The power of picture books in the primary classroom

In a previous blog Gill Johnson considered what we mean by quality children’s literature and why it might be valuable in the classroom in promoting successful reading and writing. In this blog, she explores the importance of picture books and thinks it is time to rediscover their power with all children. If you have watched …

What do we mean by ‘Character Education’?

The use of ‘Character Education’ as a term has become more widespread in recent years but can be understood in many different ways.  In this post, Rupert Knight explores this concept and provides an example of one school’s approach.   Education for character as well as academic attainment is nothing new and the 2015 report …

An Early Years ‘PISA’, Good-Level washback and the forgotten areas of learning.

It is not a new phenomenon for the UK early years phase of education to be a centre of controversy between practitioners, policy makers (and enactors) and academics. But, in this post, Philip Hood argues that the impending introduction of a set of tests for five-year-olds from OECD, a real Early Years PISA may, indeed …

Using quality children’s literature in the classroom: it’s win win!

  When was the last time you immersed yourself in a good book? In the midst of a busy term, I suspect the answer is – not for a while!  When was the last occasion you read a children’s book? The answer to this may vary, but in this blog Gill Johnson considers what we …

Creativity…risky business or essential to learning?

In this post Sally Betteridge explores issues around Creativity and its role in the Primary Curriculum.   A recent article in the TES discussed an anti-testing campaign and a week of Creativity in protest against the SATs and the constant testing regimes in Primary schools. However, is this enough – a week of creativity – …

Let’s talk about oracy

Literacy and numeracy are part of daily life for primary teachers, but in this post Rupert Knight explores what we mean by oracy and considers its possible impact. Put simply, oracy refers to skills related to talk and learning through talk.  Between 1987 and 1993 the work of the National Oracy Project in England led …

The importance of memory in learning

How often do you feel frustrated that your pupils cannot remember what you have rigorously and carefully taught them, employing your most effective pedagogies to no avail? How often have you employed memory techniques in your pedagogy to aid their ability to remember? In this post Carmen Mohamed demonstrates the importance of employing memory techniques …

Are textbooks in the primary school the answer? To what problem?

Primary schools in many ‘high performing countries’ use textbooks in primary classrooms. In this post, Jane Medwell explores the role they may play in English classrooms. In 2014 Nick Gibb told us told to “shed the anti-textbook culture” in primary schools: “In England, 10 per cent of 10-year olds are issued textbooks. In South Korea, …

Subject knowledge for primary teachers: the power of community?

In this post Rupert Knight considers how colleagues in primary schools can develop subject knowledge collaboratively. The challenge of subject knowledge Like it or not, we’re working in an educational era where individual subjects are prioritised. The messages are there in documents like the 2016 White Paper and in the very structure of the curriculum.  …

Understanding comprehension

In the wake of the controversy surrounding this year’s KS2 reading test, reading has been very much in the spotlight once again, as seen in this recent TES story. In this post Jane Medwell explores comprehension as an important aspect of that reading process. What is comprehension? Comprehension is what turns “decoding” into “reading”. Understanding …