Stalham Academy Head on: Cooperative Learning & the Sutton Trust on Pupil Premium #2

More from Mr Andrew Howard, acting head of Stalham Academy, on his decision to engage with Cooperative Learning to meet the target of the Rightforsuccess Trust of “Improving the Ofsted rating of underperforming schools to at least good in the short term and outstanding thereafter” after the recent conversion of Stalham Junior School to academy status.

This is an especially important point, as the recent publication of Robert Peal’s “Progressively Worse” has drawn attention to the failure of what is – for reasons not entirely clear – called “Child-Centred Learning” in UK education. From what I can gather, it sounds more “draining, disorganised, directionless group work”, which allows no guiding, no individual assessment, and does not achieve learning objectives. Please see Deconstructing the Progressive-Traditional Dichotomy for more on this issue.

However, given the book is endorsed by Gove and the foreword is written by Andrew Old of super-blog “Scenes from the Battleground,” I found it worthwhile to take time out at Friday’s PGCE session at the IoE to add some colouring to the slightly black&white universe necessarily found in works by self-proclaimed rebels against the establishment.

One of Mr Peal’s points is the heavy workload of planning effective student-centred lessons, compared to traditional Talk&Chalk: “Done well, child-centred teaching requires superhuman reserves of energy and time…” (p. 194). On the contrary, Mr Howard comments on one of his reasons for picking Cooperative Learning precisely being:

“…very, very little planning that the teachers had to do…. [yet] enabled maximum participation of all pupils for them to make most progress.”


The next installment of Skills & Mastery is to take place next week. See original post: Skills and Mastery at Norfolk Academy: Attainment with CL. By the end of the full 6 hour Skills & Mastery CL course participating teachers will be able to supplement their teaching with a number of fully scalable, engaging group and pair work interaction patterns.

More on the Sutton Trust report here.

“…enhancing learning outcomes of all pupils  from deprived backgrounds along with all other pupils in the cohort.”

More to follow on the IoE and “Progressively Worse”. (In separate posts, so they don’t get into a fight). Get notifications of related posts on twitter. is the business end of

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