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Tes 7 May 2021

Tes is dedicated to supporting the world’s teachers. Our mission is to enable great teaching by helping educators find the tools and technology they need to excel, supporting them throughout their career and professional development.

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United Kingdom
Tes Global Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

2 min

I have always thought certainty to be the most baffling of mental states. For those of us who sometimes veer into neuroticism, not experiencing gut-punching self-doubt every time we had to make a decision would feel negligent. How, after all, can you make a choice without a detailed spiral decision-making process that pulls you into a vortex of myriad options, in which you try to grasp one option that seems to be your best bet for salvation? For a time, I thought that even those who claimed to always be certain, and backed that claim with speed of response, simply had a quicker spiral process – ie, the doubts were still there, they just picked the “best” option faster. But so many people have told me I am wrong; that one…

2 min
phones in schools? the secretary of state is engaged…

Just as education had got used to the process of learning on devices, it seems that the government wishes to banish all trace of them in schools. Well, certain devices, at least. In the past few weeks, the mobile phone has been public enemy number one at the Department for Education, with education secretary Gavin Williamson repeatedly stating his desire for schools to become phone-free environments. “Mobile phones are not just distracting but, when misused or overused, they can have a damaging effect on a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing,” he told the Confederation of School Trusts conference. “This is not acceptable. I therefore fully support headteachers who ban mobile phones from the school day. “We are going to be consulting on how we can help more heads remove phones from the school…

2 min
training your troops to tidy up is harder than it looks, so start early

Some of us are better than others at tidying up. Often, this variance is put down to a mix of motivation and character traits: some seem more bothered about tidying up – and are more able to – than others. But what if the difference is really down to how well we were taught to tidy up during our first steps into education? You might think there’s not much to learning to tidy up, but there you’d be wrong. Helen Pinnington is early years foundation stage (EYFS) lead at St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary School in Bedhampton, Hampshire. She reveals that it is actually rather complex. “There is a lot of learning involved that can be linked to the EYFS framework, particularly personal, social and emotional development skills,” she explains. “When we…

2 min
questions to ensure the job is yours for the asking

“So, do you have any questions for us?” In any interview, this is a great moment to find out more about a potential new employer, your role and what the future may hold – but don’t forget that the panel will be assessing you on the questions you ask, too. What sort of questions are best for a teaching role? Below are some good examples. 1. What is the best thing about working at your school? This is a lovely question to ask and often a lovely question to answer. The responses can be insightful, too. If the answers are about the students, staff, professional development or support, then all of those factors give you a strong sense of the school culture. If someone answers that the best thing is free car parking…

2 min
let’s make field trips more than just a grand day out

Across the land, geography teachers are dusting off their clipboards and making plans for their return to the field. Educational day visits are allowed again and the Department for Education has indicated that, if things progress well, UK-based residential visits may start taking place from 17 May. Teachers and fieldwork providers deserve credit for the creative ways in which they have kept students connected with the subject through lockdown: from digital tours of glaciated landscapes or tropical forests to the Field Studies Council’s “fieldwork live” broadcasts, which connected 250,000 pupils with the wonders of soils, weather and ecosystems. We also saw A-level students scouring Google Street View to collect information on how, for example, LGBT+ perspectives might be reflected in a town’s urban fabric, or using information from the live tweeting of river…

3 min
‘dungeon masters’ need to let their ‘players’ in on the curriculum game

As teachers look back on the year of the pandemic and the learning points for education, you would not expect the game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) to emerge as a new filter through which the task of teaching could be better understood. But that’s exactly what happened when Tes columnist Mark Enser chatted to some fellow D&D enthusiasts. “One of the few good things to have come out of the past year, for me, has been rediscovering Dungeons and Dragons,” says Enser, head of geography and research lead at Heathfield Community College. “For the past 12 months, I have met with a group of friends – all fellow teachers – over Zoom, and we have adventured into unknown lands and told strange stories together. And this has left me pondering how we…