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The impact of early intervention and what happens if you cut services for preschool children Research shows that a child’s development score at just 22 months can serve as an accurate predictor of educational outcomes at 26 years. In other words, getting it right early is enormously important if children are to make the progress that we all want for them in life. This may seem obvious, but it is not currently reflected in national policy, which has resulted in the forced closure of services designed to support very young children and their families. The challenge for the future Those who lead in Councils, and in schools, are well aware of the need to invest in early intervention. Councils can’t do much about national political decisions on funding, but schools and other agencies can do something about raising awareness of the school readiness problem and taking action to improve the situation. There needs to be a greater linking of services at a local level, including schools, greater communication between schools and preschools. The preschool phase of education, with huge numbers of privately run nurseries, needs to be viewed as being just as important as the later phases. Otherwise we will always be trying to repair the damage, rather than preventing it happening in the first place.

Paul Stockley is a Primary Headteacher at Bradway Primary School in Sheffield where he is also Chair if the Primary Leaders Partnership. Find Paul on Twitter at @bradwaystockley.

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Image credit: Background image by Martin Burrett. Other images provided by Paul Stockley

Positivity Breeds Positivity

Social constructivist learning theories suggest today’s educators should create inquiry-based units asking learners to work together to think about big questions. Rather than the ubiquitous class novel study, I planned a unit asking my Year 7s to think about the future of fiction and whether technology can help us to tell a story.

Have you woken up in a bad mood, convinced that your day will be terrible and that nothing can improve it to find that, despite your insistence on misery, you end up smiling when you really don’t want to? I think we all have. This is because positivity is contagious. Consider this in every class you teach. Smile, laugh, encourage and be in a good mood (yes I am aware that on occasion you may have to fake it a little).

I am currently studying an MEd in Technology and this, combined with my love of books, is an area of great interest to me. As a twenty first century educator, I am constantly considering where reading and writing might be going for learners growing up in a digital age. I wonder if e-readers may re-engage learners who read more online but less and less in print. My unit was co-constructed with my Year 7s and covered the essential elements of stories, involved reading and discussing lots of stories, then ultimately deciding on a story to tell and a technology tool to tell it with. The class learned how to storyboard, draft, script, code, write, animate, create electrical circuits, film, create and tell stories using tools such as iMotion, Inklewriter, iBooks Author, iMovie, MinecraftEdu, Makey Makey and Scratch. Finally, they showcased their stories and wrote reflections on the skills they had developed, what they think they learned, what they’d like to improve upon, and what they were proud of, exploring whether or not they think technology can help us tell a story and where the future of fiction lies. @MrsHollyEnglish - Global Youth Debates Project Manager, English Teacher, Qatar

In Brief

The Future of Fiction?

Students respond, as all humans do, to their surroundings. If you come into a classroom with the weight of the world on your shoulders then EVERY student in there will pick up on that. You will soon bring them down. Go in happy and smiling, good moods are as contagious in the classroom as they are everywhere else. Smile and the class smiles with you! @mandmiles - GCSE Lecturer, Hampshire

Further Study “I’ve too much time on my hands,” said no teacher ever. Whilst this may be true, finding the time to undertake further learning of your own can have powerful effects on your role in your school. Whether it be pedagogical changes that impact on the children or improving your skills in helping colleagues the rewards are many. After 11 years of teaching I was starting to get in a rut with my career. However, undertaking an MA in education and the proper professional development that brings, refreshed parts of my teaching that other CPD couldn’t reach. @montgenev - Teacher & maths coordinator, Nottingham

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