For all the latest gossip, interviews and thoughts on education, brought to you by the most influential education blog in the UK
For all the latest gossip, interviews and thoughts on education, brought to you by the most influential education blog in the UK
Podcast 84: Perceptions Of Stay-At-Home Fathers
Our 84th interview is with John Adams, a stay-at-home father who runs a family home and is the author of the award-winning Dad Blog UK.
In this podcast, listen to John and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill discuss the challenges stay-at-home fathers face and subtle sexism; John's career to date, including how the internet has reshaped journalism. We hear more about John’s own schooling experiences and growing up as a child.
We discover how Dad Blog UK started and has become a new career, how this balances out against homeschooling during lockdown, screentime and keeping everyone happy in the home. We ask how he is making the transitions throughout COIVD-19 and hear about his concerns about going back to school, John's perceptions of teaching, homework, Ofsted and the work our teachers are doing.
John Adams is a dad of two young daughters and lives in the South East of England. Read more about his thoughts as a father, education and parenting as a stay-at-home dad. Visit www.dadbloguk.com
Podcast 83: Does Your School Vision Translate Online?
Our 83rd interview is with Julie Keyes, a teacher-turned-business-leader who is now building wider support for teachers and schools. In this podcast, listen to Julie and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill, discuss how Julie entered the teaching profession, how teaching and learning can be delivered during a pandemic and how Julie is adapting, working remotely as a self-employed school leader.
On learning to adapt to the circumstances, like many experienced teachers, rather than leave the sector altogether, we learn more about how Julie took the next steps to start a business and hear why education consultancy was a good fit for her. In her second year, Julie explains how she has approached brand creation, a business focus and the challenges she has faced in the first two years of starting a business; particularly given that COVID-19 pandemic has stopped all work.
How have you adapted to working online? asks Ross. Turning what she has learned in the first 6 weeks of lockdown from crisis to future strategy, Julie explains how COVID-19 has affected the teaching industry, how she has adapted to online work and her advice for all teachers, especially those that want to start their own business. Julie also explains the importance of gaining knowledge about how individual schools differ and how vast this diversity is; the specialist knowledge required for teaching in preparatory schools and the school culture Julie would like to see continue when everything returns to normal.
Julie helps schools drive improvement, whether it's through coaching teachers and senior leaders, curriculum planning or delivering bespoke staff training. Find out more on her website: https://www.theeducationalconsultant.co.uk/
Podcast 82: Do What Matters, Not What Gets Measured
Our 82nd interview is with Jim Henderson, a former headteacher who now consults for science departments across the country. We discuss the transition from full-time employment to being self-employed in education...
What do headteachers do after headship?
In this podcast, listen to Jim and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill discuss his childhood memories of school and what motivated Jim to become a teacher. We hear more about his adventures at university and when the 'teacher conversation' was first posed as a possible career, then discover more about his work as a science teacher in and around London, unpicking his 34 years working in education, particularly teaching at schools going through a 'rough patch.'
Jim skims over his 28 years of leadership, seven of them as a headteacher, and talks more about his 'creative' headship jobs and his experience of headteacher 'rebuild' positions and why he now wanted something different. Jim essentially wanted to get back to the core matter of curriculum, so we hear him explain more about his love for science and his work to date in schools across the country.
Ross asks Jim about his 'fears' about stepping away from full-time employment and a regular income and a 'worst-case scenario' strategic plan and how this fear suddenly shifted towards 'excitement' and why he 'jumped in'. Jim continues to explain some of the practicalities a teacher needs to address when considering moving away from a full-time income: Building upon a core idea of what it is someone would want to do, then working on initial brand-building concepts from strategy, website and straplines, talking to lots and lots of people to consolidate ideas and refine "what it is you can bring and more importantly, what schools might want", including, what one is worth...
Jim then discusses the projects he is working on under the name 'Kaleidoscope Education' and why he chose to separate his identity and align himself to a business. We learn why 'outside expertise' is essential to support teachers to help them improve their practice, as well as being a supportive voice of reason for headteachers working in the job and hear some examples of the challenges some of our schools are facing.
We ask Jim, 'What wisdom would you share with the profession?'
Jim explains the importance of senior leaders creating culture and ethos in schools and how they must manifest this in their behaviours: The things they do and say and why the craft of teaching is essential to empower teachers working at the chalkface. Since starting teaching in 1984, Jim explains how he has witnessed the erosion of teacher autonomy in English classrooms, for example, graded observations, and why micro-teacher accountability can now be challenged by teachers using social media. Jim believes this shift over the last few years has been critical for renewing teacher agency, particularly for initiating change, and whilst accountability has been a good thing for education to raise the bar, it has become a monster which is too high-stakes.
Jim offers much advice to headteachers and shares the wisdom he wished he had been given when starting out in school leadership. Find out more about Jim's work and how he can support the teaching of science in your school. Visit: www.kaleidoscopeeducation.co.uk
Podcast 81: Working with Society’s Most Vulnerable Children
Which children are responsible for rewriting the special needs register across Britain?
Our 81st interview is with Professor Barry Carpenter CBE who has a career in education spanning 40 years. Once, the youngest headteacher in England at just 26 years old, he is the UK's first professor of mental health in education.
Imagine if all schools on admission, asked about birth history?
In this podcast, listen to Barry and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill discuss his life in education and how he has weaved in and out of teaching, becoming Secretary of State for Education as director of the children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities research project. Today, Barry is professor of mental health and education - the first post of its kind in the country - at Oxford Brookes University. Getting straight down to business, we ask him to describe the evolution of education and classroom teaching throughout Barry’s 55 years in education. We learn about his thoughts on the implementation of the national curriculum, changes in teacher workload and understand why teaching is a relationship-based profession.
Why should teachers use emotional wellbeing interventions?
Teachers need 'compassion' and Barry argues that society needs it as a whole, and at the time of recording when schools across the UK were going into lockdown, he suggests that time is now. Barry's doctoral research work spans across several areas of special needs disorders, including the 'teaching of reading' to some children who can read, but without speech, as well as his extensive work with families.
Why is suicide the largest cause of death for under twenty-year-olds?
Barry describes the state of education for prematurely born children, a topic close to Ross' heart (whose son was born on the 4th percentile of all children), and more about the special needs register. Around 50,000 children entered all schools with a special need, arising from premature birth, yet very few schools ask about birth history to inform provision upon a pupil's admission to a school. If anything, these statistics are rising!
What's in your 'happiness box'?
To conclude, we ask Barry about his new role and how he plans to lead mental health across the UK. We question 'Why our teachers are not trained in mental health?' and why we need to create mental wealth in our children to make them emotionally strong. We unpick his remit as the ambassador for mental health across the UK, new pathways for teachers, as well as what the evidence suggests for an increase in the mental health issues in our children. One example provided is a child playing on an iPad for a number of hours. If screen time is too much, the brain begins to enter virtual reality and reshapes the neuroplasticity of the brain. Finally, we ask Barry what his advice is for teachers wanting to become headteachers: "In 15 years time, all headteachers will receive a psychological report and an MRI scan with a neuroscientific analysis of the brain function of their pupils..." and why it is important to teach grief (see the bereavement box), his top tips for teachers working with children who have Downs syndrome and the concept of a happiness box.
You can find out more about Barry on his blog, his books and more about his new role.
Podcast 80: How Can Teacher Timetables Improve Results?
What does teacher workforce data tell us? Our 80th interview is Vaughan O’Connelly, a PhD student at Cambridge University, researching teacher workload and its impact and student attainment and teacher retention.
In this podcast, listen to Vaughan and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill, discuss his educational upbringing and his move into teaching from New Zealand to London, and why Vaughan stepped away from the classroom. We also discover more about what research methods he using for his PhD and how Vaughan is using the school workforce census to manipulate school data at a system level to unpick trends and insights across education.
How can research improve education?
We ask Vaughan how student attainment is calculated and learn more about the data around student attrition, timetables and distributed leadership. Digging deeper into literature reviews and research methods at PhD and EdD level, we also ask about his hopes for his research over the coming academic year and what Vaughan wants to see changed within the English education system. Listen carefully to what he has already discovered in his research and how we can hope for change across our education system.
Day-to-day research, COVID-19 and technology...
Finally, Vaughan offers some tips to aid teacher-workload and how he is approaching day-to-day life as a PhD student - perfect advice for teachers who want to become researchers. To finish, at the time of the recording the UK government has just placed the country into lockdown, we speculate on how technology will be useful during COVID-19 pandemic and how schools, parents and young people may adapt...
You can follow Vaughan on Twitter and contact him via Cambridge University. Thanks for listening!
Podcast 79: Tackling Extremism, Islamophobia and Far Right
Our 79th interview is Zubeda Limbada, co-director of the social enterprise, Connect Futures, focusing on training and research to tackle extremism and exploitation. In this podcast, listen to Zubeda 'How can we tackle extremism and Islamophobia, and what can British people do to address Far-Right extremism?'
As we dig in deep into the podcast, we find out more about her life working in social enterprise and what sparked Connect Futures existence. We ask how did she end up with a secondment at the Westminister Police Counter-Terrorism Unit and what does Connect Futures do on a daily basis. We also discover how we can build resilience against violence and extremism.
Getting personal, we ask what was it like to be 'kicked out' of an Islamic school in her teenage years and hear more about Zubeda’s own experience of racism, diversity and Islamophobia. We unpick the difficulty for teachers to advise social media safety to children and why Zubeda wants to see more safe spaces for children
and her thoughts on Far-right extremism.
All this in 32 minutes!
You can follow Zubeda on Twitter and find out more about Connect Futures.
Thanks for listening.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Teacher toolkit podcast
I will honest, I did not particularly know what to expect before I listened to the Teacher Toolkit podcasts. What I will say is that I was pleasantly surprised. I found the podcasts balanced and gave an overall viewpoint of people within education and yet there journey through their own educations to become educators. I further enjoyed the fact that it made a conscience effort to celebrate women from the first vote to how they stand strong today. I found the podcast on teacher burnout of particular interest. I cannot wait to hear the rest.