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The Evidence Informed School Blog

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  • Mindsets – Do They Matter?

    Published 10/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    It’s observation week. You are getting observed in P.E and you know it is not a subject you are especially confident with. Do you:

    1. a) Lose sleep the night before worrying about a ‘bad’ lesson reflecting poorly on you?
    2. b) Sleep through, knowing it’s a great opportunity for a colleague to give you feedback and reflect on your pedagogical knowledge and pupil learning together?
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  • The Effects of Mindfulness Training in Primary Schools

    Published 10/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe
    Why is mindfulness important in schools?

    Research has consistently demonstrated that a person’s mental health, educational outcomes, social prospects and quality of life are influenced by their psychological, emotional and social well-being as a child. If a child develops effective coping mechanisms and the ability to regulate their emotions this can both protect their psychological well-being and promote resilience throughout their lives. As a result of these findings, the research into child mental health has adjusted its focus from repairing problems to protecting against future problems, using early intervention and preventative programmes (EIPP)

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  • What can we do to help narrow the vocabulary gap in our classrooms?

    Published 08/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    There has been a wealth of educational research over recent years regarding the gap in vocabulary that many children face: this particularly effects children from lower income families and those with English as an additional language (Mandy J. Maguire, et. Al 2018). Research suggests that the challenges start early on in a child’s development and that by the age of three, there is a 30-million-word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.

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  • Lesson Study: The Future of CPD or a Fad?

    Published 08/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    Weekly staff meetings form the bulk of our CPD – roughly 40-50 hours are invested in us annually. But how do we know what we deliver to staff is effective? Will training actually have any effect on practice, let alone impact on pupil outcomes?

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  • How can we use formative assessment to ensure our children make progress?

    Published 08/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    How do I know that the children have made progress? This is a question that every teacher has asked themselves at some point in their career. With a class of 30 children, it is widely accepted that the only way to ensure that all the children are making progress, is to check and then intervene if necessary or plan for misconceptions/ gaps in knowledge that have been noticed. This simple process is called Assessment for learning (AFL).

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  • Mastery Learning

    Published 08/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe
    What is mastery learning? Traditional teaching keeps the time spent on a topic constant and allows pupils understanding of that topic to vary. For example, spending two weeks of the half term on addition and then moving onto subtraction after the
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  • Teaching Assistants

    Published 08/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    Which of these statements is true?

    • Teaching assistants (TA) account for 27.8% of English schools’ workforce.

    • The number of full-time TAs has more than trebled since 2000: from 66,000 to 226,000.

    • There are more TAs in English nursery and primary schools than teachers: 273,000 vs 242,000. (1)

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  • Small Groups, Big Gains?

    Published 04/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    You’ve done your pupil progress meetings, identified the children who need additional support to achieve their best. You’ve meticulously and rigorously analysed the data, in conjunction with teacher assessments, and created the higher ability reading intervention group, the low prior attaining maths intervention group, and the intervention group to get those children finally using complex sentences in their writing. The Teaching Assistants have been briefed, trained and your teachers have planned the activities for each group. You’ve done all you can to prepare. Come to the end of these interventions: how do you know what the impact has been? Perhaps a TA has been running it, or a teacher, or a member of SLT: our biggest (and most expensive) assets. But how do we really know that this intervention has had an impact, and does this impact outstrip the benefit they would have had having stayed in class and experienced Quality First Teaching?

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  • Improving Reading Fluency

    Published 04/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    Good literacy skills are not only a child’s foundations to academic success but are also the building blocks to fulfilling future careers and rewarding lives. Therefore, it is imperative that as educators we aim to equip children with the literacy skills they will need throughout their lives.

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  • Non-cognitive Skills

    Published 04/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    No teacher, in the history of teaching, will (I think) have ever answered yes to these questions:

    • Has your classroom, one hundred percent of the time, ever been full of pupils who have the right ‘character’?
    • Are all your pupils continually motivated, able to build relationships, willing to persevere and respond positively to setbacks and display self-control when necessary?
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  • How can we use talk and collaboration in our classrooms to support learning?

    Published 04/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    A collaborative learning approach is based around the principle that children learn from working together on activities or learning tasks in a group where everyone can participate. Pupils in the group may work on separate tasks contributing to a common overall outcome, or work together on a shared task.

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  • Successful challenging conversations in school

    Published 04/02/21, by Rachel Thorpe

    As school leaders with line management responsibilities sometimes there’s a need to have challenging conversations, including with colleagues and parents. These can be difficult but it’s important for our pupils and school that these are successful.

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