“The Right learner – Right Place” - by Ivor Brain

Paul Burton - Thursday, December 08, 2016

Regardless of which part of the country, from the outset, the ‘educational travellator’  should carry all children and young people seamlessly along an exciting and edifying  journey, passing through all phases and school settings, to ultimately take them towards a successful outcome in helping them to prepare for their next destination.  More...


Some Philosophical Questions

Paul Burton - Thursday, December 01, 2016

An average of 51 cars a year overshoot and drive into the canals of Amsterdam. Should drivers have a compulsory ‘diving test’?  More...


Welcome To My Blog

Paul Burton - Friday, February 12, 2016

Feel free to grab a cup of tea/coffee and a biscuit, put your feet up and take a look around the Rhinoss site. You'll find heaps of great content and information from a range of contributors about the  business of school improvement along with plenty of  'free' goodies and ideas focused on school self-evaluation, teaching resources,school based INSET,governor training and not forgetting  'OfSTED' . I do hope  that you enjoy your visit and feel free to contact us at info@rhinoss.co.uk  to  let me know what you think and also if you require any help  and support for your school ....... Paul Burton   (Profile)..  More...


The Myth Buster QA

Ivor Brain - Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The HMI/Ofsted – Myth Buster (sung to the tune of Ghostbusters)  More...


F.E.A.R. is still taking the fun and enjoyment out of teaching?

Ivor Brain - Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Quiz: Who said: ‘I prefer to have the young learn only what they acquire voluntarily, by following their instinct for play’? (Answer at the end of the article)

I have just read the latest edict from the Chief Inspector of Schools about OfSTED not recommending a suite of ‘preferred teaching styles’ and how OfSTED should be concerned with the impact that teaching has on children’s learning, progress and outcomes rather than Inspectors telling teachers how to teach. Let me make my pronouncement on this document.

After over 33 years’ involvement in education as a teacher, subject advisor, Senior Inspector, an Assessor of Advanced Teachers, as well as a been an OfSTED Inspector for over 24 years, never once has ‘style’ been mentioned; it has always been about ‘teaching approaches’. Even in the halcyon days of undertaking a BEd, with various visiting lecturers, including the late lamented Ted Wragg, never made reference to ‘preferred teaching style’ but rather to exploring relevant approaches, methodology, structure and paradigms of how effective lessons could be constructed to cater for the abilities of all pupils and their full potential.

Perhaps Mr Wilshaw needs to go further in placating the needs of his paymaster, Mr Cameron  and the government's obsession ( and extremely costly experiment)  with  ‘free school’ model where anyone can teach in any way they want. Then why not go the whole hog and adopt the Mexican Education system whereby, if you retire as a teacher, you can nominate who you prefer to take over from you – family member, neighbour or someone who you owe few favours to! Or, even better, adopt the early days of A.S. Neill’s ‘Summmerhill School’ with ‘discovery learning’, whereby in a science lesson you exploded dustbins to see how far the lid would fly, or where pupils could (and still can) attend lessons if and when they feel like it.

Why not go even further? What is good enough for teachers, should then be good enough for other professions such as doctors, lawyers, dentists and airline pilots. Would you fly on an aeroplane with a pilot who was trained/taught to fly in whatever way the trainer wished (perhaps disregarding the use of a flight simulator)? Would you feel secure if you knew when you boarded that plane knowing that it had an 80% chance of landing? Well, in some of our schools, that is a criteria that some children face when they attend lessons – that one in five lessons will require improvement. I have always been an advocate of children; they get one chance in life at a good education and, in addition where I have seen teachers ‘short changing’ them because of poor or barely suitable teaching approaches there are only two solutions. Solution one: help those teachers who need to improve to do just that, or, if this fails, implement Solution two: ‘change the people or change the people!’

I have witnessed thousands of lessons with a wide-ranging calibre of teachers, the vast majority of whom were trying to do their best, sometimes in very challenging circumstances. What I gleaned during those observations was that good or outstanding teachers do have a ‘formulaic’ approach with specific elements combined in a heady cocktail of unforgettable learning experiences which the pupils relish.

Unfortunately, at this stage, I must reluctantly agree with Mr Wilshaw and his observations that in the latter days of national strategies, lessons were over prescriptive and followed a set pattern of delivery. However, one should not forget that for some ‘less than satisfactory teachers’ the national strategies provided a ‘scaffold’ or a ‘lifeline’ of techniques, structure, content, resources, methodology (particularly in tried and tested practices of behavioural management of pupils), practical ideas and systems for teacher assessment, to mention just a few ‘good points’.

Anyhow, back to what makes highly effective teaching… Thank goodness I had the privilege of being trained in the 1990s by group Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) in how to judge lessons and schools. I have incorporated and blended many of the features and outcomes from the intense training over the years within the plethora of recent frameworks for inspecting schools. Mr Gove appears to be fixated with pupils acquiring ‘knowledge’, particularly historical data. Well, I suggest that he and Mr Wilshaw read the tomb of the training manual cover to cover: Handbook for the Inspection of Schools, May 1994 amendment. It contains over 150 years of HMI knowledge, skills and ways of understanding schools, especially the section on Quality of Teaching in which it states that:

‘Teaching quality is to be judged by the extent to which:   More...


3 Easy Questions for a 2 hour ‘FREE’ consultancy

Paul Burton - Monday, January 04, 2016

To claim your ‘FREE’ two-hour Consultancy Session  please send your answers for the direct attention  of Lisa Carroll Project Coordinator to info@rhinoss.co.uk

1. What are the key priorities for your school on which you would like advice or support?

2. What are the key issues regarding your, or your staff’s, main training needs?

3. What do you look for in consultancy and support to help benefit your school to continue to improve?  More...


Juicy Bytes of Learning

Paul Burton - Saturday, January 02, 2016

Hawkswood PRU is on a mission to meet the educational, therapeutic and care requirements of pupils presenting complex needs by using technology to motivate and inspire vulnerable and disengaged learners.   More...