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Naylor's Natter 

in association with the Teacher Development Trust 


Senior Leader

Podcast host



Full podcast and description now available on YouTube-LISTEN HERE!

Podcast Schedule 

Who is coming up in the next few weeks:Friday  is podcast day!


 Mentally Healthy Schools and the work of a Teaching School with Lisa Fathers ***STOP PRESS-PLUS BIG NEWS***

This week I am in conversation with Director of Teaching School partnerships at the Alliance for Learning Lisa Fathers. Lisa has taught English and Drama for a number of years in several schools and was a middle leader, senior leader and Deputy Headteacher then Associate Headteacher.

In this wide ranging interview , we talk about my favourite subjects namely professional learning and culture . We also have a a natter about the huge importance of mental health and Lisa's work in this area.

We also discuss the importance of School to School support , the use of SLE's and of course Alliance for Learning's links with Research Schools and the use of evidence in their work.

At the end of the podcast Lisa turns the tables on me and we finally present our big reveal! Stay tuned.

The questions:

1. Tell me career journey to date

2.How important was creating professional learning culture when you were deputy head

3.Tell us about mentally healthy schools Pilot

4. How important was collaboration to this programme?

5. How does school to school support work fit into the teaching school work ? 5B and what about SLEs? 5c and what about deploying SLEs

6. What experience of research work have you had etc?

7. Finally - why are you so passionate about PE when you are an English teacher ?

Shameless plugs

SSA Teach Meet, rED Brum and Blackpool . We also give a very early plug for 'Insights from 2 men in a cupboard' , our new book coming 2020!

Also plug for #BrewEdScience

Happy New Year!


Curriculum- from Gallimaufry to coherence with Mary Myatt

This week I am in conversation with Mary Myatt on her book Curriculum- From Gallimaufry to coherence

Mary Myatt is an education adviser, writer and speaker. She works in schools talking to pupils, teachers and leaders about learning, leadership and the curriculum. She maintains that there are no quick fixes and that great outcomes for pupils are not achieved through tick boxes. She writes and speaks at conferences about leadership, curriculum and school improvement.

'Mary Myatt combines encyclopedic knowledge of schools with crystal-clear description of curriculum principles – a must-read for all those involved in improving education.

Globally, new attention is being given to curriculum principles and curriculum practice. Mary Myatt’s book is major contribution to this debate. Few books range so effectively across curriculum theory and day-to-day practice in the classroom – Mary Myatt does this with huge authority and extreme clarity.'

Tim Oates CBE, Group Director of ARD,
 (Assessment Research and Development)

‘This book weaves together theory, research, policy, and practice to provide educators at every stage of their career a practical guide to coherent curriculum design. Chapters divided by subject and strategy make it easy to keep coming back to, whilst Mary’s humorous and intelligent prose make it a pleasure to read.’

Claire Hill, Head of English and Media Studies, Dover Grammar School for Girls

‘This book has been invaluable and really balances theory, critical argument and practical applications for how we can achieve this in our curriculum planning and subject CPD.’

Aja Cortizo, Professional development Team Lead, Glyn School

‘This is exactly what I needed to read before the team goes to rewrite the curriculum this term. It is definitely a must read to completely rethink the curriculum because it covers all aspects to truly ensure ‘high challenge and low threat’ across all subjects. I’m so excited about redesigning the teaching and learning to ensure children are engaged and inspired.’

Flora Barton, Headteacher, Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School

Teacher Development Trust Section

This week Bethan is in conversation following TDT's work with Ignite TSA .

Podcast Pedagogy Section

Matthew Evans talks to you, the listeners about his new book ahead of a full podcast in the New Year.

Leadership is an ill-defined domain, drowning in abstract theories and models of expertise. School leadership suffers from this lack of a satisfactory and useful definition of leadership, and has of late been drawn in to generic approaches to school improvement which have left the workforce feeling anything but `well led'. How do we put `substance' back in to school leadership? This book draws on the lessons of cognitive science and explores the specific things that school leaders do, arguing for a notion of school leadership rooted in the realities of leaders' daily experiences. It presents a case for how school leaders can develop their expertise and, in doing so, places domain-specific knowledge at the heart of school improvement efforts.

Publisher: John Catt Educational Ltd

Shameless Plugs

I countdown the top 10 Naylor's Natter's of 2019 with a homage to Top of the Pops 


Curriculum- Athena versus the Machine with Martin Robinson  

This week I am in conversation with Educationalist, Author, Writer,Consultant, Orator and Liberal Artist Mr Martin Robinson. Martin is a Teacher with 20 years experience working in state schools in London. Martin was an AST,Head of Department,Head of Faculty and an Assistant Headteacher. Martin is interested in developing teaching and learning building on the tradition of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.

We are nattering this week about Martin's latest book which I consider to be an essential read namely 'Curriculum-Athena versus the Machine' . This book has fundamentally changed my view on the rationale for a knowledge rich curriculum, moulded my thinking on extra-curricular activities and engendered cognitive dissonance when I consider Martin's views on educating for freedom.

The book explores the educational value of a curriculum rooted in the pursuit of wisdom and advocates the enshrinement of such a curriculum as the central concern of an academic institution. Martin argues that teachers need to be liberated from policy-led prescription in order to design curricula which brings subjects forward rather than the pursuit of outcomes.

TDT Section

This week we have a TDT excellence hub school , South Shore Academy launching a TeachMeet as a way to promote all the amazing work going on in Blackpool . They will have teachers from the school and experts from all over the area sharing their wisdom. Tickets are available here

Podcast Pedagogy

This week I am reading 'Talking to Strangers' by Malcolm Gladwell. This is a research based book which examines the varying ways we misinterpret or fail to communicate with each other. This is a real page turner and I recommend it to you all along with Gladwell's back catalogue and his revisionist History podcast .

Shameless Plugs

BrewEd Ossy


Wholesome Leadership

Martin Robinson


 #teacher5aday week and teacher wellbeing with Bukky Yusuf

This weeks natter is with Bukky Yusuf and is timed to coincide with the eve of #teacher5aday week starting 2nd December.

Bukky Yusuf is a Secondary Science Teacher, Consultant and Qualified Coach.

Bukky has worked in education for over two decades and teaches secondary sciences to A level. She has undertaken a number of leadership roles within mainstream and special schools, centring around professional development programmes, quality first teaching and learning and effective implementations of Educational Technology.

As part of her commitment to increase diverse leadership within education, Bukky participates with a number of initiatives including WomenEd and BAMEed. She is a London Regional Leader for WomenEd and is registered as a leadership coach as part of a pilot programme run by the Department for Education.

Bukky’s keenness for education and the impact that educators can make is reflected in the presentations that she delivers at local and national levels. Furthermore, Bukky supports the development of educators at all levels and promotes projects that help colleagues to maintain their well-being.

Podcast Pedagogy

This week I have been reading Martyn Reah's blogs on his experience of launching #teacher5aday and the upcoming week . In Martyn's words:

Five years on from launching #teacher5aday at the SSAT National conference instead of presenting at the teachmeet this time #teacher5aday has reached the main stage. A five day focus for leaders and teachers to develop a positive approach to well-being. A start of something which will hopefully become a regular event in school calendars across the country.

The aim of the week is to celebrate the successes of the previous five years. To bring all of the best elements of #teacher5aday from social media and into as many staff rooms across the country as possible. To curate and create a festival of well-being and provide a one stop shop for busy teachers and leaders across the country to find resource which will have an impact on their well-being and that of their colleagues. Working with the amazing team behind National Careers Week #NCW2020 a website is under construction to host all the resources which will allow the well-being conversation to continue after the 6th of December.

The week will be themed around the five aspects of #teacher5aday which was based on New Economic Foundations 5 ways to well-being .

Monday #CONNECT Tuesday #NOTICE Wednesday #LEARN Thursday #EXERCISE Friday #VOLUNTEER

Dr Sue Roffey has started the conversations for leaders and leadership teams to consider about getting invovled in the week.

Shameless plugs:

SSA Teach Meet , BrewEd Ossy and the rED trilogy of Brum, Blackpool and Rugby all get a plug

TDT Section

David Weston kicks off the show this week with the TDT section. 


Podcast where my guests and I muse over the latest developments in teaching and learning . We look at research and evidence based teaching.

Guests discuss their favourite pieces of research and how they use them in their classroom.

We also look at CPD and guest discuss recent books they have read or written!

Listen here 


This is my blog where I write on evidence based practice and its application in the classroom

I have also written for TES, Schools Week , EiC , Leadership magazine, SecEd and am currently writing my first book for John Catt .

See below for examples 

Read blog here 

Keynote speaking 

As an experienced presenter at various events including ResearchEd , InsideGov and . 

I am available to speak on evidence based school leadership and can be contacted here


Become a patron

Read all blogs here 

Latest Blog 

A Routine Matter?

As we recover from the madness and excitement of the first week back, it is time to stand back and ensure that our strong start with the new classes transfers into a great year .

I presented to our staff last week on simple routines that can be applied to ensure that we give ourselves the best chance to teach and our students to learn . I share these here and credit and thanks to Phil Brown (Deputy Headteacher-St Mary’s Blackpool) for his input here . I write on my own personal blog with my own opinions, mostly evidence based but some supplemented by my own experience . I do not seek consensus but there maybe something here with which readers agree and they can use in their own teaching.

Meet and greet

This is intuitive to most secondary teachers and something that we all do whenever physically possible . The issues come when we are moving between classrooms, an incident has occurred at break or we allow ourselves the luxury of a comfort break . The importance of meet and greet is to show your positive, bright face to all students as they enter. This sets the tone for the lesson, allows us to iron out any minor uniform infringements and gives us chance to develop a relationship with our pupils . This quick acknowledgement and brief chat is evidence based and highlighted in EEF behaviour guidance report.

Strong Start

Lateness can be an issue , be it genuine in the case of a lost year 7 or dubious in the case of year 9 . The strong start ensures that those arriving on time see the importance of every single minute . Strategies for this from the amazing Doug Lemov’s TLAC include ‘Do Now’ which gives pupils an activity to do as soon as they enter the room , typically this revisits previous lessons and serves as a bridge to any new content. I personally favour a retrieval style quiz in which pupils take a 1-10 test of prior knowledge . This is always low stakes ensuring that pupils always strive to improve and measure their success by their own performance not that of the class. In a side note, any late pupil missing this will remain at the end of the lesson to complete this with me, the stakes here being slightly higher !

Pastore’s Perch

Again a strategy from Doug Lemov and a real game changer for me . TLAC advocates teachers standing at an angle of 45 degrees to the class to ensure all students are visible at all times . For someone who previously enjoyed standing front and centre , this was a big adjustment . I now unconsciously adopt this stance in all teaching , even when leading staff CPD . The difference is huge and any low level disruption is easily visible and quickly addressed . This is also important when working with individual pupils, make sure the angle you are working with them allows full visibility of the rest of the class . Eyes in the back of your head is not literal but with this stance it makes it much easier to appear so.

Noise Levels

This is something that is not particularly evidence based but as Baz Luhrman would put in it Sunscreen “the result of my own meandering experience” . I outline with pupils early on that we will have 3 basic noise levels which will be in operation at various points of the lesson. They are as follows:

Silence- This noise level is virtually literal , not to sound like a Theresa May sound bite but ‘silence means silence . This means that I will adopt Pastore’s Perch at the front of the classroom and act rather like an exam invigilator . No doubt to the dismay of many behaviour experts, I do not help pupils during this part of the lessons ( they are often completing Science SLOP activities and shouldn’t need assistance) I do not allow pupils to talk to each other or me and nobody can lead their seats. I find this establishes a culture of work and a productive environment in which to do it. It is worth pointing out that this can be difficult to establish and hard to maintain but even a small amount of silence implemented well can have a positive effect on any other behaviour management strategy. It’s effectiveness rests in its surety.

Low noise- this is a working noise level during which pupils can discuss work with the person sat next to them . They are also able to ask questions and I circulate checking for understanding . This allows teaching to be responsive but that is for another blog.Pupils are still to remain in their seat. As and when the noise level rises, we reiterate expectations and then if not addressed , we revert to silence.

Practical level- for a Science teacher , this is a level where students can move around and conduct their practical . I use this level to distinguish from the other 2 to avoid confusion and this level is subject to the lab rules. This again would be for another blog

Sit up/Hands up

When presenting this with teachers last week, I illustrated the point with the much published picture of the leader of the House of Commons Mr Rees-Mogg Esq . I have no wish to get into the politics or even the rights of wrongs of his languishing pose, it does serve to show how sitting up is synonymous with paying attention. The idea of sit up is to ensure that pupils are in the best position to learn. Hands up communicated consistently sets the expectation for asking and answering questions. This is very much a work in progress and I will report on its effectiveness as the year goes on. As it is an expectation, it will need teaching, monitoring and occasional enforcement . I usually go for the positive reinforcement of ‘thank you for putting your hand up’ and the tactical ignoring of shouting out.

End and send

This is new to me and something that I have begun to plan explicitly for . With all my classes , I have now practiced a giving out and collecting books and equipment routine . We have honed this as advocated again in TLAC to an impressive 54 seconds . With this extra time, I am now able to formally end every lesson by thanking each of my students individually for their efforts . I am also able to make any individual suggestions or deliver any individual reminders (homework etc) in a context that is relatively private. This ends the lesson on a calm positive note and makes sure pupils go to the next lesson ready to learn.

I will be working hard to maintain these routines in the upcoming dark , cold and wet months. I will keep you posted on how it goes. I would love to hear readers experiences of trying any of these.

My Writing