Recently I attended the NATE conference. As usual, it was full of interesting and enthused people willing to share what they do and why they do it.

Some highlights:

1) Speaking to the salespeople. I refuse to sign up to ‘trials’ of anything these days. Anything that invoices you £100s or £1000s if you do not ‘cancel’ within a few weeks of receiving is clearly dirge.

2) Picking up CGP freebies. For all the criticism they righteously receive, CGP still produce excellent core material. Collins is my next favourite source of material.

3) Meeting new teachers. Across the country many people are facing similar issues: whether to mark for parents, or to mark for students; whether teacher instruction is allowed (!) or whether reciprocal teaching should dominate in all things; adapting medium-term planning to NC requirements.

4) In response to point 3, I enjoyed discussion the notion of ‘criteria-based’ planning, teaching and marking. Pedagogical principles remain constant, and medium-term planning that is criteria-based (rather than content-based) can be adapted easily.

5) Meeting Simon Wrigley and talking about the ‘Teachers as Writers’ project. Simon is a great man and his Teachers as Writers project is well-worth looking at.

6) Attending an IGCSE session. Schools are leaving in droves because speaking and listening marks average out as a ‘B’ (while coursework averages out at a ‘C’). The IGCSE also allows coursework, which benefits girls (apparently). As the IGCSE is an ‘equivalent’ (although counts towards your 5 A*-Cs *& EM) it is temporarily exempt from changes. Supposedly.

7) Meeting the new director of NATE. Its leaving member was a superb chap and sporting Northerner, too.

8) Hearing about the success of David of Triptico fame and Chris Warren: bravo, all!

9) Speaking to the FilmClub bods: they do great work and are ever-expanding.

10) Speaking to the ‘newspaper’ project, and affirming what I do and why I do it.