The most important lesson from my NQT year

At the start of my NQT year, I took an assertive approach to discipline with my classes. I had high expectations for pupils and I established boundaries quickly. Although this worked to an extent, I couldn't help feeling that something was missing. I just didn't have a connection with any of my classes. I was enjoying what I was doing, but the...
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SATs or autism won't shape my son's life

I have a son who's 11 and has been doing his SATs this week. He's a bright little boy and he also has autism. He's got a sense of logic that would give Mr Spock a run for his money, combined with a social detachment which leaves him unable to understand why he needs to (in his words) "do yet another stupid maths paper, which will be exactly the sam...
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How to close the gap? Put the best teachers in the most deprived schools

By Becky Francis  Our society is stuck in a rut on social mobility – or rather, immobility. For decades, governments of every persuasion have sought to improve social mobility, to narrow the gap between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers. But that gap – in education, income, housing, health – continues to yawn. It is t...
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Assessment isn’t the big, bad wolf of education – our perception of it is the problem

In the current education debate, I believe assessment is unfairly judged. It is easy fodder for persecution because it is misunderstood and often carries negative connotations with students, teachers, parents and the administration. Part of the problem – and I'm not sure how it happened – is that many people have come to think of assessment and tes...
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Are we really raising aspirations?

In schools we assume a lot we probably shouldn't. One of the most damaging of these assumptions is that disadvantaged children want the sort of lives their teachers have but just don't know how to get them. When children make it clear, through bad behaviour or lack of work, they don't want to get qualifications and have professional careers we attr...
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