Resource: Argument planner

A difficulty I find my students repeatedly stumbling through is the ability to spot and present arguments in science. This is mainly seen on questions that require an answer relating to a human response; why might people think X or what are the benefits from Y..? Getting students beyond an inadequate answer Continue reading “Resource: Argument planner”

Do the right thing? Curriculum choices.

HARRY   All right, pop quiz. Airport, gunman with a hostage. He’s using her for cover. He’s almost to a plane. You’re one hundred feet away.

[Jack doesn’t respond]

HARRY   Jack?

JACK    Shoot the hostage.

HARRY   What?


Sean Harford once more stuck his head above the parapet and threw out an open question to twitter on Saturday morning:



I think we should all be glad that someone is publicly not only asking these questions but also taking the time to listen and respond. It matters a lot to teachers. To the slaves of the tiny blue bird at least. I’m not quite sure what he Continue reading “Do the right thing? Curriculum choices.”

Five minute Ofsted part II

Another couple of things have come to mind since I posted yesterday. The overall hit rate of around 62 % seemed a little low, so I got to thinking about my incorrect estimates. I hit 20 % of schools in total with a lower estimate than the actual Ofsted judgement. These judgements have potentially massive impacts on schools, staff and communities, so scoring 20 % of schools under is no small thing. There are a several factors though worth considering:


1) I was making a judgement based on up-to-date figures whereas the Ofsted data may be years old. Of course this would work both ways, so a school Continue reading “Five minute Ofsted part II”

The Five Minute Ofsted inspection

Sometime before Christmas there was a comment on the ol’ Twitter that (more or less) speculated on what an upcoming Ofsted rating would be, based on an attainment score (at least that’s how I remember it. It could have been some other metric. Look, it’s not important to the story). It immediately made me wonder how close I could get to actual Ofsted judgements without simply using published data. Can you judge a school without ever visiting?

In the spirit of dirty-data delving, I took the DfE’s Revised GCSE scores and school data from the January release and challenged myself to see how accurate my estimates would be compared to the real judgements. Continue reading “The Five Minute Ofsted inspection”

Diff’rent Strokes

Every now and then I find I come across a comment or idea in education, usually expressed in an off-hand way, which reminds me of the shallowness of my educational knowledge. At last September’s researchED for example, Phillippa Cordingley at last September’s researchED fielded a question from the audience about something to do with fire-fighting in year 11 and made a quick remark about the emotional boost that you teachers can get from the process. I thought there was a fascinating insight there into why some school level policies become favoured or entrenched, but she had already moved on to the next part of the question and didn’t expand further. Likewise, last Continue reading “Diff’rent Strokes”