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Foundation and Key Stage 1 teaching posts for September 2015

Posts available in British schools in Madrid and Andalucia.

Teaching positions are currently being recruited for a September 2015 start. There are positions available for Foundation Stage teachers, Key Stage 1 teachers and also for assistants. The basic salary offered is 22,500€ with increments available for teachers with the experience to take on a coordinator role.

Teach in Spain. British schools in Spain provide the opportunity to teach the British curriculum in a stunning setting.

Teach in Andalucia in the south of Spain or if you prefer the city life, teach in Madrid.

To apply please send you CV and a covering letter to:
recruitment@ukteacherinspain.com

Interviews will be via Skype.

To read more information about teaching in Spain check the articles below.

5 things NQTs should know about working abroad

5 things to know about renting in Spain

5 tips for your interview with an international school

Relocating to Spain with a family – a guide

Teaching in a British school in Spain – a FAQ

A comparison between teaching in Spain and teaching in the UK

Applying to teach in Spain – which school should you choose?

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Teaching posts and all the info. you need about teaching abroad

Teaching posts in Spain and the links that give you the information you need, all in one place.
If you have any other questions about living or teaching in Spain then please do post them in the comments box and I will reply.

Primary teaching post
Secondary English (plus humanities) post
Secondary Maths (plus science) post

As of 10th March 2015 the teaching posts above are now filled. If you are interested in applying for a teaching position in Spain please send your Curriculum Vitae together with a covering letter to: recruitment@ukteacherinspain.com

5 things NQTs should know about working abroad

5 things to know about renting in Spain

5 tips for your interview with an international school

Relocating to Spain with a family – a guide

Teaching in a British School in Spain – a FAQ

A comparison between teaching in Spain and teaching in the UK

Applying to teach in Spain – which school should you choose?

5 things I never worried about when I taught in England

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5 things I never worried about when I taught in England

1: Wildlife
This winter we are told has been a perfect breeding ground for the processional caterpillar. With toxic hairs that easily take to the wind it is one of the most poisonous creatures locally. We go from caterpillar season into the summer when funnel web spiders and a variety of non-lethal but evil looking scorpions provide a playground distraction to any child armed with a stick.

Caterpillars

Processional caterpillars

2: What’s for lunch?
Food is such an important part of Spanish culture and parents expect their children to eat all of their lunch. Lentils as a starter and fish as a main course provides a midday motivational challenge for any duty teacher. School dinners in the UK always felt like something functional, a midday fuel up to carry us through the afternoon. I’d be misleading if I suggested every day was equal. However, a day that starts with a chicken caesar salad, has a traditional Spanish rice dish such as “arroz al horno” for a main course and finishes with fresh oranges makes school dinner feel less like fuel and more like a dining experience.

Traditional Spanish rice dish

Arroz al horno – a rice dish made with pork ribs and blood sausage

3: Wind
A windy day in England meant that the children were a little more bubbly than usual. Teachers walked around with long faces muttering glib asides about animals and children “having the wind up them”.
The tiniest bit of wind in Spain puts us on tree watch. Mediterranean pines are notoriously fragile. Dry and top heavy, the slightest breeze can cause weighty branches to topple. In fact, there is a general preoccupation with weather. Rain, wind, cold and sun all bring their own concerns.

4: Food consumption
Spanish culture provides for five meals each day. A light breakfast in the morning, a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and a dinner are considered essential pit stops in the working day. Ensuring all the children have been provided in the main meal of the day but also in the two snacks that take place in the school day is one of the most important responsibilities of the day.

5: Buses!
Each morning 15 coaches arrive at school. Each carries up to 58 children, many of whom will be clutching notes instructing which bus route they will be taking home. Maybe they are going to a grandparents house after school, or a family house in the mountains or by the beach. Other bus changes will be telephoned in to school during the day. The task of getting over 800 children on to the right transport is a complex nightmare that somehow seems to pull perfectly together in the last few minutes of every day.

And aside from all of the above we still manage to spend focusing on teaching and learning and making sure that each of the children gets a great deal from attending our school.

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Seven big myths (and one truth) about top performing school systems

Andreas Schleicher, OECD director of education and skills, wrote an article for the BBC website claiming PISA answers seven big myths about education in the world. Andreas, apart from having an impressive job title, is the man in charge of PISA tests and therefore may not have a completely unbiased opinion. Here is my response to each of his myth busting claims.

1: Disadvantaged pupils are doomed to do badly in school
Andreas busts this myth by referring to Shanghai. He says “the 10% most disadvantaged 15-year-olds in Shanghai have better maths skills than the 10% most privileged students in the United States and several European countries”.
But, China still cheat the education system by entering their two most affluent cities instead of their country. Looking at population, this is probably equivalent to the UK entering Eton and Harrow into PISA! Time magazine ran this article explaining how China is cheating the PISA ranking system. 24% of Chinese students go to college but 84% of students from Shanghai.
One final point that even the BBC acknowledge is that Shanghai doesn’t enter all of its pupils. In fact, only about a third of school age pupils can afford to attend education in Shanghai. With an estimated 300,000 15 year olds eligible for the test, only 100,000 were included. Doing the maths (84% of a third) that means that around 27% of Shanghai students go on to college.
Myth busting busted: Even just looking at Shanghai, it is one of the lower attainers in the PISA ranking.

2: Immigrants lower results
Andreas tells us that there is “no relationship between the share of students with an immigrant background in a country and the overall performance of student in that country”. We would all love this to be true but unless the country concerned has 100% school attendance then Andreas’ statistics tell us nothing. Statistically if there is a cost for attending school then children of recent immigrants are likely not to be in school.
Myth busting busted: PISA data is too incomplete to answer this question.

3: It’s all about money
Andreas says “Success in education systems  is no longer about how much money is spent, but about how money is spent.” He uses South Korea as an example South Korea did well in the PISA rankings but is not one of the biggest spenders on education. But, there is a cultural difference here that is not being included. Much of Asia see school as only a small part of the education a child receives. Children leave school and go immediately into expensive private classes. Often in small groups or individually children are tutored from school leaving time (around 4pm) for up to an additional six hours. This is a cultural difference. Most parents in the UK or America for example expect school to educate their child.
Myth busting busted: What we are actually measuring is not the total spent on education but in fact in the case of many countries we are seeing only about half of their educational spend. The other half is being made by parents after school.

4: Smaller class sizes raise standards.
Andreas finds that smaller class sizes do not, according to PISA, raise standards. Andreas, stop ony looking at PISA. Hattie has already discovered this by taking into account results from much more than just one study. (Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning).
Mythbusted…but not by PISA: This myth that Andreas busted is correct but the proof is found with Hattie and later Alistair Smith (High Performers: The Secrets of Successful Schools) and PISA alone is insufficient to draw this conclusion.

5: Comprehensive systems for fairness, academic selection for higher results
The same logic that has countered some of Andreas’ mythbusting skills in earlier points applies here. PISA does not have complete information. Shanghai appears to be a non-selective education system and yet two thirds of its 15 year old pupils are invisible to PISA.
Myth busting busted: Unless PISA includes all pupils from all schools and takes into account the pupils not in school then PISA does not have sufficient evidence to discuss whether selective or non-selective education is more effective.

6: The digital world needs new subjects and a wider curriculum
At the risk of repeating myself, PISA does not have the data to answer this myth. Because the PISA data is woefully incomplete it just shouldn’t be seen as useful for making generalisations about curriculum.
Myth busting busted: Innsufficient evidence again!

7: Success is about being born talented
Andreas wheels out his only gun here and uses PISA to bust this myth. Again, PISA doesn’t have sufficient evidence to comment on this but others do.
Myth busting busted: Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success) suggested there is no such thing as ‘Talent’ and that to be an expert at anything took 10,000 hours of practice. Carol Dweck has used research to say something very similar in her work on Mindset. (Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential).

And now time for the one truth…

Truth: PISA is riding high on the fact we love an international competition and is making claims that it just cannot back up by statistics. Until PISA collects data from all students in a country and compares like with like (country with country) then many of the claims that are being made from its data will be easily debunked.

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Workload – 5 facts about reducing workload

“Unnecessary and unproductive” teacher workload will be reduced. And yet, within hours of this news breaking the teaching profession are not showing the gratitude one might expect.
Here are the 5 most important pieces of information about teacher workload.

1: The average teacher works 50 hours per week. (Source: DfE).
This increases with responsibility. Promotions to middle and senior management bring with them additional hours. Any conversation about workload always sounds like sour grapes and there seems little public sympathy. Yes, the holidays are long but most private sector employees would categorically refuse to work fourteen hours per week of unpaid overtime. This is what the average teacher is doing every single week.

2: Teachers work long hours for two reasons.
Firstly, because they have a professional duty of care to do the very best that they can for their pupils. Much of the additional work is in preparing lessons and providing feedback just because teachers care.
The second reason is that many teachers work in a culture of fear. Fear of an inspection resulting in a category which could lead to losing their job. Fear of being overlooked for professional development opportunities or even a performance related pay increase because they have incurred the wrath of the senior management team. Fear of not having completed a particular form correctly or submitted it to the right body in the necessary time frame. Fear of delivering a ‘satisfactory’ lesson that now would be labelled “requires improvement”.
When the government announced a study into teacher workload it is the tasks that fit into this second category that teachers had hoped would be addressed.

3: What did teachers say was the most unnecessary and unproductive use of their time?
56% of the 44,000 teachers that responded to the government workload study said that recording, inputting, monitoring and analysing data was the most unnecessary and unproductive use of their time. Professional teachers like to be focussed on their pupils and learning. The next most cited workload issue (53% of respondents) was excessive detail and frequency being expected in marking. Neither of these two issues have been addressed by Nicky Morgan’s headline grabbing promises about reducing workload.

4: Teachers are leaving the profession because of the workload and stress
The number of teachers leaving the profession is at a 10 year high. The DfE is concerned about the number of UK trained teachers who do not get to five years of service. They are concerned about the numbers of UK trained teachers taking their talent overseas. Almost exclusively teachers leave because of workload and stress. Making workload more manageable would be the single most effective way the government could increase teacher retention. It would also help address the shortage of headteachers if workload changes also looked at what was being asked of middle and senior leaders in schools.

5: What has Nicky Morgan delivered in her workload promises?
The announcement that attracted so much attention in the news this week gave three promises.
– OFSTED will no longer change their handbook or framework during the school year, unless necessary.
– There will be no changes to qualifications during the academic year, unless urgent.
– There will be a bi-annual “large scale, robust survey” of teachers workload starting in 2016.
So, the first of the two promises carry the caveat “unless necessary” and “unless urgent”. The third of the promises is likely to involve teachers and managers in additional work as they administer the governments large scale survey into teacher workload. What will this survey discover that the current investigation with over 44,000 respondents did not? I suspect very little, although it may well involve a few million tax payer pounds that could be spent on pupil learning being diverted into the pockets of out of school office jobs.

Really, there is no workload reduction in any of the key areas identified by teachers. There is no effort to reduce stress caused by threats and distrust.

The good news for me and my colleagues in international schools is that it looks as though for the foreseeable future there should be a steady supply of excellent teachers looking to practice their profession overseas.

Click here to see the adverts we currently have running and apply now for a real change to your workload.

dog ate teachers lesson plan  Funny Mug by CafePress


Dog ate teachers lesson plan Funny Mug by CafePress

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Shareday Friday – A primary school display policy

Friday is my day for gifting something back to the online community. Today, a primary display policy.

Display policy

This policy is the culmination of a number of meetings and discussions that have taken place in school around the subject of display. There are some great resources to support display, for example, Belair On Display – The Essential Guide to Primary Display.
However, we were looking for a display policy that reflected our own school values.

The discussions that went into creating the policy were really interesting. Here are 5 things I learned from our time together discussing display.

Example literacy display

Example literacy display

1: Why display?
First impressions are important in life. Display and classroom environment can be used to communicate our expectations of behaviour, our expectations of work standards and most importantly, the learning that has been taking place in our classrooms.

2: Framed, draped or plain?
Why do we frame work? Do we need to mount and double mount everything? Mounting work to frame it helps the standard of presentation especially when work is going to be displayed in a high traffic area of school. However, it isn’t necessary to mount everything and a working wall is less likely to be updated regularly if teachers are constrained by the need to frame every piece of work.

3: Should all displayed work be of a high standard?
What do we mean by a ‘high standard’? If we mean should all displayed work show learning that has taken place then “yes”. If we mean should displayed work only be from pupils with perfect handwriting who work in the top group in the class, then “no”. The standard of the work is defined by the standard of learning that took place.

4: Consistency
A walk around our school demonstrates a range of ideas for display. It has been possible however to arrive at a nucleus of points upon which we all agree. Agreeing the “All our dislays feature…” and “Every classroom has…” sections of our display policy was where the majority of discussion took place.

5: Teamwork
Not everybody has the same natural eye for laying out a display. There are some great websites offering advice about primary display, some of which are linked to in our display policy above. Hopefully though we are generating a climate where teachers feel comfortable asking colleagues for ideas or assistance. ‘Magpieing’ ideas from colleagues is a compliment and does not constitute theft.

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Baseline assessment – 5 things I know

The government are introducing approved providers of Reception baseline assessments. From their own webpage announcement it sounds a little confusing. With this in mind I have been scratching the surface of baseline assessment and have learnt five things.

Pupil taking test

1: They are relatively cheap…for a reason
I have read websites, downloaded catalogues and even telephoned the companies in a search for prices. Most companies already have a price structure in place. By the usual standards of pricing educational products these are cheap but they are cheap for a reason.
One is 85 pounds per school plus 3 per pupil. Another, 80 pounds per school plus 3 something per pupil. Another 220 pounds per school per year. Another 4.95 pounds per pupil. All fairly cheap but what do you get for your money?
One gives you some tick sheets and a guide advising teacher on how to use their own judgement to complete the sheets. Another gives an online test that should last 20 minutes and is completed independently…by a five year old! Another requires two tablets, one for the pupil and one for the teacher. I’m certain pupils with little exposure to the tablet will suffer. Another has a testimonial that confirms that the children enjoyed it because there were animations between the questions!

2: They don’t provide meaningful information
I had a great telephone conversation with the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). I asked what I saw at the end of the assessment. The answer was I would receive a detailed report indicating the percentage probability of pupils receiving a L4 or above at the end of Y6. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. From 2016 onwards there are no levels but this test will tell me the probability of these Reception children achieving an L4 at the end of their Year 6 in 2022! Well, I’m no mathematician but I can confirm the likelihood of this is precisely zero!

3: The selection of companies makes no sense and I suspect cronyism
One company I spoke to today have not yet completed the trial of their tests. They are in the process of trialling their test with 1000 pupils. Quite apart from the fact that this feels like a fairly small sample size and it is impossible to forward project what those students will achieve, they haven’t actually trialled the product. Is the CEO a close personal friend of Mrs. Morgan? I think we should be told. They have a multi-million pound public money contract on the basis of an assessment tool that doesn’t exist and hasn’t completed a trial!

4: The different tests are so different as to be incomparable and therefore can’t be used to compare school performance
When should the test be completed? Start of Reception, end of Reception, when a child has settled in to Reception! The answer changes dependent on which provider you speak to. They test reading, they are computer tests, they are teacher evaluations they are…
The differences are so vast and numerous as to completely negate any comparison. Will schools selecting the most difficult test be able to show the greatest progress? I suspect some game playing could take place here.

5: They don’t fit my school…or I suspect many others
My school is a British school in Spain. Most children begin school with no English. At the end of Reception results are below the average in the United Kingdom but many children have only had one or two years of exposure to English. By the end of KS1 pupils attain broadly in line with UK expectations. By the end of KS2 they far surpass the UK expectations. A large number of L5 and a growing number of L6 pupils who when they left Reception would have come out with a low baseline assessment. A low baseline assessment that on some of these systems would have been reported as a low probability of attaining a Level 4 or above. In other words, the output from the test would label the child and provide a low expectation throughout their school career.

And for these reasons, the baseline assessments as they stand are of little value and will fail to improve learning and pupil outcomes. Surely public money assigned to education should only be used on projects that improve learning and pupil outcomes and therefore these assessments look like a misappropriation of public funds.

To read another opinion on these baseline assessment tools visit Sue Cowley’s fascinating blog article – And if you tolerate this…

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