Teachers' Forum

Our mission is simple. We aim to bring together the best teaching and learning ideas in an accessible format to make best practice easy and achievable for all.

Our objective is to help support colleagues in providing opportunities for pupils to enjoy and excel in lessons. We plan and deliver INSET sessions and CPD workshops as well as lunchtime drop-in sessions.

This forum will gather ideas for resources and collect information from the latest educational research, all of which may be adapted by teachers to their own curriculum area.

We know that the teaching team at Rossall deliver fantastic ideas that are used in lessons on a daily basis, and we aim to encourage the sharing of the best practice throughout the school and beyond.

As this area of the site develops, you should look out for tips and ideas from the Teaching and Learning team, details of upcoming CPD and INSET, shared ideas from colleagues, and updates on what is happening across the School via our Bright Spots newsletter.


    Tuesday 1 October 2019, Manchester University

    On Tuesday 1 October, five of our senior school teaching team travelled to the Barnes Wallis Building at Manchester University to participate in three 90 minute masterclasses delivered by three prominent thinkers in the area of curriculum design and implementation. Each masterclass included an extended presentation with interactive elements and time for questions and discussion. The event concluded with a panel session where participants posed further challenges and questions. Our delegates were also most pleased to discover that their visit also included a copy of each of the presenters’ most recent books.

    The programme for the day included:

    Fundamental curriculum design principles including ideas from Mary Myatt’s book Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence.

    Mary is an education adviser, writer and speaker. She trained as an RE teacher and has also taught English, history, maths and Latin. A former local authority adviser and inspector, she works in schools talking to pupils, teachers and leaders about learning, leadership and the curriculum. She maintains that there are no quick fixes and that great outcomes for pupils are not achieved through tick boxes.

    Curriculum structures and elements, ideas from the Learning Rainforest including ‘teaching to the top’ and Mode A and Mode B teaching – Tom Sherrington

    Tom is well known in the UK as a prolific blogger and former Headteacher and now an education consultant and author. He writes the popular blog teacherhead.com and recently published his book The Learning Rainforest, Great Teaching in Real Classrooms. With 30 years’ experience as a physics and maths teacher and school leader, Tom now travels the world delivering CPD for teachers and schools leaders as well as providing consultancy support on curriculum, assessment and improving the quality of teaching.

    Delivering a great curriculum: evidence, values and people including examples of curriculum initiatives at John’s Huntington School and ideas from his book Love over Fear – John Tomsett.

    John has been a teacher for over 30 years and a headteacher for 15. He is headteacher at Huntington School, York, a national Research School. John writes a blog called “This much I know… ” and is a regular contributor to the TES. He co-founded The Headteachers’ Roundtable think tank and is a popular speaker on school leadership. He is determined to remain a classroom teacher, despite the demands of headship, and believes that developing truly great teaching is the main responsibility of all school leaders.

    Our staff found this to be an incredibly rewarding day and have taken much from each speaker. They will return to school with a wealth of ideas and research to disseminate to colleagues in department and all-staff meetings. Here are some of their reflections:

    Lauren Laird, Head of Chemistry

    This event has left me very enthused and with lots to ponder. Mary Myatt spoke, amongst other things, about the need for high challenge, low threat learning. She also discussed the power of stories, conflicts and dilemmas as well as interleaving of different but related topics. The idea of stretching pupils answers through the use of A, B, C (one pupil answers, a second builds on the answer, a third offers another contribution/contradiction) was also discussed.

    Daniel Hall, History:

    Mary Myatt is an excellent speaker who gave some great insight regarding how the curriculum is a powerful tool which can reflect the values and ethos of the school, as well as being something to encourage aspiration. She emphasised how the curriculum should give opportunities to challenge students. She also gave practical classroom advice which was appreciated, especially how to make pupils feel safe when being academically challenged. Finally, she emphasised the need to take time for these developments and how staff needed time to think about it (not just after school or weekends!). She also suggested a membership to the Chartered College for at least one member of staff in the school.

    Matthew Hall, Head of Geography:

    Mary Myatt explained how research shows that pupils ask for more demanding work and we need to give them this entitlement of ‘high challenge, low threat’ as this gets best results/residuals and is the highest motivation for learning – a good example being high quality reading homework where students may not understand everything but can tell the teacher what they did and did not understand at start of the next lesson, with no pressure. We should pay attention to the ‘soft stuff’ (the human side of student learning) as much as the ‘hard metrics’ of results, and separate Work from Person so they aren’t a grade but the focus is on the work they are capable of producing. Research also shows that Interleaving successfully improves results over the long-term (74% recall vs 42% block teaching and assessing). We should allow children to speak with each other until they finish (rather than stopping them and thinking they are being rude if they carry on): speaking it first leads to more comprehensive writing. Good questioning includes an A-B-C model where A=Answer B=Build on point (or Bounce the point) and C=Contribute another point. Finally, we should be prioritising thinking over task completion as pupils must be able to talk about the learning and understanding.