Schools Week made it its mission to seek out the most interesting movers and shakers this year, but there are some interviews which stand above the others. So who did the schools community want to read about the most in 2017?

1. The primary-school rebel

Number one by a college mile (eight times more popular than the next contender) was the headteacher who defied the government to boycott key stage 2 SATs, Jill Wood. Now facing investigation for maladministration, her plight has clearly struck a chord with readers.

Jill Wood, headteacher, Little London Primary School

2. The headteacher with a pledge

David Benson had to lead his school through something unimaginable: the loss of four pupils in the Grenfell Tower fire. But he movingly recounts how the school pledge they worked so hard to write has helped to pull them all through.

David Benson, principal, Kensington Aldridge Academy

3. The educator making a difference

Kiran Gill has founded a programme called The Difference, which aims to get more teachers working in alternative provision and pupil referral units. She wants to change the status of teaching excluded pupils in the same way Teach First changed the status of teaching in a complex inner-city school. Her mission is obviously one that others relate to.

Kiran Gill, founder, The Difference

4. The ‘knowledge’ guru

Christine Counsell is firmly entrenched among those who defend a rigorous “knowledge-based” approach to teaching and learning. But if you think you know what she’s about, you’re probably wrong. She also dismisses the knowledge-skills dichotomy as “nonsense” and knowledge organisers as “a fad”. Read on and be surprised.

Christine Counsell, director of education, Inspiration Trust

5. The chief inspector

Two months into the job, Amanda Spielman gave this interview outlining her vision for Ofsted, revealing a rigorous approach to methodology. It’s worth a look back, to see whether, one year into the job, she’s delivering on her promises.

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector, Ofsted


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