ME036: Aligning Decision Making with Christian Values

A headteacher has a fair amount of autonomy, in that almost everything comes down to your discretion.  However, there is no shortage of input from a range of sources – official and unofficial  – informing you what you must, should and could be doing.  It is also hard to define the role of headteacher or the expectations on the headteacher;  suffice to say that generally “no news is good news” – nothing is said if things are going well, but when things go wrong it is the headteacher’s fault. Being a school leader is a great job – I love […]

TT407: Does the Curriculum Matter?

In recent years the school curriculum itself has been largely absent from the discussions about to to improve schooling.  Leadership, teaching, learning, character and, of course, the many assessment and examination changes have all attracted the headlines instead. I have looked again at the school curriculum and its significance.  My focus was on Key Stage 3 and my interest was in the decisions which headteachers and schools are taking about their curriculum and why this is important to them.  I interviewed 19 heads about the decisions they had taken about their Key Stage 3 curriculum in the past 3 years, […]

TT414: Teaching the Skill of Thinking Itself

The aim of this Farmington Scholarship was to develop a number of units of work that can be delivered as part of the key Stage 3 RE Curriculum and promote effective thinking skills.   A large bank of practical resources is attached  for others to use;  three units on Human Rights, Sermon on the Mount and Moral Decision Making.  Every day teachers say, “pupils just can’t think for themselves” or “they can’t apply their knowledge to different situations”.  It is widely recognised that students today are very effective at rote learning facts but application of knowledge can be problematic.  I felt strongly […]

TT413: Developing Thinking Skills in RE Throughout the Primary School

My Farmington time has been invested in reading, researching, collating and applying the ideas, recommendations and thinking of a range of RE Specialists.  In providing teachers with an immediately accessible collection of resources, my aim is to empower practitioners in facilitating learning experiences that build on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) across the primary school. Using the writings of Vivien Baumfield, Trevor Cooling, Benjamin Bloom and Howard Gardner, alongside the published findings of Ofsted’s own research reports, I set about developing an easy to use, practical set of working lesson ideas.  My vision is that this set can be taken […]

TT412: British Values? No Problem!

The reason for this project was in response to the Government’s request for all schools to each children about British Values.  This report is an investigation into whether pupils and their families from other cultures and faiths can assimilate these values easily.  Was our British Value teaching causing confusion for our pupils with their own religious or cultural values? Since 2014 it has been a requirement of schools to each British Values to children and their promotion has been inspected by Ofsted during their inspections since this date.  At Highbury Primary School in Cosham, Portsmouth, where we have children from […]

TT411: ‘Sources of Wisdom and Authority’ – Patristics

Since the beginning of my teaching career, I felt a lack of awareness and knowledge of Church Tradition and Early Church History from the students I taught and even a lack within the curriculum.  Ofsted reports noted that students became disengaged when lessons would deal with Christianity as opposed to the other world religions that were being taught.  I think this is because the students think they already know everything about Christianity, but the other religions seem ‘exotic’ and different to them. I was excited and happy about the content of the new GCSE, which looked a lot more theological, […]

TT410: Active Learning in GCSE RE

The main aim of my Farmington project is to increase the use of active learning in my classroom, particularly at GCSE level.  As a non-specialist RE teacher and Head of Department, I have found that introducing meaningful active learning has been more difficult, and less obvious than in my previous subject area of Modern Languages. I have used this project to research a wider range of active learning methods and write a new scheme of work with accompanying resources to reflect my findings.  With the added pressures of exam results and time limitations at GCSE level, too often I feel […]

TT409: The Full Monty!

We teach in a non-faith school in the North West, where 21% of students achieve a grade 5 or above in both English and Maths.  In RE, 45% students achieved A/A*, and 82% A*-C in 2017. With the introduction of a new specification of RE GCSE, we found a need to produce new resources, as the book was too wordy.  This allows students to access resources and lessons, cuts time at Key stage 3 and helps with literacy issues. We have produced schemes of work for each paper, revision books and material and banks of sample questions.

TT408: Faithquestions

Historically in many schools like mine, all students took GCSE RE after two or three years of study, and the subject had a good level of success.  However there has been a national trend towards the marginalization of RE, and its contribution to the Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development of children and the ethos of schools is in danger of being in large part lost. The tides of change have been particularly rocking the boat in recent times – the introduction of an entirely new and much more academic syllabus, one that can not be pursued over two years […]

TT407: Does the Curriculum Matter?

This report looks again at the school curriculum and its significance.  My focus was on Key stage 3 and my interest was in the decisions which headteachers and schools are taking about their curriculum and why this is important to them.  I interviewed 19 heads about the decisions they had taken about their Key Stage 3 curriculum in the past 3 years, with some interesting results.  I also discovered that some important things have been written about the curriculum in recent years, which should be better known. One interesting outcome of this research was that, although no one is talking […]