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This is, perhaps, not a typical Impact editorial – but we are not in typical times. School leaders, teachers and school support staff across the country have demonstrated exceptional courage during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, courage which, as Winston Churchill observed, has assured all of the professional qualities inherent in school culture (Churchill, 2005, p. [...]
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Retaining more teachers is crucial for the education system, particularly at a time when there are not enough teachers coming into the profession to meet the growing need from rising student numbers. Unmanageable workload and low job satisfaction are significant factors determining teachers’ decision to stay in the profession or leave. To explore this further, [...]
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At Charles Dickens Primary School, we have been working for five years to reduce teacher workload. We started with written marking and have subsequently addressed planning, displays, reporting to parents and writing assessment. Over this period, we have seen student outcomes improve in English and maths and, more recently, in foundation subjects. Teachers report to [...]
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In common with many other parts of the world, England is facing increasing challenge in attracting new teachers to the profession. According to the government’s own data (DfE, 2014, 2019), targets have been missed each year for the past seven. There are myriad factors influencing this situation, but the growing shortfall in England and its [...]
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The Department for Education (DfE) has taken steps over recent years to emphasise the importance of addressing excessive teacher workload, in order to reduce the number of teachers leaving the profession and to encourage more entrants to teaching. Advice has been published for providers and practitioners, such as ‘Addressing teacher workload in initial teacher education’ [...]
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Teacher wellbeing – particularly negative teacher wellbeing – is a topic regularly hitting newspaper headlines. The sense of crisis in headlines such as ‘I am getting out before it kills me’ (Busby, 2019a) and ‘Huge rise in teachers welling up at work’ (Speck, 2019), is evidenced in the recent ‘Teacher Wellbeing Index’ (TWI) (Education Support, [...]
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Wellbeing has many intangible, perhaps ‘fluffy’ connotations, yet it encompasses what we are all trying to achieve, as people and teachers: to be well, to feel well. Many teachers, it seems, do not feel well when they reflect on their role and work–life balance. The 2019 Teacher Wellbeing Index states that 72 per cent of [...]
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The Department for Education’s School Workforce in England (2019) figures show that 23,500 newly qualified teachers (NQTs) entered the profession into state-funded schools in 2018. Of the teachers who qualified in 2017, only 84.7 per cent were in service during 2018 (0.4 per cent down on the previous year), and of those who qualified in [...]
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As a trainee teacher, the profession’s reputation for extreme workloads certainly preceded itself. Whilst this reputation is somewhat well earned, I must admit to having exaggerated my own workload in the past when looking for a convenient if not believable excuse to avoid meeting non-teaching friends and family. Of course, this is not to trivialise [...]
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The Department for Education (DfE) has calculated that 22 per cent of teachers in England leave the profession within their first two years of teaching, with the number rising to 33 per cent by year five (Foster, 2019). In 2019, I carried out some research into foreign education systems to find out whether they could [...]
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Teachers acquire new skills in a number of ways: through experience, through working with other high-quality teachers and through participating in effective professional development (for a summary, see Allen and Sims, 2018). There are several ways in which policymakers and school leaders can try to affect teacher quality through each route. But effective professional development [...]
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It is widely acknowledged that improving the quality of teaching and leadership are two of the key levers for improving educational outcomes (Hattie, 2003; Leithwood et al., 2019). The provision of high-quality professional development is vital to that mission and should be seen as a key driver not only of staff development but also of [...]
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Across my career, I have experienced different formats of CPD. Some of these have been successful, where they have given staff the opportunity to discuss the impact of strategies on their practice, but others have been less so. In considering how to lead change in my department, I have been greatly influenced by the Education [...]
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Since the end of the 19th century, journal clubs have been used in medicine as a social way to read and discuss new research. By the 1980s, many medical training programmes included mandatory journal clubs, with a focus on the development of critical reading skills as a way of promoting critical appraisal in evidence-based medicine [...]
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In a climate where teachers’ response to traditional continuous professional development (CPD) and feedback from formal observations is often ‘passive’ (Danielson, 2009), Teacher Rounds (Del Prete, 2013) are an innovative form of professional learning, which take place in the context of the classroom. The Teacher Round protocols ensure a safe environment for teachers to work [...]
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Why focus on continuous professional development? Wiliam suggests that ‘teacher quality is the most important ingredient of an effective education system’ (2014, p. 4). A key measurement of the effectiveness of an education is the outcomes of students in the school. Research conducted by Fletcher-Wood and Zuccollo in 2020 suggests that high-quality CPD for teachers [...]
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While working as a newly qualified teacher in Hong Kong, I often reflected upon, and explored with my colleagues, which classroom strategies might help to support the learning of all children. From time to time we felt uncertain about our own capacity to develop more inclusive practices. This was despite our recognition of the transformability [...]
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This reflection describes the development of a trust-wide professional learning culture where ‘professionals [are] continually developing and supporting each other so that students benefit from the best possible teaching’ (DfE, 2016), at Prince Albert Community Trust (PACT), a group of five primary schools in Birmingham. Specifically, it captures the impact of professional learning and development [...]
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The best thing we can do for disadvantaged students is to give them-high quality teachers. Research from the Sutton Trust in 2011 showed the significant impact that the effectiveness of a teacher has on student progress for disadvantaged pupils in particular. Papay and Kraft (2017) show us the quality of the professional environment for teachers [...]
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Perhaps more than ever before, there is a real opportunity to develop communities of professional learning that instil habits of collaboration, deep thinking and critically reflective practice in our early career geography teachers. The current strength of partnerships between school clusters, academy chains and multi-academy trusts means that the practices and habits that trainees begin [...]
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Virtually everyone working in schools would agree that CPD is important, but in a Teacher Tapp survey, 40 per cent of secondary classroom teachers claimed that it ‘had little or no impact on their classroom practice’ (Allen, 2019). Over the past five years, we have attempted to develop a more fertile environment for teacher professional [...]
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It is difficult to use the word ‘love’ without risking alienating those who will immediately perceive it as a ‘fluffy’ concept, and one that has no place in leadership discourse. Byrne-Jimenez and Yoon (2019) suggest that even writing about ‘love’ will make some people feel uncomfortable, so an important distinction needs to be drawn between [...]
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Humour is a fundamental part of our everyday lives and is a shared characteristic across all cultures. We enjoy the playful humorous interactions that we have with others and we actively seek humorous stimuli in a variety of forms. Humour can act as a social lubricant and has been associated with improvements in a number [...]
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Conflict of interest statement: The authors of this case study work for Challenge Partners, an education charity who operate a paid membership model for schools. Challenge Partners (2020) is a national learning network of almost 500 schools that supports collaboration between individual schools and within the education system as a whole. The organisation is built [...]
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In this comparative case study, I examine how two expert American high school teachers design, organise and teach their classes to identify teacher pedagogical ‘content moves’ that are either subject-specific or cross-subject. This project provides a potential starting point for devising a tangible teaching-learning framework for training pre-service and novice teachers. Literature Pedagogical content knowledge [...]
In 2016, although our school was improving, we needed to do more. Faculty leaders reported spending too much time reactively managing behaviour; staff saw a need for higher expectations and greater consistency; students were not achieving enough. And, when we were judged by Ofsted as ‘requiring improvement’ for the third time in October, we knew [...]
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"When students get to know that you care about them as individuals… then the teacher’s discipline is judged and accepted within the understanding that the teacher cares about them." - Bill Rogers (2000, p. 23) I work with young people who are disaffected; sometimes they are still in school (mainstream, alternative and special) but often [...]
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We live in an age of rapid change, with pressures that are increasingly global alongside the everyday stresses and successes created by our individual lives. The rapid pace of change is driving opinion on what type of education can best prepare pupils for the challenges and opportunities that are ahead. In its perspective on this [...]
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One of the biggest causes of stress for teachers is behaviour management (Education Endowment Foundation, 2019). This stress can be escalated when you use every behaviour management strategy under the sun, only to find it unsuccessful. The frustration of why it did not work can bother a teacher for a long period of time, and [...]
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Rationale In May 2018, a cockapoo puppy, aged nine weeks old, was introduced to Our Lady’s Catholic High School, Lancashire. The dog was undergoing training to become a school therapy dog. To date, feedback suggests that the dog is having a positive impact on both pupils and staff members, but no quantitative data has been [...]
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At Ambition Institute, we have come to hold what we see as a different perspective on school leadership from the orthodoxy – one with an increased focus on the specific educational work of school leaders and the expertise that they need to do it well, and a reduced focus on generic leadership concepts. In this article, we [...]
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Supervision has a long and illustrious history as a professional practice across multiple disciplines that are concerned with positive outcomes for children, young people and their families. Defined as a work-based learning relationship, it is a reflective space where those involved – either in relational dyads or in small groups – commit to purposefully engaging [...]
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In this perspective piece, we examine the key drivers in a model of peer coaching that is being trialled at the Veritas Multi Academy Trust (MAT) to support the development of a middle leadership team (Lofthouse and Hall, 2014). Vision and values Coaching has been recognised as highly effective professional development practice (Cordingley et al., [...]
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It is estimated that there are 50,000 LGBT teachers in UK schools, yet very few openly LGBT teachers achieve school leadership roles (Lee, 2019a). This article draws on the work of Courageous Leaders, the UK’s only LGBT school leadership programme, and posits that the skills that LGBT teachers need to navigate the complexities of their [...]
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In this case study we explore a whole-school approach to addressing concerns about homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in an inner-city London secondary school, where we worked as teachers. We discuss the use of a school-based survey and student-led society to inform changes to staff training, school policy and practice related to students who [...]
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The extent and growing problem of mental health issues faced by pupils of all ages in our schools over the past decade is well documented (Weale, 2019). Recent research indicates that one in 10 children are experiencing significant mental health problems, with two in five young people scoring above thresholds for emotional problems, conduct issues [...]
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We seem to love a false dichotomy in education. Whether it be the battle for supremacy between knowledge and skills or the tussle between adopting a zero-tolerance strategy on behaviour versus taking a more child-centred approach, we just don’t seem to be able to resist polarising issues in a way that isn’t often helpful. In [...]
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Leading in difficult, challenging or worrying times requires a different type of leader, a different type of leadership, a different form of leadership practice. Without question, we are in such times. COVID-19 is shaking up everything we know, everything we take for granted and everything we hold most dear. In this global lockdown, education has [...]
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How might primary school leaders ensure that all of their pupils have access to an excellent curriculum experience while also developing the leadership potential and expertise of their staff? Here I argue that distributed leadership that facilitates subject leadership and expertise can promote curriculum development. Drawing on educational research and my own experience, I suggest [...]
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This research was funded by the Laurel Trust, a charity working in partnership with schools. A summary of the project can be found here.  The ‘Research Thrives’ project aimed to understand the impact of embedding and extending a culture of practitioner-led research across schools in our alliance. It achieved this through the deployment of Research [...]
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School leadership teams must somehow balance developing teachers whilst accepting that this may equip and inspire them for promotion elsewhere, with potentially keeping teachers just ‘ticking over’ to have a greater chance of ensuring staff retention. As a middle and now senior leader, I have always felt that there is in fact no distinction between [...]
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In transforming our organisation, Pioneer Educational Trust is investing in developing leaders who can thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. As such, we have drawn on research into vertical leadership development to design our own leadership programme supporting teacher agency and building leadership capacity at all levels. Why traditional leadership development fails [...]
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Teachers and other school staff face new challenges during this extraordinary time, as they support families at home. This article aims to provide some support and advice around these unique challenges, drawing on a range of research about parental engagement, but should also provide insight for work in schools far beyond the present circumstances. Homes, [...]
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Motivation Teach SouthEast is a school-centred initial teacher training provider (SCITT). In the secondary SCITT, we currently work with 20 partner schools to provide training to 75 trainees in the South East. As the member of staff who has responsibility for pastoral care, I wanted to explore ways in which we could prepare trainees mentally [...]
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Introduction During 2019, the Department for Education (DfE) published a number of policy documents: ‘Teacher recruitment and retention strategy’, ‘Early career framework’ and ‘ITT core content framework’. Rigorous attention on early career development is welcome (Allen and Sims, 2018), particularly with continued high levels of stress leading to issues of retention in the profession (Teacher [...]
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Current state of children’s mental health The discussion about children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing in schools has become a much talked-about topic for very good reason. Half of all mental ill health manifests by the age of 14, and 75 per cent by the age of 24 (Kessler et al., 2005). In the UK, [...]
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The recent green paper ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ (Department of Health and Department of Education, 2017) highlighted the need for the implementation of proactive and preventative measures within the education sector to promote mental wellbeing amongst students and to assist staff in spotting students who show signs of mental health problems. [...]
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"Pupils are potentially losing up to an hour of learning each day in English schools." (Ofsted, 2014, p. 4) A 2012/13 survey, commissioned by Ofsted, gathered the views of 1,048 teachers on the impact of low-level class disruption and established the above statement. This figure equates to up to 38 full days of teaching per [...]
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The Review of Vocational Education, written by Baroness Wolf and published in 2011, set out a series of recommendations for an improvement in further education for students aged 16 to 19 (Wolf, 2011). As a direct result of the report, all 16- to 19-year-olds in further education who have not yet achieved a grade C [...]
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One of the challenges for schools who take seriously the growing crisis in child mental health issues is how to offer both effective support (or intervention) for children and a consistent environment of warmth, safety, acceptance, hospitality and respect, enabling children to flourish. In this short reflective contribution, I describe the theory and practice of [...]