Why are predicted grades so hard to give, and can we change it?

Reading Time: 13 minutes It’s been a difficult old year when it comes to predictions (and so many things, but let’s stay focused!). I’m not going to specifically explore my own statistics here – it isn’t fair to any individuals involved – but I’m interested in the reasons that predictions are often so inaccurate when compared with exam results. This year in particular, it’s especially important: today’s announement that Scotland have regraded everyone in line with centre assessment may or may not affect Thursday, but we should consider this for our own good in the future. Predictions are important. With them, we know who …

Roald Dahl’s poetry – a forgotten gem

Reading Time: 2 minutes I’ve been falling love with Revolting Rhymes again. I remember loving it as a child, watching the VHS animated versions over and over again – my mum must have been absolutely sick of them.   Teaching a Year 9 unit on character, I’ve returned to some of them. It’s a challenging unit about re-imagining characters. A typical series of lessons, for example, will have us look at the original Pygmalian story, read a section of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalian, watch a section of My Fair Lady, explore Duffy’s ‘Galatea’ and then write their own monologue of Galatea coming to life. I …

Women through the ages – a new scheme of work

Reading Time: 3 minutes Like many teachers I’m currently in the middle of planning for next year, with a bit more space to rethink the curriculum, and a comment from one of my Year 13 students has stayed with me. I think I’d written some feedback about avoiding generalisation regarding the representation of women ┬ánot treating Renaissance and Victorian women the same in her context-heavy essay – and she said that she didn’t really know the difference. She knew there was one, that women’ rights couldn’t have been completely stagnant until the early twentieth century, but didn’t have a strong grasp of what the …

Planning to teach a poetry cluster: Christina Rossetti

Reading Time: 3 minutes When we’ve been teaching Rossetti this year, we’ve been preparing for the AS-level. We’re not doing that next year (switching to linear now every other spec has caught up and reformed!) but I think it’ll probably take a similar approach: Identify the poems that work well together in comparison and teach them alongside one another (in the new Y12, teaching them at key moments in their comparison text) Each ‘mini-unit’ of poems ends with a written assessment in timed conditions, in the class room. In a single lesson, I use a question/answer format, which usually guides students through a discussion …