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Episode 160: Brass and Mahogany

thMatthew and Steve are back on the education news trail tonight, and excited by the scientific achievements of landing a bunch of experiments on a far distant comet.  However, we start with some historical reflection:

“The anarchic experimental schools of the 1970s”, By Tom de Castella BBC News Magazine. Link here See also this blog here

“There’s no stopping these destructive cuts”  TES article link here


“Why politicians need historians: Few policymakers today seem interested in lessons from the past. Their short-termism will fail to tackle the new ‘megatrends’” David Armitage, The Guardian Link here

School pupils ‘don’t have enough science equipment’  BBC story link here

IOE blog is worth checking out link here

The Language Coup

Beautifully hijacking the podcast tonight is guest ranter and welly wearer Gillian Campbell -Thow who is joined by two language legends and podcasting pros Mark Pentleton and Joe Dale.

“The Language Coo”Ayrshire_cow

Mark Pentleton
Joe Dale


All three are participating in the Scottish Association for Language Teaching conference this weekend.
A bit of lingo showboating and Gillian manages to say she’s sorry in Chinese to Mark ( probably in anticipation of a rant)
The lingo lovelies discuss some news items and Mark brings to the table how the CEO of Facebook conducted a session in Mandarin Chinese then got hammered for getting his numbers wrong
The panel discuss role models and engaging with technology to enthuse students to learn languages.

Joe looks at teaching and learning languages and the new expectations in primary in England. Being the godfather of the #mfltwitterati he talks of relevant and meaningful CPD for language learners and engagement with teachers through digital media – but is it information overload?

Mark has a wee wander down memory lane to get his 4 day old copy of le monde (while Gillian was Playing truant from his class) and Gillian is delighted to introduce Joe to “0or Wullie” and all things scots.

A braw wee podcast indeed!

Radio Lingua
Radio Lingua Schools / High Five French

Episode 158: To Sleep Perchance to Pass?

sleep2Could having an extra hour in bed improve your GCSE results?

Tonight we discuss this story as reported here. We also talk about the benefits and pitfalls of school placement, how some parents views have affected the decision to allow a boy from Sierra Leone to visit a school in Stockport (find more information here) and the struggles a Headteacher faced over anti-homophobic messages in the curriculum(find more information here).



We welcome back our erstwhile colleague, and founder podcaster Jay Helbert who updated us on his journey with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership. Jay is currently undertaking SCEL’s inaugural fellowship programme, and as part of this has been undertaking a project investigating developing leadership beyond authority.




I have been looking into some of the skills and qualities that make a high performing leader and how these skills are relevant to high performing class teachers. In this podcast, I have identified 8 areas that help make teachers and school principals successful leaders. I have drawn on the work of Prof. Clive Dimmock, Alma Harris, Daniel Goleman and others. Clive’s latest book, ‘Leadership, Capacity Building and School Improvement’ and Alma’s latest book, ‘Uplifting Leadership: How organizations, Teams and Communities Raise Performance’ are both fascinating reads. Daniel Goleman contributes to the fantastic ‘More Than Sound’ Podcast series on emotional intelligence and leadership.


My thoughts on this are still developing, but the 8 ideas I have identified so far are that high performing leaders at classroom and school level:


  1. Draw upon a variety of leadership styles and chose the one that suits the situation at any given time.


  1. Are resilient in the face of success and failure and are self-compassionate – Dr Kristin Neff’s outstanding TED Talk is here.


  1. Have a strong sense of moral purpose to draw upon.


  1. Draw upon research to inform change and improvement – Scottish Teachers can access a wide range of research by signing in to My GTCS.


  1. Are emotionally intelligent; they can recognise their own, and others’ feelings and then act in the way that best results in a desired outcome.


  1. Makes best use of synergies; they use effective collaborative approaches to ensure that teams achieve more than their constituent parts would be individually capable of.


  1. Develops leadership skills and potential in those around them for the benefit of the individuals and of the wider organisation.


  1. Has a secure knowledge, and the ability to access further knowledge of issues pertinent to the student’s, class’ or school’s success.


  1. (not mentioned on the podcast) Can make use of tacit knowledge and experience to ensure success.

Episode 157: Welsh Farrago

4429459We are delighted to welcome back the campaigning Bill Boyd as the three musketeers return to the digital highway, cutting a swathe through education news items.

A discussion on inspection, accountability and support sparked by Education Scotland: Education inspection and review consultation underway, link here

What does the growth of the Khan academy signify? “The Educators”, BBC Radio 4, Sarah Montague “interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education”, link here  Latest programme interviews Salman Khan, Khan Academy site here

“Don’t Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything” Kio Stark

Steve muses on something he said last week that this story gives him pause to reconsider:  “The school with no rules that teaches the unteachable” Guardian story by Sally Weale, link here

thShould we be in this game at all or is it just a farrago? – “Pisa education ranking goal target is scrapped” BBC story, link here

Episode 156: Sweet streams are made of this

streamwithflowingalgae.19159ee99722392be22d021cd3a31cde194Tonight Matthew and Steve chat post-referendum and discuss some current education topics:

“Low-level classroom disruption hits learning, Ofsted warns” story from Katherine Sellgren BBC News education reporter, Link here,


“Heads reject Ofsted’s poor classroom behaviour claims” Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent link here


“Streaming ‘widens rich-poor achievement gap'” story from Hannah Richardson BBC News education reporter, link here and who are we to disagree?

“Google reveals most searched-for universities”  Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent, link here

and finally, in case you were missing our Gove stories: Sara Cassidy writes in the Independent ‘Hove vs Gove’ campaign victory: Parents derail ‘academies bandwagon’, link here






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