All posts by kevin

4 Courses, 3 Guests and a Mobile Phone – The First Pivotal Podcast Dinner Party! PP220

Tara Elie hosts the first ever Pivotal Podcast Dinner Party where three guests get to discuss the education topics of the moment:

  • Callum Wetherill
  • Mark Goodwin
  • Zuzanna McClintock

Join us with a beverage of your choice and see if your opinions on the courses match our guests:

Starter: ‘Teachers work too many hours’ says education secretary
Main: Mobile phones in school 
Desert: Behaviour in the classrooms…who’s responsibility
Cheese course: Best thing you’ve learnt from a student.

Laura McInerney Encourages Teachers to Tapp Here! PP219

Laura McInerney

Tara Elie spoke to Laura McInerney this week. Laura is a former teacher and education journalist who currently writes a regular column for The Guardian and for the weekly newspaper Schools Week.

Laura begins by explaining what Teacher Tapp is. This data-focussed phone app encourages teachers to take a few seconds per day to share their answers to three education questions. The questions vary every day and could be opinions or simple questions about the life of a teacher.

“The aim is to build up a picture of teachers’ working lives which is far more accurate than anything which has existed before.”

Once you have entered your own answers, you can see the results of the nationwide responses. Laura says there are about 2,500 teachers who respond every day so the data is certainly useful. Some interesting findings include:

  • Teachers get to school really early
  • The majority of teachers have at least 3 extra duties each week
  • They usually have at least 3 meetings after school per week
  • 50% of teachers run extra-curricular activities
  • Most teachers do at least 3-7 hours of marking outside working hours per week
  • Around 40-50% of teachers admit to marking books in front of the TV

The data is used by Laura and her colleagues to help to inform national debates and campaigns. Listen to the episode to hear how this is being done.

Laura also tells the story of how she found herself in court, wearing her trademark yellow jacket (see below) fighting Michael Gove and the DfE over what the department claimed were vexatious Freedom of Information requests!

Laura’s Links:

Teacher Tapp app

Laura on Twitter

Carrie Grant – Having children with SEN is a real ‘Boon’ – PP218

Carrie Grant

It was such a joy to welcome Carrie Grant onto the Pivotal Podcast this week.

Carrie is married to David and together they are well known to TV audiences internationally as judges and vocal coaches, on the massively successful TV talent shows, “Pop Idol” (ITV) and the BBC flagship programme “Fame Academy”. They are current judges on BBC 1’s BAFTA Award winning “Glee Club.”

Carrie started as a dancer on TV then moved into presenting and session singing where she became one of the country’s top session singers. Working with the likes of Diana RossRoberta Flack, Rod Stewart, Lighthouse FamilyFat Boy Slim and many others. Carrie currently presents for The One Show, covering most of their music items and many other subjects. She has also reported for The Culture Show and made documentaries on Al Bowlyand Eva Cassidy.

It was whilst singing for Take That back in ’94 that David and Carrie were first approached to vocal coach the boys in the band. They had no idea of the journey they were about to embark on. Artists upon artist followed and their client list to date includes: The Spice Girls, Take That, Kimberley Wyatt, Will Young, Charlotte Church, Lemar, The Saturdays, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marvin Humes, Demi Lovato  and many others.

In 2008 David and Carrie were awarded a BASCA for their lifetime services to the music industry.

Perhaps less well known is the story of Carrie and David’s family life. In this revealing, challenging and inspiring conversation, Carrie explains the struggles she has faced in the English education system and how she has managed to support her children to some remarkable and surprising outcomes.

Introducing our new Headteacher Audio Diarist, Russell Ingleby! PP217

Russell Ingleby
Russell Ingleby

This week, Ollie went to speak to Headteacher of Hightown Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Russell Ingleby. Russell is going to be sending audio diary entries into the podcast over the coming months so, in this introductory episode, Ollie finds out more about Russell, his school and his philosophy around ‘The Hightown Way’.

Hightown School website

Russell on Twitter

Kiran Gill on how to make ‘The Difference’ in behaviour – PP216

Kiran Gill

Kiran Gill

It was great to welcome Kiran Gill onto the podcast to start our 2019 episodes.

Kiran is Founder and CEO of The Difference – an organisation which
is creating a new generation of school leaders, specialist in improving outcomes for the most vulnerable children.

Kiran began her career in inner-city London, as an English teacher in schools serving the most deprived postcodes in the country.  After five years on the frontline, Kiran left to work in education policy, searching for solutions to the rising number of vulnerable children who fall through the gaps.  Kiran was working at Social Mobility Commission when she conceived the idea for The Difference.  She has led its work full-time since January 2017.

Kiran is driven by her own family experiences. Growing up with two adopted sisters, Kiran witnessed the long-term effects of childhood trauma and the lack of support for young people with complex needs. This insight is what keeps Kiran striving for the most vulnerable children to get the education they deserve.

The Difference Leaders Programme – applications are now live!

Follow the link to find out how you can develop your career, learn from Alternative Provision settings and then reduce exclusions in mainstream schools.

At the moment there are 50,000 students in the sector for excluded pupils. There were only 7,000 permanently excluded last year…It’s been estimated that 20,000 pupils disappeared off rolls last year.

Kiran believes there isn’t enough understanding about what really works with vulnerable children and we don’t celebrate our inclusive schools enough. High stakes accountability is a problem and it isn’t matched by high support at the moment.

Also, Kiran says that the idea of an ‘ideal level’ of exclusions is unrealistic and unhelpful. There are schools who are great at reducing exclusions and these are the schools who are also:

  • Proactive at supporting children’s wellbeing and safeguarding needs
  • Good at spotting problems before they escalate

Should Alternative Provision be given the best resources or just given what’s left over?

Kiran argues strongly that it is nonsensical not to invest in our most vulnerable learners. Her organisation have worked out that nationally less than 2% of excluded children who sit GCSEs in a Pupil Referral Unit, achieve passes in English and Maths. At age 20, almost three quarters still won’t have passes in these subjects and are therefore much less likely to access employment, be prone to mental ill health and, in perhaps the most shocking statistic of all, one in two of the prison population were excluded from school.

The lifetime cost of provision for just the pupils excluded last year is £2.9 billion

Vic Goddard on How to Educate Essex, Ofsted, Overtesting…and more! PP215

You will probably know Vic Goddard from the TV show, Educating Essex but in this week’s episode he talks candidly to Tara Elie about a wide range of topics including:

  • Whether he would agree to filming in his school now
  • His experiences with Ofsted
  • How damaging he thinks overtesting is
  • Tips for surviving in school at Christmas

Vic Goddard came into public view several years ago through Educating Essex, a fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed in the Harlow secondary school he leads and capturing the ups and downs, tears and laughter of typical school life.

It was a seminal and highly popular TV programme that spawned several spin-off series, not to mention a great deal of publicity in the national press, a highlight of which was being referred to as ‘the worst headteacher in the country’ by the Daily Mail.

Thrust into the limelight, Vic became a national figure and is still a regular visitor to various breakfast TV sofas to talk about the latest government policies or educational issues of the day, as well as a founding member of the Headteacher’s Roundtable pressure group.

Tweet of the Week

Share your #meetandgreet videos with us! The more christmassy the better.. Best 5 videos (voted by us) will receive a mystery prize so get those entries in!— Ellie Dix (@PivotalEllie) 6 December 2018

Stop, Collaborate and Listen! PP214

Ollie Frith

Ollie Frith gives an exclusive insiders’ viewpoint on Pivotal’s Recent Instructors’ Conference this week. There are clips from some of the sessions and lots of inspiration from delegates and organisers.

Ollie encourages us all to Stop, Collaborate and Listen, rather than blindly following ‘what we have always done’.

The video Paul uses in his session:

Tweet of the week:

Poverty, closing more than one gap with Siobhan Collingwood – PP213

Siobhan Collingwood
Siobhan Collingwood

Siobhan has been  headteacher of a Primary school in Morecambe, Lancashire for 14 years. Morecambe is a coastal town with pockets of extreme deprivation from which the school’s intake is drawn.  The school has established outstanding Pastoral Support systems and makes excellent use of links with other agencies and sectors. Siobhan works as a member of the County LSCB on projects to improve multi-agency practice, and on her local mental health transformation plan steering group. She  contributes articles for TES on mental health and educational issues and gave written and verbal evidence to  the recent joint Education and Health Parliamentary Inquiry into the role of schools in promoting positive mental health for children and young people.

This week, Mike talks to Siobhan about her experiences of working in this environment and how the school she leads seeks to ‘close more than one gap’.

How does poverty affect your children and families?

Siobhan points out that you  can’t get away from poverty – it pervades everything. She believes that the concept of ‘closing the gap’ is unhelpful because it appears to be suggesting that there’s only one gap. It’s as if the right intervention or support will suddenly ‘magic away’ all of the issues. There is a constant pressure from poverty and the gap widens all the time.

Siobhan mentions the children who have access to a cultural experience bank and social capital that others simply don’t access at all.

“…just going on walks with their parents and talking about the Autumn leaves – these are daily experiences our children don’t get…”

Their vocabulary is severely limited, their life experiences are limited, their ability to take turns and socialise with people is limited but on top of all this, they are hungry and tired, they may have lived with several adverse childhood experiences – all of these things add up to an absolute chasm for these children.

There is a growing group of in-work parents who are struggling financially, particularly because of the complex way benefits are worked out.

What can educational provisions do to help families who are living in poverty?

Siobhan believes we first and foremost have to have hope and optimism.

“The way out of poverty is through a high quality education.”

Siobhan’s school has a set of 5 values which she uses to help all the children. This means that when you visit her school, you will see happy children who are engaged by their teachers and their lessons.

Criminology, Ethnicity and the School to Prison Pipeline with Ashley Mclaren – PP212

Ashley Mclaren
Ashley Mclaren

Ashley Mclaren is a criminologist who has recently completed her Master’s thesis. Tara spoke to her about unconscious bias but Ashley has also been influenced by Dr. Karen Graham who has worked on the ‘School to Prison Pipeline’.

Ashley’s thesis is entitled, ‘Black and Blue – an exploration of the work and identity as a civic shield. ‘ She concentrates on the issues of black men versus the police, particularly the use of stop and search from black men’s perspective. Ashley felt there was a lot of research on the numbers of stop and search but not really any on how the black men felt about how they were being treated. There is also some very interesting work  around how  ethnic minorities are likely to behave when stopped by the police. However, this was US research and all hypothetical – Ashley wanted to see if it applied to the UK and also if it was borne out in reality. So she interviewed 8 black men from 18 – 40 years old. Ashley describes what she found out.

How schools prepare kids for prison

Ashley heard Dr. Karen Graham speak as a guest lecturer on her course. She spoke about how schools are inadvertently preparing ethnic minority and other marginalised kids for prison life.

“It was interesting to see the correlation between schools and what was happening in prison life.”

In the US, 50% of men in prison are black compared with 20% in the population while in the UK, the situation is actually worse – 1 in 10 prisoners are black compared with 2.8% of the population. This is alongside the fact that the highest rates of exclusion in the UK are amongst Gypsy, Romany, Traveller or Irish heritage and Black Caribbean students are more than three times more likely to be permanently excluded.

Some of the themes which emerged in Ashley’s research included:

  • Family environment – if all you see is crime there is an increased chance you will go into that world (although some react against it of course)
  • Arbitrary school practices – e.g. having to do PE in silence
  • Experience of violence – from parents or teachers
  • Segregation – educational exclusions, school exclusion and physical isolation

Pivotal Pillars Playlist – The Early Years – PP211

Ollie Frith

Ollie Frith guides us through some of the earliest episodes of the podcast which cover aspects of the Five Pillars of Pivotal Practice:

  1. Consistent, calm adult behaviour 
  2. First attention to best conduct
  3. Relentless routines
  4. Scripted interventions
  5. Restorative follow up

The episodes he refers to are:

Restorative Practice – PP3

Scripted Behaviour Interventions – PP10

Managing Your Own Behaviour – PP12

Rules, Routines and Rituals – PP25 

We also mention the audio book version of Paul Dix’ book as our Tweet of the Week:

When The Adults Change, Everything Changes: Seismic Shifts In School Behaviour (Abridged Audiobook)

When The Adults Change - Audio Book
When The Adults Change – Audio Book