Review by JL Dutaut

Commissioning editor, Schools Week

23 Jul 2023, 5:00


12 books to look forward to this summer and beyond

By Various




Rethinking School Inspection – Is there a better way?

Author: Tracey O’Brien

Publisher: John Catt

Date: 21 July 23

An unprecedented range of voices are calling for school accountability reform. But what could a new system actually look like? Tracey O’Brien explores a range of possible alternatives.

Informed by a wide range of sources on how school inspections are perceived and portrayed , the Rethinking School Inspection sets out how the model could be improved beyond the changes announced this term. A new HMCI and government are in the offing. This promises to be a timely intervention.

Developing an Outstanding Curriculum 

Authors: Jayne Bartlett and Emma Housden

Publisher: Routledge

Date: 28 August 2023

Schools haven’t been short of advice for developing their curriculum in response to Ofsted’s curriculum focus since 2019. And regardless of change at the top, curriculum will remain fundamental to the work of schools.

With practical strategies and examples to facilitate curriculum conversations within subject and senior leadership teams, Jayne Bartlett and Emma Housden’s book could be just the thing to read before the start of the autumn term.


The Working Classroom

Authors: Matt Bromley and Andy Griffith

Publisher: Crown House

Date: October 2023

The disadvantage gap continues to grow despite the government’s investment in tuition as its main tool for post-Covid recovery and ‘levelling up’. Teachers report worsening behaviour and attendance is languishing. Do we need to ask more fundamental questions about curriculum?

Matt Bromley and Andy Griffith join forces to offer practical strategies and tools to help secondary schools address the needs of working-class students.

Creative Thinking in Schools

Authors: Bill Lucas and others

Publisher: Crown House


Timed to coincide with the publication of PISA’s first ever test results on creativity, Bill Lucas returns with an assembled cast of leading lights on creativity in education to focus on leadership that cultivates creative thinking in all aspects of school life and promotes creative learning habits in the classroom.

Withforewords by Alison Peacock and Andreas Schleicher, and underpinned by research and analysis of practice in schools here and globally, Creative Thinking in Schools promises a range of accessible resources, planning tools and practical examples to transform school cultures and practices

The chalkface

Behaviour: The Lost Modules

Author: Jen Foster

Publisher: SAGE

Date: October 2023

Leaning in to her large following, edu-Instagram guru, Jen Foster came to the conclusion that the problem with behaviour isn’t just the disruption, but teachers’ lack of knowledge and training on how to manage it effectively.

This is her response, “the book you wish you had read before stepping into a classroom”. Designed by a primary teacher for primary teachers, it aims to bring together common sense, personal experiences and current research to support teachers to fill that gap in their professional knowledge.

Ace That Test: A Student’s Guide to Learning Better

Authors: Megan Sumeracki and others

Publisher: Routledge

Date: July 2023

What students do outside of class can be just as important as how they are taught in ensuring their learning is ultimately reflected in their grades. But do students really know how to study? Do we explicitly teach them to?

Ace That Test offers evidence-based learning strategies they can use to boost the impact of their study, with concrete examples for each strategy, illustrations to leverage dual coding principles of learning, questions and activities for retrieval practice, and QR codes for supplemental material.

Middle leadership

Leading Maths

Author: Peter Mattock

Publisher: Crown House

Date: October 2023

As recruitment and retention flounder, more and more maths classrooms are being led by non-specialist teachers. Maths is rightly a political and economic priority for the country, but what is a maths leader to do?

With contributions from other experienced maths practitioners, Peter Mattock’s Leading Maths offers practical guidance and advice on how to approach maths leadership and how to deal with issues ranging from the day-to-day to results and accountability and from managing an inspection to developing improvement plans.

A Little Guide for Teachers: SEND in School

Author: Amjad Ali

Publisher: SAGE

Date: November 2023

We now have a SEND and AP improvement plan, but the size of the crisis facing specialist and mainstream schools alike in the face of a rise in EHCPs and a chronic shortage of appropriate school places means teachers need help now.

Teacher, trainer, senior leader, SENDCo and TedX speaker, Amjad Ali has a long history of supporting schools with their SEND policies and practices. This, his first book, is aimed at providing that help. A primer on SEND and all of its attendant acronyms, and a signpost to further reading and research, it’s a book you can read in an afternoon, or come back to for activities and guidance.

Senior Leadership

Lessons from the Head’s Office

Author: Brian Walton

Publisher: SAGE


Brian Walton’s book for headteachers by a headteacher promises to be a heart-warming summer read at the end of another challenging year.

As many have said in our pages this year, headship has changed fundamentally in the post-Covid age. Here, Walton sets out to get to the core of what it means and takes to be a leader in schools today. Drawing on over two decades of experience, he explores how to face the challenges of leadership head on and succeed without sacrificing your principles – or your wellbeing.

What Makes Teachers Unhappy, and What Can You Do About It?

Authors: Fran Abrams and Mark Solomons

Publisher: Routledge

Date: September 2023

The term ends on strike action, with more expected in the autumn term. Recruitment and retention are in disarray. Morale is at an ebb and vast swaths of the profession are considering leaving the classroom.

The answers are perhaps political and systemic, but school and trust leaders aren’t without some tools to prioritise staff wellbeing in their organisations. Fran Abrams and Mark Solomons gather research and real-life examples into a roadmap to recovery for struggling schools to manage workloads and improve wellbeing.

New frontiers

The School Premises Handbook

Author: Jo Marchant

Publisher: John Catt

Date: 23 June 2023

If what you’re after is something novel, then this one touches on one of the few aspects of school life left broadly untouched by edu-publishing. This glaring omission is laid bare in the current panic about the safety of our school buildings.

This political and funding crisis can only be improved by premises staff, business managers, headteachers and governors knowing their legal responsibilities in the complex area of buildings compliance. Perhaps not a riveting beach read, but Jo Marchant’s handbook could be vital.

My School and Multi Academy Trust Growth Guide

Author: Al Kingsley

Publisher: John Catt

Date: 7 July 2023

Another aspect of school life left broadly untouched by edu-publishing is the growth of the MAT-led system. Witness community complaints of a lack of transparency and the increasingly concerning situation of small, isolated and ‘orphaned’ schools.

Informed by Al Kingsley’s nearly two decades of school governance experience across a broad range of schools and academies, this guide aims to support discussions and key considerations for any trust or school looking at their next steps for growth.

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