Rethinking Flashcards

I’ll start by stating that I am a strong advocate of flashcards. Done well, I believe they are an excellent form of recall practice and provide many practical and organisational advantages over other study methods. Recently however I have been questioning the advice that pupils should use this approach, particularly since we are now just weeks away from final GCSE exams. Continue Reading

Our (Simple) Literacy Policy: Revamped

A blog by Literacy CHAMPION, Katy Scott.

Distilling. It’s important. With all that teaching and learning noise out there we need to keep things simple. That’s what The Kennet Literacy Policy is – it distils what we know into black-and-white, simple sense. Continue Reading

The Shape of Feedback & Assessment

This week I returned to some scribbles that I produced some time ago with the aim of illustrating some different approaches to feedback and how these apply to different subjects. Time-effective feedback is a topic we’ve been blogging about for a few years now, but it seems increasingly relevant in the context of the debate around tackling teacher workload. Continue Reading

Rethinking Homework Expectations

How can we set purposeful work AND support the reduction of workload?

A blog from Mrs Martin

At the end of last half term, I wrote about getting into good habits with homework.

Below is a reminder of the criteria I suggested with regards to setting tasks, focusing on work that leads to progress.

Criteria:  Purposeful; Progress; Positive Study Habits.

Below are some suggestions about what this might look like. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but hopefully gives some indication of how the criteria could be met: Continue Reading

Why words matter in Science.

Good blog on literacy in Science but relevant to other departments too. If you want advice on how to develop vocab in your subject then speak to our Literacy Champion Katy Scott.

Twenty years in ... and still learning

As many of you may be aware, I have an unrelenting passion for language and literacy in science. So I thought that I would bite the bullet and start to share some of my ideas and thoughts behind such an important area that not only underpins every aspect of science teaching, but can easily be translated across different subject disciplines. The aim of this piece is to consider vocabulary as the foundation that all other areas of literacy depend upon.

text on shelf Photo by Pixabay on

Ideas to think about…

  • Why is vocabulary important in science teaching?
  • How can teachers model effective use of language?
  • Why is it important to teach students the conceptual links between key terms in science?

“Science educators are also to some extent language teachers and that the learning of Science is like learning a whole new language”.

Wellington and Osborne (2001)


Science has its own distinctive…

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Some reflections on Homework from Mrs Martin.

At the start of the year I shared this quote with you all. I’ve also shared it with many pupils in the past and reminded them that doing something once or twice doesn’t mean you’re all set.

Habits don’t happen overnight and when we talk about effective homework, this relies on creating positive habits. For the pupils; for us as teachers. Continue Reading

“Are there any questions?”

…Following this year’s INSET I vowed never to say these words again. Yet, they crept back into my lessons almost immediately. Scolding myself at the start of most days since, I’m beginning to change the phrasing and structure of my questioning:

What do you understand?”

“What is the first step to this task, and what should you include?” Continue Reading

Bridging the Word Gap

Since being crowned school Literacy Champion, Mrs Scott is keen to get us all thinking about how we develop vocabulary in our classrooms. Here she presents a few pieces of research on the topic which might prompt discussion about vocab in your subject.

It it incredible to think that “Vocabulary at age 4 is the best predictor of achievement at age 16 out of all measures yet studied” – Roulstone et al 2011 Continue Reading

NQT Pearls of Wisdom

At the end of every year, the NQTs who have just completed their first year of teaching pass on their advice to the NQTs who are just starting. This is always a good opportunity for them to reflect on their practice and we end up with some good advice, not just for new teachers but also those of us who have been in the job for a while! So here is some of the advice that they shared: Continue Reading