Lighting up Young Brains has a wonderful resonance. It is the title of the recent Save the Children report and sums up so aptly what we are aiming to achieve with our children in the early years.

Nurseries, childminders, nursery schools and pre-schools aren’t just providing safe places while parents are at work.

They aren’t just giving young children opportunities to develop independence and mix with and share people and resources with other young children.


Best Practice Network joined Womankind Worldwide supporters and activists at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate International Woman’s Day and to look ahead and #PledgeForParity, for equal gender representation – Planet 50-50.

A key learning tool on display was Suffragette Roulette, where scenarios from both developed and developing countries highlighted the struggle faced by all women who want to have their say, as well as the work Womankind Worldwide are doing to support, guide and facilitate opportunities. Have a go online and let us know how you get on. If you would like Suffragette Roulette to visit your school, please email Rosey Ellum.


I remember doing my NPQH way back in 2003, the joy of being with like-minded professionals eager to develop, the thrill of learning new ways of doing things and the anxiety of that final assessment! The trouble was I only met with these folks either on the face-to-face days or the occasional meeting with my study group.

What kept me going was the ability to use the discussion networks on the then National College virtual learning environment so I could get some feedback on my own thoughts from colleagues and get some solutions for the issues I faced.


Teaching assistants are a major part of the schools workforce today, with around 240,000 working in England’s schools and 10 per cent of the education budget spent on employing them each year.

But there have for some time been concerns that TAs aren’t always used as effectively as they could and should be.


The government has sounded the starting gun on academy status for all schools, but don’t be tempted to rush to a decision, says Best Practice Network’s Jeff Hart.


Multi-Academy Trusts, or MATs, are now a familiar feature of the school landscape. By summer 2015 there were 846 across England, compared to under 400 in March 2011.


Academy leaders are champions at handling the practical side of major change. After all, they have been at the vanguard of major changes in the education system in recent years.

Their response to significant changes such as a conversion to academy status and all its implications is often to focus on the technical and operational tasks associated with that change. This might be setting up a new governance structure, recruiting new staff, organising a new uniform and consulting parents.


Research is showing that the numbers of teachers leaving full-time teaching and those considering leaving the profession are at an all-time high. This research highlights the vital problem of keeping teachers teaching, which is currently experienced within the industry especially by school leaders.


Dean Boyce, programme leader for HLTA and Support Staff programmes, discusses where schools can turn for more guidance on the best use of TAs, in the absence of national standards.


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