In my work with schools, I increasingly see lesson observation used for accountability purposes in a way that leave teachers feeling as if the observer intent is to ‘catch them out’ as opposed to ‘catch them being good.’

Whilst sharing the focus of the lesson observation is routine, far less often do I see lesson observation being used as a mechanism through which to develop teaching.

If the observation focus is both shared and explored with teachers ahead of the lesson observations taking place, the whole tone and perception of observations can change. The use of endless tick boxes to judge lessons can lead to teaching by numbers. It fails to understand the craft of teaching.  It does not alone improve teaching.

Whilst politicians and others desperately try to convince everyone that schools are back to normal, the reality is very different. They are back to the new normal.

One headteacher I know had planned a day of activities designed to lead to the creation of a school vision in which all staff felt fully engaged, only to be hit with a Covid ‘local decision-making framework’, the ‘hierarchy of controls’ and ‘updated operational guidance’ - resulting in the fact that she could not have all the staff in one hall and needed to replan to do it virtually. There are many benefits to the increased use of online meetings as a result of Covid, but let’s not fall into the trap of ignoring the limitations. For full engagement in the forming of a new school vision, ideally the staff needed to be in the same room.

Portal Training is the first employer in Wales to achieve a Gold standard Investors in People Wellbeing Award.

28.06.19 mh Portal Staff 43

The Cardiff-based training provider joins a prestigious group of 20 Welsh organisations to have received the award and, as the smallest so far, is also the first ever in Wales to achieve it at a Gold standard.

Founded in 2011, Portal Training is a dynamic and innovative bilingual training provider, supporting organisations to develop the leadership and management as well as the coaching and mentoring capacity of their workforce. Through the delivery of innovative and creative training courses and resources in these areas, as well as in sport and childcare, Portal helps raise achievement and improve performance among professionals working in the education, business and sporting sectors.

Press pic Natalie Morgan 31 landNatalie Morgan’s life-changing decision to return to Wales to pursue a career in sport with Welsh Gymnastics, after working within the performing arts sector for several years, has paid rich dividends. 

Natalie, 33, from Penarth, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year when winners of the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 were announced at a virtual ceremony on June 17.

She successfully completed a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Leadership and Management with Cardiff-based Portal Training and has now progressed to Level 5.

Copy of Pride Month 2021 1


June has come around once again and there is only one thing, we should all be celebrating. No, it isn’t the 2001 Version of Lady Marmalade hitting number 1 on the billboard charts (although that’s not a bad idea). It’s Pride Month! A month that celebrates all things LGBTQ+, raises awareness and pushes for equality and before you ask, yes, we still have to do that. 

Since coming out in 2005 I have seen many positive changes that have helped LGBTQ+ individuals become brave enough to accept who they are. From the legalisation of marriage for same sex couples to the explosion of social media; creating safe havens and communities for those who are still afraid of being accepted for who they are. Through this, I have often asked myself who I am and what I am willing to accept in terms of prejudice and support.