Author Archives: Joe S Kirby

About Joe S Kirby

School leader, education writer, Director of Education and co-founder, Athena Learning Trust, Deputy head and co-founder, Michaela Community School, English teacher

The great brain battles in learning

Knowing our brains’ struggles can help us learn, and help others learn.  Classrooms: ‘It’s only a wasp! Ignore it!’ [uproar] ‘Got it, everyone? All clear?’ [tumbleweed] “Great!”  ‘You should know this! We only did it last week!!’ [blank looks] Staffrooms: … Continue reading

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Seeing blind spots: how can we know our school well? 

You start in a new school. What do you most need to know?  Schools are fiercely complex: a hundred staff and a thousand students have millions of interactions every day.  Some schools feel friendly: there are smiles, chats, jokes, fun, … Continue reading

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What’s the point in school?

Why are we here? What’s the point in school?  Both kids and adults in schools from time to time tend to wonder…  Teachers, school leaders and parents when in schools rarely have the headspace to think to ourselves, or to … Continue reading

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What are the problems we are trying to solve?

As school leaders, what are the problems that we can best focus our thinking and action on? What are the most useful questions to ask together? ***   School strategy problems: how can we make our school improvement efforts cohere?  … Continue reading

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Treasure Trove #5: A Cognitive Science Crash Course

Time is short in schools.  Fast, free CPD is key.  Here’s a free, 2-hour self-study crash course to help teachers, school leaders, teaching assistants and support staff to grasp the science of learning.  Memory and overload Peps McCrae 1 min … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology | 2 Comments

Golden needles in a haystack: Assessment CPD trove #4

School leaders and teachers are strapped for time.  What is the best free, fast, flexible CPD out there on assessment? What can we read that has the highest impact in the least time? There are no silver bullets, but here … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Teaching | 1 Comment

24 hidden gems and the golden thread of CPD #3: Curriculum

Teachers and school leaders are trailblazing a golden age of professional learning. 150,000 *now free* National Professional Qualifications over the next 3 years with a codified body of knowledge and evidence as a ‘golden thread’ journey of ITT, ECT, middle … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | 3 Comments

12 treasure chests in the golden age of CPD #2: Student Culture

Over the last ten years, teachers and school leaders have led on creating a golden age of professional learning. The facts suggest we are entering a golden era of CPD. Research-based CPD has undergone an explosion over the last decade. … Continue reading

Posted in Student Culture | 4 Comments

Treasure Troves in the Golden Age of CPD. #1: Staff Culture

Over the last ten years, teachers and school leaders have led on creating a golden age of professional learning. If knowledge is treasure, in the era of the world wide web, wiki-sites, webinars, social media networks, smartphones, tablets, podcasts and … Continue reading

Posted in Staff Culture | 6 Comments

Implementation as learning: 24 questions to ask

Implementation is everything. Or is it? True, strategy without implementation doesn’t get done.  But implementation without good strategy gets the wrong things done.  No one could blame the soldiers on the Somme for not implementing their mission. They charged the … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Staff Culture | 1 Comment