Professional Learning Blog from IRIS Connect

Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

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Ofsted’s latest inspection changes explained

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 12 January, 2018

Here’s a summary of everything you need to know about Ofsted’s November 2017 inspection changes.

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Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants – why the status quo is no longer an option

Posted by Sally Franklin on 9 January, 2018

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Guest blog from Sally Franklin, MITA project coordinator & NASENCo lecturer UCL, Institute of Education. @MITAproject  

The evidence is clear: poor teaching assistant deployment has a negative impact on attainment; effective teaching assistant deployment can have positive impacts.

A ‘perfect storm’ is brewing in SEND which means that schools can no longer accept the status quo with regards to their teaching assistant deployment. Schools in England employ more than 380,000 teaching assistants and the average school spend on teaching assistants is about £200,000 per year.

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What new year CPD resolutions should you make for 2018?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 3 January, 2018

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What's An "Educational Ecosystem" And Are You In One?

Posted by Graham Newell on 15 December, 2017

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“Teaching quality also improves within a collegial, collaborative environment  ... the power of the collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things” - Michael Fullan


Do you work in a silo?  Do you collaborate? Do you share and grow?

The answer is probably ‘No’ to the first and a conditional ‘Yes’ to the other two.  The profession has moved on a very long way since I started teaching. Yes, OK, I admit it was a long time ago but not exactly the dark ages. One of the first things I did as a young teacher was to put a ‘display’ across my classroom window so no one could see in – my classroom was my kingdom.

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Why INSET days need to be more useful and how to plan one

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 8 December, 2017

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A good INSET day should be inspiring, useful, personalised and above all engaging. A day where teachers come together to discuss strategies for improvement, share their pearls of wisdom and focus on how to improve the learning experience for students.


Sadly, the reality is quite different...


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Thriving in my NQT year: 5 tips for survival

Posted by John Mulgrew on 7 December, 2017

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Guest blog from John Mulgrew, Head of Geography and LGBT Coordinator at The East Manchester Academy, in Manchester.

After completing your first few terms in your new role as an NQT you are bound to be looking forward to the fast approaching Christmas break! Like this time last year, I could not wait for the Christmas break to get some peace from the chaos of school life. Upon reflection of my NQT year, I developed 5 strategies to help with my survival, especially after being promoted to a Head of Subject role after 6 months of being an NQT.

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