Monthly Archives: October 2020

Blog of the Week: 23 October 2020 – Booklets, Rosenshine, Teach Like A Champion, and Knowledge-Rich Curriculum

Booklets are a brilliant tool in delivering an ambitious, knowledge-rich curriculum. While a curriculum can never be reduced to booklets, it can be highly codified in them and in doing so is much more likely to be consistently enacted in lessons. The subject of planning with booklets has often been misunderstood: it is necessary for teachers to plan for lessons delivered with booklets, and planning consists of three strands. For two of these strands, Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction provide a useful structure as a starting point, but caution is advised. Any generic model will eventually fall foul of subject specialism if applied unthinkingly; instead of mandating rigid structures to all teachers of all subjects we should proceed with questions and trust, ultimately, in what the subject tells us is appropriate.

Let us first briefly outline the benefits of booklets. The booklet model can provide:

A minimum guarantee – If your department uses booklets to codify curriculum as far as possible, then you are immediately lifting the minimum guarantee in several key areas. The content itself is no longer left to individual teachers’ interpretations of a section of the spec, what they think will or won’t engage that particular group, or what was free on TES when they were planning on Sunday night. Subject leaders are empowered to really lead their subject and assure excellence in the substance …

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Blog of the Week: 16 October 2020 – Front-loading

A Chemical Orthodoxy

Scene: it is 3.02pm and 8Sc2 have been working well throughout the double lesson. The bell goes at 3.05pm

Teacher: ok year 8, well done today. In a minute we are going to pack up and stand behind our chairs, but I want you to make sure you havewritten down the homework from the board. Dave and Charlie please stay at the end and can you all remember to put all papers in the bin.


As a set of instructions, this looks pretty clean. The teacher praises the class, uses economy of language (as few words as possible), doesn’t get bogged down in details and gives directives that are clear and easy to follow. And yet, as any teacher will know, it doesn’t work. As soon as the teacher is a few words in noise starts to build as students pack away their books and pencil cases, start…

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Blog of the Week: 9 October 2020 – Nurturing history teachers and teaching in a time of Covid


Thanks to Kath Goudie and Corinne Goullee from Cottenham Village College for reflecting on the story so far… academic year 2020-21. They share with us their determination to keep great history teaching and learning and curriculum development to the fore. We are loving the idea of a department ‘Pipe Roll’!

As we approach the end of possibly the longest September in living memory, we wanted to take the opportunity to share some reflections on how we have coped with teaching with COVID restrictions in place, whilst keeping our focus on what we have always valued.  This has not been easy, but we hope these brief reflections will prove reassuring and thought provoking.

Nomadic Life

Running from one side of the school to the other is certainly a challenge, particularly when it involves going all the way up two flights to stairs to maths. To make this more bearable, we have…

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