Review by JL Dutaut

Commissioning editor, Schools Week

17 Dec 2023, 5:00

Book

Eight new edu books to buy colleagues (or yourself) for Christmas

By Various

Publisher

ISBN 10

For classroom optimisers

What Teachers Need to Know About Memory

Jonathan Firth and Nasima Riazat

December 2023

SAGE

This practical guide aims to support teachers’ reflection on and engagement with memory in the classroom, with direct links to their own teaching – promising to help achieve the holy trinity of classroom practice: enhance learning, reduce workload boost outcomes. Christmas all wrapped up for the busy teacher in your life (even if that’s you).

Building Your Inclusive Classroom: A Toolkit for Adaptive Teaching and Relational Practice

Verity Lush

December 2023

Routledge

Given the well-documented rise in needs among young people, what could be more useful that an accessible toolkit of ideas, methods and motivation to enable teachers to make their classrooms fully inclusive? With evidence-based approaches reaching beyond polarised debates to include relational, restorative practice and traditional methods, it could be just the thing to SEND a busy teacher.

For culture builders

A Little Guide for Teachers: Building Relationships in Schools

Omar Akbar

January 2024

SAGE

A recurring theme this year has been the broken contract between schools and their communities. Behaviour is worse. Attendance is seen as optional. Parental complaints are up. In that context, which educator wouldn’t want a little guide with “everything you need to know about relationship building with students, support staff, stakeholders and parents”?

School Staff Culture: Knowledge-building, Reflection and Action

Ruth Ashbee

December 2023

Routledge

Professional development and school culture are often cited as a remedy to the recruitment and retention crisis. Drawing on key ideas from systems theory, psychology, anthropology, business and philosophy, Ruth Ashbee sets out to offer concrete steps to get this right in practice. And with a free school development package to boot, it’s Christmas come… not a minute too soon.

For primary professionals

The Practical Guide to Getting Subject Leaders to THRIVE!

Sebastian Olway

December 2023

John Catt

Two key challenges that have consistently been raised by primaries this year have been the size of the curriculum and Ofsted’s expectations of curriculum leadership, particularly in small schools. Here’s Sebastian Olway proposes to tackle these issues head-on with a framework rooted in educational research and containing strategies, tips and resources for individual subject leaders or whole-staff CPD. It could be the gift that keeps on giving.

As We Begin: Dispositions of Mind, Learning, and the Brain in Early Childhood

Tia Henteleff

December 2023

John Catt

Another key challenge in primaries is the growing number of children arriving in Reception class who are not school-ready – drawing greater attention to the crucial value of the early years. As We Begin brings together insights from big thinkers in education and other fields along with the author’s own experiences in the classroom to offer ideas, rather than prescriptions, for a balanced early childhood educational program.

For standard raisers

Outstanding School Leadership: How to take your school to the top and stay there

Peter J Hughes

December 2023

Bloomsbury

Mossbourne Federation CEO, Peter Hughes reflects on his career to offer up a blueprint for successful leadership. From recruitment to improving attainment, being mission-driven to knowing when to take risks, the book provides a replicable framework of support for leaders, with practical tips and proven examples of best practice. Whether or not ‘outstanding’ remains a label, no doubt every leader and aspirant to leadership will value its insights.

The Working Classroom: How to make school work for working-class students

Matt Bromley , Andy Griffith

November 2023

Crown House

This week’s IFS and Centre for Social Justice reports lay bare the state of inequality across the nation and in education. The Working Classroom focuses on actions within the control of teachers and school leaders which will ensure that we create a socially just education system – with useful methods to improve the cultural capital of students that build on the rich heritage of the working class, rather than seeing their background as a weakness. What could be more Christmas-spirited than that?

If you’d like to review any of these titles for Schools Week, email jl@schoolsweek.co.uk

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