Summer Turner

I teach, therefore I am.

Pub quiz or published? What are the aims of a knowledge-rich curriculum?

Part One I have been an advocate of a knowledge-rich curriculum since around 2013, which is relatively recently and in that time I have experienced several iterations of this approach … Continue reading

February 14, 2018 · Leave a comment

What makes a great curriculum?

At the recent PTE Campaign conference on ‘What makes great schools great?’ I was asked to speak on a panel in response to the question ‘What makes a great curriculum?’ … Continue reading

October 12, 2017 · 1 Comment

Thinking Harder: Why Research Matters

There is a big argument about whether teaching is an art or a science, and much of the criticism of research or evidence in education is that it is reductive … Continue reading

October 8, 2017 · 4 Comments

Curriculum Leadership

Forget Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury, the real headliner of this year’s summer festivals was Ofsted’s Amanda Spielman at Wellington College. In a seismic moment, the chief inspector united the crowd … Continue reading

October 8, 2017 · Leave a comment

Book Review: ‘Rules for Mavericks: A Manifesto for Creative Dissidents’

In his book ‘Rules for Mavericks: A Manifesto for Creative Dissidents’, Beadle argues from the position of a system-breaker and does so with a rage which can only suggest he … Continue reading

October 8, 2017 · 1 Comment

GESF Conference Day Two – celebrating education

After a night of excitable education discussion (and some less salubrious rugby watching) with the UK education crowd, and a majestic breakfast at my hotel, I was ready for another … Continue reading

October 8, 2017 · Leave a comment

GESF Conference: Day One – elephants and sharks.

In Jonathan Haidt’s books ‘A Righteous Mind’ he explores how despite the fact that many of us believe we are rational beings, we are mostly guided by our intuitions and … Continue reading

March 29, 2017 · 1 Comment

Should the curriculum be prescribed or should teachers have autonomy?

This is a slightly lengthier version of my introduction to answering this question as part of a panel at the #ChoosingKnowledge event on Saturday 11th February 2017. I think this … Continue reading

February 12, 2017 · 3 Comments

Audaces fortuna iuvat- making the move to the Inspiration Trust

In many ways this blog is evidence of the journey I have taken in my thinking about education. It has been, both the means for and the evidence of, my … Continue reading

January 29, 2017 · 3 Comments

Choosing Knowledge

Like many fellow Twitter users, I’ve become fairly bored with the knowledge vs. skills debate; not because I think it’s a false dichotomy or not worthy of discussion but because … Continue reading

January 29, 2017 · 2 Comments

‘Secondary Curriculum and Assessment Design’ – the reviews.

Writing and publishing a book is a daunting experience, but sending it out for a review (especially when you are sending it to colleagues who have inspired your writing) is … Continue reading

January 14, 2017 · 1 Comment

Knowledge Organisers – facts not fads

There’s been an interesting set of discussions recently on the blogosphere about the use of knowledge organisers in schools. I don’t think there is a magic bullet which is the … Continue reading

January 4, 2017 · 5 Comments

Leadership – finding the perfect note

A write up of my presentation at #TMExcel #Leadership According to LinkedIn (!) it’s my third year anniversary of being a leader. It’s an interesting time to try to work … Continue reading

November 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Curriculum matters – a strategic plan

My slides from the Harris Academy October Conference. In this presentation, I gave an overview of the way a school/subject leader could begin thinking about the process of curriculum design. … Continue reading

November 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

That’s how the light gets in

My presentation at #TMEastLondon entitled: ‘Adding SPARKLE to Curriculum and Assessment Design’ ‘Curriculum and Assessment Design’ isn’t the sexiest title – as many of my family and friends were quick … Continue reading

November 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Chasing magic: WomenEd

One holiday during my childhood, we stayed in a old English country cottage. I had, if memory serves me right, just reached the age where I could be trusted to … Continue reading

October 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

Radically Academic: a new approach to CPD

My slides from ResearchEd 2016 – 10/9/16. Book available for pre-order here:  

September 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

Becoming an expert – Curriculum and Assessment Design.

At ResearchEd Rugby and ResearchEd York this year, I presented on curriculum and assessment design. In the sessions I explored the idea of the missing expertise in curriculum and assessment … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Burden of Care

First posted on the Labour Teachers Blog. During my childhood, I was once given the responsibility of supervising my much younger cousin as we walked down to the flat sand … Continue reading

June 13, 2016 · Leave a comment

Don’t tell me there’s no joy.

At my school, It is exam season once again (half-termly tests are our norm and now end of year exams are near) and the library is full of pupils pouring … Continue reading

May 31, 2016 · 1 Comment

Curricula, Curricula!

I love curriculum. Talking about it, playing with it, designing it, implementing it, enacting it, assessing it. (So much so that I often find myself singing ‘Curricula, Curricular’ to the … Continue reading

February 12, 2016 · 1 Comment

A Dystopian Education

First posted on the Labour Teachers Blog. I don’t really get BETT. Every time I go there, I feel like I just am missing out on a secret that everyone … Continue reading

February 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

Becoming a Writer

I recently finished writing a first draft of a book for Bloomsbury on Curriculum and Assessment Design. It is probably the best thing I have ever done, but it was … Continue reading

January 24, 2016 · 3 Comments

Changing the Leadership Narrative

On Saturday 16th January 2016, a group of educators gathered in the almost deserted offices of Microsoft HQ to talk about women leaders in education: the ones already there and … Continue reading

January 24, 2016 · 5 Comments

‘When Are They Going to Find me Out?’

In the run up to this event it has been interesting to see how many speakers have expressed a nervousness about the prospect of presenting today. Much of this has … Continue reading

October 3, 2015 · 6 Comments

The Tyranny of Testing?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an Intelligence Squared education debate. The motion was: ‘LET’S END THE TYRANNY OF THE TEST. RELENTLESS SCHOOL TESTING DEMEANS EDUCATION’. It was a battle … Continue reading

October 2, 2015 · 2 Comments

The Old Boys’ Train

My immediate reaction to the Labour leadership result – blog post originally published on Labour Teachers. Jeremy Corbyn reminds me of the kind of university lecturer that I would have fallen … Continue reading

September 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

I Have a Feeling

Women, Leadership and Emotions. My StaffRm Post for @WomenEd DigiMeet September 2015 I feel a lot. All the time. I like to think of it as, you know, living. … Continue reading

September 29, 2015 · 1 Comment

Positive Activism

Positive activism is something that I have become convinced of as a way to understand how we can improve education. For me it means an engagement in fighting for the … Continue reading

July 11, 2015 · 2 Comments

Where the Sun Shines – Pedagoo London 2015

A write-up of my keynote at Pedagoo 2015. I am really honoured to be the final speaker today. Much like many of the people who have spoken today, I have … Continue reading

July 9, 2015 · 1 Comment

The Emptiness of Labour’s Education Policy

A blog I posted on the Labour Teachers blog. The post prompted some to suggest I was arguing against Labour as a party – I don’t accept this. I was criticising … Continue reading

July 9, 2015 · 1 Comment

To my form

For my first and only form (who I was honoured to tutor for three years) on their Year 11 Leavers Day. With thanks to Ms Pinto who put in all the hard … Continue reading

June 25, 2015 · Leave a comment

‘Character vs Knowledge?’ Are we creating a false dichotomy?

Keynote speech from East London Science School and Education Foundation Event: ‘Character vs Knowledge? What is the purpose of education?’ Saturday 25th April 2015. The moment that this event was … Continue reading

April 25, 2015 · 10 Comments

‘Miss? Is it true you’re a feminist?’

Sexism and education is something I have thought about a lot over the years, yet I have avoided speaking or writing publicly about it in length before now.¹ It was … Continue reading

April 19, 2015 · 12 Comments

Curriculum Matters

One of the most exciting parts of being a Subject Lead of English, has been the opportunity to design our curriculum. I think there has been a danger of overlooking … Continue reading

February 20, 2015 · 2 Comments

Becoming a Leader

Last year, I became a member of SLT. It has been an experience unlike any other – full of unexpected challenges and rewards. Nothing quite prepares you for what it … Continue reading

February 20, 2015 · 1 Comment

Giving Teachers a Seat at the Table.

An edited write up of my speech from the #PolicyMeet hosted by @EdnFoundation and @labourteachers at the Labour Conference in Manchester. Professionalism and CPD. I was really nervous about speaking at this event. It’s pretty … Continue reading

September 21, 2014 · Leave a comment

Fighting Fair

I love a good debate; it’s often where I come closest to finding answers to the complexities of education. I find it invigorating to have your ideas challenged and to … Continue reading

September 14, 2014 · 1 Comment

Great Days

I love the start of a new academic year. You arrive to it like a traveller post night flight, sleepless from the Sunday insomnia, slightly dazed and confused and anxious. … Continue reading

September 4, 2014 · 2 Comments

Books – A Love Story

Sometimes I ache with the pain of knowing I will never be able to read all the books that I would like to. I have been known to become near … Continue reading

August 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

Testing Testing

Testing seems to be one of the most loaded terms in education. It comes with many a negative connotation and a whole raft of satirical cartoons. Indeed, I’ve seen first-hand … Continue reading

June 30, 2014 · 2 Comments

High Impact | My Post from

‘Impact’ is a word which has become increasingly popular in pedagogy. Teachers and leaders in education – increasingly skeptical of an implied focus on school data which comes with the … Continue reading

May 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Courage of Conviction

Learning Lessons from Great Schools and Great People. My Grandpa died this Easter and despite it having been expected, I was shocked by the weight of grief. When someone impacts … Continue reading

May 19, 2014 · 3 Comments

‘Learning Lessons’ from great schools – my trip to KEGS.

I love my job. I am irritatingly smug about it and feel – on a daily basis – insanely lucky to be a teacher. One of the many aspects that … Continue reading

March 3, 2014 · 2 Comments

Grammar For Writing

There has been a lot of Twitter discussion recently about the explicit teaching of grammar. As someone who was initially concerned about the implications of grammar teaching, I have come … Continue reading

November 25, 2013 · 1 Comment

Read All About It

Five weeks ago in the early hours of a Saturday morning on a cold grey day, I got a coach to Southampton. A COACH. Why? Well I had been asked … Continue reading

November 24, 2013 · 1 Comment

Curriculum Design – taking the leap.

In my last week at my previous school, I went to an outdoors activity centre with my form to celebrate their success in the inter-form merit system. The ‘Leap of … Continue reading

November 2, 2013 · 4 Comments

Aiming Higher

This week I started as Head of English at the East London Science School. The school holds many attractions for me – not least the chance to create and run … Continue reading

September 8, 2013 · 2 Comments

A musical farewell

Some of the lovely and talented students from my form wrote and performed this song as a goodbye present. Too wonderful not to share.

July 26, 2013 · 1 Comment

‘Thinking Outside the Books’

‘For many teachers, the current climate of education, with its stress on academic attainment at the expense of a commitment to the development of the whole child, is a cause … Continue reading

April 11, 2013 · 9 Comments

TeachMeet LNS: Presentation on ‘Co-Construction: a learning journey’.

On Tuesday 22nd January 2013, @Edutronic_Net and I ran an internal TeachMeet at our school. This is my presentation. Many thanks to Tom Sherrington @headguruteacher who introduced me to this … Continue reading

January 28, 2013 · Leave a comment

All right stop, Collaborate and listen.

In our classes we constantly advocate collaboration. We preach about the values of working together, the sharing of ideas, the scaffolding of knowledge and the joys of group work. Mostly … Continue reading

January 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

‘A Call to Charms’

Like any true product of the British system, my personal instinct is to be cynical, pessimistic and critical. Luckily (for my students) the classroom version of me is someone so … Continue reading

January 5, 2013 · 5 Comments