CPD Library

A reminder to all staff, particularly new staff, that we have a CPD selection of books in the Library. You can sign out any book that you might find useful.

CPD library

There are also back-copies of the following journals:

SSAT Journal

Impact – Chartered College of Teaching publication

TES magazine



To help you think about what kind of educational book you would like to read I found on Twitter over the summer the poster below. It is designed as a Periodic Table of Educational Books with different categories highlighted.

period table

There is an A3 copy of this poster above the CPD books in the library. We don’t have all of them as yet but there are definitely some of the titles mentioned in our selection of books.

If you do read a book or an article then write a review to be published on this Blog.


Action research projects – finding an area of focus

By Leyla Pattison

Last year, part of my role as North Somerset Leader of Education (NSLE) was to undertake an action research project. As a scientist, and particularly someone who spent several years working as a postgraduate researcher, I thought the whole research process would be quite straightforward. However, undertaking research as a postgraduate (where this is your only role) is very different from carrying out a project whilst juggling a full timetable, marking, managing a tutor group, lunchtime activities, meetings as well as desperately trying to maintain a normal home-life!

My aim for this series of blogs is to show you how I carried out my project last year. I’m going to be very honest about the ups and downs of the process and tell you what I have learnt along the way. This is not the only way to go about carrying out action research and I am certainly not saying it is the best way.

Choosing my project

I am very lucky to be mentored by Chris Moyse through the NSLE role and he was absolutely instrumental in guiding me through the process.

Our first meeting in October drew out a number of questions:

  • What am I interested in? Not my faculty, not the school, but me personally. We are all invested in driving our subjects forward and doing the best for our students. What I wanted to focus on was likely to tie in with any faculty or whole school plan, perhaps with a bit of tweaking. If I was going to spend a significant amount of time on this project, it needed to be something that I was engaged with.

For me, this was A-level teaching.

  • What are the issues within this particular area? Having just completed my exam results analysis, I knew that there was an ongoing issue with students targeted grades C-D. Chemistry is an incredibly polarising subject and this group of students were struggling to get their expected grades. I also had a particular student in mind and wanted him to achieve well the following year. I was concerned about him (and others) retaining the massive amount of knowledge he needed across the two-year course. This was also a problem with year 11 students who were just starting their revision programme.
  • Are other people working on this? What are other schools doing? I had already dipped my toe into edutwitter and read so many discussions about how on earth we were going to get students to learn 3 years’ worth of difficult content in preparation for their GCSE exams. Lots of people had spent a lot of time and effort into producing resources and databases and exam analysis. I did not have the time (or the inclination) for this. I found it all incredibly overwhelming.

    Chris encouraged me to find a focus. He had seen retrieval practice elsewhere and suggested I look into low stakes testing. A quick search for this at home brought up a website and some interesting articles that ere manageable and inspired me to look further.

  • What ideas do I already have? I had worked with Chris Cooknell in the past, sharing best practice, and he had introduced me to short multiple choice quizzes. I had started using these as plenaries in class. In the summer term before, my year 10s had really enjoyed writing quizzes and critiquing each other’s questions and answers. This was something I could extend into A-level.

After the meeting, I went away and thought about things. It took another week before I finally settled and was happy with my research focus of retrieval practice.

Low effort, maximum impact

For me, being mindful that I needed to carry out this work with no extra time allowance, it was of the upmost importance that this project would slot into my everyday teaching. It needed to be something that would not take a lot of effort on my part, something that would have a positive impact on my students quickly and in a way that I could measure.

I started trialling a very simple activity: 5- 10 multiple choice questions at the start of every A-level Chemistry lesson.

My action research project had begun!