A trip down memory lane...

A search through old teaching files in the loft unearthed it.

An ancient, venerable document, which survived the great fire.

Fire at Oxted School


It was a deliberate search. A search for inspiration from the past. To inspire the future.

Oxted History Dpeartment

The old Oxted School History Department Handbook, developed by a brilliantly creative team of teachers I was privileged to work with as a Head of Department in the early-1990s was a reminder of the joy of collectively coming together to plan and deliver wonderfully engaging lessons every day. A cross between alchemy and conducting an orchestra, blending an educationally intoxicating mix of questions, ideas, concepts and knowledge together to inspire young people to love learning about the past - and the present. There was of course also hint of theatrical performance thrown in for good measure, too!

As a reflection of that teams's success in inspiring learners, I was even fortunate enough to get the opportunity incorporate something of this approach into a series of textbooks as well. It was a bit like poacher turned gamekeeper, as I was - still am - not a fan of their unadapted use in lessons. You should never simply turn to page 74...

Modern Minds Book Cover
Modern Minds Contents
Modern Minds Pages

Our recent, brilliant Ofsted Report asks us to build on our knowledge of what represents outstanding achievement for our young people and ensure that is used to inform the planning and delivery of equally brilliant lessons.

That's why I'm so excited about our post-Ofsted planning. Indeed, I feel liberated by it. Because it will take us back to what great teachers and great teaching teams do best. Plan and deliver brilliant lessons that engage and excite all learners irrespective of their ability, without getting bogged down in data for, it has sometimes to be said, data's sake. Here's an example of what that superb team was doing back in 1992, so old some of its hand-written...

Ofsted Planning
Ofsted Planning

As a Head of Department - a subject teacher - your role is to support your team in creatively unlocking young people's passion for learning in your specialist area.

As a Headteacher - a community leader - your role is to support your team in creatively unlocking young people's passion for learning across and beyond the curriculum.

It's a trip down memory lane which has reminded me of just what a privilege it is to do.