @TeacherToolkit recounts the year gone by as I reach a blogging landmark!
  11. The Best Education Blogs of 2014 are all selected from my published newsletters throughout 2014. What’s your favourite?
  12. A very personal blog; Who I Am and What I Do.

January Snow Sunshine Trees

Image: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho


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. @OldAndrewUK and The Echo Chamber have done a sterling job to capture over 1,000 bloggers in the UK! See the list here. 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. First time appearance here by @HeyMissSmith in which she says; “Listening to children is always worthwhile. In a way, lesson study is a collaborative way of doing what all excellent teachers do: examine in detail the learning experiences in their classes, and modify their teaching as a result.” Read Lesson Study.
  2. @TomBennett71 sums up a lot of things we all feel about teaching; It’s A Wonderful Job!
  3. What is The Future of Drama teaching? by @cstimmo_s
  4. An extensive overview of Homework by @Chris_Runeckles in the 15-Minute Forum on @Shaun_Allison‘s blog.
  5. Growth Mindset by Damian Benney.
  6. @PsychologyMarc shares Banging on about Grit and Resilience; where he says politicians “are more interested in the terms and the images such terms conjure up, rather than being aware of (or even interested in) the concepts themselves or, indeed, the outcome measures involved.”
  7. Written by the Marc again, and probably the most notable Nurture1415 blog I’ve read this season, is here. It’s a very personal account.
  8. Senior Teaching Associate, University of Cambridge, @MFordhamHistory shares an impressive overview on What Does an Expert Teacher Need to Know? He applies his views regarding the standards required of ‘any-and-every’ history teacher and the “kinds of knowledge that a History Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) might need to know.” It’s worthy reading.

CPD / WellBeing:

  1. Surviving and Thriving in Schools; particularly in a new role by @LeadingLearner.
  2. ‘We should host one!’ Organising Your First TeachMeet by @RachelSwinburne and @sazwighead
  3. The #Teacher5ADay hashtag has been launched for January 2015 on the issue of staff well-being by @MartynReah.
  4. The Book Group: CPD for the Future – a blog I am keeping a close eye on – by @atharby.
  5. You can also read @Shaun_Allison‘s extensive review on the same CPD project, from each book group: EduBook Club – First Meeting
  6. “A Very Teacher Christmas. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.”by @fluteylucy
  7. Why I Think TeachFirst is a Good Thing by @ChrisHildrew
  8. Followed by a satirical twist by @HeyMissSmith with Join Teach Right, because it’s very funny when watching the original advert.
  9. And another by @EdSacredProfane in which The Teach First Advert Trivialises Teachers and Teaching.
  10. @MikeRCameron offers his take with Maybe I’m a Bit Odd.
  11. And a further balanced view by @Teachsenseuk, one which sits in the middle; Hug A Teach Firster.
  12. In the build up to Northern Rocks 2015, @DebraKidd shouts; ‘Let’s Get A Bit Lairy!’ with our CPD.
  13. “Some people wrongly assume that teaching is a good career choice for a woman who wants to start a family.” A family-friendly profession? Absolutely Not! by @Teachsenseuk
  14. An old blog which I have only just discovered by @LeadingLearner in which he says, “Saturday mornings are usually sacrosanct.” Read Blagging Bloggers and Research Scientists.

Leadership / OfSTED / DfE / Politics:

  1. A sad tale by a headteacher, The End of The Road is a fascinating read.
  2. Workload – A Small Step in the Right Direction by @rhcaseby.
  3. Another vital read by @MaryMyatt: Read Why box ticking British Values is a bad idea!
  4. Archimedean Leadership, a fascinating blog by @HFletcherWood
  5. What I Am Learning About Sexism is a welcome read by headteacher @RosMcM
  6. I have been reluctant to post any of Tom Sherrington’s blog this month. Why? Because I continue to share 3 or 4 every month in my newsletters! I am doing my best to keep my newsletter broad and balanced, plus share blogs from outside my own circles. However, it is clear that @headguruteacher writes so well, and on such a huge range of topics, it is impossible to survive a whole month without dipping in to his blog! This one is worth reading; My First Term of Building at Highbury Grove.


  1. One of the main reasons I enjoy being on Twitter is the chance to discuss education with teachers all over the world,” says @ImagineInquiry in his blog, Some Principles For Debating on Twitter.

Top-blog of the month:


I’ve selected three blogs for this January 2015 edition.

Favourite educational blogs
Favourite educational blogs


  1. The first blog is a feature by @OldAndrewUK in which he quotes;

“That means a willingness to avoid overburdening our colleagues, particularly on the part of those with management responsibilities … and the best way to do this will always be through effective work on the part of our trade unions.”

This will require our unions to engage fully with their members. I’m yet to be convinced.

Read his blog, Workload.

  1. The second blog is Why Be a Teacher by @MrJDexter, a must-read for all wannabe teachers and those currently in the profession.

“Something which started out as an antidote to articles that complain about teaching, here is [an] attempt to show there is an attractive side to the job of a teacher.”

  1. Finally, my third blog (and new blog subscription of the year) is by @ThePrimaryHead who shares The Year That Was, a concise, yet extensive overview of the education landscape. He says;

“Each year, after making substantive changes in my own school, I kid myself that this next year will be the year of no more change – this will be our consolidation year. It never is though because education never stands still. The profession, our communities, our politicians are ever-changing, and we adapt and adapt and adapt because that is what we do.”

Oscar Award Gold

Image: Celebzter

On a final note, during December 2014, The Education Foundation Think Tank nominated me for Education Reformer of the Year 2014: “For pioneering work in the online and face to face support of teachers across the UK and the open sharing of resources through @TeacherToolkit and @SLTchat.” Read The Education Foundation nomination here.

I’ve also been nominated by Debrett’s – UK’s 500 Most Influential People 2014 – in The Sunday Times. This announcement is due in late January 2015. All very flattering!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!


‘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.




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