That was 2015…

As the end of the year approaches, it seems only right to write the obligatory ‘review of 2015’ blog!  As we look back over each month, I’ll share my own favourite from here, as well as my favourite ‘Blog of the week’ – in celebration of the many excellent bloggers out there in the twittersphere.


what works

A Review of the Sutton Trust Report – What Makes Great Teaching?

The year got off to a great start with Andy Tharby leading a 15 Minute Forum on the Sutton Trust report – ‘What Makes Great Teaching?’  This has become such an important document, as it distils brilliantly what appears to work in the classroom and what doesn’t.

What I remembered about practice from 15 minutes tinkling on the piano

A great blog from Bodil Isaksen that identifies some key aspects of learning that should then be used to inform our teaching.


obs4Life without lesson observation grades

An easy choice for February!  Like a number of other schools, we stopped grading lessons – this blog explains why every school should do the same.

This much I know about…The Sutton Trust/EEF Toolkit and the Golden Thread from evidence to student outcomes, via deliberate intervention

This blog from the consistently brilliant John Tomsett made an impression on many teachers at my school when it was sent out as a #BOTW.  Why?  Because it makes sense of the idea of ‘metacognition’!  We know it’s important, but how do we do it in the classroom. This blog explains one way of doing it….and doing it well.


mindset brain

Mindset, attitude and behaviour

As a school we have been working hard to embed the idea of growth mindset – this blog talks about how this requires more than assemblies and posters!

Teach Like a Pencampwr

A great blog by Damian Benney – a review of Lemov’s ‘Teach Like a Champion 2’, packed full of strategies to try in the classroom.  I was also fortunate enough to finally meet Damian this year at TLT15 – and what a pleasure it was too! A great chap!


hard smart nice

Engendering a positive work ethic

A great 15 minute forum by Kate Bloomfield. Kate talks about some simple things she has been doing in her classroom to promote and develop an ethos of hard work and effort.

The Power of Teacher Expectations

In this blog Alex Quigley articulates brilliantly the importance of teacher expectations.  Such an important read – as is often the case with Alex.



Making Every Lesson Count

2015 was a great year for myself and Andy Tharby, as our book ‘Making Every Lesson Count’ was published.  In May we received some of the pre-publication reviews, which were shared here. To say we were chuffed is an understatement!

Knowledge Organisers

As a science teacher, I’m always looking for ways in which I can support knowledge retention and recall with my students.  Joe Kirby has come up with an excellent strategy here.


festival ed

A grand day out at Wellington

In June I was fortunate enough to attend the Festival of Education for the first time.  We had a great day – highlights included listening to Angela Duckworth talk about grit and of course, meeting Carl Hendrick!

Organising instruction & study: 7 recommendations to improve student learning

A great blog by Dan Brinton – great because it combines educational research with classroom strategies.



DHS Mindset Conference

We finished off the year by hosting a conference at DHS.  This post gives the main messages from the conference, including presentations from Andy Tharby, Emma Mason and me.

The Mindset Journey

A great post by @ImSporticus reflecting on Dweck’s presentation at the Festival of Education.  Particularly useful because it highlights the importance of the false growth mindset.



Planning to be great

The new school year kicked off with an INSET day – where we discussed the six principles of great teaching and how they can be transferred to the classroom.

When Pupils Talk in Absolutes: Understanding Mindset through Self-Narrative

Sarah Donarski discusses how she thinks we can be supporting the growth mindset through our day to day teaching.



Leading a Winning Team

This post examines what the qualities and attributes are of the best Curriculum Leaders – one of the most important roles in schools.

The Science of Learning

Blogger Nick Rose gives a great summary of the excellent paper ‘The Science of Learning’ by Deans for Impact.  This paper really is essential reading and this provides a great introduction to it.


effort dweck

Subject Pedagogy Development Session 1: Effort Matters

This year we are focusing our CPD within subjects – and this is a summary of our first session on ‘effort’.

Modelling Good Speech: Let’s talk properly

In this post, Tom Sherrington discusses why it is so important to encourage our students to use good spoken English.



Purposeful Feedback

The last 15 minute forum of 2015 was led by Steph Temple and Emma Mason – talking about how they were developing purposeful feedback in their subject areas.

How do we design great explanations?

The final ‘blog of the week’ was a great piece by David Fawcett, exploring a key aspect of great teaching – explanations.


A huge thank you to all of the brilliant bloggers and tweeters out there who have said nice things about what I have written about and made me think, laugh, grimace and think about how I can get that little bit better this year.

I look forward to doing it all again in 2016!




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