Handwriting Grid

A few weeks ago, our school hosted the Oldham English Leaders’ Network Meeting.  One of the teachers sharing ideas was Ellen Aldred, a teacher at Knowsley Junior School in Oldham.  She shared her school’s journey in improving their handwriting and, like most of us, shared that it was mainly to do with having, and keeping, high expectations.

One of the key messages Ellen shared was that they have achieved success by keeping things simple and part of this is making sure that all the letter start ‘On the line, on the left‘.  This is a refrain that can be heard around Ellen’s classroom and their school when children are practising their handwriting and when children are writing in general.

Ellen also shared a practice grid which her school has developed and this was shared on twitter by Chris Jacques – @MrCJ248 – after he had made a word version.  With Ellen and Chris’ permission, I have shared this with Oldham English Leaders.  It has the empty grid Chris shared, the completed example grid that Ellen shared and a third grid with a font showing the correct joins which I have added.  It is a PDF so the font stays in a format that can show handwriting joins.  A collaborative piece of work!

You can download them here: English Leaders Network Meeting-Handwriting Grid

Thanks for reading and sharing.


The Real Secret of Teaching

Despite the warnings of @oldprimaryhead1 and @theprimaryhead at #PrimaryRocks LIVE in March, I still like to watch the occasional TED talk.  I like to listen to people who are passionate about their subject and, every now and then, I find I can link things back to education.  Tonight, as I was pottering around, I was listening to this TEDxYale talk: bit.ly/PriRocks474 by the magician Jen Kramer.


She begins like this:


I’d like to begin with a question.  What makes you feel wonder?  As a magician, this is something I think about a lot.  As a woman in magic, at every magic convention I feel wonder whenever I see the lines for the bathroom.  But in all seriousness, although a magician general must not reveal her secrets, the real secret of magic is the single secret that I can share.  The real secret is magic’s ability to inspire wonder; to bring out the 5 year old in everyone; it’s about questioning your reality; about creating shared experiences; about transcending barriers of age, race, religions, socio-economic class; magic is about story telling; it’s about people and emotions and experiencing moments of genuine human connection.  These are the reasons that I am a magician.  Magic stretches the bounds of the possible and this area between the possible and the impossible, this is the magician’s playground.  – Jen Kramer.  TEDxYale: The Real Secret of Magic


And as I listened and watched, I realised that magicians and teachers have a lot in common and realised that, with a few amendments, this would have made a great opening to the #PrimaryRocks LIVE event:


I’d like to begin with a question.  What makes you feel wonder?  As a teacher, this is something I think about a lot.  As a man in primary education, at every primary teaching convention I feel wonder whenever I see the lines for the bathroom.  But in all seriousness, the real secret of education is the single secret that I can share.  The real secret is education’s ability to inspire wonder; to bring out the 5 year old in everyone; it’s about questioning your reality; about creating shared experiences; about transcending barriers of age, race, religions, socio-economic class; education is about story telling; it’s about people and emotions and experiencing moments of genuine human connection.  These are the reasons that I am a teacherEducation stretches the bounds of the possible and this area between the possible and the impossible, this is the teacher’s playground.


So, as you drive to school, as you plan your lessons, as you mark your books, remember that you are:









You are magicians!

And so I leave you with this question, one that might not be easy to answer…


what makes you wonder?


Thanks for reading and sharing.


#LLL17 & #TLT17 Sketchnotes

All my Sketchnotes from the last two weekends of CPD in one handy blogpost.

#LLL17 – Lead Learn Lancs




@smithsmm … again. This time leadership.




#TLT17 – Teaching and Learning Takeover






Thanks for reading.


Know Your OFSTED Onions

After jumping into a Twitter conversation, I have compiled some quotes that will be helpful, hopefully, when the inspector calls. It was a suggestion from @ClareSealy that there should be a brief, handy, one stop document that could be used to repel any uninformed inspectors that piqued my interest. I was waiting for someone to come up with it and then realised I was suffering from the bystander effect and decided to take matters into my own hands. This document is put together with huge thanks to @jpembroke (http://sigplus.blogspot.co.uk) who tweeted a range of helpful advice. I found the quotes and web links provided below. If you are expecting OFSTED, just focus on doing the right things for the children in your school. The rest will follow… hopefully. You can sign up for the latest OFSTED updates here.

Thanks for reading.


Ofsted warned its inspectors not to base judgements of schools on the writing results.


Ofsted does not expect any prediction by schools of a progress score, as they are aware that this information will not be possible to produce due to the way progress measures at both KS2 and KS4 are calculated. Inspectors should understand from all training and recent updates that there is no national expectation of any particular amount of progress from any starting point. ‘Expected progress’ was a DfE accountability measure until 2015. Inspectors must not use this term when referring to progress for 2016 or current pupils. Inspectors should only ask to see assessment information, including any pupil tracking information, in the format that the school would ordinarily use to monitor the progress of pupils in that school.


Click to access School_inspection_newsletter_March_2017.pdf

We have reported in previous editions of SIU (School Inspection Update) and discussed with inspectors at our training the continuing uncertainties about data derived from teacher assessments. Inspectors should continue to interpret key stage 2 writing performance very carefully. Issues identified for 2016 data may persist in 2017.

At the training conferences, we discussed what is meant by ‘meaningful data’ and why this is important. Data on groups can be rendered meaningless due to the small numbers of pupils and high variation in their results. This does not mean that a pupil group is not important.


Click to access SIU_special_edition_5_September_final.pdf

Inspectors will use lesson observations, pupils’ work, discussions with teachers and pupils and school records to judge the effectiveness of assessment and whether it is having an impact on pupils’ learning. They don’t need to see vast amounts of data, spreadsheets, charts or graphs. Nor are they looking for any specific frequency or type or volume of marking or feedback. – Sean Harford: OFSTED National Director, Education, 2015.


Be ruthless: only collect what is needed to support outcomes for children. The amount of data collected should be proportionate to its usefulness. Always ask why the data is needed.

a purportedly robust and numerical measure of pupil progress that can be tracked and used to draw a wide range of conclusions about pupil and teacher performance, and school policy, when in fact information collected in such a way is flawed. This approach is unclear on purpose, and demands burdensome processes.

The recent removal of ‘levels’ should be a positive step in terms of data management; schools should not feel any pressure to create elaborate tracking systems

Focusing on key performance indicators reduces the burden of assessing every lesson objective. This also provides the basis of next steps: are pupils secure and can pupils move on, or do they need additional teaching?


Click to access Eliminating-unnecessary-workload-associated-with-data-management.pdf

Progress became synonymous with moving on to the next level, but progress can involve developing deeper or wider understanding, not just moving on to work of greater difficulty. Sometimes progress is simply about consolidation.


Click to access Commission_on_Assessment_Without_Levels_-_report.pdf

Thanks for reading. Please tweet any other ways we can help ourselves prepare for a good OFSTED visit to me @gazneedle

Bouncebackability – A #PrimaryRocks Blog

Question 4 of #PrimaryRocks on Monday 20th March looked at how to build resilience in children.  To begin with, I think it is important to define the term resilience:
Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

This is a quality that everybody needs but also a quality that is very difficult to build.  In this way it is very similar to go-karting: push too far or drive too close to the limit and you tip over the edge; don’t push far enough and you always stay in your comfort zone not making as much progress as you could.  The ideal is finding that Goldilocks sweet spot.

Some parents do not like their child to be pushed out of their comfort zone and they try to protect their child from all things bad.  However, this is setting their children up for a grand fall later in life.

Life is hard.

We are introduced into the world and the first thing we experience is having our skulls squashed in order to travel the birth canal.  We come out crying and but most of us turn out OK in the end!  Parents and schools cannot shield children from harm all of their lives and so we should develop their resilience.

A lot of this resilience should be taking place in the home but here are some ideas that can help build resilience in your school:

  • Celebrate achievement and celebrate when children learn from their mistakes. Failure in itself is not worth celebrating but learning from failure and the effort exerted is.  When an error is made, look at what that error is and how it can be fixed.  Demonstrate to the children errors in your own modelling and share techniques to fix this.
  • Model for them examples of you being resilient and not giving up. Share things that you find tough, even things not in school life.
  • Discuss upcoming changes with them and help them to prepare properly.
  • Towards the end of the year talk about the transition into the next year group. Share with them the excitement that change can bring and discuss feelings around the anxiety that change can cause.  Anxiety is a natural reaction to change and children should be aware of this.  Discuss the physical symptoms of anxiety and explain that they are not ill when they feel butterflies in their tummy, but it is anxiety.
  • Design tasks in which they will not quickly succeed. Some of the least resilient children I have met are the brightest because they expect everything to be easy and to come to them with less effort than others.  These children need to be challenged so they know how to cope when they are faced with a problem they cannot initially solve. And they will come across a problem they cannot solve sooner or later.
  • Compete in sporting events. Winning is excellent, but it is in losing that you build resilience and character.  Teach the children that it is ok to sometimes lose, but what is not ok is to give less than your all.  I would rather have a team who gave 100% and lost all their matches, than have a team who only gave 60% and won all their matches.
  • Give the children perspective. Remind them that just because they have not won a game, it is not the end of the world.
  • Use positive language and reframe problems. Ask children what they think they should do to solve the situation rather than giving them the correct answer.  If a child doesn’t understand what a word is, teach them to use a dictionary rather than just telling them what it means.
  • Go on trips. Get out in nature and look around.  Ask them to read a map, plant some bulbs, go ghyll scrambling or undertake another skill that none of them have done before so that everyone is at the same level of experience.  These things are hard to do but with a little resilience, they will achieve it.
  • Ask them to explain their thinking and reason why. When they give you an answer, ask them “Are you sure?”  Allow them thinking time and give them a chance to describe their thoughts.
  • Don’t expect perfection all the time. Corrections are a way of showing that we have grown and learnt something.  Get rid of erasers in general writing and maths (they are OK for art though). Don’t accept poor effort or rushed first drafts though.  Although these two ideas initially sound contradictory, they can co-exist.
  • Have high expectations and stick to them, both in their attitude towards work and their effort.
  • Look back at work from earlier in the year that they found difficult and what they can now do. Celebrate the journey.
  • Praise the effort, not the result.
  • Don’t let them give up when the going gets tough (the tough get going!).

Resilience is not something that you can teach in one lesson.  It needs to become part of the fabric of your school, your ethos.  All teachers in your school need to give children the kinds of opportunities outlined above (and more besides) to develop that resilience in your children.

We need to think more like Iain Dowie, the ex-footballer and ex-manager, who coined the word bouncebackability to describe his team’s performance.  That’s what we need to instil in our children and, just as importantly, develop in ourselves.

Thanks to all those who take part in #PrimaryRocks each Monday from 8pm on Twitter.


One Simple Way to Save Thousands of Pounds

Today I was at a conference with lots of other head teachers.  I was sat with my local authority group of heads when I spotted a lovely head teacher from another authority, Cathy, who had informed me earlier in the year about how we could use the primary accountability document to help try to make more accurate predictions about progress expected from our current Years 4, 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2 (this was before I knew about @jpembroke’s value added calculator).

I made my way over at break time and said hello.  I told her that I had told other English leaders in Oldham about how to work out possible expected progress when she told me about her next crusade.

She had realised that in her budget she had a £9,000 deficit which she couldn’t account for it.  She looked and looked and looked but she couldn’t find where this money had gone.  Then she realised that it was because of the universal free school meals that all infant children receive.  Cathy looked at me with her eyebrows raised, clearly expecting me to understand.

I didn’t understand so she explained it simply to me!  If you have 90 children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 combined then, theoretically, you should receive £439 for each child to cover a school meal a day for the year.  Therefore you should get 90 x 439.  Cathy had increased her infants by 6 children this year, but her universal free school meals money had dropped by around £9,000.  She couldn’t understand this so she contacted her local authority and they informed her that schools do not receive money for the number of children on roll, but that they only receive money for the number of children IN SCHOOL on census day.  They take a mean average of the October and January census and this determines how many children you get funding for, so if you have 5 children off on the October census day and 3 children off on the January census day, your school will not be funded for 4 children to have the universal ‘free’ school meals for the whole year, even though those children will still need to have a lunch.  However, school will still have to provide a meal.  And where will this money come from, you ask? Why… your school budget of course! So those mean average of four children being absent will cost your school £1,748.

I couldn’t believe it.

My mouth dropped open and I covered it with my hand.

This couldn’t be right, could it?

I’m a new head and I’m sure I must have misunderstood.

Break time finished and I headed back to my Oldham pals.  I explained what Cathy had just told me and they were incredulous.  They told me that I must have got the wrong end of the stick and I was pretty sure they were right.  I occasionally misunderstand things and I was sure that this must have been one of those times, especially as these experienced heads from my own authority were telling me it couldn’t be this way.

But I still texted my office administrator and asked her to check if it was correct.  The office administrator got back to me and told me it was actually correct!  She had called the finance team and they had confirmed it.  My school will have to find £1,300 from our budget to cover the universal ‘free’ school meals because some children were absent on census day.

This is £1,300 that could be spent on:

4 coaches to take kids on school trips;

1,805 bottles of paint;

5 ipad minis;

93 Nike Pitch Premier League Footballs;

137 tickets to Chester Zoo;

10% of a TAs wage;

260 new library books;

108 tickets to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Lowry Theatre.

My point is, that because some children are absent on 2 arbitrary days, the school gets punished.  As if budgets weren’t already tight enough, they are being squeezed again but in a very stealthy way.  And many heads might not even realise it.  I know that the experienced heads who I admire and regard very highly couldn’t believe it.  When I told my chair of governors she was aghast.

So this blog post is about spreading the word.  Census days are important.  I will be sending out a letter to try to ensure that these 2 random days have 100% attendance otherwise we will be punished as a school financially.  I will be explaining to parents an outline of this problem and urging them to have their child in school every day but particularly on these days.  And your school would be wise to do the same.  This is the simple way to save thousands of pounds – have 100% attendance on census days.

Finally, I would love to be completely wrong and I will modify this if someone can tell me that I am wrong.  I really hope I am.


Come and Join Us!

*This post was written for http://www.primaryrocks.com*





Three years is a long time and this year #PrimaryRocks will be celebrating three years of non-stop primary focused edchat every Monday on Twitter from 8pm.  What started out as a tiny edchat between a few friends has spiralled into one of the most positive, supportive inspirational chats each week that has people actually looking forward to Mondays!  These are not my words but the words of the #PrimaryRocks community – have a look at the tweets above.

This is a loyal band of educators join in the chat every Monday and through the week post examples of good work and, in many ways more importantly, ask questions and help each other out.  They chat and joke, tease and probe, question and challenge each other to try to develop their own pedagogy and throughout it all, even though they may not agree with everything each other says, there is an unspoken bond and element of respect for what each other is saying.  This isn’t to say that there are not disagreements; there are and sometimes quite opposite views and this is very healthy.

One of the dangers of this is being too nice.  In an environment where people are very polite, the hazard is that no one wants to ask the difficult question, disagree with others or play the devil’s advocate to stimulate discussion and this is where I see my role.  As the facilitator of the chat, my role is to pose questions and then try to press and probe contributors to delve a little deeper than their original answer.  I will purposely take a stance that is opposite a contributor so that they have to think a little deeper about what they have said.  The tweets I send might not necessarily be what I believe but an alternative view that may be held by others which will challenge the thinking of people who join in the chat.  I don’t do this to be a quarrelsome, little twerp who wants to argue every point, but more to make people question what they do, why they do it and more importantly, to question if there is a better way to do something.

At #PrimaryRocks LIVE, when I asked speakers to present, the only brief I gave them was to make people reflect on their current practice and to give them something that will make them either change something in their class the following Monday, or give them something to think about and that will fundamentally change the way they approach their teaching.  This is no small order, but it is my one guiding light when I sit down on a Monday night with my ear phones in (to drown out the kids and the TV), with my pint of cordial and with tweetdeck open and ready to roll on #PrimaryRocks.

And the best feeling?  The best feeling is that sense when 9pm come and I realise that scores of people have joined in sending hundreds and hundreds of tweets during the hour and how, although we started small, this crazy edchat that was started to support primary teachers on Twitter, is doing just that, but on an even bigger scale than I could have ever imagined.  @PrimaryRocks1 now has over 10,000 followers and is growing each day.  If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you are one of the wonderful educators that come along and share your good practice with others, and for that I thank you.  If you have never joined in or are lurking just watching, search #PrimaryRocks on a Monday between 8-9pm and get ready to speed read if you want to keep up!

And finally, as this community grows, so does the expertise that we can call on.  Search #PrimaryRocks during the week and see if you can help someone.  Use #PrimaryRocks in your questions and see if anyone can help YOU.  And encourage others to use it.  Spread the word at your school, at teachmeets and down the pub with teacher friends!

Thanks for reading and sharing.


Send Them To The Head!

Head teachers love it when you send kids to them for being great!


Neat handwriting? Send them up!  Fantastic maths? Bring them to me!  Someone who has made amazing progress and hit their target?  Let me give you a sticker!  An ‘invisible’ child who just does great solid work day after day and exhibits dream behaviour? Let me give you a big, old handshake!

Sometimes the head teachers office is almost seen like Barad-Dûr from Lord of the Rings with the head teacher as the Eye of Sauron.  If the head teacher is only used as a significant sanction then children can be fearful when they are asked to visit the head’s office.

So, brothers and sisters, I am calling you to action!  Send your superstars to the head.  When they are stuck in their office, looking at another bloomin’ junk email that they have to unsubscribe from or poring over numbers in a spreadsheet, the radiant smile of a little gem who has been brilliant in class is like a little oasis and will remind your head teacher why they are in their job.

Or even better, take them up and enjoy the celebration yourself!


Help! I’m New to Year 6!


Imagine your Year 6 teacher has won the big time Euro Millions lottery and won £125,000,000.  They have told the SLT and governors that if they want to contact them, they will be on a Caribbean island, but here is some money to provide a supply for the term so they don’t have to give any notice.  You have been asked to step into the role of Year 6 teacher and you have never done it before.

I imagine that running through your head might be something like ‘Crikey!  What the blinkin’ heck am I supposed to do?  How do I get these little cherubs ready for the bloomin’ SATs?  What the heck are the best ways to teach in Year 6?  What don’t I already chuffin’ know?!” … or words to that effect.

Well, I have known several teachers in the last twelve months in this situation (not winning the lottery, but being asked to take Year 6 at short notice or having never taught in that year before) and I wanted to help anyone who has to go through this in the future.

I gathered together a crack team of Year 6 teachers from a range of schools – @mcmahonpaddy @MrTRoach @hil3494 and @crazycath1 – and christened them my Year 6 Avengers.  They would help me come up with some key points that all teachers new to Year 6 need to know.  We sat and chatted for an hour or so and this is what they came up with:

Don’t take anything for granted.  Start everything from the beginning and move on quickly.  Just because they have been taught it in previous year groups, doesn’t mean they remember it.

Go back and make sure that what should have been taught is secure.  Make sure with Year 6 SATs style question.

Use resources like Test base to practice test questions for starters to lessons.  Show the children that these questions are nothing to be afraid of.  Make them everyday occurrences and reduce the fear and anxiety.

Use the White Rose planning.  The problem solving and reasoning tests are great preparation.  The ‘Maths no problem’ books matches up with the White Rose planning.   It has a text book and workbook for guided practice/independent work.

Target Maths has differentiation included in it and is useful for pitching work at the correct level.

Single stage assessments from Assertive Mentoring are useful.  They have end of year expectations and this can be used to teach anything that is not understood.

Get through the whole curriculum before Easter then do revision in the weeks after Easter and before the tests.

Pitch and expectations

Find texts that challenge the best children in your class and pull the others up to that level rather than easier texts.

Answers HAVE to be precise and exact.  In the past, techers would be able to say ‘weeeeeelllll… I kind of know what they mean’ and give them a mark.  Now, answers have to be exact, precise and detailed otherwise children will not be given a mark.  It is a tough love that you must administer, but it is better to be honest with your class and practice being exact.

When using comprehensions, write complete sentences.  Children have to be very specific.  They are not allowed to just be able to get the ‘gist’ of the piece of writing now, they have to be accurate.

Have a read of Reading Reconsidered  by Doug Lemov.

Use RIC (Retrieval, Interpretation, Choice) with high quality, difficult texts daily to encourage detailed answers.

Read different genres: newspaper articles, biographies, interviews, magazine articles, etc.

Use the question stems from Maddy Barnes to generate questions at a suitable pitch: http://bit.ly/gazneedle02

Use the appendix from the Natonal Curriculum for grammar.  Look for these aspects in ALL year groups.  Make sure other year groups are teaching what they are supposed to be teaching.  No longer can the Year 6 teacher be expected to pull it out of the bag as has happened in some schools in the past.

Grammar should be taught in context with a high quality text.

Model your writing so that it includes everything that is needed (use the interim teacher assessment frameworks as your guide), even to greater depth.  Don’t make a simpler text.  All children are expected to be at least at the expected standard.

Don’t differentiate texts.  They all have to take the test at the end of May.

Writing – find out what the kids like and aim grammar and writing through that so they are engaged.  Use videos from the literacy shed to engage and develop their writing.  Use hard texts with complicated sentences to show them how they should be used for effect.  Practice sentence games, for examples, the ones in Pie Corbett’s Jump… series of books.

Write every day.

Progress for all children is more important now than ever before for teachers and schools.  Schools are being judged more on progress that children make so every child counts.  Use the primary accountability document and @jpembroke’s value added calculator (http://bit.ly/gazneedle1) to know exactly what each child is expected to attain.

Your class time table should stay as similar as possible.  You need to get the English and maths into other areas of the curriculum.  Use the other areas to stimulate the children.  Get grammar into art!


When planning to do practice tests, block out a week at a time, like a SATs week.  Always complete them in the in the mornings when children are at their most alert.

Always complete a test before Christmas so the children don’t feel over faced with taking a test.  Mark the maths test and SPaG together with the children so they can see how it should be answered.  Complete a test at the end of the half-term after Christmas and, again, mark with the children.  Complete 1 or 2 tests in the half-term before Easter depending on the length.  Complete the final practice test 2 weeks before the SATs.  In the 4 day week before SATS (which is always a bank holiday Monday week) just do revision on the topics that your class have found the trickiest to remember.

Use the carrot of ‘summer is going to be great’.  Keep your class on board.  Make sure you build in breaks in English/Maths and try to keep some ‘creative’ subjects.  The children need to have that down time for the maths and English to embed.

Make tests as comfortable as normal for the kids.  Do the tests in the classes they are normally in.  Don’t decamp to the hall.

Application for extra time in SATs opens on 23rd January.  Make sure you fill in the application form correctly.

In some schools, teachers (not TAs) come off time table for SATs so that kids feel comfortable with them.  The classroom is divided into quarters and teachers are assigned tables so children know which teacher will read to them and don’t have to wait for a long time before anyone gets to them.  This is to reduce their anxiety.

Do something off topic in SATs afternoon so your class can relax.  Don’t cram in the afternoon.  Try cricket, PE, art or any ‘fun’ activities to keep the mood light and to remind your class that school can be fun.

Give your class a flapjack and some juice in the morning during SATs week when they come in so to relax them.

Repeatedly tell your class to just do their best.  They have nothing to worry about at all.

Do not, under any circumstances, pass on any anxiety that the staff may have to the children.

Test technique is imperative to teach to the children.  Show them explicitly how to answer specific types of questions; find and copy one word; you can turn the paper for geometry questions; make sure pages are not stuck together; watch the clock; check and check and check your work again.  There is no place for someone sat idle in a test.

If children are taking five minutes on any question, leave it.  Move on to the next question and come back to it if you have time

Focus on the easy questions and easy texts first.


I asked each teacher, if they had some top tips for teachers new to Year 6, what would they be?

Top tips:

  1. Gather evidence from writing early
  2. Keep children focused and motivated in light of the end of Key Stage expectations
  3. Get the balance right
  4. Don’t presume things that have been learnt are still understood
  5. Teach them test technique
  6. Make tests as comfortable as possible for children
  7. Pitch work as high as possible – higher than your highest children and pull others up
  8. Find out what the children can’t do and plug the gaps
  9. Write every day
  10. Expect the highest standards in their work
  11. Continue to teach PE and art. Kids love it.
  12. Don’t be alone. Speak to other teachers and SLT.
  13. Be honest: with SLT and parents so there are no surprises.
  14. Routines are key. Get them right at the beginning of the year and use them throughout

After reflecting on this conversation with some great teachers, I think that many of these principles can be applied across the school.  High expectations, writing every day, not presuming previous learning is still understood and developing good routines are not just for Year 6.  These, and many more of the key ideas from this conversation, can be, and SHOULD be, used throughout school.

To finish, I would like to borrow a metaphor from @moonmaddy she said that Year 6 teachers should be lighting the candle on the cake.  To explain further: EYFS should be making a list of ingredients and going to the shop to buy them, KS1 should be mixing the ingredients and baking them, KS2 should be taking it out of the oven and placing the icing and sprinkles on top of the cake and Year 6 teachers should be lighting the candle on top.  Without the support of the whole school, Year 6 teachers cannot light the candle.

If you find yourself in the position of being thrust into Year 6, good luck and my final piece of advice would be ask questions, of yourself, of your staff and of the children.  And if you need any help, just ask…