In true Learning Ladders style, collaboration with our schools was at the core. Seeking out contextual implications of the changes on our schools around the globe gave us both UK and international perspectives on how tech can best support practitioners.
So what did we learn?
We learned that our schools didn’t need answers from us.
They need options to create bespoke systems that reflect unique assessment policies based on their own contexts.
Essentially, our journey took us back to our roots.
A customisable curriculum is key
Whether practitioners feel liberated by the freedom of creating their own curriculum or find the prospect daunting, Learning Ladders gives choices for teachers to decide what is right for them.
We’ve made the Framework statements available as a starting point, reducing time consuming admin for practitioners.
Or, if teachers choose to import their own curriculum (in any language), we’ve made the process painless.
The Creation Zone keeps editing tools simple: drag & drop, rename and add statements. No need to contact system providers, pay fees or wait for changes.
With pre-loaded guidance notes from Development Matters, as well as exclusive exemplification from Early Years Consultant Jan Dubiel, schools have effective support for less experienced practitioners.
Schools can plan a challenging and enjoyable curriculum with embedded links to resources from our Curriculum Lab. Search for resources from our quality partners at BBC, Oak Academy and Developing Experts.
Upload links to environment planning (after all, environment is the 3rd adult in EYFS!) or embed links to Phonics or other schemes stored on the shared drive.
Create an evolving, working document that grows with you as a school.
Parents should be involved in learning
The Framework outlines that practitioners need to communicate with parents if any area gives cause for concern, to agree how to support the child.
At Learning Ladders we say, why wait for concerns?
Share learning goals with parents so that all parents are clear about what their child is learning. Perceptions of ‘learning through play’ and a lack of clarity around how learning is developed in the Early Years makes this even more important in EYFS.
Automate the process of upskilling parents so that parents understand how to support their child’s learning. Support articles translatable in 100+ languages mean no parent will ever wonder again about split digraphs or subitising!
Share Evidence with parents, creating opportunities for conversations about learning.
2-way communication and parental contributions of evidence creates strong partnerships with parents.
Communicate home learning tasks for children to complete via Ladders at Home, or why not share automated pupil reports to keep parents in the loop? Fully customisable to the school and with video and audio file sharing in reports, parents and teachers have a shared understanding of their child’s development.
Practitioners require simplified reporting
It was clear through conversations with UK and international schools that requirements for reporting are driven not only from the Framework but from differences in regulators, varying across the globe.
So we’re giving our schools options.
Options for schools to reflect their bespoke assessment policy. Schools choose the number of judgements and have the option to customise the wording, code and colours.
Choose to record half termly or termly point in time professional judgements by viewing evidence collated by teachers, key workers, parents and professionals- all in one place.
Monitor gaps in observations and identify areas for greater depth, informing future planning with Gap Analysis.
View judgements in easy to interpret graphs within Assessment Summary. Download and print graphs showing the percentage of children at each attainment and progress descriptor and use handy filters for a deeper look at data based on Ethnicity, gender, SEN, FS1/FS2.
Better integration into KS1 and beyond
Critically, a significant learning was that schools require more seamless transition between phases.
The days of separate systems for EYFS and the rest of the school are over.
Foundation stage data, curriculum and evidence can be utilised to form a picture over time- finally a joined up picture of progress and attainment across the whole school.
One thing that is clear to us, there is already great practice taking place in all of our schools within EYFS and we’re looking forward to embarking on the next year together.
The BETA (testing) version of our EYFS Module will be available to schools on request from the beginning of September, with features and functionality being added throughout the year and refinements being made based upon your feedback. You’ll need to have staff training before it’s activated, so do contact the office to help us plan your support and schedule this.
Watch our introductory webinar here:
For any questions or to discuss further contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education books are a valuable resource that help teachers and leaders improve their knowledge and skills. Not only that, they’re often funny, inspiring and packed full of actionable advice.
Educators pour so much time into creating these books which provide value to so many – but they rarely get the attention they deserve.
As the school holidays kick off in the UK, we wanted to award the best books for teachers and school leaders to read in summer 2021.
After longlisting over 100 books, our panel of experts narrowed this down to a short list of 40 titles. Then, we compiled our top ten picks and our winner – which you can find at the bottom of this post.
Our panel includes teachers, school leaders and EdTech entrepreneurs, such as Matt Koster-Marcon, CEO of Learning Ladders and Chair of EdTech at the British Educational Suppliers Association.
To be clear: this list contains no affiliate links, and we earn no revenue from including these titles. We simply wanted to award the best books to help inform your summer reading list.
We’ve broken down the titles into topics, so you can jump to the section most relevant to you. Why not bookmark this page, so you have a library of books ready to dive into?
Wellbeing Books for Teachers
A Little Guide for Teachers: Teacher Wellbeing and Self-Care
“There has never been a more important time to focus on teacher wellbeing. Even before the pandemic, there was a teacher stress and mental health crisis, and the research shows the pandemic has made things worse.
“Our book was written partly before but also during the pandemic. It’s a practical book, backed up by evidence, that guides teachers and school leaders in how to look after themselves so they can teach well but also so they can lead fulfilling lives inside and outside of the classroom.
“But our book isn’t just about self-care and helping teachers cope within a broken system. We purposefully chose to end our book with a focus on agency and the small steps that teachers and leaders can take to not only after themselves but also to change things for the better in the wider education system. It might be small but it packs a punch and we hope it’s a book educators keep coming back to [and help teachers] restore their sense of perspective to help them focus on what really matters.”
Emotion Coaching with Children and Young People in Schools: Promoting Positive Behavior, Wellbeing and Resilience
“This book is a practical guide for educators and leaders in schools on how to implement emotion coaching into their everyday practice in order to alleviate pupils’ fears and frustrations about their work or personal life, regulate their behaviour and develop their resilience skills.
“Emotion Coaching is an evidence-based, ‘in the moment’ strategy which has been shown to be a valuable ‘tool’ for educators and school leaders to bring about positive change and help reduce stress in schools.
“The book is timely given the current global COVID-19 crisis and disruptive impact this has had on children and young people in schools. The book takes the reader on a step-by-step journey to understand how Emotion Coaching supports the work of educators in helping pupils to, for example, understand their emotions, manage their anxiety and anger, and problem solve more effective ways to cope with their feelings so that they follow school rules more effectively and focus on their work.
“It is filled with real-life illustrations of how staff have been able to de-escalate challenging situations with pupils, reduce incidents and exclusions in school, improve attendance and academic attainment, and enhance the wellbeing of staff and students alike through using Emotion Coaching.”
The Spread the Happiness Approach: Happy Teachers, Happy Classrooms, Better Education
“Both practical and inspiring, this book is designed to empower educators and school leaders to make clear and simple adjustments to their practice for a lasting impact on the happiness and well- being of staff and children and ultimately on academic standards. It includes practical tips and activities to help teachers generate a lasting atmosphere of positivity and happiness in the classroom, plus clear strategies to help leaders to embed the Spread the Happiness approach throughout their school and across the curriculum.
“This book includes detailed case studies, a five-week programme of taster challenges and a section on measuring outcomes and sharing success. The Spread the Happiness approach invites teachers to undertake a 27-day challenge, which encourages problem-solving and challenges them to make their immediate workplace happier. It identifies the strengths of adults and children and sets realistic goals to achieve as an individual, as a team and even as a community.
“This powerful resource will be of great interest to all teachers and school leaders, as well as trainee teachers and students on leadership or early educational courses.”
The Teacher’s Guide to Self‑Care
“It’s no secret to those who work in schools that many teachers feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed-out much of the time, especially after the demands placed on them during the pandemic.
“While there are undoubtedly larger factors that need to be addressed within education, practicing self-care is critical to building resilience and creating a sustainable career as a teacher. The Teacher’s Guide to Self-Care will help you leave the teacher-martyr complex behind and embrace a lifestyle that includes taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually while continuing to make a difference in the world.
“Whether you’re a brand-new teacher preparing for your first year in the classroom or a veteran educator realizing you need to take better care of yourself, The Teacher’s Guide to Self-Care will help you create the self-care routines you need for a sustainable career.”
Love Teaching, Keep Teaching: The essential guide to improving well-being at all levels in schools
“After an unprecedented 18 months of great uncertainty and moving goalposts, teachers and leaders are experiencing burnout and disillusionment on a scale unknown before. And yet the challenges for education have never been greater: a mental health crisis, a rapidly changing job market, a shrinking global village and a fragmented society exacerbated by social media soundbites.
“With so many teachers and leaders questioning whether they can continue with the job or resigned to just ‘surviving’, never before has there been a greater need to reignite a passion for teaching and re-think the way we do education.
“Love Teaching Keep Teaching provides the stimulus and tools to help education professionals at all levels to look after themselves, lead with emotional literacy and challenge thinking and norms which undermine the wellbeing and progress of our staff and students. This is not just about avoiding burnout but about loving coming to school again. It’s about, together, transforming school culture so that our schools and classrooms really do what they are supposed to: change lives and change the world.”
Educational Leadership and Management Books
Middle Leadership Mastery: A toolkit for subject and pastoral leaders
“Middle Leadership Mastery aims to provide a guide to the key issues surrounding middle leadership for current and aspiring middle leaders. Middle leaders often start their role with the assumption they have all the necessary knowledge and experience to fulfil the roles demanding job description. In the book I try to provide an overview of the key concepts of curriculum, teaching and assessment, using the most up to date evidence-informed approaches.
“The book also pulls ideas from a wide range of professions, such as call centres and Silicon Valley to provide a toolkit for subject and pastoral leaders to use when dealing with students and parents.
“Middle leadership is also as much to do with supporting your team as it is designing your curriculum. Middle Leadership Mastery has specific sections devoted to the building of successful teams and the supporting of colleagues in times of crisis. Middle leadership is a challenging role and so the book aims to provide tangible advice on how to effectively manage a leader’s own wellbeing and cope with the pressures of high stakes accountability.”
Irresistible Learning: Embedding a culture of research in schools
“This book will help school leaders to build a culture of research across their school. The book introduces a structure for research that is accessible to all staff within an educational setting. Whether you are a class teacher or school leader, you will be guided to use the power of research to strengthen practice in yourself and others.
“The author offers a practical guide on how to engage in meaningful research that will have a deep and lasting impact on you and your organisation. You will be taken on a journey through a Research Cycle that will build your confidence and purpose as a researcher; deepening professional relationships and improving outcomes for all.
“You will then be introduced to a range of systems that construct a culture of research in your school, building a climate where the voice of every member of staff is deeply valued and has the potential to influence the strategic development of the organisation. If you are interested in research in schools, this book is for you.”
Making the Leap – Moving from Deputy to Head
“Following ten (glorious!) years as a head, I studied for a professional doctorate, researching the transition to headship. I wrote ‘Making the Leap – Moving from Deputy to Head’ to communicate what I had learnt to a professional audience. I was able to use the experience and perspectives of my research participants, in addition to my own insights, to produce a book that aspiring and new school leaders would find useful.
“I have been overwhelmed by the response. Since the book came out, I have been in steady receipt of messages of appreciation from readers who tell me how much they valued the advice, encouragement and practical guidance the book supplies for those on their journey into and through headship. Readers have told me that the book helped them to strengthen their applications, to be more confident at interview, and to deal with the reality of moving into the head’s role.
“Strong, well-prepared leaders at all levels are crucial to the success of our schools, and so to the success of young people. I feel privileged to have been able to contribute to this preparation of future generations of heads and principals who work hard to serve pupils and communities.”
Thrive Through the Five: Practical Truths to Powerfully Lead through Challenging Times
“I absolutely love my job as a school leader and educator. I tell people all the time that I love my job 95% of time – which is fantastic! But there is also this small portion, this 5%, that is so very difficult. This is true for me now as a superintendent, but was just as true as a teacher and campus leader.
“We all have that small percentage of our work (and life) when things are really hard. And we’ve all had years, like this past one, where that percentage of the work that is difficult is so much higher than 5%.
“The goal of this book is to help us not just survive those moments, days and seasons, but to truly THRIVE! The work educators and leaders get to do is an incredible privilege – but it is not without cost. My hope is that the tips shared in this book will help you live and lead better. Because it is not enough to just survive. We owe it to ourselves and everyone around us to truly thrive.”
General Books for Teachers
The Action Hero Teacher: Classroom Management Made Simple
“Behind the assessments and the exams, our jobs as educators are to mould our students like skilled blacksmiths from raw potential into polished citizens ready to take on our 21st century World.
“But without effective classroom behaviour strategies, you will never be able to reach them no matter how smart you are.
“The Action Hero Teacher book helps teachers become the ‘heroes’ of their classrooms. The AHT book gives educators a grab bag of Classroom Management tools to build relationships, deal with poor behaviour and helps educators become the best versions of themselves to inspire their pupils.
“The AHT book is not another dusty, boring textbook. It’s a practical roadmap written by Karl C Pupé, a former NEETs Coordinator with ten years’ experience, who has worked with London’s most challenging students and managed to turn them around. Karl has worked with prestigious organisations like the National Education Union (NEU), Charted College of Teaching and the University of Essex to help teachers master classroom management.”
The Spelling Book: Transforming the Teaching of Spelling
“In her new book, The Spelling Book: Transforming the Teaching of Spelling, Jane Considine proposes a new spelling system based on pupils being spelling detectives. Using frames for thinking and vibrant visual hooks, the system promotes a shift from the testing of spelling to the teaching of spelling. It is her mission to help create a new generation of audacious spellers who love the challenges of words and feel ready and equipped to tackle spelling with joy, confidence and creativity!
“Each edition of The Spelling Book includes daily and weekly spelling activities that are built on the fundamentals of teaching spelling using strong phonic foundations. Each book includes notes for teachers that suggest how to introduce the key concepts their pupils will be meeting, alongside proven methods to increase pupil retention. The book contains activities for the whole academic year. The activities within the books are adaptable and engaging, serving as a way for primary teachers to ‘up-the-ante’ in their spelling provision.
“The Spelling Books outline a system of teaching spelling that relies on teachers to bring the ‘wonder of words’ to life. They allow enough room for creativity, whilst ensuring that all National Curriculum fundamentals are covered.”
Teaching Yourself to Teach: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fundamental and Practical Information You Need to Succeed as a Teacher Today
“As a third-generation teacher, it’s been amazing to see just how far education has come. My gran was one of the first teachers to teach IT and now technology has become an integrated part of the classroom. It’s these changes that motivated me to begin writing the Teaching Yourself to Teach series.
“Educators face a ridiculous number of changes, many of which coming from people with little experience in the classroom. I wanted to create resources that provide valuable information from experience, and that aren’t limited to a certain school year. Teachers can pick up this book tomorrow or in six months and the information will still be relevant.”
Put A Wet Paper Towel on It: The Weird and Wonderful World of Primary Schools
“From the stars of the award-winning (comedy educational) ‘Two Mr Ps in a Podcast’ comes their debut book: Put a Wet Paper Towel on It. As anyone that has worked in education will tell you, there is no greater remedy for any ailment than the humble wet paper towel:
Paper cut? Wet paper towel!
Grazed knee? Wet paper towel!
Teacher retention crisis and well-being? Erm… slightly more complicated.
“We all know that teacher and school staff well-being is regularly paid lip service, but not enough is done to improve it. This book is all about raising smiles and will provide far more motivation than a pointless yoga staff meeting.
“The current education system is broken but not unfixable. Lee Parkinson (ICT with Mr P) and his brother Adam Parkinson (The Other Mr P) are on a mission to entertain and inspire school staff to reignite their love for working in schools and to inform the masses that a career in education should and can still be, the greatest job in the world.”
Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn
“Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn is a groundbreaking new textbook for teachers of all subjects, at all levels. Written by a trio of educators that includes a world-class neuroscientist, an experienced K12 classroom teacher turned professor of education, and a linguist-engineer, this impeccably researched, critically acclaimed book is the first to put education on a solidly neuroscientific foundation.
“The authors use the very techniques described in the book to help readers understand in-depth concepts of learning in a simple, highly pictorial way, with plenty of fun metaphors to help clarify the concepts.
“Coverage includes teaching today’s diverse students with their broadly varying working memory capacities; the importance of learning through and teaching to both the declarative (hippocampal) pathway and the procedural (basal ganglia) pathway; and easy-to-understand visuals that reveal how retrieval practice helps strengthen neural connections in long-term memory.
“Above all, Uncommon Sense Teaching allows teachers to understand not just what to do in the classroom, but why. As teachers themselves know, understanding why can make all the difference.”
Shimamura’s MARGE Model of Learning in Action
“Shimamura’s MARGE Model of Learning in Action in excellent book for leaders and educator to read as it provides a basis of applying research-informed ideas in the classroom, across a range of subjects and ages.
“Through summarising the links Arthur Shimamura made between Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, the book ensures staff are aware of how these ideas can be used to improve the long-term learning of students.
“Through the use of case studies from practising teachers and leaders, clear action ideas and tables “things to consider” when implementing these ideas, Shimamura’s MARGE Model of Learning in Action guides the reader through the process of implementing MARGE in the classroom.”
Sticky Teaching and Learning: How to make your students remember what you teach them: How to make your students remember what you teach them
“Sticky Teaching and Learning addresses the key challenges encountered by teachers who are seeking to make learning more memorable. It identifies the teaching techniques that contribute most effectively to successful long-term learning, then explores how these benefit pupils by leading to greater independence and test performance. It covers the effective implementation underpinning great teaching such as: classroom climate, making feedback, peer and self-assessment, metacognition and questioning and self-testing work.
“Additionally, it has a practical toolkit of 50 teaching techniques that can be easily adopted into classroom practice. Teachers who read this book will be enthused to try the practical strategies it suggests, and confident of their pedigree because the book is firmly evidence based.”
Visible Learning: Feedback
“Feedback is among the most powerful influences on student learning – but eons of research have shown the amazing variability in the effects: the same feedback today works but tomorrow does not. This book explores this variability and helps teachers understand the most optimal feedback that students can hear, understand, and action.
“The book argues students prefer “where to next” feedback but most teacher feedback is about “where am I going?” and “how am I going”, and including praise with feedback about student work can dilute the feedback effect.
“We have spent too much time on improving teachers’ feedback, whereas in this book we argue that it is more about students’ reception of feedback. We need to listen more what they hear, understand, and action from feedback and this not only helps teachers improve the nature and impact of their feedback it also invites teachers to teach students how to interpret and use the feedback.
“Feedback thrives in a climate of openness, of seeing errors as opportunities to learn, and where there are appropriately challenging tasks.”
In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools
“In Teachers We Trust is an untold story about the power of trust behind one of the most well-known education systems in the world. It presents a compelling vision, offering practical ideas for educators and school leaders who wish to develop teacher-powered schools and education systems.
“This book is different from many other books: It goes beyond describing what an ideal high-performing school could be in theory by sharing the key principles and practical ideas about how an entire education system has been transformed to address collaboration, agency and teacher professionalism.
“It reveals why teachers in Finland hold high status, and shows what school leaders and educators can do to build more trust in teachers as essential experts in the era of disruption and change. This makes In Teachers We Trust an essential reading for all teachers and administrators.”
100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Questioning
“This book is not merely an anthology of well-worn question-types and strategies, it is drawn from 30 years of in-classroom practice. Many of the ideas are original to the author and are based on important published research by the author, introducing the reader to ideas such as Open Questioning Mindset and the Question X. These are two kinds of open and closed questions that teachers will find in no other questioning-tip book.
“The ideas also seek to bust common myths and misconceptions, such as open questions are always better than closed questions. While each idea can be used in isolation, as a whole the book presents a unique question-centred pedagogy that will encourage children to examine the world around them and become independent and critical thinkers.
“It has an unusual philosophical depth and rigour for a primary-oriented book, yet it remains practical, easy to read and should be just as useful to secondary school teachers or anyone interested in good questioning.”
The Science of Learning: 99 Studies That Every Teacher Needs to Know
“Schools and teachers are becoming more research-informed than ever before. But unfortunately, many research papers remain inaccessible, either because they are hard to locate, behind paywalls or are written for other psychologists. This means that at a time when student learning and catch-up is crucial, this key research remains difficult to read for those who need it the most (i.e. teachers).
“The Science of Learning seeks to redress that balance. It covers a range of topics and answers questions that are at the heart of teaching. This includes how to best motivate bored students, why do students often forget things we have taught them, and how do we help develop resilience?
“It also covers hot topics, such as banning mobile phones, the importance of sleep, should we do mixed-ability teaching and what actually is metacognition and cognitive load theory?
“The book has been read by teachers from all over the world, with it’s impact being felt in classrooms in New Zealand, Australia, America, England, Canada, Norther Ireland and Dubai. This is because it is easy to read, simple to understood and contains strategies that are based on research that teachers can start to use immediately.”
Unpack Your Impact: How Two Primary Educators Ditched Problematic Lessons and Built a Culture-Centred Curriculum
“Unpack Your Impact: How Two Primary Educators Ditched Problematic Lessons and Built a Culture-Centred Curriculum is a powerful book that provides educators administrators with a powerful mind shift for teaching practices.
“Educators all over the world have raved about how their lessons have been changed for the better after reading this book. In this book, readers will find themselves thinking about practices and strategies that they have engaged in previously and how they can make them more globally relevant.
“The authors provide big ideas that are quickly followed up with concrete examples from their own classrooms. You will rethink everything that you do in the classroom after reading this book. Although it is told through the lens of two primary educators, Unpack Your Impact is a must-read for teachers of all grade levels and subjects because of the ease with which the reader can swap out their stories and topics for their own.”
“Assessment is an integral part of education, and it comes in many iterations. For one, assessment informs educators as to the impact they’ve had on one or more learners. Secondly, it can inform school leaders concerning the effectiveness of instruction, educational support programs and initiatives. Third, when used effectively, it lets students know the extent to which they understand the intended learning objectives.
“Perhaps for too long we’ve overlooked this third element, and the origins of the word assessment might help us recalibrate. We get ‘assessment’ from the Latin ‘assidere’ which means ‘to sit beside’. Unfortunately, assessment in schools involves the teacher usually sitting across from the student – literally and figuratively.
“In this timely book, Dueck argues that for much of our collective educational experience, assessment is what we have done to students, not with them. With a balance of ‘real world’ applications, research and tools that teachers could use immediately, Giving Students a Say opens the door for how we can empower and harness student voice, choice, self-assessment and self-reporting in the realm formerly reserved only for teachers – assessment.”
Assessing with Respect: Everyday Practices That Meet Students’ Social and Emotional Needs
“Assessing with Respect helps educators connect assessment to everyday social and emotional practices – it is a practical read to help teachers acknowledge and identify ways to make school less about numbers and labels and more about the children we work with at all levels. Students are whole people and therefore the way we assess them should be nuanced and varied.
“Readers of this book will need to consider their current practices, their own biases and will learn to work in more equitable ways. Student voice and choice are at the center of the practice and there is a big focus on building relationships to set up a culture in the classroom where risk-taking and reflection are key. School leaders need to support their teams with instructional practices that put the needs of students first and the book helps with that.”
Word Aware 1: Teaching Vocabulary Across the Day, Across the Curriculum
“In recent years there has been an upsurge in awareness of vocabulary and its impact on learning, and the National Curriculum gives it a high profile. But the question remains, ‘how can teachers effectively address the ‘word gap?’’
“‘Word Aware’ provides schools with tools and resources to implement a whole school approach to develop all children’s vocabulary. It is based upon research, but applies this in a practical, time-efficient manner. Developing vocabulary is not a quick fix, so ‘Word Aware’ provides fun ways to engage children and their families right across the primary age range.
“The ‘Word Aware’ approach is being used in many schools across the UK and internationally. Research studies have shown it is effective and children love it too. School leaders will love it because improved vocabulary results in better learning outcomes and increased attainment.”
The Teacher and the Teenage Brain
“In recent years, we have learnt that the brain undergoes major change during the teenage years. These changes have profound implications for teachers and for education more widely. In this book, I outline the work I have done with teachers to find ways of making this new knowledge available to students and to teachers themselves. The changes occurring in the teenage years include maturation of the brain, leading to many positive advances in thinking. However, there are also some changes that involve restructuring of the brain, which lead to some challenges in emotion regulation and thinking about consequences.
“The first chapter in the book is a simple introduction to the brain, entitled “Ten things every teacher needs to know about the teenage brain”. I then go on to cover the topics of cognitive development, risk, the importance of sleep for learning, and the management of stress and anxiety. My discussions with teachers led me to believe that this knowledge changes the way teachers understand their students. Perhaps most importantly, it allows them to see how critical these years are, and that there is capacity for change. My work has been hugely rewarding as I have seen how this knowledge can give teachers new insight and enhance relationships in the classroom.”
Creating the World We Want to Live In
“Creating the World We Want to Live In shows how we can all make the world a better place, one positive action at a time.
“Throughout the 13 chapters, from childhood to relationships to the environment, the seven authors cite the evidence on wellbeing. They conclude that we need to move from a focus on what is good for me now to what is best for all of us in the longer term. Written to engage and inspire all readers, the science is illustrated with stories of good practice and solutions from around the globe. There are reflections and searching questions in each chapter to stimulate discussion. These provide an excellent resource for KS3-4, or even younger.
“Our world is in a precarious place and young people are anxious about many things. What we all need is an injection of hope and practical ideas for a post-pandemic re-set. Education is about that future, for both individuals and the society they create.”
Grammarsaurus Key Stage 2: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Non-Fiction Writing, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
“As teachers, we often searched for texts to use in the classroom and struggled to find ones that were of a high quality and appropriate for the children we were teaching: either they didn’t have the right grammar coverage, the context wasn’t appropriate, or the children had already studied the text in a different year group! This wasn’t just our own experience, as we also witnessed this when working with other teachers in our school and in other school settings in our roles as SLEs and moderators.
“We felt that teachers would benefit from a book which would allow them to easily access high-quality texts which were both age-appropriate and contained the relevant writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation from the National Curriculum and the teacher assessment frameworks. We strongly believe that these skills should be taught in context, rather than in standalone grammar or punctuation lessons.
“We hope this book will support you when deciding what skills to teach and when. We ourselves use our text-specific overviews and model texts when planning: they are invaluable to us, and we hope they will become invaluable to you, too! The overviews will help you to decide when to teach different skills and the model texts will show how these skills can be used in different contexts. Whether you use the model texts to support your own knowledge or share them with your pupils to expose them to high-quality texts, we are sure they will be a great support.”
Teaching in the Game-Based Classroom: Practical Strategies for Grades 6-12
“Teaching in the Game Based Classroom contains insights from educators, game designers, and learning scientists, that allows the reader to understand both the benefits and the challenges of incorporating games into the classroom.
“Teachers and school leaders will learn a variety of strategies for engaging students as they return to classes from the isolation of COVID-19. For example, school leaders and teachers learn how Minecraft can build after school communities and promote in-class creativity around any subject matter.
“Other chapters show how students can write their own history based stories using text adventure software or teach Biology using cutting edge immersive virtual reality in “Learning About Cells from the Inside Out”. Moreover, a triad of chapters will help teachers and support staff with best practices in the Social Emotional Learning domain vital to the post pandemic school world.
“You will even discover how to replace or supplement those deadening tests with playful assessments made possible learning games. In summary, readers will learn about the games and the stories behind the games through this engaging and informative book.”
Writing for Pleasure: Theory, Research and Practice
“This ground-breaking text is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the current status and nature of writing teaching in schools. The rich Writing for Pleasure pedagogy presented here is a radical new conception of what it means to teach young writers effectively today.
“The book explores what writing for pleasure means, and how it can be realised as a much-needed pedagogy whose aim is to develop children, young people, and their teachers as extraordinary and life-long writers. The approach described is grounded in what global research has long been telling us are the most effective ways of teaching writing and contains a description of what exceptional teachers of writing do that makes the difference.
“The authors describe ways of building communities of committed and successful writers who write with purpose, power, and pleasure, and they underline the importance of the affective needs of young writers, including promoting a sense of confidence, ownership, independence, desire, motivation, and writer-identity.
“The book defines and discusses 14 research-informed principles which constitute a Writing for Pleasure pedagogy and show how they are applied by teachers in classroom practice. Case studies of outstanding teachers across the globe further illustrate what world-class writing teaching is.”
101 Playground Games: A Collection of Active and Engaging Playtime Games for Children
“101 Playground Games is an essential book for schools and their communities this summer. With the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on children’s mental health, now more than ever our school leaders need to be making play and playing games a priority.
“During an average primary school day in the UK, children spend up to 20% of their time playing in the school playground. This provides an opportunity for one-fifth of a child’s time at school to be used to support their recovery and rehabilitation from the pandemic and for schools to ensure children regain confidence, rebuild relationships, and remember they are children again.
“101 Playground Games is a comprehensive resource to support primary schools to dramatically improve the quality of day-to-day playtimes and lunchtimes, with a consequent beneficial impact on lunchtime behaviour, engagement, learning, social, emotional, mental and physical health and wellbeing.
“101 Playground Games offers enriching activities and traditional games to encourage active learning and social development among children at playtime. It is a book that will make playtime a richer experience for all.”
The Joy of Not Knowing: A Philosophy of Education Transforming Teaching, Thinking, Learning and Leadership in Schools
“I’m thrilled that the book is proving so useful as a source of inspiration for educators at all levels, across all phases and in so many areas of the world. Student teachers, early career teachers, senior leaders, headteachers, further education colleges, sixth form colleges, universities, initial teacher training providers, professional development course leaders and policymakers are all commenting on how the book has become integral to their practice.
“It is fascinating to be experiencing this impact first-hand. Schools across the country are using the book to transform their culture, strategic thinking, professional development and pedagogy, which is then enabling every child to thrive emotionally, socially and academically. The love of learning that I’m seeing in these classrooms is extraordinary. The book also already forms the basis of many publications, NQT programmes, global educational conferences and courses. It has also become a key text in Initial Teacher Training and it is shaping the thinking of Governmental policy makers in the UK and in Uzbekistan through my work with APPG, FCCT, UNICEF.”
The Essential Blended Learning PD Planner: Where Classroom Practice Meets Distance Learning
“The distance learning experience dramatically expanded educators’ instructional technology expertise during the pandemic and many of those best practices will make it back to school campuses. The traditional classroom will never be the same and there is no going back to “normal.”
“The The Essential Blended Learning PD Planner: Where Classroom Practice Meets Distance Learning explores how the distance learning experience will impact the traditional classroom and how we can leverage the best practices developed to enhance learning through a combination of effective classroom instruction and technology. Most importantly, it examines how these changes can impact equity and access for all students and reinforce the pedagogical philosophy and resources needed to finally close the achievement gap.
“With a foreword by Michael Fullan and diagrams guiding the reader through the journey from theory to practice, this critical and timely book serves as a resource for school leaders and teachers to collaboratively design and implement a professional development program that supports all teachers during this transition. Included are interactive templates, tech tips, connections to instructional technology for social justice, and ideas for professional development sessions. Now is the time to take advantage of this momentous shift and forever alter the educational landscape.”
Diversity and Inclusion Books for Schools
10% Braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education
“10% Braver has been life changing for women. School leaders learned the challenges facing existing and aspiring women leaders and what’s needed to achieve gender equity. Women are the majority of our workforce yet are disproportionately represented in leadership, with a whopping gender pay gap on top! 10% Braver blazed a trail in tackling these issues and readers connected with it in amazing tweets, blogs and 130+ reviews.
“Its real impact is inspiring women to believe in themselves. For example, Parm Plummer said: ‘There are few books that can make a difference to people’s lives. For me, a woman of ethnic heritage, seeking to move into leadership but facing setbacks, reading 10% Braver had a huge impact. Up to then, I had full-blown Imposter Syndrome. The book galvanised me to action: I became a network leader for WomenEd to support other women. Now I’m a Global Strategic Leader of WomenEd’.”
Celebrating Difference: A whole-school approach to LGBT+ inclusion
“LGBT+ bullying is still a significant problem, with many educators struggling without relevant school wide LGBT+ inclusion training. Hate crime and hate speech is increasing. Lockdowns resulted in LGBT+ youth feeling especially isolated and vulnerable.
“‘Celebrating Difference’ aims to inspire sustainable, compassionate change within individuals, learning communities and education systems. An inspiring initial chapter of painful (but uplifting) lived experience precedes a highly detailed, practical, tried, tested and multi-award-winning strategic process of personal, cultural and organisation change in respect of diversity, equitable inclusion and intersectional change deployable across the equality strands.
“The text is informed by over twenty years in class-teaching, leadership, governance, strategic school improvement and enriched with unique experience as a global LGBT+ education advocate.
“Recommended in Parliament, it features change strategies, research, anecdotal evidence, case studies, teaching, learning and curriculum guidance, impact study, challenge and reflection questions and strategic audit strategies supporting staff, leaders and governors to prevent prejudice whilst fostering conscious inclusion.
“The book nurtures a sense of permission and empowerment, enabling readers to find their authentic voices whilst aspiring to validate, represent and educate all, not merely some, of our wonderfully diverse young people.”
No Outsiders: Everyone Different, Everyone Welcome: Preparing Children for Life in Modern Britain
“How do we prepare children for life in modern Britain and for a future as global citizens? Children in schools today are not wrapped in cotton wool; they hear messages about the world around them and they are forming attitudes and meaning for those messages every day. While we have no control over the messages children hear outside the school gates, we can ensure that inside the school gates there is a central message running through everything we do. The message is that diversity is wonderful!
“We teach children that there are No Outsiders in our school because everyone is welcome. We link our language to the Equality Act 2010 and British Values. No Outsiders is a whole school ethos that provides a framework for delivering a simple but effective curriculum steeped in an understanding of equality where all children feel proud to know they belong.”
50 Wellbeing Lessons for the Diverse Primary Classroom: Teaching Through Inclusive Practice
“This must-have book is packed full of lesson plans and resources to support wellbeing within the diverse primary classroom. With 50 detailed lessons plans and additional resources to promote discussion, each session is carefully planned and includes learning outcomes, activity descriptions and further questions around areas of diversity specific to race, culture and LGBTQ+. It is the perfect companion for busy teachers and school leaders.
“Both accessible and fun, the collection of activities cover a wide range of pertinent topics that challenge children to reflect, ask questions, analyse and find solutions through open discussion and collaboration. It provides them with the opportunity to explore their feelings and understand empathy and develop coping strategies in order to promote wellbeing. The content covered in this resource includes key topics such as the impact of discrimination, the Black Lives Matter movement, prejudice, coping with loss, feeling left out, moving school and managing as a young carer.
“This practical guide is ideal for those new to teaching as well as more experienced practitioners. It addresses social and emotional wellbeing through themes that often affect marginalised groups and is crucial reading for anyone looking to embed an inclusive mental wellbeing culture within their school.”
Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom
“Now more than ever, teachers and leaders must learn to recognize and dismantle racism within school communities, classrooms and curriculum. Reading, Writing, and Racism provides educators with tools to take on this responsibility.
“This book provides a framework to identify racist curriculum and argues that White teachers must reframe their understanding about race in order to advance racial justice, and that this must begin in teacher education programs. Drawing on two decades of experience preparing teachers to focus on social justice and antiracism, Picower demonstrates how teachers’ ideology of race, consciously or unconsciously, shapes how they teach race in the classroom.
“With a focus on institutional strategies, the book supports leaders to understand how racial justice can be built into programs across the teacher education pipeline—from admission to induction. By examining the who, what, why, and how of racial justice teacher education, she provides radical possibilities for transforming how teachers think about, and teach about, race in their classrooms.”
Books for NQTs and New Teachers
How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching
“First published over 20 years ago, and updated in several new editions since, How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching is a firm favourite with new teachers. It is still a best-seller in the book charts all these years after publication, an unusual feat for an education book, and a reflection of its enduring popularity. The book includes practical advice on many aspects of becoming a teacher, including planning, marking, teaching and learning, behaviour, classroom management and career progression.
“Often referred to as one of the first practical handbooks for teachers, I wrote the book as a summary of everything that I had learned in my first few years as a teacher, and which I thought would be useful for others new to the profession. I like to feel that I ‘blazed a trail’ for all the practical handbooks that followed with this, my first book, and also my second practical guide Getting the Buggers to Behave.
“As with all my books, the key to its success, and the reason it has stayed in print for so long, is that it is honest, realistic, practical and easy to dip into to find advice. Written in a down-to-earth way that appeals to teachers in real life classrooms, this is not an academic text, nor is it based on years of research. It is simply a collection of best practice, top tips, useful strategies and honest reflections on what it is like being a new teacher. If you want to not only survive, but to succeed as well, this is the book for you.”
Top Tips for New Teachers
“Becoming a teacher is an incredibly daunting prospect. Many enter the profession following a lifelong desire to become a teacher, and then really struggle when they enter the classroom for the first time.
“Teaching is incredibly difficult and requires a broad skill set which grows over time. Nationally, there is not only a recruitment shortage but also a real retention problem with teachers within the profession. Much of the success of a teacher’s integration into the profession rests on the quality of their mentor within their school. And this is not right.
“Many teachers are left to their own devices and are left to fend for themselves. I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic mentor who guided me through the first few years of teaching within a really supportive school.
“As my career progressed, I trained more and more teachers new to the profession and found myself repeating key points which were often overlooked or ignored in teacher training programmes. As such, I wrote ‘Top Tips for New Teachers’ with the aim of sharing the best of what I have learned and experienced over time to help new teachers entering our wonderful profession.”
SEND Books for Teachers
SEND Assessment: A Strengths-Based Framework for Learners with SEND (The Essential SENCO Toolkit)
“SEND Assessment: A Strengths based framework for Learners with SEND is exactly that…a framework to help capture learner strengths and areas for development. It has been written to help SENCOs, SEN Practitioners and teachers to define and prioritise SEN Support. The book introduces the 7 C’s Learning Portfolio.
“The 7 C’s Learning Portfolio provides a language of SEN Support and helps teachers to work with learners and their families to identify 3 strengths and 3 areas for development that will inform the SEN Support for that half-term. Each ‘C’ contains 7 learning themes, so Cognition describes working memory, speed of processing, inference, anticipation, reflection, evaluation and analysis. There are a further 7 themes within Communication, Creativity, Control, Compassion, Co-ordination and Curriculum.
“The book also contains a progress tracker, which can be used to identify a starting point or baseline for each of the 49 learning themes, and to then track progress. Capturing the movement of a learner from Emerging to Evolving to Effective, with the possibility of identifying an enhanced or exceptional skill too.
“The book is a practical resource that provides materials necessary to implement the 7 Cs Learning Portfolio in a functional, intermediate or extensive way.”
EdTech Books for Teachers
My Secret #EdTech Diary: Looking at Educational Technology through a wider lens
“The last 18 months has elevated the topic of Education Technology or “EdTech” from a position of long term aim to one of a key priority for schools and Trusts, but for many the topic feels inaccessible and only the realm of those most technical.
“The overriding aim of ‘My Secret #EdTech Diary’ is to demystify EdTech and make it accessible for everyone. Written in a conversational style, the book takes you on a journey through education technology and draws on 30 years of experience and insights from both educator and vendor perspectives, in a way that includes everyone within a school to feel able to join the conversation.
“The book includes plenty of ideas to help schools shape their digital strategies, develop teachers’ and students’ digital skills, co-produce solutions with EdTech vendors, use EdTech to support improved communication, wellbeing and much more.
“With lots of links for readers to discover valuable resources and check best practice, it’s a great handbook to help everyone within a school understand the pedagogical and practical potential of EdTech in their schools, the opportunities it can bring – and the pitfalls to avoid!”
Books for Early Years (EYFS) Practitioners
Developing a Loving Pedagogy in the Early Years
“I strongly believe that children should grow up in a society where they are loved and this needs to continue within their early childhood settings and schools. If educators love the children in their care and understand how they prefer to be loved, they will better understand how to relate to them and will do so more appropriately, which in turn will enable the children to learn more effectively.
“However, love is not a word that is often used in the context of education and this book changes this – it celebrates the natural way that many adults who are in loco parentis feel about the children in their care – a deep sense of love.
“Developing a Loving Pedagogy draws upon my research, other research, theory and literature from academics and includes stories, anecdotes and case-studies that I have gathered over a number of years.
“This book gives educators permission to love the children in their care and also empowers and includes children by helping educators to hold them in mind and speak the same (love) language as their children.”
Top 10 Books for Teachers Summer 2021
After careful consideration, here are our top 10 books for teachers to read this year, including our winner: well done to Bree Picower!
In a year marked by historic protests around the world, your book is helping to shape the next generation to dismantle racism in schools and beyond.
10. Unpack Your Impact: How Two Primary Educators Ditched Problematic Lessons and Built a Culture-Centred Curriculum
9. 10% Braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education
8. The Spread the Happiness Approach: Happy Teachers, Happy Classrooms, Better Education
7. The Science of Learning: 99 Studies That Every Teacher Needs to Know
6. Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn
5. Celebrating Difference: A whole-school approach to LGBT+ inclusion
4. In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools
3. Visible Learning: Feedback
2. Shimamura’s MARGE Model of Learning in Action
1. Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom
We hope you enjoy the books featured on this list! Learning Ladders improved year-end Primary results by 11% in two years for one school. Want to find out more about how you can accelerate pupil progress?