Books of the Year

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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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What books are you reading this year?

These are the books currently on my reading list, starting with books I have read, or those I am currently finishing off from 2015; followed by a few books I want to purchase and read throughout 2016.

Books of 2015:

Change by Richard Gerver:


This book is a powerful personal reflection on change. Full of wisdom and practical insights, it will help you in any situation you face in or out of school.

Literacy by Phil Beadle:


The best book on literacy I’ve read for a while! Beadle packs in stories, anecdotes and insights into the many practical activities, and in turn, and often in the same sentence, heart breaking, inspiring, shocking and, as ever, funnier and more readable than those in an education book have any right to be.

Reimagined Learning by Graham Brown-Martin:


This is a seriously interesting book, covering education in various regions of the world. It needs to be read and shared widely.

Teach Like A Champion 2.0 by Doug Lemov:


This book is well-known and is a revised edition of the first; with ideas for everything from classroom management to inspiring student engagement, you will be able to perfect your teaching practice right away.

Classroom Observation by Dr. Matt O’Leary:


O’Leary has helped challenge lesson-gradings by OfSTED at further education level. This book is the largest research project in the UK, offering practical guidance and detailed insight on an aspect of training that is a source of anxiety for many teachers. This thought-provoking book offers a critical analysis of the place, role and nature of lesson observation in the lives of education professionals.

Books for 2016:

This Much I Know About Love Over Fear by John Tomsett:


If you read Tomsett’s blog, then you will understand that’s why I call him, the godfather of blogging. Tomsett draws on his extensive experience and knowledge and calls for all those involved in education to find the courage to develop a leadership-wisdom which emphasises love over fear.

Making Every Lesson Count by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby:


Two bloggers I follow, and if those are anything to go by, this book is a must! We are promised no gimmicky ideas, just high impact, focused teaching that results in great learning, every lesson, every day.

Flip the System by Jelmer Evers and Rene Kneyber:


I have recently connected and exchange ideas with both of the authors. As a result, Flip The System is the book I anticipate to read the most, condensed into easy-to-access chapters, the book makes the case to move away from this uneducational economic approach, to instead embrace a more humane, more democratic approach to education. This approach is called ‘flipping the system’, a move that places teachers exactly where they need to be – at the steering wheel of educational systems worldwide.

I have recently connected a

Lean Lesson Planning by Peps McCrea:


A lovely man, bursting at the seams with ideas! McCrea’s work has informed our new Learning Policy at school. This book is for any teacher who’s interested in improving their lesson planning and practice.


Open by David Price OBE:


I anticipate that this book may change the way I work. Driven by technology, and shaped by common values, going ‘open’ has transformed the way we live. It’s not so much a question of if our workplaces, schools and colleges go open, but when.


Inner Story by Dr. Tim O’Brien:


O’Brien is a recent discovery of mine; found from a bloggers tête-à-tête conversation about psychology.  Endorsed by Arsene Wegner and Elton John(!), This is a book about you. There are two stories inside your head. One is about your life. The other is controlling your life – that story is your Inner Story. It is created in your mind and controls everything that you think, feel and do. If you want to be more confident, successful and happier or want to perform better as an individual or as a team, you have to know your inner story.

Headstrong by Dame Sally Coates:


I recall speaking with Coates before publication day. She was really excited about this book and it is great to see it doing so well. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Drawing on 40 years of working in challenging schools, and a decade of leading some of the toughest schools in London, this book shows Heads, aspiring leaders, teachers and governors how to create vibrant centres of learning in our most broken communities.

Leverage Leadership by Paul Bambrick–Santoyo:


This book is long overdue on my reading list. One that we hope to use to transform the teaching and learning culture in our school, using regular coaching and mentoring observations instead of unreliable, invalid and archaic appraisal observation methodologies. This book shows leaders (with a DVD too) how they can raise their schools to greatness by following a core set of principles. These seven principles, or “levers,” allow for consistent, transformational, and replicable growth.

Reading Books

What are you reading? And why not follow me on Goodreads?


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4 thoughts on “Books of the Year

  1. Interesting to see, Ross. Have read several of these and can particularly recommend John Tomsett’s ‘Love over Fear’, Doug Lemov’s ‘TLAC 2.0’ and Shaun and Andy’s ‘Making Every Lesson Count’. Look forward to hearing what you think.

  2. I have added several of these to my book wish-list on amazon! I have also enjoyed reading “100 Things Awesome Teachers Do” by William Emeny, and Sue Cowley’s “7 Rs of Great Group Work” and “7Ts of Differentiation” all of which can be dipped in and out of. They have changed my teaching for 2016, which is always exciting!

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