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Outstanding advice from the industrys top education experts


10 FREE E LESSON PLANS: To help your class ace the new spelling, grammar & punctuation test!



How social media can work in your classroom


A to Z of places to learn outside of the classroom


How one teacher has transformed a school with the...




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Pedagogy in practise in our classrooms


recently spoke with two teachers that have both been teaching for over 30 years. I wanted to get their opinion on the differences that NQT’s face entering the world of education compared to even just five years ago. It was admitted by all that the challenges they face and the classrooms they conquer are far harder now then when they were training. So, we have dedicated this editions ‘special section’ to NQT’s to help give them that final push of encouragement that is needed this close to the end of the year. A rising number of teachers are communicating with each other through Twitter and social networking sites, myself being one of them. From speaking to teachers it that seems that classroom blogging is the real ‘in thing’ at the moment. It seems that teachers who are using them can’t praise there worth enough. Being used by teachers to let off steam, reflect upon their career, research new educational methods and encourage learning are just a few of many practical uses I’ve recently heard for blogs. We have consulted education expert and author, Megan Poore to give you an insight into the worth of social media in the classroom and explains how you can put pedagogy into practise through this. The cuts to education funding is a conversation that is always at the tip of our tongue at Teach Primary and this issue is no different. With the number of overseas post increasing and teaching jobs in the UK becoming increasingly hard to pin down, due to cuts in funding, it is expected that there will be a surge in British teacher fleeing abroad. So, we have spoke to some experienced teachers based abroad to find out how and why to jet set your career overseas.

Staffroom Mike Andrews - Professor of primary eductaion at Leeds University Paul Dixon - award-trainer and managing directore of Pivotal Educaion Helen Lewis - senior lecturer in primary education at Wales Centre of Teacher Training Andy Geddles - director of the Bristol Centre for Music and the Arts UK Sue Cowley -presenter and author on creative approaches to teaching and learning. Chelsea Radwell - proffessor of educationat the University of Warwick Rosie Smith - senior lecturer of primary education at Southamton University Alf Wilson - CPD manager at the

Joe Carter Editor

Historical Association

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OVERSEAS Teaching overseas can offer you many different and exciting experiences financially, personally and for your career. However, whilst the rewards and prospects can be extremely attractive, travelling aboard to teach is a dramatic step and one that should not be taken lightly. An estimated drop of 40% is set to hit educational funding in the UK over the next five years, which is likely to make the job scene further uninhabitable for NQT’s to bag their dream job. With the doom and gloom of increasingly dreary

Becoming fully qualified can become your passport to exploring the world whilst doing the job you love...

unemployment rates and huge debts to pay off, it is not surprising that more and more British teachers are looking to jet set abroad immediately after becoming fully qualified. ISC Research is an online database that maps and monitors the international school market. They claim that the number of English speaking teachers in international schools currently sits at just over 300,000. This figure is due to nearly double over the next ten years with experts predicting that 529,000 British teachers will be needed overseas by the year 2022.

Do the homework Ask yourself exactly why you want to teach aboard. If you are trying to run away from personal issues or if your tempted by the thought of exotic landscapes and inviting climates, remember, the novelty is likely to wear off when you are working in these conditions. However, if you



are open minded, want to contribute to the education of children from diverse cultures and broaden your teaching experience, then you may well have exactly the right motivation. Where you chose to head will depend on what you expect to get out of your time teaching abroad. The Middle East entices many British teachers with its generously attractive tax-free salaries of up to £40,000. However, the excellent working conditions, education systems and culture that Southeast Asia has to offer is far more appealing than a healthy pay pack to some. Jeremy Dean has been

teaching abroad for the past 6 years and is very much an advocate for overseas teaching. He explained how vital it is to be open minded and adaptable if considering a career abroad. He said: “You must take on a flexible approach when living and teaching in a foreign country. Remember that anywhere outside the UK will most be much different than any teaching experience that you already have. Working conditions, school times, national curriculums and teaching methods will seem a million miles away from what you are used to. So always have a flexible and open mind and you will find it easier to adapt to new surroundings.” Take on board and embrace local customs and

beliefs before you travel. Research local customs before and be prepared to respect them once you arrive. Think about religion and politics and how this can affect the way you teach and interact with others. Research this before you head off and respect them once you arrive. Think about is it a religious or conservative country and how this may affect you teach and interact with others. Consider the uncertainty of political peace in some countries and how this could affect you. Simon Hill, currently teaching in Uganda said: “One golden piece

of advice I would give to anyone considering teaching in a foreign country is to know the circumstances of the place you are going before you travel there as absolutely most as you possibly can. You can not be researched enough when making such important decisions.” There are a number of charities and organisations that specialise in recruiting teachers for international jobs. They can help you to make an informed decision from the very beginning on everything that you will need to know kick tart your successful overseas career.

Companies such as Teach Anywhere, (, are amazing in helping you to look at the wider picture. They go through everything with you from living costs to accessible transport and will help you meet any requests from possible employers

Salaries ISC statistics also show that the biggest demand for British teachers, in international schools, is currently coming from the Middle East. With 390 schools in the United Arab Emirates alone, the UAE is currently the biggest employer of international teachers and are crying out for even more English-speaking teachers. They want to keep the economical boom of the past few years alive by submerging their students in the British style of education. And, tax-free salaries of up to

£40,000 can also be very attractive, especially with student loans clouding over you. China and South East Asia are also popular destinations for ex pats. They hold a good reputation for having excellent working conditions. Also, when considering how little cost of living is, the rates of pay are actually quite high. Always consider tax and costs of living when weighing up salaries in different countries.. £20,000 will almost certainly stretch much further in Thailand then it would almost anywhere with the Euro as currency.

Qualifications Qualifications that are accepted can differ by country. Typically, the most recognised qualification include a bachelor’s or master’s of education, postgraduate degree/ certificate in education, higher diploma in education and QTS. However, Karl Coulby, who has been teaching overseas for 14 years and is currently based in Dubai, says that achieving full QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is the

most important thing NQT’s can do when considering a teaching post in a foreign country. Although induction years can now be completed in international schools, he recommends it is more beneficial to have this completed first. He went on to say: “The majority of reputable international schools will not take on teachers without full QTS, so it is best all round to complete your induction year here in the UK. Gaining further experience and getting more classroom experience under your belt will only increase your chances of bagging that dream job abroad.”

Visas Working visa regulations vary from country to country so it is best to check with the Embassy of the country you are applying to for the best visa advice. A full list of contact details for embassy’s around the world can be found on the British Foreign and Commonwealth office website (https://www. organisations/foreigncommonwealth-office). It also best to consult embassies for information on visa costs. Most international schools are very good in helping you apply for a visa once you have secured a job. You will be expected to pay for those in most countries excluding America. Most American curriculum

school will sponsor your working visa. Always plan for visa’s taking a fair amount of time. They are not quick to process and you could be waiting up to three months in some circumstances. You will be expected to have valid CRB and medical checks when applying for a working visa. Ensuring that these are accurate and up to date will help speed the application process up. Secured an over-seas position? Now it is time to examine your contract and check off all of the below before signing: Do you need a permit or work visa? Find out is your overseas school can help with this . How much is you salary? If not in your contract, find out exactly how much you will be getting paid and figure out exchange rate to see exactly how much you will be earning. Do you have to pay any kind of taxes? Some Countries offer tax free salaries so double check before hand. Can you still pay into your pension and national insurance contributions back in the UK? Is accommodation provided and at what cost? If not, make this your priority to arrange. Teach anywhere can help you with this. Are you entitled to holiday? Teaching is demanding no matter where abouts in the world you are are.




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Should we use

social media

in the classroom?

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ocial media is an increasingly common tool used in primary education and the debate continues. We suggest that, if you’re sitting on the fence, you and the students you teach are missing out on innovative ideas in education. Not only can a positive online presence boost your individual developments but it should also be used to promote learning amongst your class, throughout your school and across the whole curriculum. Twenty first century children are growing up in a digital world, and Megan Poore, author of Using Social Media in the Classroom, suggests that, it’s important that you are embracing new communicative technologies for use in the classroom to progress education at every possible opportunity. A recent report by the University of Minnesota in America has found a clear link between a pupil’s academic developments

Is there really a place for social networking in our classrooms – or is it just for ‘personal’ use? Megan Poore, author and education expert, believes that it is the way forward for education in primary schools… and the use of social media in the classroom. The report suggests that pupils learn most effectively when they interact with other learners, which is a key advantage of social networking sites.

Safety First The internet can be used in countless ways in

the classroom to assist learning. However, it’s also important to consider internet safety and how personal use of the web, such as social networking sites, can have on your career. Issues of safety need to be addressed before any online learning is initiated. The thought, for both teachers and

parents, of their pupils and children using social media in the can seem a bit terrifying. Megan Poore suggests that this can be overcome by preaching safety. She said: “Social media is a part of everyday life, these days - it’s not going away and we have to deal with that, not just for ourselves but also for our

kids. So I suppose there’s two parts that we have to focus on the first has to do with risk management (and duty of care) and the second has to do with pedagogy.” She suggests that risk management is a must if you want to use social media effectively and going back to basics is the best place to start: “By the time they reach primary school, we should be starting to help build kids’ their cyber safety awareness for themselves.

Of course, there’s a lot to this, like knowing how to handle cyber bullying, how to recognize inappropriate contact, how to act well online, how to choose a suitable username, how to create a strong password, and so on. But it’s not impossible.” It is likely that your pupils will already know there way around

social networking sites but we need to build up their basic online safety skills. Children need to be aware of online safety for themselves. As Megan says: “We teach young ones to cross the road safely to avoid cars (because roads and cars are a part of daily living and we need to manage the risk of getting run

over) and we do that firstly by holding their hands and taking them across, but later by telling them to look to the right, and look to the left, and look to the right again so that eventually it becomes a natural thing to do before stepping off a kerb! It’s no different with social media - at first we need to monitor kids’ use for them so that they don’t find dodgy content or people. By the time they reach primary school, we should be starting to help build kids’ their cyber safety awareness for themselves.”

Pedagogy Socially constructivist approaches to teaching and learning should be taken on board when using social media in the classroom. This kind of pedagogy style of education and teaching is nothing ‘new’. It has been around for years dating way back to Aristotle. It is just modernised as times have changed. “Social


media, by the very fact that it is social, innately supports this kind of constructivism. Note that I say ‘supports’. “Simply using social media without any form of theoretical and/or design underpinnings won’t automatically make you an awesome teacher. But if we’re serious about teaching well, then we almost have no choice but to use social media in the classroom. We need to be up-to date on social media in the classroom if teachers are up to date in terms of their pedagogy.”

Get Blogging


If it all seems a bit scary then start small. Once you see how effective social media in the classroom is, your confidence is likely to grow to take on bigger and more exciting projects. Start with something simple like a class blog. Megan suggests that: ‘‘As soon as you are confident online in terms of your skills and your knowledge of how social

media work, then, sure, go ahead with a term-long blogging or podcasting project, but be sure to design things properly. Again, you need to know what you are doing and to have a clear idea of what learning outcomes you are trying to achieve with your kids. So, set up a detailed project plan before starting.’’ Getting school children involved in blogging will come as a second nature to them. It will encourage your student’s read and write, no matter what the subject area is and is a great way to promote literacy and writing skills. Setting up an online community directly for your class will be a fun learning tool where your pupils can view one another’s work and provide constructive and valuable feedback whilst encouraging critical and analytical thinking. Serina Jones, an NQT in Southampton explained how she introduced blogging in her primary

EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS Step Cruz is a Key Stage One teacher at Dysart primary school in Epsom. In her class, the convenience and versatility of social media has made a big impact on the way she teaches. Her pupils react well to her new and exciting lesson plans: “At first I introduced a class blog. It was just to record reading progress to begin, but my class were so enthusiastic that I now use social media at every possible

opportunity. It gets my class interested in learning and does really help with motivation. I believe that it is the reason that I’ve seen such vast improvements in the class as a whole over the past term. “And I am excited to see their progress excel by the end of the year with the help of social media.” Nearly every pupil has moved up at least one grade since I introduced social media”

school class at St. Patricks in Southampton: ‘‘We set up a book reading challenge online where the children had to log in and register books they have read to their online account. We set this up in class and I used it to set homework, which was good as it got parents involved and got them comfortable with their kids using online resources in school. “From this we then set up a private class blog where once a week I would get them to log on and write a short account of what they had done/learnt that week.” Safety precautions need to be addressed when getting your class blogging and there are some great ways to overcome this. Sites like Kids Blog and Love Reading 4 School, that Serina used, provide safe environments for your class to blog online without the usual safety caution of children using the internet. Serina went on to say: “We are constantly

reminded how important self -reflection is and I found that blogging was a really good platform for this. Our weekly blogging session was all about reflecting on that weeks learning and I really think it helped my class to understand what they had achieved in that wee. It’s also great for you as the teacher as at the end of each term you have a weekly reflective log of each individual pupils developments, which really helps you to judge any progress. So, not only can your class reap benefits of blogging but also, when used in the right way, it can be fantastic hands on personal development tool. It is a great way of networking from the comfort of your own surroundings. Get to know other teachers blogs, leave comments and interact with everyone you possibly can in the industry. You will be surprised what doors this can open for you, your class and your career.




From a day at the river to a trip to the theatre we have put together some inspiring suggestions to get your class out of school and exploring....


Why Bother?


Tt IS FOR THEATRE Why bother A trip to the theatre can offer a wealth of learning and enrichment to primary school children. It can teach children about the importance of self-expression and interaction through creative activities such as acting and performing. Typically young children enjoy engaging and interacting through drama. Drama and the theatre can be used in subjects such as PSHE to help children to cope with difficult situations and express emotions through issue based acting. Many theatre companies offer educational trips from early years through to key stage 4. They offer professional advice and will

curricular activities. You can get your class doing projects all about the seaside that touch on anything from science right through to history. Children will be excited to search for different types of wildlife around the shores. This is a good way of teaching them about different species. Encourage them children to respect the wildlife that they come across and to not disturb natural and beautiful habitats.

Why bother?

Resource ideas

The Seaside is an exciting place for children to learn about the natural surroundings and habitats around them. All of your pupils will be enthusiastic about a trip to the seaside and you can build up to this in the weeks before your trip through a variety of different subject areas. The seaside is a good topic for cross

Shells, buckets and spades, beach balls, postcards and beachware from both past and present and transport past and present can be all used as props in the classroom to get your excited about a trip to your local seaside location.There is an exciting mix of nature and wildlife to be found when you explore the shores of your

work with you to help develop the creativity, story telling and arts based skills of your class.

Resource ideas Get your class excited about the theatre by bringing the theatre into your school. Set up a whole day that is dedicated to the theatre and performing. Production companies such as Shakespeare Globe will come into your school and put on a fun day that even the most unmotivated of pupils will be excited about. Cross-curricular interaction can also be introduced. You could create education based activities that

Tips for success


Organise a trip to the seaside, consider curriculum links, timings, costs, lunch, travel and access for pupils with special needs. When visiting, don’t be too over ambitious. Give each group of children a specific area to focus on and get them to stick to this. Be as organised as possible to ensure the safety of your class.



Tips for success

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Contact your local theatre to arrange an educational visit for your school. Arrange a class play that that holds an important message, the class can then perform it to everyone in a school assembly.

Why bother?

local seaside. Organise your class into small groups and set each group an individual task to do with the seaside. This can be anything from identifying different species of wildlife or finding and identifying shells. They can then create posters back in the classroom and present the information they find to the rest of the class. Give different ability groups slightly different tasks.


are based on the theatre and the national curriculum subjects. Creative and play writing work shops can be set up to help your class with literacy. Shakespeare’s Globe even offers numeracy, history and geography acting work shops for primary school children.

The British railway system has played an important role in history and stories of famous journeys can be an exciting starting point for learning about railways. The railways in Britain can be an exciting topic to base geography and history lessons on. What would life have been like without the invention of railways? And how did trains run before times of electricity? These questions can start interesting and educational discussions with your class. The railways are a major part of transportation, not only for humans to travel but also goods, all round the world. Explore the significance of railways all round the world. Educating young people about rail safety is another route that you

could take. Provide your class with the skills to stay safe as they grow up and become more aware of being safe in the world around them.

Resource Ideas Take your class on a trip to visit an old working steam railway. Before you go research what that rail way would have been used for. Set challenges for the class to find out when it was in operation, when it was closed and why. Ask them to identify and pick put key stages in the life of that railroad. You can them set them a task of creating a timeline of the history of that particular railroad.

Tips for success


Liaise closely with a local steam train charity. They can help you to arrange a visit to a local and working steam train track. Sign up to the website to gain access to lesson plans and ideas to educate children about Britain’s rail industry.



‘‘TECHNOLOGY HAS TO BE INTEGRATED THROUGH ALL THE CURRICULUM’’ Devoted to sharing technology with a generation that find it second nature, Teaching award winner, Ben Tipton, is at the vanguard of helping his school achieve ‘outstanding’ results across the board through the use of technologyin the classroom... 14


r Tipton deservedly scooped the Pearson Award for Outstanding use of Technology in Education at last years National Teaching Awards. His accomplishment came at no surprise to his colleagues or pupils. His effect on the school’s learning platform has completely transformed learning and teaching at Sacred Heart RC Primary School at Westhoughton, in Bolton. The school has been, and continues to be, developing immensely and Ben’s contributions towards this have been

astonishing. Many schools are now using online platforms to gather and share useful resources, but thanks to Ben, Sacred Heart are taking that one step further every time.

Going the extra mile Ben explains: “I’ve always a been a great advocate of using ICT, an hour a week in the ICT suite isn’t enough anymore. It needs to be integrated throughout the whole curriculum really. I use it English lessons, maths lessons, science, topic work, just as much as possible. At Sacred Heart we have a great emphasis and lots of resources and

money and myself being able to step out of class to develop ICT and bring in other things like the learning platform.” From an in school radio station to forums and video sharing, the school really is embracing the use of communicative technologies to make the most of education in their classrooms. It is not just the odd I pad here and there at Sacred Heart. The school is lucky to have green screens, a full radio suite and a leadership team that can’t get enough of technology. Ben is great advocate for technology in the classroom and encourages

Using technology to assist learning and excite pupils is a massive priority at our school BEN TIPTON, AWARD WINNING TEACHER

teachers at Sacred Heart to use it at every possible opportunity. The excessive use of technology is really paying off in this ‘outstanding’ school, and it is down to the fact that it gets children excited about learning. Ben explains: “If I say ‘were going to be using the radio suite today they get really enthusiastic, it really excites them. And this transfers into their work and learning. If I were to say ‘were going to write a radio script and read it out’ oppose to do ‘were going to write a script and broadcast it on the radio and our website for everyone else to listen’ the class tend to show a lot more interest.” It is clear from Ben’s success that technology and ICT excites and engages school children and the pupils, and their achievments, at Sacred Heart are a shining example of this.

Ben Tipton has an excited quality about the use of ICT and his keen interest in technology oozes from his personality, much the reason why won the award. His interest in all things technical was propelled after becoming a teacher: “I’ve always been a bit of an ICT geek, loved new technology and have always kept up with what was new. When I became a teacher I wanted to use ICT as

much as possible as it gave the kids a fresh way to look at things.”

Half the battle It is not always easy to deliver the latest technology in school: “Half the battle is trying to keep up with technology with constrained budgets. Obviously schools have

been given less and less money and it becomes more and more difficult to provide this type of technology, which is obviously a high cost to schools. Using green screens and radio station was a big expense but it was a priority from the head down, which has enabled us to make ICT as up to date, engaging and exciting for the kids as we possible can.” In his humble way, Ben cannot praise head, Martin Johnson, enough for his leadership role and help of bringing technology into Sacred Heart: “I get a lot of help from Martin and I wouldn’t of been able to nearly any of the things without his support and help of Martin. Were very lucky that Martin’s quite forward thinking in terms of ICT. Ben does not plan to reign in his desire for technology any time soon: “Our new steps are to get into programming. It has always been a bit of ‘do what you think is best for your school’ when it comes to the ICT Curriculum, And, what is right for us now is to continue to get the kids using the latest technologies.” This positive attitude shows how Ben is always looking to take the next step with ICT to get the best results for his pupils. His hard work and determination in using technology in classrooms has paid off. Not only with his award but also the fantastic achievements of his pupils.


Hannah CameronFMP  
Hannah CameronFMP  

I created pages for Teach Primary magazine for my university final major project