Posted in teaching, Uncategorized

Beating funding cuts: decreasing workload and boosting morale

There is so much work and preparation that goes into being a teacher – as a school leader, you see what your teachers have to offer on a daily basis – their relationships with pupils and families, their commitments toward improving their practice, and the teamwork they demonstrate with their colleagues.

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics, the suicide rate of primary school teachers in England is nearly double the national average. Figures reveal that, between 2011 and 2015, the risk of suicide among primary and nursery school teachers was 42 percent higher than that of the broader population of England.

The startling figures have been published amid warnings that increasing pressures in the profession have made teaching “one of the most highly stressed occupations in the country today”, with a number of former and current teachers reporting that unmanageable workloads have impacted negatively on their mental health.

It is vital that you have a comprehensive, whole-school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing, to ensure that staff and pupils are happy and safe. The link between low morale and poor teacher retention is well documented, and can severely impact on pupil behaviour and attainment.

You may not be able to shield staff from the uncertainty created by continual government reforms and budget restraints, but you can introduce low-cost and easy-to-implement strategies. Continue reading “Beating funding cuts: decreasing workload and boosting morale”

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Posted in physical education, Uncategorized

A Multi Axis Approach to Sport

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A solution for Physical Education: a menu based on a compass?

 The recent All-Party Parliamentary Group Report on PE[1] highlighted the issues facing PE in schools today.

Probably the most crucial challenge facing PE (and the one that is hardest to resolve) is that it inherently contains a clash of values.  That clash can be summed up as the conflict between excellence and universality, succinctly summarised as:

“the elitist outcome of sport and the universalist orientation of physical education[2] 

This conflict goes to the heart of what PE is trying to achieve – is it sporting excellence or health and fitness for all? Continue reading “A Multi Axis Approach to Sport”

Posted in Gender stereotypes, Uncategorized

Boys will be boys…

Even before a child is born, we often know if it has male or female reproductive organs, and with this knowledge comes a whole set of assumptions about what it means to be a girl or a boy.

Subconsciously or not, we expect different things from boys and girls in line with gender stereotypes; indeed society even decides a child’s gender for them, before they have had time to work it out themselves. This is also evident if you look at your child’s surroundings; from the day they are born, it is pink or blue clothes, and then princess and superheroes, and so on and so forth. Continue reading “Boys will be boys…”

Posted in SEND, Uncategorized

Are we failing pupils with SEND?

We are currently in an era where many schools endorse and embrace the goal of full inclusion for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Undoubtedly, inclusion is the key to obtaining education and social equity.

Unfortunately, inclusion is often falsely translated to mean the “place” where teaching and learning occurs, stemming from the ideological belief all pupils should be educated in the general classroom – that instruction provided outside of this setting is akin to segregation. While general education can, and should, be strengthened to better meet the needs of all pupils, for many these practices alone are just not enough. Continue reading “Are we failing pupils with SEND?”

Posted in Finland, Uncategorized

Is Finland ahead of the game?

For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of the international league tables for literacy and numeracy.

Only Far Eastern countries, such as Singapore and China, outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ─ an international standardised test for 15-year-olds in language, maths and science.

It seems this isn’t the only league table in which Finland is coming out on top, as they are known for producing some of the most physically fit children in Europe. Continue reading “Is Finland ahead of the game?”

Posted in Assessment, research, SEND, Uncategorized

Dyslexia: overlooked and left behind?

Every year, SATs results and other national testing shows that too many children and young people are not meeting expected levels in literacy, with 1 in 5 children leaving primary school below the national expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics.[1]

If you cannot learn to read, you cannot read to learn, and too many children are unable to access the curriculum due to poor reading skills. It is these children who then become disengaged and leave school with few, or no qualifications, resulting in significantly reduced opportunities. Continue reading “Dyslexia: overlooked and left behind?”

Posted in relationships, Uncategorized

Sexism in schools: A misrepresented issue

When Dr Mary Bousted, the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, spoke out early this year about sexist bullying in school that prevents girls participating fully in the classroom, there were several issues that she failed to touch upon.

Dr Bousted stated that girls often feel they have to decide between being attractive or clever because of sexist name calling in schools, and that there are multiple pressures on girls to be thin, attractive and compliant, making bright girls feel unfeminine. Continue reading “Sexism in schools: A misrepresented issue”