Monthly Archives: October 2018

Blog of the Week: 19 October 2018 – A focus on knowledge: Vocabulary rich teaching


This is the first in a series of blogs on how I think my teaching has become more ‘knowledge rich’. The summary of what this means is in the first post here. This post will focus on how I have developed my teaching of subject vocabulary to the stage where I think it can be classed as ‘vocabulary rich’.


My view of the importance of subject vocabulary has evolved. When I first taught I didn’t put much emphasis on words as I felt that the subject content was more important and that subject vocabulary came after the learning of concepts. In the first specification of GCSE that I taught, the first question on the paper was always a keyword, 2 mark question. They needed to write the correct definition. I saw this as something they needed to learn and it was almost separate to further learning. I created subject…

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Chief Inspector sets out vision for new Education Inspection Framework

Two primary school pupils writing in a book.


  • Amanda Spielman proposes 4 new inspection judgements
  • schools will no longer receive a separate grade for outcomes for pupils
  • focus will be on the substance of education and a broad curriculum
  • more involvement for classroom teachers
  • consultation on draft framework to be launched in January

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman today announced details of planned changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools, colleges, further education institutions and early years settings from September 2019. These changes will move Ofsted’s focus away from headline data to look instead at how schools are achieving these results, and whether they are offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep, or simply teaching to the test.

Speaking to school leaders at the annual SCHOOLS NorthEast summit in Newcastle, Ms Spielman said that these changes will be designed to allow teachers and leaders to …


View the press release here.

Blog of the Week: 12 October 2018 – E. Coli and Quality First Teaching

There has been an outbreak of the E. coli bacterium at the Bella Sophia restaurant.

The local hospital has reported that patients being treated for the bug fall into two “key groups”: babies and the elderly.

Public health officials have called for the restaurant to improve on this situation. The restaurant owners are considering a few options. One is to collect data when orders are taken and to cook the food for twice as long as normal for those customers who are over the age of 65.  Another strategy is preparing food for babies using specially sterilised utensils.

Wait, what? This would be crazy. But I think this is what we often do when we look at closing the gap for underachieving groups in our classrooms.

I’m not going to get into interpreting noise as signal, that’s been done exquisitely elsewhere. I’ll assume we’ve got a group, such as boys…

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Blog of the Week: 5 October 2018 – Beyond Knowledge Organisers; building the best curriculum in the world.


TL;DR Scroll to the bottom for the Medieval Monarchs booklet. You’re welcome.

In this blog I explain the journey that we have taken at Reach Academy around curriculum design. It is a VERY long blog (over 4000 words, which will take the average reader about half an hour) in which I explore common practices in primary around the foundation subjects, and why I think they’re problematic. I discuss the difficulty with doing the ‘right thing’ (for both teacher and pupil) and lay out the problem of being a generalist expected to design and deliver specialist content. Then I detail our solution, and the some of the evidence from research that underpins it. I think that it is probably useful for teachers of all phases.

Some of you may have seen the excerpts from a booklet that I posted on twitter, so if you’re short on time and would just like…

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