Author Archive: Sarah

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Springline Partnership of Schools, Oxfordshire ~ Day 1

| September 1, 2015 | 2 Comments 

Springline INSET

Wow! For 180 (ish) people (!!) to share a training day and tackle the challenges, and opportunities, with so much laughter, and focus, is admirable.

A superb way to start our 2015/16 year, back in The UK: a day of INSET for the Springline Partnership of Schools, their first as a cluster, at Stockham Primary School, Wantage.

Thank you to Ruth Burbank, head teacher at Stockham Primary for hosting our day, and sharing these thoughts:

Stockham School is a high achieving, busy and creative school with over 205 primary school children. The school is over subscribed and focuses on fun learning and has an individual and active approach to learning. The newly formed Springline Partnership of Schools (SPS) consists of 8 local schools working collaboratively in order to achieve excellence. The 8 schools include Stockham school, Stanford in the Vale, St Amands Catholic School, The Hendreds Primary, Fitzwaryn Special School, Grove Church of England School, Uffington Primary and The Ridgeway CE School. The partnership have been working towards becoming Storytelling schools and we are now very excited to be adding the ICT element into our schools to inspire our children and staff.

Today, we explored an increasingly speedy whizz through many analogue and digital gems. Folk were up for the challenges, and stuck with us on some quite technical wizardry, and a range of free, accessible tools that can be powerful in many contexts, in the classroom and beyond. Too many to mention in fact. Thanks one and all, for your laughter as well.

We splattered folk with oodles of accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. We looked at the powerful effect of using games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more and explored ways of teaching that focus on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget.

back to their future black backgroundBTTF DayWe are looking forward to coming back for a day with the children and a follow-up day of lessons on the 21st October 2015 on Back To The Future Day. Take a look at the countdown HERE

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 6

| August 27, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Kellett School Pok Fu Lam

Our 6th and last day with Kellett School, Hong Kong, we will be sad to say goodbye.

Today, at the Pok Fu Lam Campus sessions with Year 4 pupils, and their teachers in the morning, and Year 1 children, and their teachers in the afternoon.

In the morning we were joined by three classes of intrepid Year Four explorers. And, explore we did.

We changed gear, notched up a few paces and plummeted towards certain… … …brilliance, with this group of children.

Roller CoasterWhilst  wandering through one of the landscapes in Myst 4 Revelation, (after standing still, wnd then travelling through the power of the mystical necklace) we stumbled upon a mysterious contraption in Myst 3 Exile. Behind a creaking wooden door, we found a lever that helped us rise high above the shining golden seas around us.

Eventually, after a bit of investigation, we discovered that if we pressed an intriguing blue button, we could enter the icy globe created, and take a remarkable tumble down this metal and wooden rollercoaster to …who knew where?!

…And then an afternoon with the Year 1 pupils …  experimenting with words and phrases while standing still in one of the Myst 3 landscapes.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 5

| August 26, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Kellett School Pok Fu Lam

Our 5th day with Kellett School, Hong Kong, and today back at the Pok Fu Lam Campus for sessions with Year 6 pupils and their teachers in the morning, and Year 2 children and their teachers in the afternoon.

Again, well done all, for tackling the challenges we offered. Some imaginative, thoughtful and inspired thinking, talking, caring, sharing, inventing, creating, collaborating, building, developing, writing, laughing, experimenting… and SO much more.

The VillageThe morning with the Year Six pupils and their teaching staff, exploring the ‘hooks’, ‘nooks’ and ‘crannies’ that engage pupils in sharing their ideas with confidence and style. We explored a ‘Village’ setting in Myst 4: Revelation. Talk. speculation, sharing, thinking and taking ownership of this place, brought it from the virtual, into reality. Similes, and silences, enabled their ideas to flourish and take shape, forming images in our imaginations – gorgeous! We met characters, children up for tackling new ideas and risk-taking, found themselves becoming confident in their roles, expanding on fictional happenings with great detail and flare.

Edanna Spiral PlantIn our afternoon, we adventured with KS1 pupils, and teachers, adventuring through their creations, notions and persuasions, as we wandered through caves, climbed trees and became intrepid explorers. The children in this group wondered, and enthused, about strange objects as we investigated Edanna, the helix plants and the birds inhabiting this beautiful world, talking and writing with passion and interest – WELL DONE. The children made suggestions and proposals regarding the origins and purpose of items found; they considered different ways to ascend the plants and what might be at the top… and then, we went and found out. Would YOU like to know?…

A ha! That would really be telling. Why not have a look yourself one day?

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 4

| August 25, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Another superb day of inventiveness at Kellett School, Hong Kong. As with the adventures we set forth on yesterday, today had an analog emphasis. We set out, with scribbly sticks, into the world of words. Joined by Year 7 voyagers, we …went virtually nowhere. In a geographical sense that is. In terms of inventiveness, descriptive narrative, and playing with words, we travelled many miles. Our ideas were set free to wander, whilst we stood still, in an intriguing landscape, desperate to move, yet rooted to the spot.

Everyone was up for a challenge! They got it. What we do is not what “a lesson” should be”. More, it is a reflection of possibilities ~ too much (and too little) all in one go. Too many objectives ~ AND too few. Not what a “real” class would do in a “real” lesson, but “exactly what a real class does in exactly the space that a real class does it”. (What an empathetic, and real, comment). A chance to reflect, think, and consider, on what possibilities there are, using simple, accessible, tools.

After a good deal of discussion, the students wrote spontaneously, producing work of a high quality full of vivid imagery. They were also encouraged to refine their spoken language & clarify their ideas. They remained on task and enthusiastic throughout.

Modelling is often one of the best ways of scribing. It is a bit like reading a paper in front of a toddler. Turn around and you can find they are also sat with a newspaper. O.K. It’s upside-down, but they are starting off on the road to reading.

Writing, or any other challenge, shouldn’t be something we inflict upon children and then we go off and do something “important”, “intriguing”, “mysterious”, “enjoyable”, or “superior”. It is important to show a shared interest, willingness and openness to “having a go” as well. The “Big People” today, wrote and wrote. They shared their ideas with the children around them. They left their writing lying around as a hint, a guide, or an example of potential style, sentence structure, or vocabulary.They were stylish and original gems of invention too. Nicely spicely! Well done all.

Year 9 students for their second venture …

ShipThe students, in turn, offered suggestions, ideas or positive criticisms, to the giants there were sat next to on their travels through these mysterious worlds. There were a lot of us in some interesting settings, and it was joyous to see so much sharing taking place. Well done all today.

And a joyous afternoon session with the Year 2 children, juggling words, actions and ideas as we ventured through caves and up plants, meeting colourful creartures along the way.

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 3

| August 24, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Great, to be back at Kellett School in Hong Kong, for the first day of four days of lessons, with students and pupils from across the school. Today, we started our adventures with 70+ students from Year Nine, and joyous bunch of explorers they were!

More with them tomorrow and we look forward to that!

Thank you to Jacquie Hills, Deputy Head of Senior School and English Teacher, and her department for accommodating us today, working alongside us are we ‘stood still‘ in a landscape exploring language, feelings, atmosphere, expectations…

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Then an afternoon of further explorations with pupils from Year Six.

Another big “Thank You” to Clive Dawes, ICT Curriculum Leader, here at Kellett School, for organising our explorations with technology here in Hong Kong.

Well done all at Kellett School, for being up for the challenges, and keen to explore more… …and to students from Year Nine and Year Six for picking up words and juggling them.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 2

| August 19, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Kellett School

Superb, to be back at Kellett School, Hong Kong. Today, our second of our six days with Kellett School, we were joined by secondary colleagues at the school’s Kowloon Campus.

A  day of exploration alongside three groups of teachers from across the secondary aspect of the school.

To work alongside colleagues from every department in Secondary schools, means that, at some point, somebody has to translate and assess how the resources we share can be useful in their particular subject specialism.

How powerful, therefore, to hear staff today rising to that challenge and buzz about how they could apply some of the web 2.0 technologies in their lessons. From R.E and Geography teachers and maths specialists, through to PE teachers, is a huge range of interests. Well done folks for having the vision to see how some of these things can have an impact in their classroom.

We explored the world of visual literacy and how to motivate students in the areas of speaking, listening and writing. As well as the amazing “ages” within  some of the Myst like games, there are many other ways to stimulate discussion and creativity. We whizzed past but a few of them, and saw the powerful results they can have on building confidence and so much more.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 1

| August 18, 2015 | 8 Comments 

Kellett SchoolThe British International School Hong Kong

Kellett The British International School in Hong KongGreat, to make it to Kong Kong, after nearly ten years of effort on behalf of Clive Dawes, ICT Curriculum Leader, Kellett School, Hong Kong, and to spend today, the first of our six days with Kellett School, with over 120 colleagues at their Pok Fu Lam Campus.

Pok Fu Lam Campus
Pok Fu Lam Campus
Pok Fu Lam Campus

Clive has been trying to get us out to HK for nearly a decade and has finally done it!

Today, we worked alongside the staff from across the primary section of the school. Learning Technologies Leader Clive Dawes explains why our visit is “important in the development of the school”.

Kellett, the British International School in Hong Kong is delighted to welcome Tim and Sarah to work with our community over the next two weeks”.

Clive Dawes and Tim Rylands“I first met Tim in 2006 when he visited the LA where I was working to present at an end of year conference. I was immediately struck by the practical suggestions he had for increasing attainment and engagement within the classroom. I have been a fan ever since and have regularly borrowed (stolen) many of the great ideas he has shared via his blog or by social media”.

“Since I arrived in Hong Kong nine years ago I have been discussing with Tim and Sarah the idea that they might travel here to support our work. It’s been a long discussion! During that time they have both been supportive of not only our work but also the wider HK context: Tim contributed to the first Hong Kong Mobile Learning Festival alongside Derek Robertson and Dawn Hallybone.

Finally they are here!

They will find a fairly high achieving group of willing students who are lucky enough to attend a very well resourced international school. Students and teachers have a wide array of tools at their disposal and whilst many of them are already making wide use of Google Apps, games based learning, digital video, ipads, and the like, there is still an urgent need to ensure our students are taking advantage of these tools within authentic, 21st Century contexts.

We’re really looking forward to working with Tim and Sarah over the next 6 days to find out even more ways to inspire our students.

Bath Spa University, Bath

| July 8, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Bath Spa University

Bath_Spa_University_logo.svgA joyous trip to Bath Spa University to work with their Primary and Early Years PGCE trainees.

Thanks to Emma Asprey, Senior Lecturer, at the School of Education for inviting us to the university, to spend precious time with her students, and to Hilary Smith, for greeting us and looking after us through the day.

Our aim, on these two sessions at the University, is to share tools, and techniques, that will add even more sparkle, magic and effective methods of bringing learning alive, to the toolkit that travels with the students in their careers.

It is so valuable to work alongside folk heading off in to the world of education. One of the most rewarding ways to spend your working days. Teaching is a hard path, in many respects, on many occasions. Hours of extra preparation, planning and reflection. But, as Confucius said:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

Emma Asprey, Senior Lecturer, at the School of Education shared these thoughts:

We invited Tim and Sarah to Bath Spa University to make sure that the end of the exciting and challenging PGCE journey went off with a bang and sent our Bath Spa Teachers into the world of teaching determined to make children’s learning fun, creative and thrilling. It’s a treat and a privilege to experience their unique approaches to learning and communication firsthand. Staff and trainees alike took part, using technology to join in with playful, imaginative learning experiences that they can take into their classrooms to enrich learning.

NAHT Aspire – Network Learning Celebrating Partnership Conference, London

| July 3, 2015 | 7 Comments 

NAHT Aspire

NAHT AspireBack up to London to contribute to the Network Learning Conference: Celebrating Partnership, at The Grand Connaught Rooms.Tim Nash

Thanks to Tim Nash, Sue Sigston, of Edison Learning, and big thanks to Dr. Allan Sigston, Director of Education Services at EdisonLearning, and Amy Sage, Business Operations Manager at EdisonLearning, for coordinating our involvement in today.

The event was looking at how to “Fill the gap between higher expectations and declining levels of support”

Tony DraperRussell HobbyRussell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT , and Tony Draper, NAHT President 2015-16 will be speaking in the course of the day. We are blessed to have been invited in to Tony Draper’s school, for two full on days, at the end of August 2014, to start this school year off in style in Water Hall Primary, Milton Keynes ~ (Day 1 and 2).

NAHT Aspire is a three year partnership programme commissioned by the NAHT as an alternative and holistic approach to school improvement. The DFE provided sponsorship for a pilot of NAHT Aspire with an initial 30 schools working in four Networks across the country that had received consecutive Satisfactory or RI judgments. The pilot is now in its second year and due to its success the NAHT, working through EdisonLearning, are rolling this out to a further 50 schools over the course of this year (there is further information on the NAHT Aspire Website.

Thank you to Allan for sharing his thoughts:

Celebrating Partnership is a day conference organised by EdisonLearning and the NAHT that brings together schools from all over England that have been involved NAHT Aspire and other collaborative networks. All of them have been drawing on EdisonLearning’s school improvement tools and resources in partnerships that bring together senior and middle leaders in each term and is followed through in school with a team of dedicated advisers.  The conference is a great opportunity to celebrate the schools’ tremendous successes, both in Ofsted inspections and with their other ambitions, and for them to share the unique ways they have brought innovations into their schools.

Hampshire Primary ICT Conference, Winchester

| July 2, 2015 | 3 Comments 

Hampshire ICT Conference

HCC-300x129Following last year’s whole day conference with the great bunch of Hampshire Computing Coordinators, it was an honour to be invited back this year , to The Holiday Inn, Winchester to carry on the exploration of digital learning in so many wonderful ways.

Big thanks to Sue Savory, County Computing Inspector/Adviser, Elearn Eteach Manager and Virtual School Inspector/Adviser, and to Caroline Cain, Workforce Development Support Officer, supporting training provision for HTLC and Children’s Services, Sue Whittaker, IT Consultant, Hampshire IT (Children & Schools) for coordinating our contribution to this superb event.


Thanks to Sue for sharing her thoughts:

It is that time again when the Hampshire Computing/ICT Conference is happening. For the second year in a row we invited Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild to inspire and motivate us when using technology as a tool for learning. For those who left with such fantastic ideas last year and are returning this year we are glad they came prepared to be further inspired and add to their collection of resources and good ideas. The format was very different from last year not least because Phil Bagge, Jon Audain and Emma Goto delivered sessions where they shared resources and lesson ideas that they find work well at KS1 and KS2. So we are glad delegates came prepared to listen and play.

Today, rather than leading the whole day, as we did last year, we shared the input with three stars from the Hampshire firmament:

Well done to Emma Goto, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Social Care, at The University of Winchester, for leading a session asking big questions about computing:

Emma GotoIn my session I asked the Hampshire computing co-ordinators to consider what Reception children in their schools should be learning in terms of Computing. The answer was ‘not computing’! However we consider the role of toys and technological tools in aiding children’s communication, overcoming barriers to learning, accessing expertise, enhancing engagement and providing an audience. We also discussed the need to help children understand the digital world around them and develop skills that support them to be independent learners. We went on to consider the kinds of activities that help children to think computationally. We identified a range of problems that help children to think computationally, from completing a jigsaw, to moving water from one container to another, most of these had very little to do with technology! Finally we went on to discuss the challenges when building on this learning in Key Stage One. We focused on the need to not lose the rich uses of ICT, ensure appropriate challenge and consider carefully how we develop persistent learners.

Here is the list of ideas delegates had for activities linking them to computational thinking approaches and concepts –

Here is my Powerpoint from the day –

Phil Bagge, (Computing Inspector/Advisor HIAS, CAS Regional Coordinator, CAS Primary Computing Master Teacher, CAS Primary Group facilitator, Computing Planning @,, and
Working at Ringwood Junior School, Calmore Junior School, and Otterbourne Primary School) ran a session entitled “Recipe for Computing Success”

Phil BaggePhil shared a recipe for computing success by highlighting the importance of developing algorithms into code and the benefits of increased pupil buy in at home of having a real output for their algorithms. He encouraged teachers to avoid a shotgun ICT approach to programming languages and build some depth in a language whilst dipping into others. He stressed the need to teach programming elements but provide lots of investigation time for pupils to make the learning their own through repurposing and adapting. He advised teachers to take a longer term view on training and assessing, discovering what is possible before locking in assessment. Phil was passionate about using computing to promote resilience and independence. Encouraging teachers to build learning communities that embrace failure, see it as normal and learn from it. He shared about spotting learnt helplessness, explained what it is and encouraged the conference to challenge it where they find it. He also shared practical debugging tips.

You can find Phil’s online resources at, Primary Debugging Strategies at You can sign up for notification about Phil’s book at His slides from today can be found at His original blog post on learned helplessness can be found at

Jon Audain @jonaudain, Author and Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (ICT/Computing & Music) at The University of Winchester had some more computing fun:

Jon AudainSo who’s afraid of the Big Bad Computing Wolf now? The first session after lunch and what to do with a group of teachers who are full up with delicious food? There’s only one answer…a class story! The story told of a princess with a large and generous heart who later on through fond memories splits her heart into many pieces so the people connected with her life could remember her as she marries her prince. However she ends up empty and trying to regain the pieces to restore balance.

The same could be expressed for computer science. Have we given too much of our heart away whilst the subject of ICT is vast. We explored the range of the ICT subjects connected to the 6Cs of Education and how ICT can address all those needs.

Stories and DIY cutting and sticking were the next order of the day as within the tables we constructed a paper tree to represent the ICT involvement not only in one school but collectively in our schools from around the table. We then looked at work from the other tables and considered our future practices exploring opportunities for networking and ideas.

The Digital Education Show UK 2015, London

| July 1, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Digital Education Show 2015

The-Digital-Education-Show-UK-2015-Logo-300x126Superb, to be asked to join Sir Ken Robinson, Sugata Mitra, Richard Gerver and EwanMcIntosh in providing a keynote for The Digital Education Show UK 2015 at the Olympia, London.

We provided a session for the introduction of the event, and Launch Dinner at Kettners last September, so enjoyed meeting up with those gentlemen, and many superb workshop leaders (including David(Deputy) Mitchell, Dawn Hallybone, Dan Roberts, Andy Hutt, and others) to look at Empowering learning through technology.

The event was organised by Terrapinn and thanks go to Amy Radley and Emma Williams for coordinating our involvement, over two days here at Olympia Level 2, London.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 18.13.35Our session, entitled “Out of this world: Tech to inspire” focussed on recapturing enjoyment, inspiration, creativity and fun in the classroom, recognising the need to inspire young people and fire their imaginations, enhance their creativity and confidence, encourage resourcefulness through challenge and motivate a love of learning for life. We explored a huge and accessible range of ways to engage and motivate students of all ages and abilities, examining the essential elements for quality learning experiences and how these can have a massive impact on standards, achievement and enjoyment

One of the main speaker highlights was the keynote address by Sir Ken Robinson who talked about leading a culture of innovation. Keeping up and staying ahead of the game depends entirely on continuous and sustained innovation. We all know that’s true, but what do company leaders have to do to make it happen? Sir Ken Robinson has worked with some of the world’s leading creative organisations – in the corporate, educational and cultural fields. In his presentation, Ken identified three myths about innovation that hold many organisations back, and the basic practices that drive the most innovative organisations ahead of the pack.

We shared practical ideas and tips on how to use technology to inspire creativity in the classroom. “Children need to be inspired if they are going to pick ideas up and start to juggle with them.” We hope folk left with plenty of practical pointers and ideas of how to use technology to enhance learning that they can implement in their class tomorrow.

Some of the other topics included using augmented reality to enhance learning, enhancing learning through online quizzing, gamifying learning, using social media for learning, transforming teaching and learning, implementing a digital learning vision into the classroom, bridging the digital skills gap, preparing pupils for a super-intelligent future, tweeting teachers and much more.

We were proceeded by Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology, Newcastle University. Sugata is recognised for building a ‘School in the Cloud’, a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer ‘big questions’, share knowledge and benefit from help and guidance from online educators. We heard about about Sugata’s controversial ‘minimally invasive education’ philosophy and why we should all plant the seeds of his global education experiment that lets children learn on their own, and from each other, by tapping into online resources and their inner sense of wonder.