Research shows half of poor readers receive no support at secondary school

Having just read Vision for Literacy, 2025, I feel compelled to share a thought about why struggling readers are not being adequately supported during the secondary phase. A couple of years ago, Margaret Snowling’s team at York University published a study which highlights the scale of this problem: The Rate and Identification of Reading DifficultiesContinue reading “Research shows half of poor readers receive no support at secondary school”

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #Behaviourism and how it fails

The irony about my last post is that I wrote it because I felt my blog was altogether too negative and ultimately, therefore, not very helpful. This was a good story, I thought. Unhappy students who hated each other at the start of the day; happy students who were friends at the end; lots ofContinue reading “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #Behaviourism and how it fails”

When swearing in class was a reason to rejoice #restorativepractice

Just last week, a boy, I’ll call him Tom, burst into my office, squeezed himself into the gap between my cabinet and the wall and yelled, “I’ve had enough of this fucking school and everyone in it!” After the pressure of the tight space had calmed him, he agreed to come out and we talkedContinue reading “When swearing in class was a reason to rejoice #restorativepractice”

Gove’s grammar test – political meddling as bad as it gets

Be honest, can you confidently answer this question? Which option completes the sentence below so that it uses the subjunctive mood? I wish I———————–free to come to your party, but I am afraid I will be busy. Tick one. were could be was may be It’s taken from the DfE’s sample KS2 ‘English grammar, punctuationContinue reading “Gove’s grammar test – political meddling as bad as it gets”

An inconvenient truth – grouping pupils by ability is iniquitous

My youngest daughter loved school once, especially topic work. In Year 2, the Amazon Rainforest became an all-consuming passion. She would arrive home bursting with facts about the wondrous world beneath the canopy – not just the flying, jumping, swinging creatures but also the stiller delights of the forest floor. I would discover shrivelled mushrooms,Continue reading “An inconvenient truth – grouping pupils by ability is iniquitous”

How we punish students with rewards

Many teachers are parents of school aged children too; we’re the ones who embarrass our offspring simply by making vaguely informed enquiries at parents’ evening. (‘How can she work towards a target grade that is actually lower than her current performance grade?’ – just one example of many strictly off-limits squirm-inducers.) But parenthood does provideContinue reading “How we punish students with rewards”