Why Being Brave Is Important?

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What does ‘being brave’ mean to you in education?

On Thursday 16th February 2017, I attended the inaugural conference which introduced the Chartered College of Teaching to hear more about its vision. For open discussion and interaction with the audience, I took part in a question and answer session on a variety of teaching matters.

I was delighted to sit on a teacher panel during the event chaired by Dr Tim O’Brien, Visiting Fellow in Psychology and Human DevelopmentUCL Institute of Education. The panelists included:

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The title of the question and answer panel was ‘why being brave is important?’ I have included the questions and my answers in note form in below, including a simple sketchnote.

Being Brave:

Q1. How can the college of teaching effect change across the profession?

  • Collective voice
  • Evidence driven profession, raising awareness of evidence and certainly not stipulating
  • Confidence
  • Inspection reliability
  • Well-being/workload
  • Challenged the DfE / OfSTED
  • Hubs/network.

Q2. What barriers do you encounter in your role/sector? How do you overcome them?

  • Recruitment and retention
  • Funding
  • Curriculum and assessment reform
  • OfSTED reform from September 2017.

Q3. What does being brave mean to you?

  • Lifting head about the parapet
  • Taking back control e.g. workload
  • Ignoring government guff.

Q4. What do you think that teachers need to be braver about (stand up for)?

  • Verbal feedback being the main driver of feedback in the classroom
  • School inspection
  • Ignoring the EBacc
  • Performance Related Pay – let’s stop it now
  • Fake news from opaque Think Tanks that dictate or inform school policy
  • Using action research in schools – teachers informing their school leaders.

Q5. How can you create a culture to support development of new creative practice?

  • Listen and provide time for change
  • Transparency and trust
  • Differentiated CPD.

Q6. What are your best hope for 2017?

  • Delete email application from personal devices.
  • Protect 1% of school budgets for CPD
  • Send students home on Wednesday PM and create space for staff CPD
  • Remove OfSTED banners from all school gates.

You can view my notes in full below.

I missed the morning because I was at Bloomsbury Books (HQ) finalising my new book; thankfully I missed the singing! However, on arrival I did sign up to become a ‘founding member’ of the College, live on Periscope. Congratulations to the College – and to Allison Peacock – on a very successful event …

It just makes sense to me; sign up to become a member today.


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

2 thoughts on “Why Being Brave Is Important?

  • 19th February 2017 at 11:45 am

    Fully endorse your comments, the general theme of the profession taking more control and debunking the so called “think tanks” and their disproportionate influence is crucial. I was amazed, when I did my MA (Ed) how much information was available that teachers do not have information to. I worked in a school that had alternate Wednesday afternoons for CPD. The success of this waned over time, l think to poor management. To add to your excellent recommendations I would add that each member of staff be given an action research project relevant to the school as a part of CPD, findings to be shared with other staff.

    • 19th February 2017 at 11:46 am

      Sorry, should read “have access to”.


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