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The story of Sideshore

I can’t remember exactly when the idea first came to me, but I know I’ve always hated how the road ran right along Exmouth seafront.  It’s always seemed such a barrier to the beauty and potential of the beach and water beyond – and a logistical nightmare for families with young children. Then, in 2011, East Devon District Council published plans to regenerate part of the seafront.  Various plans were put forward – and ultimately dismissed – but this sowed a seed of an idea in my head.

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Why my heart sinks over the trend for mixed ability maths

I’ve just read an outstanding book.  Mark McCourt’s Teaching for Mastery is an excellent resource for maths education specialists. What’s so compelling about it is how clearly Mark understands the art of maths education.  One part in particular struck a chord with me.  He states that in order to convert to mixed ability classes from a setted structure, a school needs five or six years of commitment, forethought and funding to sufficiently develop their teacher’s mathematical pedagogy.

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Compostable disposable cups. Helping or making it worse?

Naturally “compostable” materials have enjoyed a rather smug status for some time.  We all know that single use disposables are bad news for the environment, both practically and, increasingly, ethically too.  But name something “compostable” and our halo shines a little brighter, and we feel more comfortable with the idea of throwing away that coffee cup after use.

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An e-learning limitation – and how we cracked it.

Writing down maths is imperative to learning

It turns out “writing down” maths is imperative to learning and retaining new techniques. Yet it’s a hard concept to incorporate into ed-tech based learning. In the end, we found an ingenious way to ensure students were taking the time to write down the stages of their answers.

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Replacement therapy

An inbuilt resistance to waste

Have you visited a municipal recycling plant recently? To do so is to see laid bare the damning downside of our consumerist society. Meander through the site on any Sunday: amid the organically decaying deposits in the garden waste skip and the irredeemably rusted contents of the scrap-metal bin you’ll see a tonnage of gear that might be perfectly safe, clean, usable and recyclable.

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Flying a kite for real organic standards

The impact on the environment of non-organic farming

Stroll down any supermarket aisle. On every shelf, a confusion of food labels. How many of us understand every one? Even if we did, that convenience store is the wild west, our most in-the-face example of the free market in action. With so few labels actually policed, what can be trusted to mean what it claims?

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Setting things straight on mixed ability in mathematics

The many pros and cons of both setting and mixed ability classes in mathematics

Many people think that teaching mathematics in mixed ability sets is better than the current norm of setting by ability. I do not believe this is the case for the majority of maths classes in the UK.  Let me explain. 

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Stairway to heaven-sent fitness

A passion for fitness and health

It’s the first thing spotted by the maiden visitor to our Oxygen House HQ: a multi-story building, but no lifts. Instead, apparently just an airy, modern, elegant staircase.

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