End of Year Behaviour Progress with Lee Parry PP233

Despite serious technical challenges at his school, Lee Parry managed to join Tara Ellie to discuss the progress his school has made in behaviour after adopting Pivotal’s approach.

Lee is Head of Drama at Netherhall School in Cambridge and also a qualified Pivotal Instructor.

Netherhall School logo

Tara and Lee also discuss tips for managing behaviour at the end of the Summer term – sometimes a tricky time for classroom teachers. Lee has some great advice to share!

Pivotal Podcast’s Parade of Pops – 232

Pivotal Podcast's Parade of Pops title

Greetings pop pickers! This is a rundown of the 10 most downloaded episodes from the podcast in the academic year 2018-19.

Will your favourite make it to the top spot?

In no particular order, here are the episodes featured:

YouTube For Teachers – and Baby Sharks! – PP231

Just one of Katie’s amazing videos

This week, Tara speaks to Katie from the thriving YouTube Channel, ‘For Teachers’.

Follow For Teachers:
Instagram: @ForTeachers
Twitter: _ForTeachers
Email: enquireforteachers@gmail.com

Katie has a fascinating story – originally a teacher in Manchester, she now teaches in Hong Kong and explains to Tara some of the differences she’s discovered. Katie is also passionate about promoting teaching and helping new teachers through her popular YouTube Channel.

Principal Ricky Massey and ‘The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of Schools’! PP230

This week, Kevin and Ollie speak to Ricky Massey and hear his fascinating story. As Principal of Glengormley High School in Belfast, he took over a school which was described as ‘The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of Schools’.

Ricky explains how he approached this new role and gives lots of practical tips on how to turn a school around and reach out into the community.

It’s an engaging and amusing story and we really enjoyed having Ricky on the podcast this week.

Ricky on Twitter

Dr. Todd Whitaker – (E.T.) Phone Home! PP229

In a fascinating interview, Tara Elie speaks to the influential educator, Dr. Todd Whitaker, about phone calls and how to be welcoming to parents.

Todd Whitaker

Dr. Todd Whitaker has been fortunate to be able to blend his passion with his career. Recognized as a leading presenter in the field of education, his message about the importance of teaching has resonated with hundreds of thousands of educators around the world. Todd is a professor of educational leadership at the University of Missouri and professor emeritus at Indiana State University. He has spent his life pursuing his love of education by researching and studying effective teachers and principals.

Prior to moving into higher education he was a math teacher and basketball coach in Missouri. Todd then served as a principal at the middle school, junior high, and high school levels. He was also a middle school coordinator in charge of staffing, curriculum, and technology for the opening of new middle schools.

One of the nation’s leading authorities on staff motivation, teacher leadership, and principal effectiveness, Todd has written over 50 books including the national best seller, What Great Teachers Do Differently. Other titles include: Dealing With Difficult Teachers, Ten-Minute Inservice, Your First Year, What Great Principals Do Differently, Motivating & Inspiring Teachers, and Dealing With Difficult Parents.

Todd is married to Beth, also a former teacher and principal, who is currently a faculty member of educational leadership at the University of Missouri and professor emeritus at Indiana State University. They are the parents of three children; Katherine, Madeline, and Harrison.

Todd’s website
Todd on Twitter

Tweet of the week!

Matt Burton and Cerys Griffiths- Starting Secondary School – tips and resources for transitioning – PP228

Starting Secondary School with BBC Bitesize

This week we’re thrilled to welcome two guests to our podcast; Matt Burton, Headteacher at Thornhill Community Academy and Cerys Griffiths, Creative Director, BBC Education.

Matt is probably better known as ‘Mr Burton’ from the popular TV series Educating Yorkshire, who, inspired by watching ‘The King’s Speech’, helped pupil Musharaf Asghar with his speech and delivery.

Tara Elie caught up with Cerys and Matt to discuss transition and behaviour between leaving primary or secondary school, and the launch of BBC Bitesize’s ‘Starting Secondary School’ Campaign.

Starting Secondary School is a new BBC Bitesize campaign aimed at 10 to 12 year olds, their teachers and their parents. It shines a light on the great potential of starting fresh in secondary school and is packed full of practical advice and emotional support to help take the stress out of taking the next big step.

Watch the trailer video here

Starting Secondary School partners with CBBC documentary series ‘Our School’ to get first-hand experience from children who have made the move and, not only survived, but thrived. You can also find practical tips for parents on how to best support their children.

On BBC Teach you can find bespoke classroom clips and resources, created in partnership with YoungMinds, that can be used as the start of discussions around transition. These can be used in the last year of primary or in the first year of secondary school in lessons, assembly, group workshops or an individual basis.

You can access Starting Secondary School BBC Bitesize here:  https://bbc.in/2UUyqEE

You find content for teachers here: www.bbc.com/teach

Charlie Taylor from Zen Educate – How to Integrate Supply Teachers – PP227

Charlie was the inaugural Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) where he was responsible for overseeing teacher training and professional conduct. Prior to the NCTL, Charlie was the Headteacher at The Willows Special School and a DfE expert adviser on behaviour.

This week, Tara Elie talks to Charlie about how schools can best include supply teachers and how supply teachers themselves can make the best of their opportunities.

The episode is full of great anecdotes and lots of useful tips, whether you are class teacher, head teacher or supply teacher!

Charlie now works for

Jamie McDonough – play in the classroom – seriously?! PP226

Jamie McDonagh

Jamie’s website is

With over 15 years experience of the sector, Jamie brings an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience to what we do at Let’s Play. Holder of The UEFA A Licence, the most prestigious qualification available to football coaches, alongside his teaching qualifications – Jamie is a modern and innovative coach, teacher and trainer who centres his work on fun and the needs of the children, young people and players he works with.

The three missions of Let’s Play are:

To give play back to the kids.

To educate, empower and build confidence in adults who work with children in PE and Sport.

To support every child’s right to play.

Subject Teachers – Try Kamil’s EAL Tips and Tricks in your classroom! PP225

Kamil Trzebiatowski
Kamil Trzebiatowski

Tara Elie talks to EAL teacher, consultant and resources creator, Kamil Trzebiatow who shares his extensive experience and expertise supporting students with English as an Additional Language in mainstream subject classes. He gives us many practical approaches to try out.

Kamil’s blog has been created specifically to help subject teachers who have not had specific EAL training to help any learners in their classes who have EAL needs. So you’ll find lots of useful resources there including videos and practical help.

Kamil stresses the importance of understanding that learners with EAL needs in English schools have to learn the language at the same time as learning the individual subjects of the curriculum and a lot of his time is spent helping teachers manage this.

“You have to make sure they make progress in academic learning but also at the same time remove the barriers in the English language.”

Typical questions and anxieties amongst teachers about EAL

  • Students ability to access the material presented in English
  • The work is too difficult for the students because of the language barrier – so there is a potential compromise in high expectations
  • Unlike, for example, Dyslexia, EAL is seen as an insurmountable barrier
  • What language do I teach them in?
  • I don’t know any EAL strategies and I was never trained for this

Advice on how to differentiate in the classroom for EAL learners (links to Kamil’s blog)

  1. Substitution tables
  2. Graphic organisers
  3. Use the learner’s first language to teach
  4. Barrier games

Top tips on reaching EAL learners


Kamil on Twitter
Kamil’s Blog

Tweets of the Week!

Adora Svitak’s youth empowerment inspiration and Russell’s back! PP224

Tara Elie recently spoke to the inspirational Adora Svitak. You may have seen the TED talk she gave when she was 12:

Adora is now a writer, speaker, and advocate for causes including feminism, youth empowerment, and literacy.

She began delivering writing workshops at local schools after publishing a collection of short stories. Later, she began advocating for student voice at education conferences. In 2010, she delivered the speech “What Adults Can Learn from Kids” at TED. The speech has received more than 5 million views on TED.com alone, and been translated into more than 40 different languages. Her passion for amplifying the voices of youth led her to organize a team of students to produce a TEDx event for youth, TEDxRedmond. Pacific Standard Magazine called Adora one of the “30 Top Thinkers Under 30” and “an activist for feminism, liberal politics, and youth-oriented causes […] pretty far up the road to becoming intellectual royalty.” In 2018, she graduated with a major in Development Studies and minors in South Asian Studies and Creative Writing from UC Berkeley. She currently works at the Wikimedia Foundation.

It’s a wonderful conversation and a real privilege to have Adora as a guest on the Pivotal Podcast.

Adora’s Blog
Adora on Twitter

Russell Ingleby

Also this week, it was great to welcome our Headteacher Audio Diarist, Russell Ingleby back onto the show. This time, it’s a fascinating conversation with several parents who have just received personal visits at home as part of ‘The Hightown Way’

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