This week, Tara speaks to three guests about Maths in the classroom and how technology can help or hinder learning.
Dr Christian Salas (below centre) is a Maths Lecturer from Waltham Forest College, Stephen Farmer (below left), is Headteacher at Cranbrook Education Campus and Dan Sandhu (below right), is from Sparx Maths.
The conversation goes into depth about the Sparx Maths system and its benefits to schools like Stephen’s and Christian presents a slightly different point of view!
As a socially focussed learning technology company, Sparx has spent the last 8 years reimagining the way maths is taught and learnt in schools. Our aim is to improve numeracy, and therefore life opportunities, for over 5 million learners by 2030.
The result is not a short-term, off-the-shelf software product – it is a personalised approach to learning based on strategies that are founded in pedagogy and on the world class maths content that sets us apart. Underpinned by our sophisticated, adaptive technology platform and high levels of support, Sparx not only delivers progress and increases attainment in maths, it is also the catalyst for transformational change in many of our schools.
So what do you think? Is technology beneficial in subjects like maths, is it all just a way to ensure non-specialist teachers can teach maths or is it something different? What’s your experience of using technology in the classroom – Maths or any other?
This week, Mark speaks to Mary Meredith, Head of Inclusion at Lincolnshire County Council.
In an engrossing and detailed conversation, they cover many different areas of behaviour in English schools – what’s going well, what’s going badly and what should happen in the future.
Mary’s in-depth knowledge of research combined with her enormous personal, practical experience of education make this episode a must-listen for anyone who is serious about changing the nation’s attitude towards behaviour management for the benefit of every learner and young person.
It’s packed with evidence-based ideas, strategies and advice for teachers – and government.
This week, Kevin and Ollie speak to the talented Blair Minchin, a primary school teacher based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Blair has been teaching for 5 years, having previously worked in law, practising in commercial litigation.
He says he ADORES his job and has a real passion for developing pupil voice inside the classroom and out. He is currently leading a whole school sport house initiative aimed at developing a love of exercise and team sports across his school. Blair is also currently taking part in a practitioner enquiry into outdoor learning in Numeracy.
Blair is a very keen vlogger but the feedback he receives isn’t always positive…
Mark has 37+ years’ experience in special, PRU and mainstream education; most recently as a headteacher of a small specialist (ASD/SEMH) residental school and a headteacher of a large pupil referral unit (PRU). Prior to headship, Mark also held positions including Director of Inclusion; Lead Behaviour Professional, Senior Teacher, Head of PE and Classroom Teacher.
Mark has experienced and led through many Ofsted and HMI Inspections gaining excellent judgements with reference to leadership, intervention programmes and schools support. He has achieved recognition for outstanding support of children in Local Authority Care (Ofsted) and inclusion strategies, including significant success in reducing exclusions. He has designed, written and delivered a variety of courses on topics including Safeguarding, Mental Health, Behaviour and Restorative Practice, as well as contributed to delivering the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme.
Mark believes schools should provide life-affirming experiences for children, and that their carers and we as professionals and skilled trainers should enable and empower them to realise their aspirations. Mark feels this goal is reflected in the aims and values of Pivotal Education, and are closely aligned to his own. When offered the opportunity to join the Pivotal team, Mark did not hesitate!
Mark has recently become pro bono Chair of Members of the Formby High School Academy Trust, and holds several accredited memberships, including the Restorative Justice Council.
In this episode, Mark shares three of the Pivotal Podcast episodes which have affected him and tells the stories behind his choices.
Tara Ellie enjoyed speaking to David Miller this week. David is from Glasgow’s Kelvinside Academy which opened Scotland’s School of Innovation, the first of its kind in the UK, in September 2019.
“This is a must for Scotland if it is to continue to punch above its weight in the global economy during these challenging times. We truly believe we can and will transform education in the United Kingdom. We live in a rapidly changing world and schools need to provide an education which prepares young people to look at things differently.”
Based on an architecture studio model, learning in the new innovation school is focussed on real-world challenges and collaborative problem-solving, rather than exams and results. Kelvinside has an exclusive partnership with the world’s leading innovation school NuVu – Boston-based education pioneers who are at the forefront of creative learning in the US. Together, both organisations are working to challenge the boundaries of traditional education.
Kelvinside Academy pupils are already benefiting from this partnership, with S4 and S5 pupil teams shadowing Balfour Beatty’s construction and design teams, learning from industry experts from the global construction giant, attending meetings, and providing feedback and input.
Kelvinside Academy is constantly challenging the concept of the traditional education system and pupils are already going off curriculum for two weeks at a time to follow fluid programmes guided by James Addison, the school’s full-time Fellowfrom NuVu, the world’s leading innovation school.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We’re delighted to announce that Holte School, Birmingham, has been featured in the new parliamentary review as a model of best practice! You can read the article here: <a href="https://t.co/F5v99bHecQ">https://t.co/F5v99bHecQ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Holte_School?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@holte_school</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CPI_Europe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CPI_Europe</a></p>— Pivotal Education (@PivotalEd) <a href="https://twitter.com/PivotalEd/status/1174991843802648576?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 20, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
In a great fun episode this week, Tara meets ‘The Jungle Master’ and ‘Kiosk Keef’ AKA Chris and Lewis from Hillcrest Early Years Academy in Lincolnshire.
Chris and Lewis are both Key Stage 1 teachers and they make what they describe as ‘fun phonics videos’. The origins of the approach were in a whole-school phonics focus which promoted the fun and love of phonics in the school by introducing the concept of The Jungle Master who had to take part in the spelling challenges in the events called ‘I’m A Celebrity – Spell Me Out Of Here!’
In order to help the children further, The Jungle Master and Keef took to YouTube to create fun videos to cover as much of the phonics curriculum as possible. You can see the results below and feel free to use the videos in your own teaching!
Supporting the National Curriculum for Design and Technology and tailored for key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5, the Design Museum offers students and educators world class design education facilities supporting a vibrant and relevant programme connected with the wider ecology of design practice, networks and communities.
This week Tara speaks to Sevra Davis and Sebastian Conran about the educational work of The Design Museum and the importance of design in the present school curriculum and how it can help all of humanity to solve its problems and make everyone’s lives better.
The Design Museum is a campus for design education in the twenty first century, harnessing the potential of design to tackle the challenges of today’s complex world from local to global.
In our first episode for the new academic year, Tara speaks to Daniel Senn whose background and skills helped him to invent a new reading app called Poio which has helped more than 100,000 children aged 3-8 crack the reading code!
Daniel also shares his research and views on the role of fun in education.
Daniel is the dad and educator behind the learn-to-read game, Poio.
Six years ago, he embarked on a journey of trying to help his own son learn how to read. He was born with a severe hearing problem and Daniel was told that he would need extra assistance to keep up with other kids. However, experts also told him that motivating young children to practise reading is very hard, and that adults who push the learning early on often make matters worse, resulting in negative learning spirals and a loss of confidence.
So together, Daniel and his family engaged in a fun project to crack the reading code through play, where his son’s ideas were the main inspiration to the method that is now called Poio. A game that is able to help all kinds of children learn how to read, whether they are learning at a regular pace, are struggling with the process, or are gifted.
” Now The Poio Method has gone beyond helping my son, Leon, and our family. I have worked closely with a committed group of game developers, scientists and educationalists to make Poio what it is today. And in just a short period of time, we have helped more than 100,000 children across Scandinavia crack the reading code. I can hardly believe it, and feel so proud of what our team has achieved. Still, there is always more to do, and we’re only just getting started!
In light of Poio’s success, our goal is to help even more children learn how to read. By joining forces with the EdTech company Kahoot! this spring, we are now able to bring Poio to a global audience quicker through a newly developed English version. The UK edition of Poio is now available from the App Store and Google Play. The US edition will be available soon! Sign up to get notified.”
Tweet of the Week
As students here in the U.S. head back to school, let's remember that more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world don’t have that opportunity.
This week, Tara Elie speaks to the truly inspirational RIP STARS:
Here’s how the Disabled Young Researchers describe themselves:
We are a group of disabled young people aged 17 – 25 from Coventry, UK. We have been trained by Anita Franklin and Geraldine Brady (Coventry University) to be researchers. We lead our project – research by young disabled people for disabled young people. We have a voice and we want to give a voice to other disabled young people. We want to use research evidence to improve the lives of disabled young people.
Each member of the groups has a story to tell, from their own, personal experiences of how young people with disabilities are treated in schools and colleges.
This week, Tara Elie talks to Maxine and Ewan from Haileybury Turnford in Hertfordshire. It’s an excellent chance to hear all about how they have embarked on a process of culture change around behaviour and rates of exclusion – and their successes.