Reflections on @NRocks

Many thanks for writing this inspiring blog. We are so pleased that you had such a great day.


A truly amazing and inspiring day doesn’t do Northern Rocks justice. I am still excited and reinvigorated by the whole day and the sessions and today is Wednesday.  Ripples have spread through my classroom, across the MFL team and the school.  The three of us that attended had the best day – thank you. The drive back to Bristol was ‘buzzing’ and the two colleagues that came equally couldn’t stop raving about the day as they reflected back across the different sessions and workshops.

In @Hywel_Robert’s session he showed a similar image: yellow

making reference that to be an effective teacher you needed courage, brains and heart. This sums the sessions I attended at Northern Rocks up perfectly.

Session 1 – @Davewhitaker246 The Behaviour Debate.     This was an amazing session that spoke directly to my heart, gave me goosebumps and everything.  Dave spoke candidly about how they look after…

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‘Northern message of hope for teachers to unite and reclaim pedagogy’ Northern Rocks 2014

#NRocks ‘Northern message of hope for teachers to unite and reclaim pedagogy.’ A lovely blog from @TedfordDanielle and @ohalloran_tara thanks for writing this.

ted2toh - RE & PE educators

Helen Keller: Via Wikipedia Helen Keller: Via Wikipedia

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do- Helen Keller.

As teachers of the North gathered together in Leeds yesterday for Northern Rocks 2014, a feeling of change permeated the Leeds Metropolitan University lecture hall. Twitter was alight with the #Nrocks hashtag as Education professionals, Emma Hardy and Debra Kidd, frustrated by a lack of Northern teach meets decided to orchestrate change, empowering teachers of the north to collectively come together and take back the profession. Emma’s words echoed those of Helen Keller, yes I may ‘only’ be a teacher, but I am a shaper of your child’s future, in the face of adversity I must shield your child from political weather storms and ensure successful educational outcomes for the…

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This much I know about…Northern Rocks 2014

A lovely account of #NRocks from @Johntomsett
Thank you for writing this.


I have been a teacher for 25 years, a Headteacher for 10 years and, at the age of 49, this much I know about Northern Rocks 2014.


It takes time to grow into the North. In my first term as a Headteacher, when a highly anticipated blizzard seemed to have arrived on the North Yorkshire Moors midway through period 1, I summoned the buses and sent everyone home by midday; the sun duly beat down upon a spring-like afternoon and a colleague rang me late in the evening, emboldened by a pub lunch, a long country walk and her third glass of wine, to tell me the staff thought that the southern city-boy had gone too early.

You live on the border. That’s a line from Simon Armitage’s book, All Points North. I’ve spent my life living on borders: I stood with the smokers at school but never…

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NorthernRocks 2014: SOLO Workshop – Exploring the SOLO path

Another great #NRocks blog from @andyphilipday on ‘Exploring the Solo Path.’
Thanks for sharing this.


3620029062_1b48329e99_o(image) cc license Alan Cleaver

(The full powerpoint presentation used in the workshop is available at the end of this post)

The range of experience of SOLO taxonomy amongst attendees at the workshop put on by Andy Knill and myself at Northern Rocks 2014 yesterday was predictably varied and wide, from those seeking their initial induction to those who are leading training within their own schools and looking for where to take it next. What flowed throughout the room was a tangible current of enquiry and a seeking of effective tools of pedagogy. Things that work. Techniques that engage learners and promote their learning.

SOLO has its critics, and some are valid – largely in the way it is implemented at times. But that’s likely to be true of any development initiative. All that Andy and I can say – as did many others in the room – is that…

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Northern Rocks

From @teacherofsci an account of #NRocks
Thank yo for writing this.

Teaching Science

I had to get up early, on a Saturday.

It rained.

And I missed my train, so it was a really long day.

So in all, I had a fantastic day in Leeds. The speakers were great. The organisation was excellent. The food was good, even though I hadn’t booked anything. The company was funny, enthusiastic and friendly. The site was welcoming, although distinctly damp. The WiFi was highly reliable.

I even got a pen.


This is not going to be comprehensive, obviously. Every attendee will have been to a different conference, with different speakers, picking and mixing to suit themselves. As I did. So all I can do is give a flavour of the day, share links to my rough notes and write about how the day will change what happens for my pupils. In the end, as several speakers pointed out, this is the whole point of what we…

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tait coles @Totallywired77 - PuNk Learning


I have just returned from a conference where local companies, businesses and schools discussed the idea of ‘Education, Enterprise and Employment’ in Bradford and I have to say I’m absolutely numb from the whole experience.

The aim of the rather lavish experience was: “to develop, inspire and empower young people to make a positive contribution to our economic success through activities held in collaboration with businesses across the city.”

Educating young people to achieve qualifications (and at the same time develop effective non cognitive skills) in order for them find work and land a job is what we do. What we shouldn’t be doing however, is creating economic fodder to support the neoliberal society of the UK. Or as Professor Henry A. Giroux writes about in the US:

“The apostles of neoliberalism are concerned primarily with turning public schools over to casino capitalism in order to transform them into places…

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My real worry about the loss of levels.

Ramblings of a Teacher

There are those who are gleeful to be rid of levels. Mostly secondary school teachers who know their subjects intimately, and who increasingly find their focus is on GCSE grades. It does, after all, seem daft to have two different systems of assessment in one school. I could probably have supported the abandonment of levels in secondary schools, if only because I think most teachers don’t need them particularly.

But – as the DfE is slowly beginning to realise, hopefully – primary schools have teachers in them too. Removing levels from primary schools leaves us with nothing. We don’t have GCSE grades to work towards (not that we’d want to) and we don’t want to spend 7 years tracking towards an incomprehensible scaled score. Levels may not have been perfect, but they were something.

That said, what really worries me is something else: hurried decision-making.

As schools scratch around looking…

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