NQT makes her mark

AbbAbbie Cooper graduated last year from the PGCE English course here at Cardiff Met, and moved into her first teaching post at Orchard School Bristol.  Not only has she successfully settled into teaching, but she has also delivered a workshop at her school’s conference.   Delivering to your peers can be daunting for any teacher, but particularly when you’re newly qualified.

Abbie writes about the workshop in the school’s blog – and it’s worth reading not only to find out about her experience, but also because she has some very interesting ideas on making marking more effective.

Her workshop focused on using marking crib sheets to improve her feedback to learners.  She explains how they have transformed her approach to assessment: ‘I am spending less time marking and more time planning the next steps in each pupil’s learning journey.’

Her article is helpfully illustrated and is of interest across the curriculum.  It’s well worth a look.


(Thanks for sharing, Abbie.)

School Experience Room

You’ll find the SER on the first floor of the library, and it’s there for you.  Do take a look at what the SER has to offer:


(Use Chrome or an alternative browser if IE doesn’t work)

Catherine Finch, Academic Librarian (CSE), is always on the lookout for your ideas and suggestions, so do contact her if there is something that you’d like to see in the SER.

Introducing the Primary Science Quality Mark

The Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) is an award scheme to enable primary schools across the UK to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Schools can achieve bronze, silver and gold awards.

The main aims of PSQM are to:

  • raise the profile of science in primary schools;
  • provide schools with a framework and professional support for developing science leadership, teaching and learning;
  • celebrate excellence in primary science;
  • work with existing, and facilitate new, networks across the UK and wider to provide local support for primary science;
  • assemble and make accessible to the wider science education community a rich database of current practice in primary science.

In December, 2015, Cardiff School of Education Senior Lecturer, Bethan Jones, arranged an initial CPD opportunity for PSQM training at Cardiff Metropolitan for university staff, members of professional associations in Cardiff, and consortia.  Ruth Coakley then began the first hub (Round 12) and as a result four schools have submitted for the award.  Popularity has since grown with a new cohort of nine schools beginning their PSQM journey in March, 2017 (Round 14).  Six of the current PSQM schools are also involved with the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project from the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT), working in collaboration with Bath Spa University.

Day One of Round 14 PSQM training included talks from Linda Curwen, who is a Primary Science Teaching Fellow, and Dr. Liam Thomas from the Royal Society of Chemistry.  Linda’s presentation gave information about how schools can gain fellow status from the PSTT through the Primary Science Teacher Award and Dr.Thomas discussed how to incorporate chemistry into the primary curriculum

Continue reading “Introducing the Primary Science Quality Mark”

Spotlight on research – Paul Warren

PaulWarrenPhotoProfessional doctorate student, Paul Warren,  is a busy man.  Not only is he currently studying for an EdD here at the Cardiff School of Education, but he has just started a new job as Strategic Lead for School Improvement in Caerphilly LA, a key role which focuses on quality assurance of the advisory service across all 91 schools in Caerphilly. Before this, he was an executive head of two primary schools having previously worked in schools  in Caerphilly and Barnet, north London.

Boy-friendly reading

Paul’s research for his EdD explores the value of comics in supporting literacy. This focus arose from a concern between the disparity between boys’ and girls’ attainment. The received wisdom talked about making classrooms boy-friendly by, for example, having books about sport and football available to boys, measures which did not seem to make any real difference. (Paul’s interviews with pupils found that many boys did not actually like sport!)  Paul set out to test the commonly held belief that any reading is better than nothing, and turned his attention to a genre of reading that gave him pleasure as a child – comics.  He wanted to find out if they can actually support the development of reading skills in the classroom.

Teaching with comics

Comics do not appear to be commonly used for teaching in schools and a review of the literature together with his own survey of teachers suggested that female teachers, in particular, may not personally value comics, which may account for the paucity of comic use of the classroom.   With his school colleagues, Paul reviewed different types of comic and they recognised that different types might be good or bad for the classroom.   They went on to plan a series of lessons involving comics, and they have been measuring the impact of the intervention on all readers but particularly on reluctant boy readers.

Promising outcomes

The research is ongoing but it promises to have some interesting findings.  It appears to show, for example, that comics have a number of features that really help children to engage with texts, such as visual support, the use of colour, the development of character (e.g. through facial expressions) and the focus on action in a comic.   Such aspects help support engagement, and improved engagement appears to be leading to improved attainment.   In particular, there is evidence of some pupils making good progress, especially in writing.

Benefits for all

It is not just the pupils appear to be gaining from Paul’s research. Teaching staff have also been developing a better understanding and appreciation of different types of text, and it has enabled the sharing of good practice.

And when Paul completes his research, within the next couple of years, it should add a considerable value to the limited amount of research that currently exists in this area.  So watch this space!

High quality educational videos available for streaming (but only until the end of May)

Like to use video or music in your studies or teaching?  Then check out this!

Academic Video Online delivers more than 62,000 video titles spanning a vast range of subject areas including teaching, education, film, theatre/drama, sociology, business, counselling, health, history and music. It is easy to use and accessible.  You can add playlists, create clips and easily insert them into your teaching.  Most videos in the collection are subtitled or have transcripts.  There is also a high quality music archive that covers a range of genres from classical to jazz.

Cardiff Met Libraries are trialling Academic Video Online until the end of May. The advantage of using this resource is that content is suitable and copyright cleared for teaching and study in higher education.   If you like the resource and want the library to subscribe, then please contact Education Librarian – educationlibrarian@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Click here to get into Academic Video Online.  If you are off campus, or are using a mobile device with wi-fi, you may be prompted for your student/staff number and password.

academic video online image

World Book Day library events

Reading for pleasure has a positive impact on education, literacy and emotional health (see reading list below to explore this claim in more detail).

So over the course of two weeks, Cyncoed Library focussed on World Book Day as a way of promoting the benefits of reading and literature to staff and students here at Cardiff Met.  Sport was the theme for our WBD this year.  And to share the love (of reading), we invited two writers and journalists, heavily involved in the world of sport to talk about their work and inspirations.


Jos Andrews

Experienced educator, television producer, researcher and writer, Jos Andrews gave a great talk about her sport broadcasting and writing career.  She initially trained as an English teacher and was head of department in a school when she got summer holiday experience as a runner for a TV production company in London.  Meeting people in the profession who were willing to give her a chance was key to getting a wealth of research and television production experience.

Career advice

Through her many anecdotes, Jos told students how hard work, flexibility and networking was important to building a career…

She recounted her experiences of filming cricket being played in Crompton – an area of Los Angeles beset by poverty and violence.  The game was strengthening community ties, helping people improve their life chances and sense of belonging.  Despite their background, the players treated the crew with kindness and respect.  So no matter where you are, always think the best of people.  Most will be respectful and bend over backwards to help.

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TeachBites: Technology

Cardiff Met has hosted an insightful technology event for teachers and trainees to showcase and share the latest and most beneficial technology being used in classrooms across the country.

The first TeachBites event also highlighted the need for teaching digital skills to be given as much focus as numeracy and literacy skills in Welsh schools.

One hundred leading sector teachers, forty Cardiff Met students and students from University of South Wales attended the event to share best practice in teaching, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology.

Latest technological innovations presented at the event at Cardiff School of Management with Achievement Services (EAS) included a variety of multimedia such as augmented reality, Virtual reality and the latest innovations from Google Classroom.  These were shown as effective ways to bring a digital aspect to teaching to help incorporate the new Digital Competency Framework into classrooms.

The event was led by practitioners within the South-East Wales region who have both attended and facilitated on the Excellent Teacher Programme, where participants are expected to lead and inspire others in excellent teaching within their own school and across primary and secondary schools in South East Wales. A question and answer panel led by practitioners answered questions relating to the Digital Competency Framework, and a presentation on ‘Growth Mindset’ revealed how one pedagogical principle suggests that organisations will need to adopt such a mindset in order to successfully integrate the changes of the new curriculum.

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