DHSB Teachmeet Curry Night


We hosted a wonderful Teachmeet this week which brought together a fantastic group of 80 people in education. There were people from Devon, Cornwall and Torbay, from all phases including the next generation of teachers. You can catch up what happened by visiting the feed at #TMDHSBCurry.

We will also be posting more about the presentations over the next few weeks, a special thanks for all those who supported to make the event such a success. We will also be posting details of the next event soon.



Professional Exploration – attending the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem


“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” 
Albert Einstein

I read a recent blog post that discussed the importance of professional exploration for teachers in schools. As the lead learner in a classroom a teacher needs to lead by example to try to ‘get better’ and to develop their practice, it has been great to read about Dave Riggs new CPD adventure has already started which will lead to a international event attending at the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. It is an extremely exciting opportunity and you can read more on his blog as it progresses in the next couple of weeks.


The marking treadmill


I profess to be no expert when it comes to marking, although I work with colleagues who excel at it and seemingly enjoy the process.   After reading a number of blog posts and tweets this weekend, alongside an increasing number of late nights due to marking I am left wondering where the balance lies and who we are marking for.

A few weeks into term and I have already marked hundreds of pieces of work, remarked work and set time aside for marking scrutiny’s and there appears to be no sign of the treadmill stopping. I read a blog post this week, in which each teacher was being told to keep a record of their marking, including when worked had been marked again, presumably to allow for the students making changes or becoming involved in a dialogue. I wonder who this record is for, how will this benefit the student, will the marking not be evidenced through discussions with the students or even observations of lessons?

I have also experienced fervent parental engagement this week; parents rightly, have their own children uppermost in their thoughts and actions, but this doesn’t mean they are qualified or have enough understanding to make effective judgements.  In fact, when parents start posting their children’s books on social media – perhaps we have to question if we are even marking for our students at all.

I see the value of marking and enjoy the creativity and effort students put in, however I feel there is a fine line between marking to assess or moving learning forward and ticking boxes in an admin driven evidence trail. I feel in some situations the second has taken the lead and I wonder how it can be reversed? This pressure is not coming from my school leadership, I am fortunate to work in a place where staff have complete autonomy and are given the professional space to make their own judgements.  So perhaps it is coming from the students – well I am confident that whilst they like making progress and want to learn, they would be happy with less formal work to complete.

So I suppose the final thought is how do we ensure marking is sustainable and how do we ensure it’s for the benefit of our students and their learning journeys? Answers on a postcard please*.

Rachael Green @DHSBGeography

I ♥ GOOGLE 2-Step Authentication

As part of a regular feature our resident ‘Google Guru’ Andy Guy @DHSBAndyGuy will be posting out tips and treats related to all things Google.

Two step authentication is a great way of protecting services such as Google, Dropbox & many more. Essentially when you log onto a site protected by 2-step authentication you enter your username & password then the service prompts you for a code sent by text to your mobile phone. To get started using 2-step authentication on a variety of sites check out this great LifeHacker article. The video below also gives a great overview of 2-step authentication on Google.

£Millions spent on educational research every year but why is there so little evidence?

barber RT

Whilst attending Research Ed 2014 #rEd14 that is one question I heard several presenters ask and one that was left circulating my brain for the next week afterwards. Today I am asking myself a follow up question, well if it is true what can we do about it?

I attended my first ResearchEd conference last Saturday and had a wonderful time, it was a wonderful buzzing, bohemian, grassroots filled conference which was refreshing to see many teachers from the ‘chalk face’ there giving up their 1st weekend of the new academic year. I believe that this is a ‘movement’ that is trying to do something about it! A special thank you to both Tom Bennett and Helene Galdin-O’Shea for organising such an inspirational event. As I finish writing this post I see that @kieranearley has beaten me to it, I have resisted reading this yet till I have completed this one but I will as soon as this is posted http://kieranearley.co.uk/2014/09/researched-september-2014/

I picked up several great ideas at #rEd14, links to more reading and research in addition to confirming my own reflections and recent decisions on certain developments at DHSB. However one thing that I came away with following the conference was multiple questions that I am not necessarily sure I have the answers to. Do you? What do you think?

Apparently 1 in 6 schools are taking part in research and there are potential pots of money out there such as with the likes of the Education Endowment Foundation and all you have to do is get in touch. So should more schools/teachers carry out research?

Whose responsibility is it to connect research to practice in education? Should we? A good example was given about Nurses and Doctors who regularly are immersed in both research and practice – should teaching be like that?

To become a better teacher and for schools to become better do teachers need to carry out classroom research or do they just need to reflect on their practice and try to improve it?

Is a ‘top down’ approach to make research a part of being a teacher from the Headteacher or from the state?

What research has been carried out in the UK to show that carrying out research for teachers improves their practice? (I have to say that probably my own best CPD was my MEd but is that the same for everyone?)

Do ‘Outstanding’ teachers need to do it or just poor performing ones?

How will schools/teachers be given the investment and support (both time and money) to encourage more teachers and schools to engage in research?

So going back to the initial question which is also the title of this blog and my own subsequent question about what can we do about it?

The first thing we can do as teachers is access the research that is there and look at it. You can find various good sources below:

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching Toolkit http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/

Institute for Effective Education


Teaching How2’s – great infographics – some are free but most are paid


National Foundation for Educational Research


You can view videos of the talks and find other resources below:


Other recent interesting posts about #rED14

http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/evidence-education-grassroots – @oliverquinlan

http://reflectingenglish.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/the-cerebral-life-of-schools/ @atharby

Success in SWAT!

This has been a record year at DHSB for SWAT events. Since starting in January getting used to the ways of SWAT has been a steep learning curve, but I think I am finally getting the hang of things.

We have had many successful subject meetings and some organised by our own DHSB staff such as the Maths and Classics events. There has been extensive collaboration, planning curriculums which all SWAT schools are going to teach and sharing of great practice.

The programme of events culminated with the “Mastering the Dragon Conference” in Poole. You have already; I am sure read many of the blog posts about this event. It was a huge success, a real showcase of outstanding practice and celebration of individuals across our schools.


Iain Anderson @iainanders2008 Chair of SWAT opening the MtD Conference 2014

For me the conference challenged my thinking about university, gave rise to some thought provoking conversations about how we provide opportunities outside of the curriculum and I got the opportunity to chat with @headguruteacher about Lesson Study – perhaps the next step for my Lesson Observation Triads.

There are many more exciting events planned, especially for the students in our schools. I am looking forward to continuing to giving colleagues opportunities for CPD across our SWAT schools.

Rachael Green @DHSBGeography


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