How to teach (the ‘disadvantaged’…) | (mrtaylor)

I saw an article on The Times via Twitter the other day/week (I’ve lost track of time!) titled “Disadvantaged pupils fall behind despite funding”. My initial response was ‘You mean, there’s a problem that can’t be solved by just throwing money at it, and your response is that the funding is the issue?!’. My more thoughtful response was ‘The issues that disadvantaged pupils suffer are not due to their schooling, but down to society. The (approximate) 14% of their time they spend in schools is not the deciding factor on their disadvantage and throwing money at that time in schools won’t change…

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Mr Taylor’s Toolbox Challenge | (mrtaylor)

Last Easter my wife and I headed off on our honeymoon – we flew to New York, spent a few nights there, and cruised around the Caribbean before returning to less sunny shores and continuing with our more mundane existences.

We cruised with Royal Caribbean on their ‘Anthem of the Seas’ ship which was just lovely, but the reason I mention this is because I started making plans for a puzzle solving competition whilst we were on board.

Before we flew, my better half was on a cruising forum and booked a few excursions whilst we were in port and added us to a group taking on their ‘Escape Room’. I…

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How do you plan yours? | (mrtaylor)

I’m writing this post in response to a conversation I had with a colleague on Thursday evening. It is advice aimed at them, as well as others who are at an early stage of their career, but I hope that others can take something from it too.

We were talking about staffroom politics and gossip and discussed something historical. The details aren’t important, but the general topic of the conversation was…

I’ve been teaching for 8 years. In those 8 years, I’ve worked in challenging circumstances for 9 of them. I feel as though this is where I’m needed and where I want to be, to have an impact,…

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Increasingly Difficult Questions/Exercises | (mrtaylor)

This is something I’m really proud of, and something I’m really happy with and enjoying with my classes – and they really like it too.

I’ve created a web site at and have started to upload a number of resources that I’ve referred to as ‘Increasingly Difficult Exercises’, using increasingly difficult question sets.
The idea came from training from the White Rose Maths Hub in school at the beginning of last year and came to fruition following Maths Conf 7 at the Royal Armouries in Leeds after asking ‘Why don’t these things exist?’ and realising I could do them and…

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Teaching isn’t that hard… Just teach them stuff! | (mrtaylor)

I went to school on Thursday for results day and had a great time. We’d been under much scrutiny this year and delivered on the requested improvements, and our top end was more successful than ever. I was extremely proud and pleased with my own class’s results – 9 A*s, 9 As, 9 Bs and 2 Cs, 93.1% 3LOP+, 65.5% 4LOP+, average residual of 4.7.

Having let the dust settled, I took to SISRA to look at the departmental results. 93.1% 3LOP+, 76.9%, 70.4%, 52.4%, 71.4%, 33.3%, 0%, 0% with an overall figure of 57.6%. I’m struggling to gain much positivity from these figures, and as a result, I’ve been…

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After… A Year of The One Hundred Minute Lesson | (mrtaylor)

At the end of last year my school made the decision to move from 60-minute lessons to 50 and 100-minute lessons. I taught one 50-minute lesson every fortnight, and as a result, I’ve focused on the use of activities within 100 minutes rather than 50 – to be fair, the 50 is very close to 60 and wouldn’t be too much different to ‘traditional’ lessons.

That said, I feel the same about 100-minute lessons now. I found that after a difficult first term, with teachers and students getting used to a necessity to work for longer before their next break (between lessons, or break or lunch), pupils were…

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Robotics at School | (mrtaylor)

A little time ago, I noticed a tweet from @MissBLilley about a STEM club and activities to run within it. A reply to this tweet (which I favourited to go back and take a spy at) directed me to the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge. I put an application in and whilst I was away on residential with next year’s Young Leaders I received an e-mail offering us a place on next year’s event. Huzzah!

The challenge is open to 11-14 year olds who will work in teams to work through ‘space missions’ involving teamwork, robots, designing, discovery and lots of Lego and fun! (Or so the web…

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