Where is Education now? Hope vs Despair | Tom Sherrington

Things that make me despair:

Visionless policy-making. There’s no overall vision for education from any party.  No joined up thinking; no coherent strategy.  It’s piecemeal bits and pieces, stabbing around for election hits.  Tory Grammars was the most head-in-sand example but Jeremy Corbyn needs to stop talking about kids learning things by heart as if this is a terrible thing; it’s the wrong debate to have about SATs.  He also needs to stop talking about LAs as if they are the answer. Show me a school that is excellent because of local democratic control.

DFE Manipulation via Output…

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Compliance | Tom Sherrington

Image search: compliant children in factory school


It’s another of those ideas in education that drives people into their camps.

For some, compliance or systems that generate compliant children are an outrage; children suppressed, their natural creativity crushed, their rights and freedoms denied, victims of authoritarian power structures that have no place in the modern world.

For others, compliance is a necessary pre-requisite for creating a disciplined working environment in which children can learn and anyone who questions that is a woolly prog, culpable for a decline…

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Lessons for Ed-Research from Quantum Gravity via @carlorovelli | Tom Sherrington

I recently read this fabulous book by Carlo Rovelli.

Buy it here. 

The book works on many levels.  It is an attempt to explain the emerging theory of quantum gravity.  This has numerous mind-blowing conceptual elements – such as the idea that spacetime is quantized, that time isn’t really a fundamental thing that ticks forward – it’s just our perception – a resultant effect of  innumerable quantum-level events and the average direction of heat flow;  and that everything in the universe is made up of ‘covariant quantum fields’: there are no particles, waves, or forces as such.


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Towards an Assessment Paradigm Shift | Tom Sherrington

Despite my reservations about some of the big data measures that are used to judge schools, I am hopeful that our discourse is shifting the debate on assessment in a very positive direction.  If this continues it will represent an important paradigm shift with positive consequences for students’ learning and their overall school experience.

The Old Paradigm:  Macro Summative Attainment Tracking

This has reigned supreme for the last 10-15 years or possibly more.   The focus has been on trying to represent students’ attainment across all disciplines in terms of generic ladders of grades and…

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Twenty Teacher Types – a real-life test of leadership. | Tom Sherrington

In my experience, the toughest part of being a school leader is dealing with all the different personalities in a large staff.  Delivering on your grand vision stands or falls on whether you can mobilise the staff in your team – always a diverse, complex group of individuals. Getting everyone to give their best and work towards some shared goals is easier said than done.

At a recent middle leaders training event we discussed some of the teacher-types and how to manage them.  Of course no-one is really defined by a type – it’s lazy code for how they sometimes present in specific situations….

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Maximising P8: Macro-Micro Thinking – and Ethics. | Tom Sherrington

In my view it’s a sad state of affairs that we are a long way down the road towards absolute Data Delusion; where teachers, school leaders and commentators are engaged in discussions about the quality of education provided by a school via a single two digit number that purports to capture a measure of the average progress made by every child. It’s not the maths of it – I get the maths; it’s very idea of it that bothers me.  Averaging every child’s achievements into one number is so far removed from what I would consider to be a rounded evaluation of children’s education experience, it’s hard…

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Teaching for Distinction @OldhamCollege | Tom Sherrington

The most exciting job I’ve had since starting out with Teacherhead Consulting has been working with Oldham College.  Principal Alun Francis approached me to explore whether there was scope in applying current thinking around teaching and learning, curriculum planning and my experience of the delivery of CPD in schools to the FE setting.   He was keen to move away from the one-off CPD day where the impact can be marginal.  He was also keen to explore the idea of a ‘powerful knowledge’ curriculum in FE, not least because so many technical and vocational courses are moving to include examined…

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