Skip to main content


Whole School Tutor 'Read Aloud' Programme – one of my proudest accomplishments.

Reading for benefit.                                                                                                            ‘A word after a word after a word is power.’          (Margaret Atwood) I have been meaning to write this blog for most of the summer but kept procrastinating – spending time with family, pottering, shopping, holidaying, chilling, cleaning and many other activities kept getting in the way (as they should in the holidays!)  However, as I make the transition from my school of the previous nine years to a new school and professional adventure I felt I wanted to get it down – call it a vanity project if you will! One of my achievements at my last (amazing) school that I am most proud of is setting up and implementing a tutor ‘read aloud’ programme and this is the tale of why. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” (George. R. R. Martin) A romanticised and somewhat clichéd
Recent posts

To mark or not to mark? That is the question.

                 The summer term - that time of year when teachers all around the country are going into hibernation and giving up their family time, social life and general peace of mind in the pursuit of marking for exam boards, whether it be SATs, GCSE or A Level.  But is the sacrifice worth it?  What are the benefits and how could we make it more manageable? Marking for an exam board is a big commitment. It should be – after all, these are our pupils’ final results.  However, it is time consuming, all consuming and often can seem like a thankless task. I didn’t mark for an exam board until a number of years into my teaching career.  If I am honest – I really don’t enjoy marking. (Just putting it out there.)  When I had a young family it just didn’t seem like something I wanted to add to my list of jobs considering that it would impact on my home and family time.  Plus, you really need somewhere quiet to mark and toddlers and young children really don’t offer tha

Homework needs a rethink: challenge, expectation, long-term memory and pupils who study.

It is that time of year again when teachers on edutwitter are discussing revision and generously sharing resources to help other teachers out (one of the best aspects of this amazing twitter community!) However, the yearly worry about whether pupils are prepared and what else we can get them to do for revision seems to me to suggest that we need to look further back and evaluate how we can cultivate pupils who 'study' continually, rather than pupils who 'revise' at the end. I think this goes back to long established ideas of homework and what it should be.  Homework, in my opinion as a teacher and as a parent, has previously been the bane of my life.  As a teacher I have spent many a time setting something to make sure I meet the school requirements and to ensure there is something written in the planners, often whether the current work demands it or not and then adding the impending 'marking task' to my ever growing to do list.  As a parent I have support

Hello from the other side: on being a parent of a Year 11 pupil pre-exams

                                I thought I would write a quick, somewhat self indulgent blog post to say, firstly, oh my...where has that time gone?!  However, cliches and mournful, mum reflection aside, I thought I would just note down for posterity a little about how it feels to sit on the other side of the fence from my usual teacher position.                                     My eldest child is in Year 11 and is about two weeks away from his first formal GCSE exam: Spanish speaking.  Before the May half term he will also sit others in biology, English literature,  geography, physics, maths and more Spanish.  In four school weeks it will all be over.  He will have sat a total of twenty three exams.   At this point I am feeling the stress rising. Not in my son - I am sure he is feeling it to a healthy degree but as teenagers go, touch wood, we are very lucky and he is relatively easy going and low maintenance. Nevertheless, I can feel the end approaching and something abou

Teaching across subjects: because, but, so ..... and disciplinary literacy

                                    I teach across three subject disciplines  because  as a teacher I am deployed to meet the needs of the school and, although I am primarily a teacher of English, I have qualifications and experience in English, Media Studies and History.     As such it could be said that I actually teach 4 subjects as I teach English Language and English Literature firstly but also A Level Media Studies and some KS3 History….            I teach across three subject disciplines  but  although I enjoy each of them (English, History and Media Studies) it is English Literature that is closest to my heart .  Reading was always passion of mine: I remember reading from a young age but especially fond are my memories as a teenager of keeping my lamp on as late as I could to devour the rest of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights whilst my parents thought I was sound asleep…..           I teach across three subject disciplines  so  it means that I am constantly having to switch m