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Happy New Year?

I have been reflecting over the past fortnight, following my summer hiatus, on where I should focus my attentions over the coming weeks and months. Like many teachers I am spread thinly, with many areas needing my attention.

For the first time this year I am a Year 11 tutor; already this has led to a great deal of contacting home and ensuring all tutees are focusing in the right places. I have decided that being a Year 11 tutor could be a full time job in itself, checking in on students in various lessons and making sure they are lining up their ducks ready for post-16. As it stands however, I have even less free time than last year so I will have to make do and manage. Not a gripe – merely an acknowledgement that it’s simply too important to put at the bottom of my to-do list.

Equally, I am still aiming to improve literacy across the school and I am hoping to fight this battle on the display front for the first part of the year, using the success of last year’s CPD as the impetus to keep momentum going.

Literacy, of course, is something that despite being vitally important, is also very difficult to monitor regularly. If literacy is improving, GCSE results and the quality of written work should also improve; but how can we separate the impact of developing literacy with the impact of improved teaching and learning? In fact, do we need to?

Following some challenging GCSE results in the summer as a result of some questionable decisions by the exam board, another focus has to of course be the way we teach Year 11 and how we can ensure we do not repeat those mistakes next year. Easier said than done, especially when Year 10 are doing 9 – 1. (Next blog post will be about that…)

In short, I am not sure where my focus lies for the time being. Perhaps that is the teacher’s lot? We will never be able to sacrifice one aspect of education to specialise in another, not should we try to. All we can do is make sure that we’re doing right by the people who rely on us.

So, will it be a happy new year?

It will be if you make it one…



I am a teacher of English at a rural secondary school in the West of England; in my third year of teaching I became an NQT Induction coordinator and last year I was placed in charge of coordinating literacy across the school. I am now approaching my 6th year as a teacher and I feel as though I am still only just scraping the surface of what this job entails. Every year there is a new challenge to overcome and as any teacher will attest, sometimes we choose the challenges, other times they are thrust upon us. Sometimes the challenges seem worthwhile and alas sometimes they feel less so. I have made this blog to share some of the challenges that are beginning to arise as we strive to improve and to also share some of the ways in which we've done this - hopefully some may find it useful, hopefully I will too! Mr P.

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