Herts for Learning

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Speaking and Listening

Top Tips to Support NQTs in getting off to a flying start

In this blog, Kathy Roe (Primary English Adviser) explores some of the challenges facing a Newly Qualified Teacher at the start of their first year and offers some guidance and supportive advice.

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Ten top tips for core subject leaders

Kirsten Snook, English Adviser and course trainer for ‘Becoming a Highly Effective Subject Leader’, reflects on what makes the biggest differences to increasingly busy subject leaders and with increasingly tight budgets. Drawing on feedback from course delegates, she outlines some top tips that have helped them this year to really see the fruits of their labours.

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Come aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Monday 26th June 2017 marks twenty years since the first publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  In this blog, Michelle Nicholson celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the release of JK Rowling’s fabulous book, with some ideas for bringing the story to life in the classroom.

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Reading on the Rise -Raising Standards conference 27th March

We are extremely pleased to be able to provide schools with an opportunity to hear from Sarah Hubbard  – Ofsted’s National Lead for English – who will be leading a session on ‘Reading, assessment and curriculum development’. Places are limited so early booking is advised.

Continue reading “Reading on the Rise -Raising Standards conference 27th March”

This year’s KS2 reading test: a secret shared and some questions to ask

Jane Andrews is an English Adviser for Herts for Learning.

Read on and download a set of question stems to support you in responding to this year’s reading test.


I have just been chatting to a friend, who happens to be Headteacher, about the secrets of her year 6 classes’ success. Her school is situated in a town with high levels of social deprivation and they have achieved over 86% EXS  in Y6 reading and over 78% combined for reading/writing/mathematics.  Her reply was simply ‘vocabulary’.

Continue reading “This year’s KS2 reading test: a secret shared and some questions to ask”

Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picturebooks

 Critical thinking


“Thinking is a bit like swimming because it takes a while to get good at it but soon you can go deeper.” (Marlee, aged 9). [quoted on pg. 8]


It would be silly for me to say that the quote above gives you all the reasons you need to buy this book; that in reading it, you’ll know exactly how Marlee came to feel this way. It might also seem like an especially cheeky way of getting out of writing this review.  But still, it speaks volumes about the content of this book. Mary Roche has created a bright, engaging, and academically rigorous study of the powerful role that picturebooks play in the primary classroom.  She has just been has been highly Commended for its significant contribution to the teaching of English at the UKLA academic book awards. Continue reading “Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picturebooks”

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