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Lesson Observations

June 8, 2008

The activities of OFSTED and the rise of “performance management” has led to an obsession with lesson observations to judge the quality of teaching. There is a big problem with this. The quality of teaching is impossible to judge objectively. That’s not to say there aren’t good lessons or bad lessons. It’s not to say […]


A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground

September 2, 2018

I have updated this guide for the holidays. This blog is about the state of secondary education. There is an introduction to it here: Welcome (or welcome back) to the Battleground And some reflections on it here: Now We Are Seven Now We Are Eight This Blog’s 9th Birthday 10 Years A Blogger 11 Years Of Blogging Here is a […]


Teacher Autonomy Part 2

February 4, 2018

Yesterday I blogged about the background to the issue of teacher autonomy and the dilemma facing traditionalists who, when progressives were in control, argued for autonomy, but now see it used to justify bad practice. Although I still tend to favour teachers’ freedom to make their own judgements, I think what is needed is not […]


Teacher Autonomy Part 1

February 3, 2018

When I first started blogging, and for several years afterwards, teachers were being forced to teach in a way that, if you were familiar with the history of educational thought, could only be described as “progressive”. Skills were more important than knowledge; discovery was more important than explanation; inclusion was more important than high expectations, […]



October 14, 2017

One of the biggest cultural changes in education that has happened since I trained to teach has been in attitudes to management. This impression has been somewhat re-enforced by some temporary work in independent schools (and a grammar school) where the hierarchy more closely resembled what schools were like when I started teaching. Based on […]


Is promoting women really the issue? (From @LabourTeachers)

February 27, 2016

As is often the case in the first week back after the holidays, I ran out of posts on Labour Teachers this week and had to write one myself in a bit of a hurry. (If you are a Labour supporting teacher and would like to write for Labour Teachers, details are here.) As it’s […]


The Darkest Term Revisited: Teacher Stress and Depression Part 2

December 15, 2015

The most viewed post on this blog is one from two years ago entitled The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression in which teachers shared their stories of stress and depression. Last year I contacted some of those people to see how they were getting on, although I never got round to publishing their responses. I’ve also contacted them […]


Holding Teachers To Account Fairly

December 13, 2015

This is a follow up to my recent post asking Should Managers Tell Teachers What To Do? A lot of the discussion about teaching focusses on problems related to teacher accountability. In particular: lesson observations; work scrutinies; assigning responsibility for exam results. It’s difficult to unpick whether the problems with these things are fundamental, i.e. that […]


Do OFSTED criticise teachers who set the same work for everyone in a class?

December 8, 2015

My take on the recent history of OFSTED is that after Sir Michael Wilshaw tried to shift inspectors away from looking for the “OFSTED lesson style”, and to look for things like a failure to close the gap or for progress over time, some schools became preoccupied with looking for particular things in lessons. Like […]


Top Blogs of the Week : Schools Week (June 2015)

June 13, 2015

Schools Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week. Dialogue during observations – what new torture is this? By @Bigkid4 A maths teacher discusses the latest idea encountered online: observations in which the observer gives advice to the teacher during the lesson. The writer explains that advice from observations is often […]